There's a reason we freak whenever a celebrity changes their hair (aside from the fact that, you know, we're beauty editors): A new hairstyle has transformative powers, and we're not just talking about looks. It can also change the way you feel. That's not to say the process isn't daunting—the decision to get bangs, for example, is not one to be made lightly—but once you decide to just do it, there's this exhilarating time where you embrace change. And what better time to do so than in your 40s? As you get older, you really know yourself, and with that self-discovery comes a sense of confidence that lends itself especially well to trying out a new hairstyle.
To help you choose, we tapped celebrity stylist Kendall Dorsey, who shared these hairstyles for women in their 40s. Keep scrolling to get inspired for your next salon appointment.
The lob has made the transition from trend to classic, and it's easy to see why—it's a super-flattering cut. "Make sure you skip the blunt lob and go for one with long layers," Dorsey advises. "This will give you a bit more volume, which is, unfortunately, one of the things that go first as hair ages."
Does Cate Blanchett always look ageless because she's impeccably hydrated or because her lob is on point? (Probably a combo of both.)
A slight bend at the end of Charlize Theron's lob adds movement and body without feeling fussy.
Thandie Newton's curly lob is an inspiration.
Short, Textured Bob With Bangs
Dorsey recommends this style if you are so over doing your hair in the morning. "It's easy to just wash and go," he says. "Just add a little product to enhance the layers and amp up the texture." Another bonus: It helps highlight your best facial features and can distract from wrinkles around your eyes and forehead, she says.
Gabrielle Union's chin-grazing bob has lots of layers to add texture and movement. The sideswept bangs and slightly asymmetrical cut make it sexy.
Kerry Washington sports a cross between a bob and a lob, complete with tousled curls and soft bangs.
Taraji P. Henson's chic crop is all about carefully placed layers.
We're saying it: Just get bangs. "Inspired by Brigitte Bardot's soft fringe, this style will open your face up without any harsh lines and also hide any crow's feet that might be starting to pop up," Dorsey says. TBH, he had us at Brigitte Bardot.
Okay, January Jones, we see you. This is actually what our dream hair would look like.
We love this soft style on Malin Ackerman.
There's this myth that as you get older, you can't have long hair. Absolutely not true. "Long, wavy locks are beautiful on women of every age," Dorsey says. His tips for getting the right cut: "Make sure your stylist gives you long layers that will enhance volume and texture, plus a slight angle at the front to push your hair softly away from your face." Done and done.
Jennifer Lopez's long hair has just the slightest wavy bend in it, which gives it movement and volume without going full-on "beachy waves."
If there were an award for having the shiniest hair, Reese Witherspoon would win it. This style is a classic, easy for those of us without a styling team to pull off too.