Finding a new hairstyle can be a challenge under any circumstances, and when you’re dealing with hair that’s thinning, damaged and losing body — as is common for ladies over 50 — the entire situation can be that much more frustrating. But not when you know exactly which cuts will work for your face shape, hair type and personal style, that is. Read along for a few tips for picking the perfect cut, along with six hairstyles to serve as inspiration for your next hair appointment.
Do Your Research Before Picking a Cut
Haircuts aren’t one-size-fits-all at any age, and women should take everything from their hair texture and color to their face shape, styling regimens and desired maintenance into consideration when looking for an over-50 style, says Davin Testerman, an Indianapolis-based stylist and LoxaBeauty.com expert contributor. He also suggests women study celebrities and other women in their age bracket who have similar face shapes and hair types to find styles that would likely work on them, too, before hitting the salon.
Over-50 Cut: The Straight and Sleek Pixie
Perfect for straight-haired women who want a more classically feminine look, the sleek pixie cut — like the one seen here on actress Robin Wright — is great for women with longer, slimmer faces. It also helps create a more oval shape for women who naturally develop rounder faces as they age, Testerman says. “Hair that is cut tighter to the face and more substantial on the top helps elongate the face, creating a more oval appearance,” he explains.
Over-50 Cut: The Sassy, Spiky Pixie
Much like the straight pixie — only a little edgier — a choppy, spiky pixie works well on all hair textures and can be seen here on actress Jamie Lee Curtis. The style is a particularly good fit for women with graying hair, which has a natural texture and wave, says New York City–based celebrity hairstylist and Aviva Hair Revitalizer ambassador Naté Bova, whose clients include Catherine Zeta Jones and Rosario Dawson. To soften the look, ask your stylist for a side-swept bang, which will make the look more wearable for everyday occasions.
Over-50 Cut: The Cropped Bob
For a style that lifts fine, flat hair and also looks beautiful on medium hair types, try chopping your strands into a cropped bob that hits between the shoulders and chin, Bova suggests, like the one actress Kim Cattrall dons here. Add long layers to suit a round face, but be sure to avoid this chic and put-together style if you have thick or curly hair, as it can become too voluminous.
Over-50 Cut: The Angular Bob
For a twist on the classic cropped bob, opt for a cut that’s shorter in the back and longer in the front, like the one actress Angela Bassett sports here. Bova says the style is ideal for women with square or angular faces, as it creates softness around the face and jaw line. It can also work well on women with rounder faces, adds Sacha Quarles, New York and Los Angeles–based celebrity stylist and artistic director of SHE by SO.CAP.USA. Not to mention, it’s a smart style for women with straight hair, as it looks chic when sleek, Bova adds.
Over-50 Style: The Long Bob, aka The "Lob"
A popular style for nearly every age group, the “lob” — seen here on actress Michelle Pfeiffer — falls right at the collarbone and is great for rounder face shapes, as it elongates your face and silhouette, Testerman says. It’s also perfect for women with natural waves or curls, as it’s easy to simply wash and go, Bova adds. If you don’t have natural texture but love the look anyway, Quarles suggests going old school with the cut by using hot rollers and a shine spray to pump up the volume.
Over-50 Cut: Lovely, Long Layers
Though many women over 50 assume they have to chop off their long locks, that’s not necessarily true, Bova says. “If you have a more youthful appearance, you can definitely keep your hair a little on the longer side, which would be between the collarbone and the top of the chest,” she explains. For fine or medium hair, ask your stylist for long layers starting at the collarbone, like those seen on actress Julianne Moore. If you’re working with thicker hair, opt for layers on the underside of your hair to thin it out but keep it voluminous.
References and ResourcesDavin Testerman, stylist and LoxaBeauty.com expert contributor; Indianapolis
Naté Bova, celebrity hair stylist; New York City
Sacha Quarles, celebrity stylist and artistic director of SHE by SO.CAP.USA; New York City, Los Angeles