A Hair Makeover at Any Age
Nothing gives you quite the same lift as the perfect new haircut. Real Simple put out the word for makeover volunteers, and these nine women, ages 26 to 64 and all frustrated with their hair, answered. What they got, courtesy of the Cutler/Redken Salons in New York City and Miami: fresh cuts, rich color, and reenergized outlooks. See the amazing results. (Makeup in this story: Melissa Silver and Tanya Rae.)
Before: Leigh Torretta, 26
After: Leigh Torretta
Best for: Pear-shaped faces; straight hair with fine texture.
Styling tip: To get hair that’s sleek but not flat, use Fekkai Coiff Bouffant Lifting and Texturizing Spray Gel ($25; drugstore.com), concentrating it at the roots to give hair body, and blow-dry with a flat brush. Spray on a bit of Cutler Specialist Shine Tattoo ($23, beautyofasite.com) to make hair extra glossy.
Before: Julia Reed, 27
After: Julia Reed
Julia’s strong features needed some balance, which stylist Dean Holcombe achieved by creating a long shag—the tousled layers helped to soften her long, angled jaw and her Roman nose. The cut also created the fullness she craved—just a bit of spray wax kept the layers piece-y without weighing them down—while chunky toffee highlights, applied by colorist Paola Veron, lent even more dimension to the edgy style. “And I can still wear it in a ponytail,” she says of the new look, which she describes as “really cute and fun.”
Best for: Diamond-shaped faces; fine to medium hair with straight to wavy texture.
Styling tip: Wrapping hair around a large round brush while blow-drying it will add body. When hair is 80 percent dry, work in a bit of Redken Tousle Whip ($18, amazon.com) cream wax for texture and separation.
Before: Colleen Wheelahan, 27
After: Colleen Wheelahan
Best for: Heart-shaped faces; straight, thick hair.
Styling tip: For a tousled look, allow hair to air-dry, then work in Cutler Hair Care Specialist Fly-Away Control Stick ($23, dermstore.com), a wax-based balm that adds shine and separation, and muss top layers with your fingers.
Before: Kathy McHugh, 41
After: Kathy McHugh
“I love the color!” Kathy says of the shade—a warmer but still deep brunette—that colorist Summer Parham created for her. The new hue, along with the tumbled layers and sweeping bangs cut by stylist James Feng, makes her look years younger. “Her hair was just a long, dark curtain that didn’t flatter her,” says Cutler (indeed, her ends had been dyed so often they were black). And while he used a curling iron for this look, she can wash it and go, too. “It dries so fast!” Kathy enthuses.
Best for: Long faces; straight, wavy, or curly hair with medium to coarse texture.
Styling tip: To get smooth layers, spray Redken Layer Lift 07 Length-Elevating Spray Gel ($20, amazon.com) on damp hair for volume and blow-dry using a round brush. For a more tousled look, wrap hair loosely in sections around a medium-barrel curling iron.
Before: Tara Amaral, 49
After: Tara Amaral
Stylist Emma Heser cut Tara’s hair into a chin-length bob with just enough layers to add movement and make her thick locks manageable. By adding width at the sides, she took the emphasis off Tara’s strong chin. As for her new hue, colorist Carly Missico chose a warm brown shade to highlight Tara’s peaches-and-cream complexion. “I’m so happy,” Tara says of the results. “I can wash it and leave it wet, and it still looks great. I love that I don’t have to work so hard!”
Best for: Square faces; thick, straight to wavy hair.
Styling tip: To create fullness at the crown and sides, apply TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray ($17.50, amazon.com) to hair and blow-dry, using a medium round brush to lift hair at the roots and flick out hair at the sides.
Before: Giunia Gatta, 40
After: Giunia Gatta
Best for: Round faces; straight to wavy hair with fine to medium texture.
Styling tip: Give a beautifully layered cut definition by applying Bumble and Bumble Sumowax ($26, bumbleandbumble.com) and blow-drying while using your free hand to “kick out” pieces around the face.
Before: Cathy Pasquale, 60
After: Cathy Pasquale
Best for: Square faces; straight hair with fine to medium texture.
Styling tip: Give straight hair a smooth finish by applying Redken Sheer Straight Straightening Gel ($15.50, ulta.com) while damp, then blow-drying with a flat brush. Finish by flat-ironing the ends.
Before: Judy Capel, 64
After: Judy Capel
Best for: Oval faces; medium to coarse hair with wavy to curly texture.
Styling tip: Enhance curls and minimize frizz by using fingers to comb a small amount of Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Calming Creme ($28, bumbleandbumble.com) through damp hair, starting underneath and moving from roots to ends. Use hands to gently scrunch hair while blow-drying, and finish by wrapping sections loosely around a one-inch-barrel curling iron.
Before: Lorraine Adler, 60
After: Lorraine Adler
Best for: Oblong faces; medium to coarse hair with straight to wavy texture.
Styling tip: Combat frizziness with a combination of product and blow-drying technique. Work a small amount of Fekkai Advanced Silky Straight Ironless Straightening Balm ($25, drugstore.com) through damp hair, then blow-dry, wrapping hair around a flat paddle brush one section at a time, moving across the scalp as you dry.