Stylish Hairstyles for Women in their 40'S

By Kathleen Gasior

All women in their forties want to look their best, but looking great can take time and effort. A stylish, attractive hairstyle after forty involves three elements: color, cut and healthy hair. A small investment in hair maintenance can pay big dividends in confidence and compliments.

A good stylist is a great asset

A Word on Color

Deciding to color your hair or stay natural is a very personal choice. It is also a decision that may change with your mood or circumstance. If you decide to stay natural, then your focus will be on hair health and a professional cut for your hairstyle to look its best. If you want to use color, you can do it at home or at the salon. If you can afford a salon visit every 6 to 8 weeks, a professional colorist has more options, such as natural looking highlights, lowlights, better gray coverage and color transitions, than you have at home. If you can't afford the expense of a salon, then home options include color, basic highlights or clear glazes. Even if you want to color at home, it's a good idea to have one appointment with a colorist and explain that you want to color your hair at home. A true professional will suggest the right color tones (warm, cool or neutral) and products for you to use at home.

Cut and Style

No more rules

Regardless of your color choices, after forty you should invest in having a professional cut your hair. Hair texture becomes coarser, making problem areas, like frizz and grays, worse. If cost is an issue, many salons having training programs that offer discounted haircuts for those willing to have their hair cut by a trainee. As for hair styles, there are no longer any hard and fast rules. It used to be that women over forty were advised to have their hair no longer than shoulder length in order to be taken seriously as a "mature woman." Though this isn't the case anymore, try to choose a cut and style that highlight your best features and camouflage any problem areas. To find the current trends in hair, watch gossip shows and read celebrity magazine to find your favorite looks. Curly or straight hair can be changed from day to day or morning to night, thanks to wide-barreled curling irons and flat irons. Play with different looks, or choose a classic, ageless style such as a chin-length bob, pixie or pin-up girl waves.

Healthy Hair Counts

Treat hair tenderly

Even the most beautiful cut won't hold up if you neglect the health of your hair. Regular trims, even if you're growing your hair out, will keep your ends strong. Don't over-color (every six weeks maximum) and never have color and a thermal process like chemical straightening done on the same day. If you can manage it, wash your hair every other day, using a deep conditioner once a week and the day before you color your hair. If you use a blow dryer and flat iron daily, find a good leave-in conditioner or heat protection spray and use it every time you style. A word about going gray: letting your hair go gray is becoming more and more popular. If you decide to do this, use products made specifically for gray hair, use deep conditioner weekly and try a clear glaze once a month to keep hair shiny. No matter what you decide, care for your tresses lovingly and your hair can stay agelessly beautiful.