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. According to celebrity hairstylist Gina Rivera, "When it comes to looking youthful there is not a 'one size fits all' solution. It’s very important to take various items into account, such as facial features and the shape of one's face. It’s also crucial to take into account the texture of the hair and know what the objectives of the client are. Some people may want to opt for a wash and wear style where others may want to go for a cleaner more finished look. 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."
Meet the Expert
Whether you want to make a big chop or just switch up your regular style, we've got you covered. Read on for our roundup of gorgeous celeb hair inspiration for women over 50, plus tips from Rivera and Oribe educator and stylist Adam Livermore.
"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.
Lucy Liu 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.
Yolanda Foster styles a blunt bob with swooping side bangs. Her platinum hair is gorgeous with her darker brows, and her bangs frame her face.
Rita Wilson is proof that ombré hair can be pulled off at any age. The additional color adds dimension to her dark hair, drawing attention down her face and making it appear more slender.
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 cheek bone, 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°F 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).
Kate Walsh is giving us some serious retro vibes with this chic Hollywood lob. This cut and style is flattering on nearly all hair types and textures.
"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 ($20) 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).
Rivera explains, "The sleek pixie is more closely cut to the crown and scalp than several of the other styles of pixies. It’s easy to wear and is best styled using a styling gel to slick down loose flyaway strands. It also looks super if you have great features like Diane Lane does. This look is extra cool because Diane styles it without a part making it even more chic."
According to Rivera, "As a person ages, features can become more pronounced and they must be taken into higher regard when determining a hairstyle. It’s crucial to select cuts that soften some features while highlighting others. For example, a client with a lot of forehead lines may opt for some type of bang to soften this area. While those with a terrific facial structure may want to select a haircut that draws focus to bone structure such as a short pixie."
Ming Na Wen
Simple and feminine, 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 ($35) and Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Body Builder ($29).
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.
Marcia Cross's soft 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 version, $44, 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," comments 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 high- and low-lights that generate extra dimension for a youthful, natural appearance."
Finola Hughes has a haircut that's flattering on all 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.
"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. Robin Wright knows what she’s doing with this look. Robin’s stylist is cutting the hair shorter at the sides, in back, and along the edge of the face, however, they’re allowing the bangs to be extra long so they can swoop across from one side to the other. It’s a very kitsch look."
Janet Jackson plays with color and texture in this fun and flattering 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 her traditional beach waves that she’s known for. She also pulls the look of with a suit, making it even more trendy.
To get this look, start low at the nape of the neck with the braid. Once finished 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.
Changing up your appearance can be as simple as lightening your natural hair color. A lighter color can brighten your face and bring attention to your facial features. Here, Catherine Keener infuses her natural brunette color with a gorgeous red tint.
"Long pixies are always a favorite of mine because they are timeless and can be worn in some many ways. Emma Thompson really rocks this pixie. The longer layers on the top work great for her because they create volume and a youthful look," 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 ($32) 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 flattering 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
Short bobs and pixies don't have to be boring. Vivica A. Fox proves that a blonde highlighted pixie can be edgy and refined. Having the top of the hair cut longer than the sides or as long bangs adds a feminine flair. The layers allow for a tousled look on the weekend or a slicked-back style for the office.
Is Jennifer Lopez aging backwards? While we seek out the secrets to her glowing skin, it's also worth noting how certain hairstyles—blunt bobs especially—can lend a youthful appearance. A blunt cut can actually create the illusion of making fine hair appear longer and more voluminous.
Jodie Foster flaunts a gorgeous strawberry-blonde lob, which would be universally flattering on nearly all face shapes. Rivera comments, "I like how she adds a deep side part which really opens up her face to emphasize some of her terrific features including her flawless forehead and beautiful eyes."
Former first lady Michelle Obama seems to always be sporting a chic, sleek haircut, but here she is embracing her natural curls, and in our honest opinion, she's never looked better. Style with Amika Curl Corps Curl Defining Cream ($25) for nourishing, hydrating curls.
Pixie poster girl Sade Baderinwa shows off her gorgeous facial features with this short, albeit feminine, 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.
Gloria Estefan wears her hair in natural, flowing curls for a lovely, low-maintenance look. Normally, curly hair behaves better the longer it is, since the weight of the hair can keep curls from poufing out. 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.