Between your natural hair texture and everyday hair habits, finding a flattering style or cut can be tough—no matter your age. Throw on texture and color changes (thinning grays, anyone?) and the task may have just gotten a little more difficult. We picked the brain of celebrity hairstylists Geno Chapman and Stephen Thomas to figure out short and long hairstyles for women over 60, with a few face-flattering cuts sprinkled in.
Meet the Expert
"The beauty behind a great haircut evolves with age, so to me, choosing the right lengths and color are more important as we get older," says Chapman. "These two factors will help bring balance with maturity while still keeping your look modern." Whether it's a choppy pixie à la Jane Fonda or side-swept bangs like Helen Mirren, we've got you covered on the best hairstyles for women over 60, fine hair included.
Read on for more A-list inspiration on hairstyles for women over 60.
This hairstyle is chock-full of layers that are cut to frame the face. It's ideal for those with thinner hair types, as there's not much length to work against you. "The pixie is a favorite style for women over 60 because of its low maintenance," says Chapman. "I advise not to settle with just a classic pixie haircut; rather, use a variation on the fringe area and softened blunt lines to help keep it looking fiery and modern."
To amp up texture for limp strands, use a texturizer like the GSQ by Glamsquad Volumizing Texture Spray ($11)—it gives that tousled look without sacrificing hold.
"For those ready to make a statement and take some hair off, this is the cut for you," says Chapman. A texturizing cream is key here—rub a dime-sized amount of Aveda's Light Elements Texturizing Creme ($26) through dry hair for a piecey 'do that'll enhance choppy layers.
This cut is full of piecey layers and a slightly longer back. Highlights work well with this cut, as they add dimension and body. With the right accessories (think: chandelier earrings), you can delicately draw attention to the jawline, too.
Teased and Shaggy
A look like this is messy and undone but in all the right ways. It's the perfect 'do for third-day hair (fourth-day hair even, but who's counting?) and for masking grays. To conceal stubborn gray roots in a flash, turn to a touch-up spray like the Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray ($34), which doubles up as a hair-refreshing dry shampoo.
A pixie haircut is show-stopping on its own, but pair it with a platinum hue and you'll have the compliments pouring in. Chapman warns to "be ready for maximum upkeep and more damage on your hair," though, as "some hair types can take on this process more than others."
An asymmetrical bob doesn't have to be over-stated. In fact, a bit of subtleness works here and is a fun way to add extra movement to the otherwise solid shape of the traditional bob. "This cut is so timeless," Chapman says. "I love even keeping the natural color of the hair on this cut—it naturally does all the talking for you if placed correctly."
"I believe the biggest trend at any age is healthy, shiny hair," says Chapman. "Choosing the right products to keep hair young and vibrant changes with age, so I recommend hydrating the hair like you would also your skin." To maintain shine in a choppy pixie, use a hydrating leave-in like the Playa Monoi Milk Leave-in Conditioner ($24), which uses nourishing coconut oil to moisturize hair and monoi oil to keep frizz far away.
"This is a style that looks great in variations of different topknots and braided buns," says Chapman. "It's a super-low-maintenance, on-the-go type of updo, and it can make running around town into a fashion statement."
Chapman calls the impeccable timeless bob a power haircut, and though the length often changes with the season, it's the lowest maintenance haircut of them all. "It can also be the hardest cut to wear because of its strength on where it lies on the body," he warns. To avoid flatness, use a powerful blowdryer fitted with a precision nozzle to give yourself volume at the roots (we're big fans of Drybar's Buttercup Blow Dryer).
"The strength of blunt-end bobs are wonderful to pinpoint areas of the body you love (think décolletage, collar bone, around of the shoulder, or jawline)," notes Chapman. "Normally, one tonality of color is used on these lengths." To amp up the shine, use a smoothing oil like the Prose Hair Oil ($48), which features repairing shea oil and Siberian pine nut oil to smooth flyaways.
"The classic bob is amazing for fine hair because it'll keep the appearance of thick and heavy hair," notes Chapman. "A block-coloring technique lives very well with this haircut—it adds depth and shine to the hair." Here, actress Olivia Newton-John adds wispy bangs for further interest.
"The key behind silver hair is making sure it's healthy and shiny," urges Chapman. "Pair up with a shampoo, conditioner, and mask that will help minimize brassiness and add tons of moisture." He also recommends consulting with your stylist to see whether adding a gloss over your hair is an option.
Have high, attention-drawing cheekbones? Experts say this is an ideal style to accentuate your features. Also known as a stacked bob, a graduated bob features longer layers in the front and a shorter, layered back that can also take on a curved shape. "Longer hairstyles can be less flattering on women over the age of 60, so I recommend bobs and other shorter styles," says Thomas.
Curtain bangs, which is when the bangs split in half and lay on either side of the face, pay homage to the effortless bangs of the '70s. "A curtain fringe is so versatile and can be worn in many lengths, just make sure the length you choose suits your facial features," says Chapman.
Curtain bangs add balance to round and square face shapes, helping to elongate them and give dimension.
Sleek Long Bob
If you have fine, straight hair, but it grows dense (meaning, you have a lot of it), a sleek long bob is equal parts chic and modern. The key to mastering this style, which looks great on people of all ages, is to use a deep-conditioning mask pre-styling to fire up some shine. We love the Arbonne True Hair Replenishing Mask ($42)—it's a rich, creamy formula that revives dry hair and delivers just the right amount of shine.
"Haircut lines that graze the chin are amazing—if you love your chin," says Chapman. "This look is also helpful in adding length to the neck if you want to appear longer from your shoulders." Depending on the strength of your jaw, the exact length will vary: In general, keep the line along the chin stronger if you have a weaker jaw.
"Fringe is one of my favorite accessories for a haircut," says Chapman. "If you’re not ready for a complete change, adding a fringe (be it straight-across, side-swept, or curtain) can be a game-changer and exactly what you need to bring your haircut up to date." When consulting with your hairdresser, Chapman suggests having an open conversation about which of your facial features you'd like accentuated—your stylist will be better able to soften or cover the other areas by adding in more weight.
Short Vintage Curls
Vintage curls are a timeless 'do that will flatter any hair length. Use a medium-barrel curling iron (we love the GHD Curve 1" Classic Curl Iron) to create a bend on the front piece of hair, making sure to curl underneath and toward the face.
While it's a beauty myth that women over 60 must wear their hair short, the real marker for whether you should be wearing your hair short is whether it would be flattering to your face shape and hair texture. This look works best on those with naturally straight, medium-textured hair. It's youthful, fresh, and stylish, and the only real maintenance it requires is a bang trim every four to six weeks.
Voluminous High Ponytail
Have thin, frayed hair? This hairstyle fakes volume in all the right places. Gently tease the front, topmost portion of the head with a teasing brush and a light-hold hairspray. Finish it off by wrapping a strand of hair around the base of the ponytail for a polished look (it'll conceal the hair elastic, too).
Long Mermaid Waves
Channel your inner mermaid with this sea-inspired hairdo. To achieve, create deep waves with a 1.5-inch curling wand and follow up with a gentle brush-through. Shake it out for a looser finish or leave as is for something more refined.
Sleek and Straight
A sleek, straight hairstyle works best with a square face shape. Use a one-pass flat iron like the T3 Lucea 1" Straightening and Styling Iron ($150) to achieve soft, smooth strands. Best part about this look? You can play up your part depending on the look you're going for—middle part for something alluring, side-swept if you're feeling more playful.
The classic shake of the '70s (think Farrah Fawcett) has been upgraded to this modern, completely customizable 'do. "As haircuts evolve with our age, they all come back to classics cuts like this one," says Chapman. "This look can be worn in variations from a lot of movement to more commercial wear." It's one of the most adaptable looks at any age.
Unlike a sleek and flattened pull-back, an effortless pull-back involves combing the hair backward ever so gently. The goal is to leave in some height and make it appear as if your hair naturally lays this way. Add some hairspray to your brush and comb back the hair with one hand, using the other to hold the base in place. Do this all around the head and finish off with a light spritzing of spray to maintain all-day hold.
Long, Low Ponytail
"This style can be worn at any age and the simplicity of the look is one you should have in your bag," says Chapman. A slick-down on the top of the head paired with lengthy inches gives this look the perfect balance of sophistication and youthfulness.
"A middle part is bold and daring," says Chapman. "Consult with your stylist to see if this is the right choice for you so they can build the rest of the haircut around it. Try adding subtle layers to give body while keeping the pieces framing the face lighter (this will keep the cut looking youthful).
The key to getting flawlessly tight curls (that are also full) is two-fold: maintain frizz and separate the curls to create a cohesive look overall. Try the Nioxin 3D Styling Bodifying Foam ($17) post-shower for body, thickness, and hold along with the Kenra Professional Moisturizing Oil ($18) mixed in with your shampoo or conditioner for frizz protection.
Topknot Swirl Bun
A mile-high topknot is one of the easiest hairstyles to master—add in a swirl and your topknot just got taken to the next level. Get the look by putting the hair in a ponytail, splitting it in half, and twisting each section around the base of the ponytail. Secure any stubborn pieces with bobby pins.
Natural All-Over Volume
Turn up the volume with this natural-looking 'do. A standard blowout using a round brush and blowdryer will help you achieve this look, as would air-drying your natural curls. Try adding in a dime-sized amount of thickening cream for added fullness if your hair is on the finer side.
"Side-swept bangs are great for those who feel their forehead area is exposed too much and needs to be brought in a little," says Chapman. "They're also a great way to help keep the eye moving for those who feel certain facial features may be too large or prominent."
The technique of feathering adds texture and movement, making it the perfect style for those with naturally thin hair. It can be worn with different lengths, from long and luscious to short and sleek, and it works best when paired with layers for a seamless blend into the rest of the hair.
"The beach wave has been such a breakthrough style for the simple fact that it helps women wear their natural texture and step away from the blow-dryer and continuous application of heat," explains Chapman. "You can achieve this look through diffusing or braiding, the key is to keep them wild and untamed for added sex appeal." A volume-inducing shampoo, conditioner, and texture spray are key here—opt for a set that has it all, like the ColorProof Big Beachy Waves Kit ($64).
Shoulder-Length Natural Curls
A shoulder-length cut with flowing locks and an off-center part is a recipe for flawless hair. "This is a cut that is best worn with no blunt lines and a lot of disruption of texture on the inside and outside of the cut," advises Chapman. "It's a fantastic way to add a ton of movement to the hair."
Flirty and vintage-esque, this hairstyle works with most hair textures. If your hair skews thin, use a plumping mousse pre-blowdrying to add voluminous body. And, the more layers you have, the more flips you'll be able to create.
Thicker hair textures will love the liberty a mid-length cut offers—you're able to style it with loose waves or silky and straight. Any bang will work here—a curtain bang, side-swept, or straight down the middle. Pair the cut with a California blonde hue if you have grays to blend in.
Long and Glossy
This sleek, commercial-ready hairstyle works best on round or square face shapes. To get the perfect amount of gloss without the frizz, use a serum that offers moisture and movement, like the antioxidant-rich Hair Serum from Nuele ($24).
Deep Side Part
If you're the accessorizing type, you'll have fun playing around with the versatility of the deep side part. And if you're worried about showing your scalp, try the SeneGence HairPlenish Scalp and Hair Serum ($55)—it'll fend off dandruff and dryness that's a result of dry scalp. Barrettes, clips, and everything in between are all welcome here.
A side poof can be worn at any age, but for women over 60, it's lauded as a fun, playful way to amp up natural hair, especially if your lengths are shorter. Use an edge control gel like the Bumble and Bumble Sumotech ($29) to get piecey separation and hold.