If your goal is to maintain your youth (or perhaps defy the odds), your efforts should extend beyond your skincare routine. Interestingly, the secret to looking fresh and vernal oftentimes lies north of your face. (We're, of course, talking about your hair.) The shape, style, and length of your mane serves as a time machine of sorts, and finding a complementary look can turn the dial back (or sit comfortably still in the present, because the constant tug and pull of trying to "turn back the clock" while maintaining confidence is honestly exhausting and aging is a privilege!). The key, really, is to find what works for you and makes you feel your best.
As women make their way into their 50s and beyond, the conversation around "appropriate" hairstyles often skews toward short hair, but it's a dated beauty trope that doesn't hold weight. Sure, long lengths are usually associated with younger generations, but 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 evidenced by our favorite 50-plus celebrities.
Meet the Expert
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.
The first Black actress to achieve the "Triple Crown of Acting," 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.
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. Pro tip: Use a large round brush to blow-dry your hair while maintaining volume and a subtle bend at the ends.
Sarah Jessica Parker
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.
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.
For a quick, free facelift, pull your hair tightly back and up (just don't do it too often as this can cause stress on the scalp).
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.
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.
Kelly Hu is all about highlights—natural and salon-delivered. Not only does she prove that anyone can pull off gray, but she also shows us that pink hair is fun, refreshing, and could (and should) be worn at any age.
Over the years, Iman has worn every hairstyle from a short pixie cut to finger waves. Here, she's sporting sleek, straight hair, but in a much lighter hue than we're used to seeing on the model and entrepreneur: a pretty golden caramel.
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 it's easy to create no matter how long your hair is. Part your hair in a deep side part, pull straight back ar the nape of the neck, twist, and secure. You can even do it on wet hair for times when you're in a pinch.
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 ($42) and 6-In-1 Styler ($32). I prefer using a boar bristle round brush to protect the hair and promote shine."
Bangs are such a fun style to begin with, but you can also use them to tactfully hide skin maturation like frown lines and 11s (should that be something you're trying to conceal).
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.
Diana Ross' iconic voluminous natural curls transcend each decade. Here, she wears it layered, which adds shape and a face-framing element. Jones agrees: "The length is offset by a beautiful shape and tons of softness around her face." He adds, "Her hair is shiny and healthy which is a must with long hair. For this look, I would use Healing Oil ($42), Polish Unfrizz ($40), and finish with Split End Serum ($40) for that little added moisture and definition."
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 section 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.)
By pulling her hair half-way back with a subtle, yet #trending headband, JLo shows off her gorgeous face and ageless skin. She let's the other half of her long mane hang loose for a youthful contrast to her sophisticated slick-back.
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, "a blowout with 6-In-1 Styler ($32). Maybe use a little Volumizing Primer ($36) at the root for added loft. Curl with a 1.25” curling iron and finish with texturizing spray."
Naomi Campbell strikes a pose with her head of long, cascading waves. When considering whether a long style is right for you, Jones points out, "Color plays a big part. Soft face-framing highlights with a slight golden hue [or in the case of Ms. Campbell, a caramel tone] work well for brightening features."
Roberts' piece-y 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.
For this style, he suggests you could style with various Virtue products: "I love a quarter size of the Volumizing Mousse at the root then 6-In-1 ($32) through the mids and ends. Blow out and finish with Texturizing Spray ($36). This looks amazing down for day one then twist up for day two."
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 vive of this messy updo with face-framing pieces, which, according to Jones, "have this amazing ability to lift and accentuate the cheek bones."
For Berry's casual-cool look, Jones suggests Virtue Moisture Defining Whip ($36) as it is ideal for achieving voluminous results while simultaneously providing much-needed moisture. To finish, add a soft wave and a spritz of Split End Serum ($40).
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."