Check this out: according to a survey conducted by the HuffPost, the average American woman spends about $300,000 on her face in a lifetime, which is approximately $8 per day – and, hold on, uses about 16 products (makeup, skincare serums, and what not) before leaving the house every morning.
Whaaat?? I know. It sounds like a lot, but in the quest to look like your best 16-year-old self forever, sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do – investing in the best products money can buy.
But, have you ever thought about how your hair ages you? No? Well, your hair is just an extension of your complexion, and it plays a significant role in how you look – aged up or just about to hit your 20s. Think of it like your makeup or that seriously sexy top that always makes you feel like the next Robyn Fenty.
Choosing the right hairstyle and wearing your locs right can ensure you look your absolute best, most refreshed, and ready to conquer all hurdles. And then there are these common hair mistakes that might secretly age you. Here’s what to try instead.
Thinking You Have To Go Shorter
Blame it on eons of family reunions and too-hard squeezes from permed grandmas and aunties, but society, especially the Black community, seems to have this ingrained thinking that getting older means having shorter hair.
Well, we’re here to tell you that’s not true.
Of course, if you have thinning strands or love shorter hair, then, by all means, go for a shorter style. However, as far as appropriateness goes, no notarized rule says you must chop your strands based on the years you’ve seen the sunrise.
In fact, as you get older, longer hair flatters and softens your face and neckline. Plus, longer hair is easier to achieve a sexier, more natural hair color to blend when going gray. But it would be best if you worked with your stylist to see what length will best flatter your features.
Not Framing Your Face
For those of us with foreheads (at this point, we’ve heard all the jokes in the book), framing the face has become second nature.
However, for everyone else, even if you want to keep your hair at one length, you need to add a few subtle face-framing pieces. It helps draw attention to your most flattering features and lifts your face for a more refreshed look.
The best place to start layering is the cheekbone. That brings out the cheekbone, which is essentially an instant face-lift. It creates body around your face, and with shorter pieces, you can flick some bangs to the side or work some curtain bangs – it’s all up to you.
Overdoing It With Conditioners
There’s a fine line between getting your strands conditioned so it’s sufficiently nourished and looks healthy and bombarding them with heavy-duty conditioners that’ll only weigh down your tresses.
Plus, over-conditioned hair just doesn’t look pleasing to the eye. It looks stiff, lacks volume, and gives you a flat top, making you look aged. So, if you have a thick, curly mane, get a good lightweight conditioner like the Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner ($10). It works like magic!
Going To Extremes With Extensions, Wigs & Weaves
Moderation should be the name of the game when it comes to rocking wigs, weaves, and hair extensions. You should also choose the density of your hair based on your lifestyle and life stage.
Rocking extensions and wigs that are overly full will look unnatural and can weigh down your facial features, thus aging you. Conversely, any hair enhancement that’s too thin can cause hair to appear flat, which undoubtedly dulls your whole look.
The most flattering wigs, weaves, and extensions resemble your strands’ natural density and don’t feel theatrical or neglected.
Forgetting Hydration-Packed Products
And while we advise against over-conditioning, dry, damaged, overly processed tresses also age you up – probably worse than over-conditioning.
So, you should look for products formulated to pack an extra punch of hydration while leaning into shine ad moisture-sealing picks like lightweight oils that can do wonders for dry and damp hair.
To ensure your product doesn’t stain the tint of your strands, pick one that contains high-quality ingredients and is crystal clear. This set from Briogeo ($35) gets our seal of approval.
Highlighting To Cover Gray Hair
According to celebrity colorist George Papanikolas, one of the biggest hair mistakes women make is using highlights to cover graying strands. In his opinion, this results in dry, damaged, and overly processed strands.
Unless you’re a natural blonde or brunette, lots of highlights atop gray hair look harsh against the skin, especially for dark skin Queens.
Instead, you need to prioritize healthier, shinier hair by requesting depth at the roots ( for an illusion of youth) through a single process color for gray coverage. You can add subtle highlights three to four times a year for that hushed but sexy dimension.
Forgetting Your Heat Protectant & Scalp SPF
Since the pandemic, styling hair at home has been a regular routine for many Queens. We’re all blow-drying, curling our edges, and doing what not to achieve that effortless ‘I woke up like this’ look.
However, to maintain your strands’ health and youthful appearance, you must always create a barrier between your tresses and heat. Enter heat protectants. This option from Mizani ($30) puts your guard up – it contains anti-breakage technology that safeguards your strands when curling, blow drying, and straightening.
Additionally, it would be best if you considered investing in tools with a digital temperature clock that’s adjustable and customized to your hair type and texture.
For instance, if you have curly hair, go for a flat iron with temperatures between 325°F and 410°F. Coily hair types should choose one with temperatures between 325°F and 410°F to get those coils effortlessly silkened out.