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Do’s and Don’ts to Look Years Younger

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Read any article on anti-aging these days, and you’ll likely be bombarded with a laundry-list of goods and services deemed crucial to keeping the years at bay. From invasive skin procedures and pricey serums, to intensive gym workouts and caveman diet overhauls, the multi-million-dollar anti-aging market can make any woman feel as if retaining youthful looks requires a second mortgage…and a whole lot of’ free time.

What those articles never tell you is that a creative tweak at your next hair-salon visit can actually take years off your looks in a matter of minutes. I actually think the most aging mistake a woman can make is to choose the wrong shade of hair color; or to stick with a color she’s had for years without realizing it is no longer the most flattering, youthful choice. Whether you’re a no-nonsense brunette, a committed blonde, or a redhead at heart, consider these color tricks that cleverly manage to turn back the clock….

IN-DEPTH BLONDE

There’s nothing wrong with being blonde in your 40s, 50s, and beyond; but many women are under the false impression that they should go blonder as they age. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say, “I’ve been told it’s softer!” But that’s just not the case.

Just say no: Blonde that’s very yellow washes out the skin, giving a pasty appearance; while blonde that’s overly ashy and cool (which works on a young woman with a lot of warmth in her complexion) can actually read as grey hair in a more mature client.

Give this a go: Strands of buttery highlights and golden lowlights help avoid the impression of one monochromatic, flat hair color, which can draw attention to facial lines. This dimensional approach also lends interest and depth to the hair, taking the harsh edge off your complexion, much like a soft-focus camera lens.

THE TAMER BRUNETTE

There’s plenty of good stuff to be said about Megan Fox’s intensely deep, dark locks. But try and rock that contrast a few years down the road and you’ve got a Morticia situation on your hands. (And face.)

Just say no: When hair is really dark, it’s harsh-looking—especially against a pale complexion–and you end up seeing every wrinkle and line…and, frankly, you’d have to have poreless, perfect, alabaster skin to pull off the super-dark look later in life. (As well as limitless access to high-tech lasers and the dermatologists who wield them!)

Give this a go: Follow the lead of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, and Eva Longoria—all of whom keep their base color dark, but weave in lighter strands of caramel, pecan, or auburn to soften the overall look.

SEEING REDHEADS

Interestingly, the very thing that’s always made a beautiful redhead stand out in the crowd—dramatic, Jessica-Chastain-meets-Lucille-Ball-hair—is also the thing that can sap your youthful looks just a decade or two later. If you’re not careful, red hair can look theatrical instead of natural; and that’s aging.

Just say no: Put a cork on burgundy, wine, and dark-cherry shades of red, which can appear artificial and wig-like against a more mature face. And, remember: Shocking contrast is a bad move.

Give this a go: This is the time to warm up your siren shade by turning to strands of russet, golden-red, copper, and cognac; still red, to be sure…but sophisticated rather than silly.

SHADES OF GREY

It takes a certain confidence to let your silver rule; but going grey doesn’t mean being entirely hands-off in the color department. It’s just a matter of learning how to soften and enhance this natural look so it’s elegant, not elderly.

Just say no: All-one-tone silver hair is a definite no-no; all-one-tone silver frizzy hair is even worse. As those white hairs appear, you’ll likely notice a difference in texture from your pigmented strands—they’re generally thicker, duller, even kinky-looking at times. And leaving them au naturel draws attention to those changes. Nothing says old faster than grey hair that’s wiry and lacks shine.

Give this a go: They call it salt-and-pepper for a reason. Namely: It adds spice to grey hair. Salt is a baby-white, beige-y blonde that adds lift and highlight to monochrome hair; pepper is a very cool, deep brown that weaves dimension between those silver strands. Shake things up by adding a bit of both and you’ll have an interesting head of grey that’s 50 shades better.

(From the voice of renowned hair color expert, Beth Minardi)

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