View Full Version : Hairstyle advice?! How do I look older?

Logi Bear
October 29th, 2014, 11:10 PM
So I have a weird problem. I am 20 years old, but I am frequently mistaken for a 14-16 year old. (Some of this might have to do with the fact that I'm skinny and don't wear makeup,) but my dad mentioned to me that the way I wear my hair can change how old I look. Of course I asked him what hairstyles he thought made me look more like an adult, but he seemed clueless. :rolleyes:
So what kind of hairstyles tend to make you look older? Or what kinds should I avoid? (Aside from the obvious pigtails.) My hair is a little over BSL if that helps. Also I love hairsticks!

October 30th, 2014, 03:14 AM
I sincerely doubt it's down to the hair alone, or your size, or the lack of makeup. Sometimes, however you dress or do your hair, it's going to happen - I used to know somebody who was asked for her ID every time she tried to get served in pubs and she was 25. You may have to just live with it! Though of course this pays you back in the years to come when all your contemporaries are hitting the botox and you're getting mistaken for 30! So some benefits there. Mrs M's first job when she'd finished her PHD was working in a university and she used to get mistaken for a student - right down to the hooray henry (this was Exeter) who pulled up next to her at the end of the university driveway and slapped her bum when she was cycling home!!! She said if she'd managed to get his numberplate he'd have found out the next day she wasn't a student...

I suspect that your question isn't really about being mistaken for younger though, would I be right that it's really about the fact that you think people are not taking you seriously as an adult because they think you're a kid?

October 30th, 2014, 03:25 AM
I have the same blessing (I wouldn't call it a problem - all my mates will be spending a fortune on anti-ageing creams in 10 years' time!), and I find that buns make me look slightly older. Partings make me look younger. So when I had a ponytail with a centre parting, a shop refused to sell me an '18' rated DVD (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, nothing weird!) because I had no ID.

Yesterday I had my hair in a bun, and a woman asked me where my office was. Clearly, I looked old enough to be out working! :)

October 30th, 2014, 03:54 AM
Sort of same problem here. But more to do with how I dress. . .if I have makeup on and am in clothes that no teenager wears, people mistake me for 26+

. . .and if I wear no makeup, and comfy clothes, magically people think I'm 16 or younger, lol.

As for hairstyles to avoid, I'd probably avoid bangs. Bangs can make certain people look younger.

October 30th, 2014, 03:55 AM
I'm very close to 30 and I have before answered the door to be asked if my parents are home! This kind of thing happened more often when I had a fringe/bangs but it does still happen now they're mostly grown out. However, as Merlin said it's probably just going to happen every now and then whatever you do but you'll be glad of it in years to come.

October 30th, 2014, 04:05 AM
Avoid a straight across fringe or "emo bangs". Also try to avoid messy hairstyles and bright/unnatural hair colour. Adjusting your wardrobe will help as well - you might find this link (http://www.extrapetite.com/2010/05/reader-request-how-to-look-older-in.html) helpful.

October 30th, 2014, 04:15 AM
I'm in this boat as well (to the point that recently a teenager was shocked to find out that I'm older than she is - am in my 30's). I'm told that I look older when I put my hair up. However, I think that's very much an opinion thing. My mum said so when I put hair in rope crown braid, but someone else didn't really think I looked any older, so... Partly it will be to do with how I dress, and I'm also slim and no-make-up. It does get annoying at times, especially that whole thing about knowing that if people think I'm a teenager they're less likely to respect me (esp at work). Maybe it's something to do with hairstyles that people perceive as being 'old fashioned' in some ways? If you wear something that reminds people of other era's for whatever reason, maybe that makes them think you look older?

Mustang Suzy
October 30th, 2014, 06:30 AM
Logi Bear,
I would suggest a low bun or a french twist. I feel these styles make one appear more mature. Don't fret being mistaken for a younger person. It will be a blessing when you are older. Good luck!

October 30th, 2014, 06:38 AM
Bangs make me look very young and cute :D

October 30th, 2014, 08:54 AM
I have the same issue about people note believing my real age (I've been mistaken with a 15 year old a month ago). I think half ups can help to look more "mature", and buns as well. When I started wearing half ups, people magically started to take me more seriously (sad!).
And just like others suggested above, avoid fringe hairstyles.

Logi Bear
November 1st, 2014, 05:31 PM
I suspect that your question isn't really about being mistaken for younger though, would I be right that it's really about the fact that you think people are not taking you seriously as an adult because they think you're a kid?

Basically, also I've never been on a date... which is embarrassing. Occasionally I get attention from teen guys, but men my own age ignore me/overlook me thinking I am too young for them. :confused: Its hurtful and degrading when men don't even see me as eligible.

Logi Bear
November 1st, 2014, 05:50 PM
Thanks guys! I already wear buns, but I'll have to practice a french twist, and maybe some half up styles. :)
Avoiding a visible part when I have my hair up sounds like a good idea too.
I agree how I dress is important too, I already do my best to avoid teen brands and dress like an adult.... There's only so much I can do with my wardrobe though, I have medical issues that make wearing certain kinds of clothes impossible.

November 2nd, 2014, 11:15 AM
Basically, also I've never been on a date... which is embarrassing. Occasionally I get attention from teen guys, but men my own age ignore me/overlook me thinking I am too young for them. :confused: Its hurtful and degrading when men don't even see me as eligible.

LOL - you need to worry more when men your own age are after you because they think you're in your teens!!

November 3rd, 2014, 11:01 AM
Merlin is right! A bunch of years ago I was walking down the street minding my own bussines. This guy I have never met before walkes up beside me and starts a conversation. This is very uncommon here. After some small talk he asks for my number. He thinks we would make a good couple. I disagree. He then asks how old I am. I tell him I am 20. How old is he? His response? "Oh, I thought you were 15! I am 25."

So, I have nothing against age differences in relationships so long as they are both adults. But 15? Not an adult!

I am 25 now, but not too long ago I was mistaken for 16. So I know how you feel. Buns make me look older. As do glasses. Part or no part dosen't make a difference. I look older when all the hair is pulled straight back, with no braids or twists to add interest to the front.
I dress older than many people my age. No jeans and t-shirts for me. Pencil skirts or straight skirts gives a more mature look than big flouncy skirts I think. Some colors (pastels) makes me look a bit younger too.

I don't usually care if I look younger than I am, but being mistaken for 16 wasn't very fun. :p

November 3rd, 2014, 12:28 PM
I was mistaken for a teenager until about 28. For a few years, as I was going through major stress and suffering I couldn't help, I lost my useful looks enough to never having to show an ID anymore. It sort of makes me sad, but I am trying to grow into my more mature looks. The pulled back hair, buns, no bangs or fringe really age my face. You need to enjoy your youthful looks as long as you can for many years to come :)

November 3rd, 2014, 12:30 PM
I meant "youthful looks", dang the auto correction.

November 4th, 2014, 12:20 AM
A chic bun (or any variation), an elegant French Twist, or my favorites, Heidi braids (aka Milkmaid braids).

For a more elegant style, try the easy and comfy two strand lace rope braid by Lilith Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPHEzUr5bWQ

If you are handy with lace braiding, you could also do a combination braid: lace each side, join at the back, then french braid down the back in one long braid.

You might also want to check out the various lovely styles by Torrin Paige on You Tube.

November 4th, 2014, 07:09 AM
Just sympathizing. I get told I look like I'm 16 pretty much every time I interact with strangers, and so many creepy dudes hit on me under the assumption that I'm still legally a child... shudder:

I use to be scared that I would have a worry in the back of my mind that my SO first wanted me because he thought I was a teenager, but I solved that with online dating; where age is the first thing many guys see! :thumbsup:

You've already got some great advice, but mine is this:
Wear your hair (and clothes) the way that makes you happy! If your looks are affecting the way you're treated at work, you can't fix that with hair, you'll need to speak up and tell superiors about your issues. If you're worried about meeting men who only want you because of your apparent age, then get online or go someplace 21+ or find a singles event (something most teens would detest doing, I think).
Lol, this sounds bossy but I'm just trying to say that you don't need to change the way you look in order to get what you want/need. :)

Logi Bear
November 19th, 2014, 10:34 AM
Thanks guys these are all great answers. To clarify I really don't get any attention at all from men, good or bad, being chronically sick and having no social life probably doesn't help though. lol

I have thought about dating websites, but I am a Christian and have conflicted feelings about them. Plus my mom used dating websites frequently when I was growing up, and all she ever met were total creeps, even when the men claimed to be Christian.

I just feel like socially its a big problem, even with making friends. On the occasions I do get out of the house (mostly for church or doctor appointments) there is a bit of an age barrier when I talk to people. I look like a teen, but I have nothing in common with them, and so we are limited to awkward small talk. If I try to talk to adults they often "talk down to me," or have an attitude like they can't understand why this kid who looks 14 is trying to talk to them. Of course there are exceptions, not all people are jerks, I'm just saying generally.

When I get my NJ tube taken out, I might experiment with makeup too, it really seemed to help in the past.

November 19th, 2014, 10:03 PM
No worries. I'm twenty-five and at least half of my college friends thought I was just out of high school when they first met me. It doesn't matter what I wear or how I style my hair--I'm a five-foot-tall and very slender Asian girl, so I just wear my hair however I want. My actual high school friends have noted that I haven't changed at all since high-school, aside from having longer hair.

HOWEVER, one person thought I was in my thirties a couple years ago. Probably because I'm so laid-back, but it was still pretty jarring after years of being mistaken for a teenager.

Pigtail braids and the pigtail/bunches hairstyle have a very high rate of making people think "this girl is very young." A single braid or ponytail tends to be more age-neutral.

Generally, messy/casual styles are for the younger crowd, while simpler and more subdued styles are for the older crowd.

November 20th, 2014, 12:18 AM
I still get mistaken for a teenager based on my appearance but if people actually speak to me they realise that teenagers simply don't speak or behave like I do - like an adult. So I think what is more important that trying to alter your appearance is making sure your behaviour is appropriate for an adult rather than a child. If it is, there's not much you can do to affect the way people may perceive you.

I think based on what you've said in this thread it's not really your looks that hamper your social interaction. You probably need to try and get involved with other social groups if you can, aside from church or doctor's appointments, where you'll obviously find the majority of people are "older".

Anyway, 20 is only a year away from 19, which is still technically teenagehood. In some countries, people are not considered to be adults until they're 21.