As people age, maintaining a fresh and youthful look tends to lean more on the right haircut. Mistakes many people make as they get older include holding on to a haircut that's too trendy, or opting for a haircut that is too safe. Getting older, however, doesn't mean you have to adopt a boring haircut. If a "safe" cut doesn't suit you, you have options.
The Short Caesar
The standard Caesar cut is a great option for male-aligned people in their 40s because it's easy to maintain (so won't take a lot of time in your busy life,) and it's particularly good at covering up a bit of a receding hairline. George Clooney worked this hairstyle for many years, because it's one of those timeless cuts that never goes out of style.
The Loose Pompadour
If you're lucky enough to have a great head of hair and want more of a rock 'n' roll vibe that's still aligned with your age, the loose pompadour is great, especially if you have an oval or slightly long face shape. The model in this photo has a slightly receding hairline, so the cut works perfectly. A short beard also helps frame his face well. He's chosen to leave his hair gray, and the salt-and-pepper hue makes his eyes pop. Sometimes gray can be a great thing, especially if you have light-colored eyes.
The Ivy League
The short Ivy League cut is another great shorter option for dudes in their 40s who just want an easy-to-maintain hairstyle. There is enough length on top to offer a little bit of versatility. It can be worn neatly combed to the side, forward as a short Caesar, or messily with a bit of loose paste like Fatboy's Perfect Putty ($21) to add texture.
Short Widow's Peak
If you've got gray hair and don't want to dye it, you should make the choice to own it. This particular model has chosen the perfect hairstyle to highlight his hair color and texture, and the gray also makes his eyes stand out more. For this cut, the hair is scissor-cut to roughly one inch all over the head. A bit of paste can be used to give slight separation and texture.
The Shaved Head
Some people tend to feel like they're losing their "edge" as they get older, and one way to get some of that edge back, and give yourself a powerful look, is to shave your head.
This admittedly isn't the best look for everyone, but luckily, it grows out. But if you have the right head shape (oval or square work best with a shaved head) it's probably a good option, especially if your hair is thinning. Combine the shaved head with a short beard and you're left with an ultra-masculine, rugged look.
The Even Shorter Layer Cut
This short layer cut is another good option for people who want enough length to be versatile, and yet still have a style that's relatively easy to maintain. It can be worn with minimal product, and casually styled with fingers, as shown in the photo. There is enough length, however, that if you apply a bit of stiff pomade (R+Co's Control Flexible Paste, $28, is about the right texture,) add a clean side part, and style it like a pompadour, you'll get a more formal look.
The Long Shag
This long shag style is common on surfers in California, and it looks great at any age. If you still have a full head of hair and want a longer style, this long shag is something to consider. But stay far away from this style if you have thinning hair, because it will make your hair look much thinner than it actually is.
For this style, the hair is cut in long layers all over. If you're not a surfer, don't worry, you can always get this model's specific look by having your salon add natural looking highlights and using a bit of salt spray, such as Sachajuan's Salt Spray ($34).
The Long Layer Cut
If you've got a great head of thick and shiny hair like this, show it off. This model does that by having the hair cut in long layers, tapering around the sides and back. For styling, just a bit of pomade is used to sweep the hair back and add shine. Caring for gray hair can require a little bit more work, but it is worth the extra effort.
The Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
This is another fun option for dudes who work in a more creative field and like a longer style. The hair is cut in long layers all over the head, and styled with a bit of matte paste to add separation. Because of the casual nature of this style, it's worn best with a short, scruffy beard.
The Short Textured Cut
For this style, the hair is cut clipper-short on the sides and back and left about two inches long on top. The hair on top is razor-cut, to add both separation and texture. This hairstyle works particularly well for men who may have thinning hair or a receding hairline. If that's the case, and you want to wear this style, use the lightest styling product possible to avoid creating too much separation in the hair—more separation means more exposed scalp.