Plus, the A-listers who wear them well.
The urge to switch up your hairstyle can be complicated or impromptu. Hotly debated or decided on the fly and more times than not, influenced by a TikTok trend or a celebrity. Or, it can be based on your hair's needs. Dealing with overly-processed, dry or thinning strands can make anyone want to take a few inches off—if not more.
"Most women experience many changes in their hair throughout their lifetime," explains celebrity hairstylist and Kérastase professional haircare ambassador Bradley Leake, who acknowledges age can be another factor when deciding what look to try next. "There's a general consensus that women of a certain age should not have long hair but I personally disagree," he says. "I think women who are lucky enough to have the ability to wear long hair absolutely can—as long as it’s flattering for your features." And healthy.
All of the star stylists we spoke to—including Leake—were unanimous that hair health was the #1 thing to keep in mind when choosing hairstyles for women over 50. You can try all the cuts, colors and coifs you want at any age but if the condition of your mane isn't up to par, the look will never fully succeed.
So, with that in mind, keep reading for their picks for timeless 'dos they love for women in their fifties and beyond, and their best tips for how to preserve the quality of your hair throughout that particular stage of life.
6 Best Hairstyles for Women Over 50, According to Celebrity Stylists
1. The Pixie
According to celebrity stylist and Color Wow artistic director Joseph Maine, the pixie is a very short hairstyle where the hair is cropped in layers to create a feathered effect à la everyone's favorite momager, Kris Jenner. "The back and sides are typically much shorter than the top, which can be styled in various ways," he says.
Maine notes that pixie cuts exude confidence and can be very flattering for many face shapes, especially oval and heart-shaped faces. Plus, they are low maintenance, making styling quick and easy.
Celebrity stylist and Eco Style brand ambassador Ursula Stephen is also a fan of pixies—especially Jamie Lee Curtis's. "I LOVE her for embracing her gray hair," she raves. "Many women hide their gray but when you try to cover a full head of gray hair it ruins the hair and looks like you have something to hide. The best thing to do is embrace it."
Another advantage of the pixie cut is it can accentuate facial features like cheekbones and eyes, drawing attention upwards and helping you achieve a more lifted look, says Maine. "My favorite way to boost volume is to apply Color Wow's XL Bombshell Volumizer generously to damp hair and blow dry using a round brush. This instantly enhances the overall fullness, shine and body in the hair."
2. A Shoulder-Length Cut With Layers
"For a long time, the theory was that as a woman ages, she should opt for a shorter look, but I think differently now," explains Stephen, who works with Ariana DeBose, Chelsea Handler and Yara Shahidi. She swears you can rock any length you wish—as long as the health of your hair is maintained.
Concerned about keeping your locks longer and struggling with dry or breaking strands? She recommends Eco Style Gel Boosters to infuse moisture into the shaft. "These are a variety of natural oil serums that provide protection, hydration and strength," she says.
As for one of her favorite styles for women over 50, that would be a medium shoulder-length 'do with layers. "A layered cut brings out the youth in someone and always works for a mature woman," she adds. Someone who exemplifies this style well is Angela Bassett. "I love how confident she is with her hair looks; she understands that hair is an accessory and knows when to amp it up and when to keep it simple."
3. Natural Curls
Although Stephen loves longer hair on older women, she's not a proponent of flat hair or pin-straight hair. "As we grow older, our hair tends to get thinner and adding layers helps to add volume, movement and lift," she says. "Just look at writer Mara Brock Akil—WOW! She's over 50 with beautiful, healthy, long gray hair, showing how versatile hair can be when you embrace grays."
Stephen is also quick to point out that layers give an illusion of thicker fuller hair, whereas flat-ironed locks can sometimes be unflattering in your fifties.
4. A Sleek Blowout
Whether she's wearing her strands straight, wavy or blown out with a bend at the end, Julianne Moore can do no wrong in our beauty book. To recreate her stunning style, Edward Tricomi, master stylist and co-founder of Warren Tricomi Salons, says to blow out your hair with a round brush or create loose curls with a curling iron, then finish with Warren Tricomi Flexible Hair Spray. For a slightly more lived-in vibe, he adds that you can separate the curls for a tousled look.
As for colors, he's all about reds right now. A copper base like Moore's can bring life to your face and make your eye color pop, so consider shades that work for paler skin and won’t wash you out as we head into winter.
5. A Low Pony
For celebrity stylist and co-founder of R+Co, Garren, there's nothing more beautiful than lifted hair that is swept away from the face. "Tying the hair up always works, it’s a great go-to, especially for more unmanageable hair, whether it be a knot or twisted pony," he says, adding that Cate Blanchett is always knocking it out of the park with her hair choices. "Her style is always so simplistic, yet refined, and her cut, color and style perfectly suit her."
For blondes like Cate, Garren suggests investing in nourishing, quality products like R+Co BLEU’s De Luxe Shampoo, Conditioner and Sleep Masque Night Repair Serum. "You can alternate these formulas with BLEU’s Vapor Lotion to Powder Dry Shampoo or Retroactive Dry Shampoo because they have shine qualities in them," he says. "It’s about your hair being shiny and touchable—true shine reflects healthy hair, not shine from styling or finishing oils."
6. The Shag
While Garren doesn't advise sporting any style that looked great in your 20s in your 50s—i.e. a bouffant or full voluminous hair that is blown and overset—he loves when women lean into a look that works for them. "Think edgy yet refined shags with bangs falling over the eyes, similar to Carine Roitfeld," he says. "Her look screams class and French style but it's also about the texture of the hair and quality of the color; this is really important." His case in point: You can still be cool over 50 if you own your look.
Other celebs who have worn the shag well over the years include Stevie Nicks, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry.
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Article written by Kelli Acciardodec for parade.com