We're all getting older, but just because we may not be in our 20s anymore doesn't mean that we have to sacrifice style—especially when it comes to hair. But when it comes to picking out a new look, a variety of factors come into play. "It’s... crucial to take into account the texture of the hair and know what the objectives of the client are," says celebrity hairstylist Gina Rivera. While there are those who wish to opt for a wash and wear style, others prefer a cleaner, more polished look. According to Rivera, "it's important to consult with your hairstylist because they are well trained to take these items into account when helping you to select the right hairstyle."
Whether you want to a major cut or just switch up your regular style, we've got you covered with tips from Rivera and Oribe educator and stylist Adam Livermore.
Meet the Expert
Read on for our roundup of gorgeous celeb hair inspiration for women over 50.
"Long beach waves are a great way to present a young carefree look. Michelle Pfeiffer does this extra well by having the waves slightly off of her face allowing her amazing cheekbones to show," says Rivera. To get the look, she instructs: "Dry hair upside down, then use a large barrel curling iron staring half-way down the hair shaft. Curl leaving about two to three inches of the hair out of the curling iron."
Rather than using a comb or a brush, use your fingers from underneath to loosen hair.
"A long shag is a style that is terrific at any age as shown by Halle Berry. The key is longer, choppy layers. This is a style that looks best when you stay away from a comb and use your fingers to adjust the hair as you want it to fall. Keep the look loose with a lightweight finishing spray," says Rivera. We suggest Rahua Defining Hair Spray ($37).
Redheaded beauty Julianne Moore rocks her long tresses with minimal makeup, "showing us why using a great color line is important. The color of her hair works so well with her gorgeous eyes and complexion. The deep auburn red draws you in and is very stunning," says Rivera.
Alfre Woodard is one of our favorite short-haired muses and looks amazing in this shag. To keep the look current, add texture.
Iman chopped off her long locks for this blunt bob, and we are loving it. According to Rivera, "As people age, it’s not uncommon for the hair to become thinner over time. Blunt cuts are a very good choice if you are working to create the appearance of volume and body."
"I always recommend embracing curls if you’re lucky enough to have them. Andie MacDowell is the perfect example of how to do it right. Her loose flowing curls help to add some volume around her beautiful thin face creating a youthful and up-to-date look," says Rivera.
We love how Patti Labelle styles her blunt bob with an eye-skimming fringe.
Rita Wilson is proof that ombré hair can be pulled off at any age. The additional color adds dimension to her dark hair.
And the key to making beach waves look right, says Livermore, is to frame the face well. "Take the two front sections on both sides of your face, push them forward, and then bend them back around a one-and-1/4 inch curling iron directing away from your face," he says. "You want the hair to bend down across your temple, open up around your eye and cheekbone, and then bend back in under the hollows of your cheeks. It’s also essential to use heat protection to keep long hair healthy if you’re using hot tools. I like Oribe Mystify Restyling Spray ($44) because it gives the hair 450 degrees Fahrenheit heat protection, light moisture, and good hold."
"High ponytails can be a really amazing look for those that want to wear long hair. No one does this better than Salma Hayek," says Rivera. "To get her look, blow-dry the hair straight, then place the ponytail high on top of the crown. Finish by taking a long strand of hair and wrapping the ponytail with it. Spray a bit of shine serum to get an extra sleek look." We recommend trying OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum ($9).
Cynthia Bailey's long, wavy hair is both low-maintenance and lovely. Her blonde highlights really serve to brighten her already radiant complexion.
Kate Walsh is giving us some serious retro vibes with this chic Hollywood lob. This cut and style pairing works for nearly all hair types and textures.
"Tilda Swinton always looks amazing wearing the sleek looks that we see her in repeatedly. With her very petite fine features, this is perfect for Tilda. Lots of volume could easily work against emphasizing her great lines," says Rivera.
"If a special event is on the agenda, updos are always a favorite," notes Rivera. She adds, "Holly Hunter makes this style look like a million dollars. To achieve it, tease the hair at the crown, then create a french twist in the back and secure with bobby pins. Smooth the hair over the teased hair on the top in order to create height. A special tip is to spray where it’s been teased before completing the styling. Pull some longer pieces out to frame the face with a long swooping bang and finish with a strong hold spray." Redken Forceful 23 Super Strength Hairspray ($21) comes highly recommended.
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson's gorgeous red spirals make quite the impact in this angled bob. Although we often see her with straight hair, we say ditch the flat iron because these natural curls are utter perfection. To keep them defined and frizz-free, try Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($50).
"The sleek pixie is more closely cut to the crown and scalp than several of the other styles of pixies," says Rivera of this easy-to-wear cut, which is best styled using a styling gel to slick down loose flyaway strands. "This look is extra cool because Diane styles it without a part, making it even chicer."
A wavy lob is an easy, low-maintenance style that works for a variety of hair types and textures.
Long hair is a classic no matter your age. While long hair works best with medium to thick locks, those with thin strands can make this style work, too. The trick is to opt for a blunt cut and add layers since this will give the appearance of thicker tresses. Looking for volumizing products to wash and style wouldn't hurt either. We like Kérastase Bain Densité Shampoo ($36) and Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo ($26).
Long, wavy hair is so versatile. With this length, you can go from dressed-up polished waves, as seen here, to low-maintenance beachy waves, and everything in between.
Sandra Bullock wears a youthful, beachy wave in her chestnut hair. "This look is all about the haircut," notes Livermore. "It's a deconstructed, long-layer cut that is soft and textured without any clean lines or weight on the ends. It looks lived-in like your favorite pair of jeans."
So that long hair doesn't fall flat, make sure to add texture via layers or product. A sea salt spray will give you that lived-in look, too.
Diahann Carroll's layered waves frame her face, while her color puts all eyes on her. To achieve a similar look, wrap your hair around a large-barrel curling iron—Bio Ionic's Long Barrel Styler ($140) is great—and lightly curl hair away from your face.
"This darling bob looks amazing on Lynn Whitfield. Use a styling serum to create the sleeker look when you blow-dry. Then deep side part and slightly curl the longer side back and touch the ends to curl under using a large rod curling iron or curling brush," says Rivera.
Kelly Lynch used to be known for her lengthy blonde tresses, but her modern lob proves that she can work both long and short locks. No matter the style, her signature middle part shows off her face, letting her natural beauty shine through.
"You can almost never go wrong with a lob, which simply said, is a longer version of the bob," comments Rivera. "This look is extremely natural. Lisa Kudrow has a slight color melt at the roots with some highlights and lowlights that generate extra dimension for a youthful, natural appearance."
Finola Hughes has a haircut that works for a variety of face shapes and hair textures. It's shoulder-length, has a few layers for movement, and is simple to style. After washing, simply blow dry your hair and straighten it if you really want your layers to stand out.
Ann Curry continues to prove that shoulder-length hair is a classic for a reason. She flaunts fun layers that add movement and volume to her sleek hair.
"Short pixies are currently the rage. They are very easy to wear and they also never leave the runways or hair shows," notes Rivera. She adds, "Although daily maintenance is fairly easy, be aware that you may have to cut the hair more frequently depending on how fast your hair grows."
Janet Jackson plays with color and texture in this fun look. Her vibrant red curls are undone rather than styled, creating unique dimension and volume. "For a wash-and-go style like this, start with wet hair, comb a silicone-free hydrating primer, like Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler ($38), from the scalp to the ends, and then layer a curl cream that provides deep hydration, like Oribe Styling Butter Curl Enhancing Crème ($46), on top," says Livermore. "Once you are done combing the prep and styling products through, you can air dry or dry with a diffuser for more volume like Janet has."
Fishtail braids are fun for anyone with long hair. Plus, they can be worn either tight and neat or loose and carefree. Check out how Julia Roberts wears this braid mixed in with the traditional beach waves that she’s known for.
To get this look, start low at the nape of the neck with the braid. Once finished, take the braid between your hands to loosen it up and create a slightly messy look.
Long, healthy hair never goes out of style. Demi Moore's hair is long with some slight wave, adding texture and movement to her look. If you choose to grow your hair out, make sure to give it some extra love and condition and trim regularly to prevent split ends. A few drops of Verb Ghost Weightless Hair Oil ($18) will add all-over shine.
Michelle Yeoh's tousled waves are effortlessly cool and lend softness to her look. The shoulder-length cut and layers are especially beautiful.
We're loving Octavia Spencer's chic collarbone-grazing cut with undulating waves.
Changing up your appearance can be as simple as lightening your natural hair color. A lighter color can illuminate your face and bring attention to your facial features. Here, Catherine Keener infuses her natural brunette color with a gorgeous red tint.
Nicole Kidman is giving off I Dream of Genie vibes—in a good way, of course. Her high, tousled ponytail reads as fun and flirty.
Giselle Fernandez is harnessing Jackie O with this vintage look. Her full, flipped-out style is retro-chic for the modern woman.
"Long pixies are always a favorite of mine because they are timeless and can be worn in so many ways. Emma Thompson really rocks this pixie. The longer layers on the top work great for her because they create volume," says Rivera.
She suggests, "For this look, use styling mousse when drying, for added volume dry upside down and use a large wand curling iron on some of the pieces to create lift. Finish off with a touch of hairspray. I recommend Clutch by Gina ($17) which allows for movement, yet provides hold."
Angela Bassett lets her natural curls do their thing with this voluminous bob. She uses her hair's natural texture and added layers to create fullness and lift. If you're noticing that your strands are dull or brittle, Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Leave-In Conditioner ($11) will transform your tresses into looking, feeling, and smelling great.
Vivica A. Fox
Vivica A. Fox's blonde highlighted pixie is edgy and refined. Cutting the top of the hair longer than the sides, or as long as the bangs, adds flair. The layers allow for a tousled look on the weekend or a slicked-back style for the office.
Blunt cuts like Gloria Rubens' can actually create the illusion of making fine hair appear longer and more voluminous.
We love Jodie Foster's gorgeous strawberry-blonde lob. "I like how she adds a deep side part which really opens up her face to emphasize some of her terrific features," notes Rivera.
Vanessa Williams creates volume at her roots and throughout with her loose, face-framing curls. The effect looks something like a subdued diva—and we mean that in the best way possible.
One of our favorite shaggy hair muses, Laura Dern owns the layered look like a rockstar. Waves, texture, romance, edge—this style has got it all.
Beauty queen Kelly Hu looks stunning with her long, wavy mane. Her sexy side-swept bang opens up her face.
Former first lady Michelle Obama often sports a chic, sleek haircut, but here she is embracing her natural curls. Style with Amika Curl Corps Curl Defining Cream ($26) for nourishing, hydrating curls.
Pixie poster girl Sade Baderinwa shows off her gorgeous facial features with this short cut. By keeping some length on top, she creates volume and texture. For good measure, consider styling with a molding paste or wax. Kristin Ess Fragrance-Free Texturizing Paste ($10) is a solid choice.
We suspect that Cree Summer may have found some inspiration in Guns N' Roses lead guitarist, Slash, with this long curls and hat combo. It's very casual, cool, and clearly, rock and roll.
Oprah Winfrey wears her hair in natural, flowing curls for a lovely, low-maintenance look. If you've got thick curly strands, consider adding layers to create movement and shape.
Blonde-haired beauty Daisy Fuentes looks gorgeous with her mid-length waves. While long, straight hair can sometimes look too severe, long layers of loose curls tend to soften and brighten. When styling, use a large curling iron and curl your hair away from your face for a more natural look.
What are the best hairstyles for women over 50 with thick, wavy hair?
Take a cue from Oprah and add plenty of layers, which can provide shape and extra volume to hair that's already full. Or look to Viola Davis for a shorter, chin-length cut that still allows you to show off texture and curl.
What are the best hairstyles for women over 50 with a thin face?
Those with a thin face will benefit from more volume — which you can create by going short, and adding fullness up top, or by cutting hair into a layered bob or lob.
What is the best way to discourage hair loss in women over 50?
Unfortunately, experts don't really agree that hair supplements work for most people. Instead, they say it's important to figure out the, well, root of the problem of hair loss (by working with a physician) — then you can work with a doctor to determine a treatment path.