The right hair style and grooming can make you look years younger

One of the most remarkable things about old photographs of colonial Australia is how the people in them look old. Even the young men.

Their age is as indeterminable as their countenance is inscrutable. It has something to do with the formality of their clothing and their bearing, a lot to do with the sepia overlay, but mostly it's to do with the hair.

My theory was borne out on a visit to Sovereign Hill, the pioneer park near Ballarat, where the blacksmith, the printer, the cart driver, while clearly fit and youngish enough, looked decidedly mature.

It was the ye olde worlde beards and overgrown hair. The way the facial hair and the head hair, and the body hair too for all I know, blurred into a hoary venerableness. It was not unattractive. It was manly, like their practical palms. But it was ageing.

Hair everywhere

Now we're no longer in the "olden days" but in the nowadays where, puzzlingly, the appearance of youthfulness dominates working life, getting the hair right is important. And when it is done right, hair can actually make you look young.

Luke Harris, style director and educator at Melbourne's Toni & Guy Georges salon, says having "hair everywhere" makes a man look older than his years. Short hair is more boyish and modern.

As you grey, more frequent trims become more important. And grey whiskers are a dead giveaway.

"There needs to be a demarcation between chest hair and chin hair," says Harris, closely shaved and sharply quiffed. "The hair on the head must never, ever merge into the hair on the back.

Face it

Kevin Murphy, the international editorial stylist, says if you decide to keep facial hair, you need to keep your face well moisturised and don't have your beard too "woolly" looking. Well-clippered facial hair is younger looking.

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"I think the key is to keep hair in good condition and make sure you have a good style that plays to your strengths," says Murphy.

"Squarer shapes always look better on a guy as they give you a jawline and the better the haircut the less you have to play around with it to get it looking good."

Scalp me

He says it's paramount to keep the scalp healthy and to make sure to use the right wash and rinse to removes product residue and maintains the health of your scalp so there's no flakiness.

Still having hair is obviously a good thing. And, if it's waning, making the most of what you have got is a very, very good thing. Volumising products help.

Kevin Murphy's eponymous line includes "plumping" products, Matrix Biolage has "full density" ... you get the drift.

Other lines have shampoos and conditioners specifically for "ageless" hair, which also soften and smooth. Good ones include Kevin Murphy (again), Kerastase Chronologiste (on the pricey side) and the budget-priced Tresemme Youth Boost.

And if you're bald? Pronounce it "bold" and go forth. Women love it.

Long hair or short hair? Shaved or bushy? Let us know how you keep your locks in the comments section.

A journalist with a history of covering style with style and flair, Natasha Hughes has reported extensively on men's grooming and presentation. With Spit & Polish she also has a commission to write across presentation and deportment.

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