Glam April 21, 2024



Hairstylists Tell Us The Absolute Best And Worst Hairstyles For Older Women


Finding the perfect haircut is always a difficult task, especially for older women who also have to navigate the changes of aging hair. Hormonal changes can lead to hair loss, while a loss of melanin can lead to gray hair, in addition to changing hair textures and a build-up of damage. With these concerns, and facial aging becoming more prominent, selecting the right hairstyle becomes crucial.

To shed light on this topic, we've consulted two experts in the field: Luna Viola, a fashion and red-carpet hair stylist renowned for her expertise in creating stunning looks for various occasions, and Sanda Petrut, a seasoned stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago with a talent for crafting personalized hair solutions. We delved into the world of hairstyles for older women with our gurus, uncovering their favorite picks and the ones they advise avoiding. As talented professionals with years of experience, they offer invaluable insights into the dos and don'ts of hairstyling for mature ladies, emphasizing the importance of choosing haircuts that enhance natural beauty while also addressing age-related concerns. One key takeaway from our discussions is the significance of understanding how hair changes with age. What may have been a go-to style in one's youth might not necessarily be the most flattering option later in life. From chic and sophisticated bobs to timeless and versatile layered cuts, here's what the pros have to say about haircuts for older women!

Best: Shag haircut

The shag haircut is a top contender for older women who are looking for a fresh and youthful look. With its versatile appeal, there's a shag style for every hair length and texture to inspire your next salon visit. "The shag hairdo is a medium-length feathery hairstyle with bangs," Luna Viola explains to Glam exclusively. "This stylish do is great for thin hair and naturally wavy texture (think Meg Ryan). It adds body and volume, and the bangs are great for hiding fine lines on the forehead. This style is perfect for women that had a decrease in overall hair volume due to menopause."

The shag haircut's low-maintenance nature makes it an ideal choice for those with busy lifestyles. Its tousled appearance means it looks great even when styled with minimal effort, and its nostalgic '80s vibe creates a retro feel to your look. Many women find that a shag allows them to embrace their natural texture and simply "wake up and go," eliminating the need for time-consuming styling routines in the morning. However, while you can get away with letting your shag do its own thing, it will also look amazing after a blowout or with styled curls.

Worst: Extremely long hair

While long hair has traditionally been associated with femininity and beauty, experts caution against extreme lengths for older women. "For most women, very long hair tends to drag the face down and generally create an older look," Luna Viola explains to Glam exclusively. "Mid to just past the shoulder length is definitely the way to go to achieve a sultry yet youthful look." Hairstylist Sandra Petrut agrees, emphasizing that blunt, long haircuts are a no-go for older women. "It can fall flat and accentuate facial features that are prominent," she reveals. "As the hair thins, longer hair accentuates [that] even more. Blunt haircuts can be severe without any movement."

Having extremely long hair can make it appear limp and lifeless, drawing attention to areas of thinning or sparse hair. However, it's essential to note that these concerns may not apply to everyone. Those who are blessed with great genetics and have thick, voluminous hair, even as they age, may still be able to pull off super-long locks. And, of course, the notion of older women having to have shorter hair is outdated and boring, and nobody should blindly conform to that. Ultimately, the key is to consider individual hair texture, density, and personal preferences when trying to figure out if long hair is an option for you.

Best: Side parts

When it comes to flattering hairstyles for older women, a simple yet effective choice recommended by experts is the side part. While the side part vs. middle part battle is ongoing, according to hair expert Ghanima Abdullah, opting for a side part can offer many benefits — especially for those looking to add volume and vitality to their hair. "In this manner, you can move the hair from one side to the other, as you wish," Abdullah tells SheFinds. "The added hair going over will increase volume in the area as well, especially if your hair is used to being parted down the center." The best part of this hair trick is that it works with any hair length except for super short pixies, meaning that it doesn't really require any commitment to changing your haircut.

Abdullah highlights the drawbacks of a center part, especially as the crown area tends to be a common spot where hair thins out. "If you're thinning in the crown of your head, a center part is going to draw attention to it. This is because you're putting the part right in the same area," she adds. Of course, this doesn't mean you can never rock a middle part, but switching it up will help add more variety to your look. 

Worst: Blunt bobs

Another hairstyle that older women should avoid is a blunt bob. While this type of bob can be a chic and stylish choice for many, Luna Viola emphasizes that it can have a negative effect on how old a person appears. "Bobs can be harsh on face features and unflattering, especially if paired with dark or black color," she tells Glam exclusively. 

The sharp lines of a blunt bob can create a severe and angular appearance that may not complement the softer features and contours of aging faces. Since a haircut like this tends to be very symmetrical, it can also accentuate facial aging and asymmetry, drawing attention to fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Instead of a harsh cut like a blunt bob, experts recommend going for hairstyles that enhance natural texture and movement. With a softer cut, older women can achieve a modern and fun look that makes them appear younger than their age.

Best: Soft, slightly layered bob

A flattering and versatile haircut that hairstylist Sandra Petrut recommends for older women is a soft and slightly layered bob. This style offers a timeless option that can easily be customized to suit various types of hair and personal preferences. "This classic haircut can be achieved on different hair densities and hair textures. It's easy to design the perfect look by adding layers and texture at the ends. Or for a more youthful look, add soft bangs," Petrut recommends to Glam exclusively. 

So, while a blunt bob is a no, transforming it into a hairstyle for older women is as easy as adding a couple of soft layers for an alternative look. Whether rocked straight and sleek or with tousled waves or full curls, this easy and relatively short haircut can help women look and feel their best — at any age. While any length of bob can be flattering, we typically recommend starting with a shorter one and allowing it to slowly grow to shoulder length. This approach allows you to experiment with different lengths and discover which suits you best, and then simply stick to that.

Worst: Thick bangs

While bangs can add a touch of edge to any hairstyle, opting for thick, straight-across bangs may not be the most flattering choice for older women. "Blunt bangs can look outdated and severe on the face," Luna Viola explains to Glam exclusively. The stark lines of thick bangs are not the best choice for the same reason a blunt bob isn't — they provide a strong contrast to facial features that tend to soften and sag with age, enhancing them more.

However, this doesn't mean you need to forgo bangs entirely. "A soft curtain bang is the way to go to soften your features," Viola suggests. If curtain bangs are not a style you like, you can also opt for versatile, wispy, and soft peekaboo bangs across your forehead. Overall, when considering what type of bangs suit older women, it's essential to look for options that flatter the individual face shape and enhance natural beauty. And nine out of 10 times, a softer bang will be the better choice. However, before you decide to commit to bangs, you should know that they will take a bit of practice to style, and your morning routine will be slightly longer as a result.

Best: Layers and curtain bangs

Hairstylists Luna Viola and Sanda Petrut both agree that a combination of long layers with curtain bangs is one of the best choices for older women. This is a very versatile haircut that offers a flattering and feminine look with a subtle nod to the '70s. "This popular hairstyle is perfect for women over 50 who are looking for a natural, effortless, and feminine framing (think Jennifer Lopez, Sienna Miller)," Viola shares with Glam exclusively. "The soft curtain bangs and seamless layers make this style graceful and timeless."

According to Petrut, these layers with soft bangs offer several benefits for older women. "This haircut can add movement and softness and is another great choice for women over 50," she tells us in an exclusive chat. "Adding framing can accentuate cheekbones or add softness to a square jawline. Curtain bangs always add a more youthful look." This haircut is another style that works well with virtually any hair texture, whether it's pin-straight or in tight curls. And since it is a longer hairstyle, it allows for updos, making it convenient for busy days — simply put it up and go. Of course, a personalized approach needs to be taken into account, as those with really thin hair might be better off with a similar shorter style like a shag.

Worst: ‌Edgy cuts

There are plenty of great hairstyles for older women, but edgy cuts are definitely not one of them. While these sharp and bold styles can make a fun and daring statement in youth, their harshness can become less flattering with age. Hairstylist Luna Viola emphasizes the importance of opting for a cut that naturally complements the face and is easy to manage. "Anything sharp or requiring time-consuming styling at home will only damage your hair in the long run," she explains to Glam exclusively. "Opting for a style that naturally shapes the face is best, easy to manage, and more youthful."

By working with the hair's natural characteristics, like texture, thickness, and density, women can achieve a more youthful and effortless look that can easily make them appear years younger. As we age, prioritizing hair health and simplicity becomes paramount, making low-maintenance styles a preferred option for most. And an edgy haircut of any length is everything but low-maintenance, as cuts like a spiky pixie or blunt bob tend to require quite a bit of styling every day.

Best: Soft pixie

As women age, many tend to gravitate towards shorter hairstyles, particularly due to factors like hair thinning and damage. A soft pixie is a fantastic choice for those who want a chic and manageable no-fuss short haircut. "This fun low-maintenance do adapts well to women of all ages but more so on mature women," Luna Viola explains to Glam exclusively. "The soft feathering around the face adds volume to the cheekbones (think Kris Jenner), the graduation at the back shows off the neck, and the side-swept bangs add a fresh and youthful vibe."

Sandra Petrut underscores the iconic nature of the pixie cut, emphasizing its ability to look great ultra short or a tad longer. "This iconic haircut can be done on different lengths, from very short to a longer look," she tells Glam exclusively. "It's a haircut that screams confidence, and it can look stunning, especially on silver/white hair." One of the key advantages of this soft haircut is its low-maintenance nature. With minimal styling required for a pixie, this style offers convenience and ease. It perfectly adapts to different hair textures and densities, making it a popular choice among those looking to embrace their confidence and individuality at any age. And since a pixie is very short, it also allows for easy experimentation with hair color, as any unwanted shades will grow out quickly.

Worst: Too many layers

Striking the right balance with layers is crucial, especially when it comes to women over 50. While layers can add volume and movement to the hair, going overboard with too many layers can have negative effects. "Overly layered and wispy hairstyles can drag the face down and give a thinner appearance," Luna Viola tells Glam exclusively. "Opt for soft layers to make the hair look fuller."

It's essential to consider the individual hair type and texture when determining the appropriate amount of layers. A professional hairstylist can assess the hair's thickness and density to recommend the most suitable layering technique. Generally, thicker and denser hair types can tolerate more layers, allowing for added dimension without compromising volume. However, for those with thinner or finer hair, excessive layering can result in a wispy and limp appearance, which is generally not the desired outcome. Instead, those individuals should opt for face-framing layers while keeping the majority of the rest of their hair layer-free. By consulting with a professional hairstylist, mistakes like too many layers can be easily avoided, which is why it's important not to experiment with layering by yourself.

Best: Asymmetrical bob

The asymmetrical bob is a stunning option for older women looking for a stylish and fun hairstyle — one that is a bit more exciting than a simple layered bob. Celebrity stylist Geno Chapman explained to Byrdie that an asymmetrical bob is a great choice for older women. "This cut is so timeless," he said. "I love even keeping the natural color of the hair on this cut — it naturally does all the talking for you if placed correctly."

Whether you opt for longer layers in the front and shorter ones in the back, or choose longer layers on just one side, an asymmetrical bob is an excellent choice for accentuating specific areas of the body. "The strength of blunt-end bobs are wonderful to pinpoint areas of the body you love (think décolletage, collar bone, around of the shoulder, or jawline)," Chapman explained. So, while a haircut like this can be considered a bit blunt and edgy, it works with older women thanks to its angular features. However, it does require a bit of styling skill, which might be considered a downside for some.

Worst: Chin-length bob with baby bangs

A chin-length bob with baby bangs is a really cool and fun haircut, but experts recommend that older women avoid it. Sandra Petrut exclusively explains the drawbacks of this haircut to Glam. "Since the jawline starts sagging and wrinkles appear on the forehead, a chin-length bob is going to accentuate that, and short bangs would appear harsh," she says. 

The combination of a shorter bob length and baby bangs can create an unwanted effect, drawing attention to areas of the face that may benefit from softening and subtle framing instead. Apart from this, baby bangs — just like the blunt bob — require daily styling, which certainly doesn't make them a hairstyle suitable for everyone. Instead of a haircut like this, go for a soft, subtly layered asymmetrical bob with delicate curtain bangs as a great way to achieve a similar look with a much fresher and more youthful outcome.