Luckily, age doesn't mean you have to follow specific "rules" when it comes to beauty. It may, however, mean that when you hit your 30s, you choose a slightly more grown-up look than you did in your 20s. Your hair texture and face shape traditionally influence your hairstyle. But, once you enter your 30s, your lifestyle may play an equally important role. Hear us out: It's a pivotal decade for many people, and everyone's life will take them down a different path.
"I believe your 30s are all about settling into your career and sitting stronger in yourself," says celebrity stylist Gregory Patterson. "This is a time to identify some go-to styles that make you feel empowered, confident, and comfortable. Establish a length that’s good for you and play with it through the seasons." We spoke to Patterson and fellow stylist Giovanni Vaccaro, to lead us through a roster of looks that are chic enough for the red carpet, yet low-maintenance enough for real life.
Meet the Expert
Below, check out the 25 best celebrity hairstyles for those in their 30s.
Hair in your 30s should be no-nonsense. Rather than attempting all the fads of your 20s, settle on what suits you best—like Amber Stevens West's classic blowout. "The point is to have a 'hair wardrobe' similar to a 'capsule wardrobe' in your closet," says Patterson. "Establish a power look—like a blowout style that makes you feel like you can take over the world."
A braided updo is an ideal protective style for those with natural hair and, as seen here on actress Issa Rae, it happens to look fab, as well. For a pompadour-like style, utilize extensions to create a braided crown that wraps around the head.
Long Hair with Bangs
Long hair with bangs (seen here on Jessica Biel) is a flattering style that every face shape can pull off, as long as you can maintain your bangs. Cutting a fringe is a quick way to add maturity without looking too severe. Keep in mind the maintenance, though. Some salons offer free bang trims, but you'll have to go for an appointment every few weeks. If that's too much of a commitment, then you can learn how to trim your own bangs.
Actress Kylie Bunbury's soft curls look casual even when worn in an updo, thanks to a loose texture and a middle part. "It's important to establish a go-to updo look [in your 30s]," says Patterson. "Think easy, French Girl-style, that takes your week-wear hair into date night, cocktail hour, or even red carpet carpet territory."
Long Hair, Side-Swept Bangs
No matter your age, you can pull off long hair as long as it's healthy. Try not to overdo your chemical treatments and use a heat protectant each time you apply a hot tool to your hair. It's easier to maintain healthy hair than it is to try and restore damaged hair.
And if blunt bangs aren't your style, then take a page from Dakota Johnson's beauty playbook. You'll find that long, side-swept bangs are incredibly flattering and stylish when paired with long, straight hair.
Shoulder-Length with Bangs
Kat Graham's look is a fabulous style for someone who wants to retain some youth. It's the perfect combination of a sexy blunt bang with the shoulder-length cut that is easy to care for and style. If you like to play up your gorgeous eyes with makeup, then bangs and face-framing layers will accent these features even more.
Trimming your own bangs at home? Use a point-cutting technique (hold shears vertically, cutting upwards into the ends) for a less severe, more relaxed look.
The Shag Hairstyle
A shoulder-length cut that looks a bit wispy is fabulous. Shags are super popular because they look casual and unfussy, and can be sophisticated with a quick blow-dry. With the right cut, the shag can be air-dried to perfection. For extra texture, add a sea salt spray for that surfer babe look. We like L'ange Salt + Sea Texturizing Spray ($20).
If you used to sport funky hair colors and now want to stick to a more subdued shade, embrace the chance. In your 30s, you can still color your hair any way you like, just keep in mind what hues would complement your complexion. Those with a more fair complexion, like Emma Stone, look great with a deep, rich red. And yes, it's okay to DIY your hair color at home. But if you want to go more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color, it's safer to leave it to a trained pro.
Platinum hair does require a fair amount of upkeep but the results are worth it, particularly if they look as stellar as Zoë Kravitz's platinum locks. Here, Kravitz pulls her braids back into a loose chignon (the perfect way to show off a killer pair of earrings).
Bronde hair is that magical, enviable color between blonde and brunette, as seen here on model Bar Rafaeli. It's a hot look, particularly for people who have naturally light brown or dark blonde hair. It's a great way to add a hint of color if you're not wanting an all-over change. The highlights can be placed so they complement both your hairstyle and your facial features.
For the most natural look, highlights and base color should stay in the same color family. For instance, if the base is a warm, golden blonde, keep the highlights warm, as well.
The pixie is an excellent cut for people of all ages. In your 30s, it can really play up a great bone structure, pretty eyes, and full lips. Michelle Williams's Audrey Hepburn-inspired pixie looks great on anyone, especially those who are confident trendsetters.
Short and Natural
Lupita Nyong'o demonstrates that the best way to show off natural hair is with a short afro (in this case, pulled back with a braided headband). Be sure to utilize a deep conditioning treatment, such as E'TAE Carmel Deep Conditioning Treatment ($20), to keep hair healthy.
The Classic Bob
The classic bob isn't going anywhere anytime soon. No matter the year, it'll always be a stylish choice. Because it oozes sophistication, it can be a great cut for professionals (or models, like Agyness Deyn). Just be aware that this haircut can be high maintenance and requires a bit of styling. As for hair texture, bobs work best on thin to medium hair.
If you have fine hair, ask your stylist for a "graduated bob," which has stacked layers cut shorter in the back and longer in the front. It gives flatter hair much-needed body and height at the crown.
The Long Bob
Long bobs (affectionately known as the "lob") are as popular as ever and they're extremely versatile. You can blow dry them straight (as seen here on actress Rosa Salazar), air dry them so your hair has some natural wave to it, or curl it into wavy perfection. Also, if you need to pull it back, there's still some length to work with.
The Perfect Length
Many experts consider hair that falls between the chin and shoulders to be the "perfect length." That's because it looks great on people of all ages, and works on a variety of textures and face shapes. The length seems to be most popular on people in their 30s (like Margherita Missoni) and early 40s and it's easy to maintain. If you go with a style that complements your hair texture, then your daily styling needs will be minimal at most.
Shoulder-Length and Thick
Kiera Knightley's shoulder-length hair is a versatile, flattering hair length on all face types and for all hair textures. The key to the perfect shoulder length cut lies in, of course, the length. It can't be too long or too short. It looks best when it hits at the collarbone or a bit above.
"This is where you get to play with dry shampoos, texture sprays, creams and serums to allow your style to evolve," says Patterson. He recommends ion Dry Shampoo ($6), "because it leaves the hair feeling fresh, while adding volume at the same time."
Beyoncé's long, beachy waves never go out of style; you'll see similar looks on almost every woman in Hollywood at some point. It's casual but has that super sexy look that screams confidence—and salt spray.
If you have long, thick hair, you can get away with this look. Even if your hair is on the thin side or doesn't grow long fast, you can fake it with the help of hair extensions.
Boho Chic Braid
If you enjoyed wearing braids in your 20s, there's no reason you can't wear one in your 30s. Braids look sweet and youthful while keeping your hair fully out of the way. They're also very pretty and casual. We love a braid in a boho-chic, slightly unkempt style that still looks put together like Emily Blunt's.
"A braided ponytail is so fun and easy," says Vaccaro. "You can rock this messy or super sleek; think Kim Kardashian West braid plaits. If you don’t feel comfortable braiding, you can take your pony and split it in two. Then, twist the sections onto each other and secure with an elastic."
Blunt Bob With Bangs
Taylor Swift's blunt bob offers plenty of texture, so it doesn't look too severe. For a similar look, use a salt spray (we like Ouai Wave Spray, $26) on slightly damp hair from root to tip, tousling and twisting, while blow-drying into messy waves.
The half-up, half-down style is casual and easy, but still looks good enough for the red carpet, as seen here on actress Logan Browning. Here, Browning's natural curls are the highlight, but a bit of serum helps slick back the upper half of her 'do.
Natural and Bouncy
Nathalie Emmanuel's natural hair is big and bouncy. To keep hair healthy, try co-washing with Vernon François Co-Wash Shampoo ($30), a cleansing conditioner that removes buildup.
Jodie Turner-Smith's wavy hair (with wavy bangs to match) is ultra-modern, thanks to the shape and volume. To define waves, try a product like Prose Curl Cream ($25), which also fights frizz.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas tousled lob is the result of quality styling products (and a naturally healthy head of hair). Use a product like Sally Hershberger's 24K Superiority Complex Texturizing Paste ($40) to create texture on the ends.
The modern way to 1950s hair is via this updated take on victory rolls, as seen on Amber Heard. Create oversized curls, pinning them on top of the head for height to nail a similar look.