Staying on trend becomes tricky as we get older. I love the look of a cold shoulder sweater with ripped jeans, but how old is too old to pull it off? Never has this dilemma been so confusing as when it comes to the hair salon.
Many of us have written off long hair as something we had to say goodbye to in our 20s and 30s, but what if we were wrong? What if long hair didn’t have an expiration date? I spoke with some leading hairdressers to find the perfect long hair styles for older women. Each style is simple, chic, and timeless.
Layered long bob
A long bob or “lob” is flattering on just about everyone. I love this style, because it looks stylish and chic, but you can still throw it in a ponytail if need be.
“Bobs are great, but lobs are even better. This hairstyle will work best on those with a heart-shaped or square-shaped face, and a long neckline doesn’t hurt either,” Editorial Fashion Hair Expert Diana Gallegos told me. “The layered long bob is beautiful and adds a sense of ‘fullness’ to your hair. Try adding in side swept tresses with softer ends for a long and sexy bob.”
Many women lose hair fullness as they age, so sticking with a layered bob can amp up the volume again.
Add a splash of color
A fresh change to your hair always takes years off your face. Keeping your hairstyle updated is crucial to prevent it from aging you. An easy way to try out a new look is with color. This is a fast way to freshen everything up.
“It does not matter which hairstyle you choose; hairstyles for older women are very versatile,” Hairdresser Andrea McCoy wrote on LinkedIn. “Some women will even choose to add a splash of color to their new look. Highlights can also be a great way to incorporate color and low lights help give the illusion of thickness to thinning hair.”
Adding in highlights and low lights brings a new dimension to your locks and keeps them looking thick and lustrous.
Medium length fullness
If you’d prefer more length than a typical lob, go for medium length hair. This is still a flattering look, while keeping your hair light and voluminous. “As we age, hair tends to get thinner,” Gallegos told me. “For a fuller look with the length, go for a medium-length haircut. Add some layers for more texture and fullness.” Talk with your stylist about the best cut and shape for your face.
Another flattering long bob is the blunt cut. Rather than placing layers throughout, this lob features longer pieces in front and slightly shorter ones in back. This is another great trick for adding more volume.
“This is the perfect lob — it’s cool without being messy,” Hairdresser Matt Fugate told Allure. “If it’s too layered, it’ll be aging. It should be slightly shorter in the back than it is in the front, because of how much density you naturally have in the back of your hair.”
Not quite ready to chop off your locks for a bob? You can still rock your long locks. Go for an easy style with long waves to keep it young and fresh.
“I have many older clients as walk-ins everyday, and my personal favorite longer length hairstyle when it comes to older women is a wavy hairstyle and cut,” Hairstylist Mai from Plaza Hair Salon told me. “I do love confident mature personalities that still want to rock a long hairstyle for a younger, flirty look. Waves are easy to maintain and style, and they look extremely good on aged hair.”
If your hair has some natural wave to it, simply ask your hairdresser for tips on how to style it each day. Go for a cut that works for your type of hair.
Center part with bangs
When it comes to long styles as we age, simple cuts work best. A classic cut perfect for more mature women is a center part with fresh bangs. This look is modern without trying too hard. It also happens to be one that we see on plenty of celebrities, and they’re always trying to look younger, so there must be something to it.
“Anyone this age can rock this look,” Fugate told Allure. “I love that her [Mary Steenburgen] bangs are choppy and messy, not blunt. It’s cool to have that ‘pieciness.'” If you haven’t had bangs since the third grade, talk with your hairdresser about the best kind for your hair type and face shape. You could keep them piecey in the front or sweep them to the side.
If you are lucky enough to have thick, wavy hair, don’t chop it off just because you hit a certain age. Long layers are also a classic, flattering look, especially if you have naturally thick hair. Embrace your natural beauty with a long haircut.
“There’s a natural inclination to chop your hair off once you’re of a certain age, and I couldn’t disagree more,” Patty Mocarski, the owner of Little Space Salon told me. “One of the things that keeps haircuts ageless is the person who is wearing them confidently. That being said, texture, working with the natural pattern of the hair, and partings all make for a modern style. Women who come to mind are Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Andie MacDowell.”
One mistake women of all ages make is looking as though they are trying too hard. Living and dying by each trend only leaves you looking older. The best hairstyles are simple and relaxed. Try an easy undone style for an instantly more youthful look.
“An undone cut can also be very flattering and flirty. Think of Helen Mirren and Diane Keaton with their layered bobs that are full of movement and face-framing fringe,” Mocarski told me. “Keep everything soft and swingy. The movement lightens everything up, both literally and figuratively. The aging process can be hard enough, so you don’t need a hard haircut too.”
As we age, many of us start to become fixated on certain body parts. Some of us stare at our necks for hours on end. Others want to hide their new forehead wrinkles. Rather than obsessively checking the mirror or racing to the plastic surgeon, start with a flattering cut that hides those wrinkles in the first place.
Full, side swept bangs effortless cover your forehead while giving you a modern style. “The flattering length and side sweep make this feel fresh without going short,” Alberto V05 spokesperson and hairdresser Chris Lospalluto told Allure. “The longer layers allow you to curl or bend the ends under or outward. You can even use velcro rollers to enhance movement and body.”
Consider your face
When deciding on your perfect long hairstyle, always keep the big picture in mind. Focus on your hair type, face shape, and lifestyle to find a style that works for you. Otherwise you’ll just end up feeling frustrated that you can’t get your hair to look like it did in the salon.
“The most important step when looking for hairstyles for mature women is deciding what it is that you like,” McCoy wrote on LinkedIn. “Choosing a style is very important in the process of tailoring it to fit older women. Not only should a hairstyle be tailored to fit your facial shape, but it should also fit your taste. Merge the style you want with what’s popular. You don’t have to get rid of your long hair in order to stay current.” Start with what you like, then personalize it just for you.