From packing away your white clothes at the end of the summer to avoiding monochrome makeup, some style rules were just made to be broken. Among them: Older women should wear their hair short. As women make their way into their 50s and beyond, the conversation around "appropriate" hairstyles often involves breaking out the styling shears. But this dated beauty trope just doesn't hold weight.
As it turns out, growing out your hair is flattering at any age—just ask hair industry pros Chris Jones and Gina Rivera, who shared with us their best styling tips and expert advice.
Ahead, 21 beautiful long styles, as seen on some of our favorite 50-plus celebrities.
Right off the bat: Solid proof that women over 50 can effortlessly wear long strands. Although Demi Moore usually wears her hair straight, here she is a vision opting for texture with cascading raven mermaid waves.
Diana Ross's iconic natural curls transcend any one decade. Here, she wears them layered, which adds shape and a face-framing element. "The length is offset by a beautiful shape and tons of softness around her face. Her hair is shiny and healthy, which is a must with long hair," says Jones. For this look, style and treat with Moroccanoil Moroccanoil Treatment ($48).
There's nothing like a fresh blowout to make a woman feel her best. Christie Brinkley wears her hair in a soft, smooth, shiny blowout that exudes youthfulness.
When it comes to blowouts, achieving volume is all about the roots. Use a large, round brush (pulling it taut) while you blow dry.
Halle Berry has a face that looks stunning with short hair, and it only seems to get better with each passing year. However, the gorgeous actress steps out in long locks from time to time. We love the easy, breezy vibe of this messy updo with face-framing pieces, which, according to Jones, "have this amazing ability to lift and accentuate the cheekbones."
For Berry's casual-cool look, Jones suggests Virtue Moisture Defining Whip ($18) as it is ideal for achieving voluminous results while simultaneously providing much-needed moisture. To finish, add a soft wave and a spritz of Oribe Split End Seal ($48).
Sleek, High Bun
Salma Hayek is often seen with her long locks worn down and wavy, but for a night out, she pulled it straight back into a gorgeous sculptural bun.
Straight With A Middle Part
Women in their 50s tend to shy away from straight hair, fearing it will look thin. However, Sandra Bullock proves pin-straight strands with a center part screams sophistication.
Rivera says, "Long straight hair with a center part can definitely be worn after 50," although she adds that this style works best "for those with high cheekbones and well-defined features. To get this look use a smoothing serum with a large paddle brush to drive. Finish with a spritz of shine spray."
A super-simple half-up hairstyle holds much more power than you think. Nicole Kidman wears her natural waves in a soft pick-up at the back with a bit of volume at the crown. Her long hair is cut into face-framing layers that feel youthful and add tons of texture.
A modern, crimped-style wave adds pretty texture to long lengths. Plus, the added volume throughout the ends gives you the thickness you might've lost over the years.
"Any time you can add softness through texture you’ll instill a more youthful look. The subtle highlights also add warmth to her skin adding to that sun-kissed look," says Jones. For Marisa Tomei's soft waves, he recommends prepping hair with a little styling product—we like Kérastase Nutritive Blow-Dry Primer for Dry Hair ($39)—and maybe a tad of volumizing primer at the root for added loft. Follow with a blowout and then curl hair with a 1.25-inch curling iron and finish with texturizing spray."
When in doubt, a sleek, low chignon is always a good idea, no matter your age. The LBD of hairstyles goes with any outfit from jeans and a tee to a glitzy ballgown—and the best part is that it's easy to create no matter how long your hair is. Part your hair in a deep side part, pull straight back at the nape of the neck, twist, and secure. You can even do it on wet hair for times when you're in a pinch.
Roberts' low ponytail with loose pieces on either side of her face is carefree yet stylish. There's also added height throughout the crown, a great trick for thin-haired girls looking to feign volume. As for the color, "Honey tones are extremely flattering against a fair complexion," notes Jones.
Simply style with a little R+Co Aircraft Pomade Mousse ($32) at the root, then Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème ($11) through the mids and ends. Blow out and finish with Amika Un.done Volume & Texture Spray ($27). "This looks amazing down for day one then twist up for day two," he comments.
Wavy, Voluminous Ponytail
The first Black actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting—an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony—Viola Davis, strikes the perfect balance of hair and makeup with this ponytail look. Her snatched 'do styled with a center part shows off her long, voluminous curls, but more importantly, it gives her gorgeous face the spotlight it deserves.
High Blonde Ponytail
When Lucy Liu traded in her signature dark tresses for a blonde dye job she surprised us all—in a very, very good way. The lighter color brightens her complexion, while a high pony adds a youthful flair. If you have fine hair, lifting hair at the roots and crown is a quick and easy way to pump up the volume.
Blunt With Fringe
There's something so stunning about a long, blunt cut, especially when it's paired with statement-making fringe. "The length isn’t too long, the fringe accentuates her cheekbones, and I love the warm color," comments Jones. "To recreate this look I would go straight for Healing Oil ($44) and 6-in-1 Styler ($34). I prefer using a boar-bristle round brush to protect the hair and promote shine."
Face-Framing Loose Waves
While Jennifer Aniston typically wears her hair straight, we're loving these loose waves. According to Rivera, "Long loosely curled layers with side-swept bangs are great for creating volume and a youthful look." Highlights also help as they "create dimension and soften," she points out.
To achieve this style, "Dry the hair upside down and use a root booster to create extra volume around the crown. Separate into sections and loosely curl with a large barrel curling iron," instructs Rivera. (FYI: Aniston swears by Unite 7Seconds Leave-In Detangler for soft and glossy strands sans frizz.)
Long Waves With Caramel Highlights
Naomi Campbell strikes a pose with her head of long, cascading waves. When considering whether a long style is right for you, think about color. "Color plays a big part," says Jones."Soft face-framing highlights with a slight golden hue [or in the case of Ms. Campbell, a caramel tone] work well for brightening features."
High, Messy Bun
Sarah Jessica Parker has always boasted a headful of long, sun-kissed hair, but we love how she styled it in this high, messy bun with middle-parted fringe at the Divorce premiere. It's no secret she is a fashion icon, but she's also one of our favorite women to follow for beauty inspiration too.
Low Voluminous Pony
Angela Bassett styled her longer-than-life hair with a super-sleek center part and low-positioned base. If you ever think you can't wear your hair down past your hips after 50 years old, remember this gorgeous ponytail.
Last, but certainly not least: Does anyone wear long hair better than the Goddess of Pop? When deciding whether hair like Cher (read: Rapunzel-esque length) is right for his clients over 50, Jones says considering hair density and facial shape is a must. "Does she have hair thick enough to wear past her shoulders?" he asks. Regarding face shape, he says, "I always look for styles that will lift and complement someone’s features. I love a good fringe or soft layers around the face to soften and create movement."
Can women over 50 still rock long hair?
Absolutely. Just be sure to invest in a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. As hair ages, it tends to get more dry.
Should I use a special type of shampoo if I have graying hair?
Should I also use purple conditioner on my gray hair?
Using a complementary purple conditioner will ensure your hair is well-maintained in between visits to the salon. Be sure to look for a purple or blue tint, along with a mix of hydrating and nourishing ingredients.