Best hairstyles for a woman at 50 or older? Let’s just say it. I am not the poster child for this one. My hair is both hapless and hopeless these days.
While I may not be sporting hair-to-the-derrière as I did at age 12 (very Cousin Itt) and nor am I attempting to rock a fuchsia streak (that was 25), I’m running through the reel of past hairstyles and yearning for a change.
Something fun, funky and flirty, but I haven’t a clue what!
The Story of My Life (and Yours?) in Hair…
Other than my Adams Family reference, my life in hair includes the Pixie Cut (against my will but very much my Mommie Dearest’s), the Bombastic Bangs (also known as Mom Messed Up Again), then those long-longer-longest locks, and in my mid teens, the I-Cut-It-All-Off-So-Leave-Me-Alone look.
I confess, at 16 when I took up the scissors and cut, cut, cut… it was very freeing! I wore my hair super short for years and I especially liked it in college, during the periods of time I lived in France, and also for the 12+ years I traveled back and forth on business.
Yup. Did that, too.
I went short again when I was busy with babies and work. A few years after divorce, I was instructed by my (then) 12-year-old son to grow my hair if I wanted to date. “Guys like it” he told me, and turns out he was right. I felt girlier and sexier. It became part of my post-divorce dating preparation and has been roughly chin length to shoulder length ever since.
Can Mature Women Wear Long Hair?
Recently, someone I met casually made a style suggestion. She thought I should consider cutting my hair short again, and that I had the right shaped face to carry it off. Ironically, my hair was longer than it had been in years (my “stylist extraordinaire” recently had a baby; she’s not available). I’ve been pondering allowing my hair to grow even longer, but a few nights ago I just grabbed the scissors and hacked off two inches. (I know, I know.) But it was bringing me down!
And that’s the issue with long hair for us as we age. Not only whether or not it’s healthy and lustrous, but if it seems to drag us down when our very faces appear to be heading south without our consent.
That short hair idea?
I find it most striking when a woman has beautiful cheekbones and chin line, or very symmetrical features. (I don’t have any of those at present!) Think Halle Berry. Think Dame Judi Densch. What’s not to love about those cuts on those extraordinary faces?
Still, I do believe that women who are tall enough to pull off long hair when they’re younger can pull it off as they move into midlife. I’ve seen many examples, especially at shoulder length, and some that are stunning and considerably longer. On that note, I’m recalling a deliciously rebellious opinion piece at The New York Times in 2010. Dominique Browning asks: “Why Can’t Middle Aged Women Have Long Hair?” Read it. You’ll enjoy it.
Jagged, Spiked, Layered, Tousled…
As I consider what I might like… just considering, mind you… I thought I would share images from Google just as my style guru Tish Jett suggested yesterday. I’ve been scouting pictures in the wee hours to find a cut that might suit in order to feel comfortable, attractive, and preferably upbeat. I am consistently drawn to the jagged, spiked, layered, tousled — all softly, please…
I believe that gorgeous hair on a woman of any age is an asset, and if you’ve got it, count yourself lucky and, yes, flaunt it!
Every now and then, I’m gripped by the desire to have a Proper Haircut (rather than taking to the scissors with impatience). And as Tish recommended, here are the Google results for “best hairstyles over 40” and “best hairstyles over 50” and, well… you get the drift.
One of the main differences in case you’re wondering?
Length, which you’ll notice is slightly longer in the 40-something group.
The 50+ group includes somewhat shorter styles and also more layering. I’m guessing this is for a number of reasons — to add thickness in the case of thinning hair, for one; and even more “lift” for another.
Bobs, Bangs, Wisps
Allure has some wonderful pictures in this slide show on flattering hairstyles for women in their forties. The bob – choppy or layered – is good on many women. I’m not a fan of “wispy” (unless you’re in a Victorian romance novel), but that’s just me… The layered shoulder length cut is quite nice (Allure shows Tina Fey).
This second set of images from Google, the 50+ demographic, features more variations on layering and bangs to break up the forehead if you’re not in the market for Botox.
I like many of these, though I still want to keep some styling options (able to pull it back, able to toss it around a little if I feel flirty).
Celebrity Examples You Like?
I’m not a big “celebrity watcher” — well, I do love my Real Housewives of NY, the OC and Beverly Hills… Speaking of which, though she’s taken some (mean-spirited) grief for having the same style for years, I have to say that I like this look on Lisa Rinna. We’ve seen variations on many celebrities, I think it suits her perfectly, and if I dared to ask for something with this feeling (but longer), I would.
Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton also come to mind.
A side note. Like many of us, I live in a rather “serious” world with my nose to the grindstone. I’ve said before (to my son), on the discussion of happiness, that I’m not unhappy. One of the activities that goes by the wayside too easily when you’re trying to get through the days and nights – whether walking colicky babies, struggling through college exams, juggling a heavy workload and domestic duties, caring for aging parents and working two jobs… it’s easy to lose laughter, a bit of frivolity, and… dare I say it… “girlish” fun.
For me, to remind myself that it’s okay to enjoy an hour pondering hairstyles or two hours wandering boutiques in a funky part of town, well… it’s not always easy. By sharing here, perhaps I give myself greater permission to enjoy just that.
As for celebrity models, I also love images of 84-year old model Carmen Dell’Orefice. Her silver-white hair is stunning and an elegant length that remains sensual and feminine. Poke around the web and check out some of the ad spreads she’s in. Gorgeous!
Visit this item at The Daily Mail — Carmen’s hair is beautiful in this Rolex ad.
Best Hairstyle Rule?
My “best hairstyle rule” at any age is this: Do what you love with a bit of “appropriate” mixed in. If you’re a trial attorney, I doubt an asymmetrical “bob” in a neon color is the right choice. On the other hand, if you’re an artist or writer or for that matter, a 50-something work-from-home mother of four teens, why not?
Confidence is hugely important in anything we wear and any style we choose.
Here’s an amazing photograph of Carmen taken in 2005. (She was 74 then.) Magnificent, don’t you think?
And as Tish would say, style is a statement of our personality.
- Who else is contemplating a change in hairstyle? Why? Why not?
- What do you like among these options?
- Do you like long hair on mature women?
I hope to consult those with expertise on these issues and offer additional resources as well. Today’s tidbit is a bit of quickie musing to let you know that I’m in need of a hair makeover as well as everything else. We’ll see where that leads… Anyone care to join me?
If you’re unsure of who Cousin Itt is… you can pop by this gif for a look-see.
Photo of Carmen Dell’Orefice, Wiki, License CC-By-SA 2.0. Image of Lisa Rinna, Los Angeles – Feb 22: At the Elton John Oscar Party 2015, West Hollywood, CA, BigStockPhoto.
You May Also Enjoy