34 Short Hairstyles for Women Over 40 That Aren't Boring

Updated 05/03/19
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The Best Pixies, Bobs, Shags, Long Bobs and More

Woman with short blond hair
Getty Images

From the pixie to the bob, and from natural to edgy, there are a plethora of short haircuts that look particularly flattering on femme-presenting people over 50. It's not like older people cut their hair short for no reason. Short hair on people over 50 looks modern, classy, and trendy, without looking like you're denying your age. If you're ready for a new hairdo, or looking to chop your long locks, click through for some inspiration to take to the salon.

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Any Woman Can Go Short

Juliette Binoche
Getty Images

Short hair is flattering on (almost) everyone. While some cuts are universal, others depend on your face shapes and hair texture. Ultimately, you want to find the hairstyle you feel most comfortable in.

When looking for inspiration, consider the photos of women who have a face shape, hair texture, and overall style that is similar to yours. If you have wavy, coarse, curly, fine, straight hair, look for styles that are realistic for your type (you can't just wish your hair curly, and vice versa.) Even if it's a different color, finding a model similar to you will help you know whether or not a certain style will look good.

That's not to say you can't pick different pictures for various elements of the style. For instance, you might enjoy the cut of one photo, but the color of another. Take both to your stylist, and tell her what you like about each. From there, she can mix and match to create a style that's uniquely you.

A word to the wise: If you've worn long hair for the majority of your life, you should know that a shorter cut will require more trips to the salon. Short hair should be trimmed every four to six weeks if you want to maintain your style. Regardless, a great cut will grow out beautifully, so depending on how fast your hair grows, you may be able to stretch that out a bit.

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Short or Very Short

Teryl Rothery
Getty Images

These hairstyles, on actress Teryl Rothery, show the way different cuts look on the same woman. Both happen to be very flattering to her heart-shaped face.

When cut just below her chin, her hair has a fun, youthful appearance and great body around the ears. The shorter cut works well with more volume on top thanks to all the layers, which in turn elongate her face. Rothery adds side-swept bangs to both, adding to her youthful appearance.

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Bangs Add Youth

Helen Mirren
Jim Spellman for Getty Images

Bangs can liven up any haircut, even one that you've had for years. The biggest benefit, though, is that they can add lightness to a look where there isn't otherwise. They're also great for covering up a hairline that starts farther back on the head, and helping add volume to flat hair. If you want to accentuate your eyes, opt for a cut that sweeps down, as it instantly draws attention to them.

Keep in mind that bangs require maintenance. You will want to trim them every few weeks, either at the salon or by yourself. Learning how to blow dry them properly in order to get that salon-fresh style is a good idea, too. Ask your stylist for a few tips before you leave the salon.

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Side-Swept Bangs

Sharon Stone with short hair
Getty Images: David Livingston

Sharon Stone is radiant sporting a short hairstyle that includes side-swept bangs. This style of bangs is one of the most popular, especially for older women. They are youthful, classy, and professional, all at the same time—they can also work with any short cut, from the pixie to the bob.

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The Pixie

Woman with short hair
Michael Blann/Getty Images

Pixie hairstyles are one of the most classic options for women over 50. By framing your face, they show off and highlight your best features. Except for the occasional trim, they're somewhat low-maintenance. You can wash a pixie, add some pomade for texture (if you want,) and go.

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The Versatile Pixie

Rolando Watts
Maury Phillips / Contributor

A wonderful thing about pixie cuts is that they can take on many different looks. From sweet to sexy, and classy to playful, they're great, adaptable cuts that can be accentuate your personality and style. They work wonderfully for women of any ethnicity and hair color, particularly when you get layers cut in and add a few highlights.

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A Super Edgy Pixie

Judi Dench
Vincent Sandoval / Contributor

This pixie hairstyle on Judi Dench is edgy and cool, and could suit anyone at any age. Hers just happens to look fabulous with her naturally gray hair.

Gray hair is beautiful, and more than ever people are choosing to embrace their grays. It's a beautiful color, and going natural eliminates the chore of even more trips to the salon, or nights at home spent with a box color trying to cover up roots. Not everyone feels comfortable embracing it, but if you're ready to show off those grays, know that you're definitely not alone.

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An Elegant Pixie

Carolyn Hennesy
Carolyn Hennesy/Getty Images

This pixie is soft and sensual. It has an abundance of layers, and, with the help of a little styling product, has great volume. This style works best on thick hair that has a little bit of a natural wave, and is perfect for making a rounder face look a little longer.

Schedule a Consult

If you're going in for a big change, schedule in a 10-minute consult with your stylist to discuss the styles you love and if they'll work on you. Keep maintenance and your lifestyle in mind. If you're a wash-and-go type of person, make sure your stylist knows it. They may blow dry and flat iron your hair, but will you?

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A Stylish Pixie

Denise Welch
Karwai Tang (l) and Max Mumby/Indigo (r) for Getty Images

Super short pixies tend to work best on petite, thin women—anyone with a long, elegant neck, and thicker hair. But if you're tall and have some curves, it can be a great choice as well.

Think about going a little longer than this if you're tall with a smaller bust or full-figured. You'll find that having more volume in your hair balances out your natural body shape.

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A Modern Pixie

Jamie Lee Curtis
JB Lacroix (r) for Getty Images

The pixie tends to work best on women with oval, square, and heart-shaped faces. If you have a rounder face, consider adding some longer bangs and style them forward or up to create the illusion of length.

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The Long Pixie

Melita Toscan du Plantier
Venturelli for Getty

Don't be fooled into thinking that all pixies are incredibly short. Keeping the layers longer can add volume, which is ideal if you have thin hair that can fall flat. Similarly, adding highlights not only creates the illusion of more body, but the color itself will actually plump up your hair follicles.

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A Hip Short Haircut

Emma Thompson
Karwai Tang and Tristan Fewings for Getty

Actress Emma Thompson looks gorgeous in this look. It's a hyper-modern take on the classic pixie, and shows off her hair's natural wave.

If you're itching for a change and feeling frumpy, make an appointment with a salon that caters to stylish women. While it's great to be loyal, it's amazing what a new perspective from a different stylist can make.

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Give Your Cut Some Edge

Lisa Lampanelli
Getty Images

An edgy hairstyle can look just as great on a 60-year-old as it does on a 35-year-old, it's just all about attitude. Being short on one side and long on the other gives Liza Lampanelli's look here a playful, modern touch. By cutting in softer layers, it retains maturity; you don't get that desperate-to-be-20-again vibe.

Her strawberry highlights are another remarkable part of this hairdo. They're subtle, and would do a beautiful job of camouflaging any gray hairs that grow in. In turn, this reduces trips to the salon for touchups.

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A Red Flip

Frances Fisher
Michael Bezjian for Getty

Frances Fisher's red hair here is gorgeous. It's chic, and the cut is easy to maintain. With this style, you can let it grow out a little longer and it will retain some style before you get back in for a trim.

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Dark, Red, and Bold

Sharon Osbourne
Getty Images

Sharon Osbourne has a signature look, one she's stuck with seemingly forever. Her funky version of the pixie with spikes and long bangs is set over the top with her unnatural, but still beautiful, dark red color. Even if you don't share her rocker personality, the look is great. On women with a softer personality, but similar face shape and build, it can look professional, or even playful.

Should You Go Dark?

One concern about going with a darker hair color is that you'll need to maintain the color to avoid obvious gray hairs. Any new gray growth will blend in with a lighter color, like a blonde; however, dark hair has maintenance to consider. 

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A Slightly Edgy Cut

Suze Orman
Getty Images

Suze Orman is always sporting very short hair with lengthy bangs. This is a slightly more hip version of that style, and it's a ton of fun. Leaving some length on the top and wearing a side part makes for an easy-to-care-for style that works as great during the day as it does at night.

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A Cool, Casual Cut

Mercedes Ruehl
Walter McBride / Contributor

Mercedes Ruehl always looks stylish, partially due to her tall stature. This cut is chic, with a splash of casual thrown in. It's a great choice for anyone who doesn't like to spend an hour styling their hair every day.

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Volume for Round Faces

Kate Mulgrew
Getty: Alberto E. Rodriguez (l) and Frazer Harrison (r)

To balance out a full figure and a rounder face, upping the volume in your hair is a great choice. Actress Kate Mulgrew showcases a great example of hair that adds height to the top and sides of her head. It's a classic look for older women, but the little updates keep it looking modern and fabulous.

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Simple, Sleek, and Short

Cecile Richards
Desiree Navarro, Paul Morigi for Getty

If simplicity is your style, Cecile Richards' cut is a great choice. It's particularly fitting for thin, straight hair, as the extra length adds body and angles. It's also a hairstyle that's easy to care for, perfect for busy women or those who don't like a lot of fuss.

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A Cool Short 'Do

Kate Capshaw
Getty Images

This look works best on women with naturally straight and somewhat thick hair. The bangs are flattering,​ but keep in mind that they do require upkeep. However, if you can trim them yourself, it's a style that'll grow out nicely and reduce your trips the salon.

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Just Spike It

Angela Bassett
Michael Tran / Contributor

You'll need to have the right personality to pull off a spiked cut. It's a great choice for black women who want to go short, because thick hair allows you to use less styling products to sculpt it. However, if you want to soften it up, you can simply skip the spikes and let it lay flat. There's enough length to change your style day to day.

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Mussy Layers

Kris Jenner
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Contributor

Natural looks are in, and you can certainly go short and get the lived-in look that's on trend. Kris Jenner's cut is fun and casual, with lots of long layers that neatly fall into place. The leader of the the Kar-Jenner clan has also shaped this same cut with slicked-back bangs and a more polished side-sweep, which indicates the length has flexibility to it as well.

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A Shapely Fine Haircut

Ellen Barkin with short, edgy hair
Mireya Acierto & Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Fine hair can unfortunately fall flat and limp in any hairstyle. The secret to getting good body lies both in getting layers cut in, and using the right styling product.

To keep your hairstyle from going frizzy or falling flat, you have to choose the correct hair product for your hair. Use a mousse to build body, a pomade for texture, and be liberal with the conditioner if you have dry hair. Ask your stylist for recommendations, but don't feel you have to buy the pricey products in the salon. Shopping at a drugstore far more affordable, and can sometimes get you even better results. Do some googling.

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The Classic Shag

Jane Fonda
Stefanie Keenan for Getty

The beauty of the shag is that it flatters all face shapes. Jane Fonda's highly stylish shag is iconic, and it's a great choice for older women who don't want to go too short.

The key to the shag is lots of choppy layers and texture. You can wear it as she does, with some curls and waves, or opt for a more tousled look.

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A Shorter Shag

Actress Lisa Rinna attends the stop YulinForever march to end dog cruelty In Yulin, China at MaCarthur Park Recreation Center on October 4, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Lisa Rinna has had some version of this hairstyle for years. It's her signature look, and she wears it well.

It's a shorter shag, and it's perfect for thick hair that has some natural wave. The carefully placed highlights give it extra dimension. Instead of traditional highlights for this cut, opt for balayage.

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The Long Bob

Christine Baranski
Ben Gabbe / Stringer

The long bob, or lob, or demi-bob, is a trend that's not going away anytime soon. It's also a great option for any woman who wants easy-to-maintain longer hair that can be flexibly styled.

Christine Baranski has a stunning long bob, and it's full of volume. Wisps of hair are flipped back and held with hairspray, making a point to show off her beautiful face. However, do keep in mind it's harder to keep volume in long hair. The shorter you go, the better your hair will hold its shape.

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A Casual Bob

Mariella Frostrup
Getty: David M. Benett, Anthony Harvey

For straight, fine hair, the long bob is a fabulous choice at any age. It's a length that naturally adds volume to straight hair, offering a perfectly casual look that still manages to be elegant. 

With this one, you can pump up the volume just by changing your part. When parted down the middle, it looks sleek and professional. Pull it a bit more to the side, and you have instant volume that takes the style from day to night.

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A Gorgeous Gray Bob

Eileen Fisher
Paul Zimmerman for Getty

Eileen Fisher's color can make anyone fall in love with the idea of going fully grey. It's as bold as a platinum blonde, but it has an unmistakable glow to it as well. She wears it in a classic bob that's chin-length and a little shorter in the back.

Completing her look, though, is her glasses. Have fun when choosing your frames, and know that they're a fashion accessory.

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A Classic Flipped-Under Bob

Alina Cho
Eugene Gologursky / Stringer

Bob hairstyles are a chic choice for older women because they tend to look good on all face shapes. Anyone with a nice jawline and neck will look good in a bob. If you're a "classic" person, or consider yourself to be sophisticated, a bob may be for you. Still, your lifestyle is important. Bobs usually require a blow dryer, and sometimes a flat iron, to achieve a sleek look. If you don't pay much attention to your hair, you probably won't enjoy a sudden uptick in need for maintenance.

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A Wavy Bob

Alfre Woodard
Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff

Bobs work on thick, wavy hair quite well. This chin-length bob on Alfre Woodard is super cute and it has an elegant, mature look at the same time. The long waves frame her face beautifully, and show off her beautiful dark skin that is barely touched with makeup.

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A Thick, Wavy Bob

Short wavy hair
George Pimentel / Contributor

If you have thick, wavy hair, be sure to have your stylist cut in a lot of layers. You can take your bob shorter if you do that, which avoids the potential of a bedhead look. With the right cut, you may even be able to go completely natural and enjoy a wash-and-go style. Instead of worrying about styling, you can concentrate on keeping your hair super healthy.

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Tame the Frizz

Marisa Paredes
Getty Images

Not only can hair thin out as you age, it tends to dry out too. This might leave you dealing with frizz, especially on humid or rainy days. You can tame your frizz by concentrating on moisturizing your hair with conditioner and hair masks, and applying an anti-frizz styling product. It may not prevent frizz entirely, but it will help. As long as you own your style, you'll look beautiful.

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The Au Naturale Bob

Gemma Jones
Francois G. Durand / Contributor/Getty Images

You have to appreciate this casual bob that takes minimal styling. The blunt bangs help draw attention to the eyes, making Gemma Jones look younger, confident, and wise.

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