The Best Short, Medium and Long Hairstyles for Women Over 50
Here, Kate Capshaw, wife of Steven Spielberg, looks years younger than she is (she was born November 3, 1953). Capshaw lives in California, summers in the Hamptons, and is married to a movie mogul—basically a dream life—so you can bet she gets some help, because she looks 55 or so here, not 65. While you may not be able to afford her plastic surgery work, or having a hair salon in your house like she does, you can take this photo into your hair salon and get a version of her flattering hairstyle.
Here's why this hairstyle works on Capshaw:
- This haircut works best on people with naturally straight, somewhat thick hair. If you have fine hair, it will look great, too, but perhaps not as voluminous. If your hair is too heavy, you can have your stylist lighten it up using a razor. But don't go too heavy on the layering, because too many layers can make a hairstyle look dated.
- Capshaw actually has naturally curly hair. So her hair here has either been straightened chemically or via flat iron. Whatever she did, it looks great.
- The length is perfect—not too long and not too short.
Capshaw's color is also wonderful. If you have light hair and a good blonde base, you can get highlights around the face using the balayage technique.
Kate Capshaw With Short Hair
Here are a few other images of Kate Capshaw, just with shorter hair. This hairstyle is youthful, fresh, and stylish.
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 people with naturally straight, somewhat thick hair. The bangs are flattering as well but require upkeep. You'll need to get them trimmed every four to six weeks or do them yourself.
Nancy Pelosi's Hair
Whatever your politics are, you have got to love this classic bob on Nancy Pelosi. The bob is something that never goes out of style, and there are always plenty of bob styles to choose from.
So what's the best bob for you? Whether you go for a long bob, a messy just-woke-up bob, a graduated bob, or a classic bob like Nancy Pelosi's, you'll probably choose well. Bobs work on all face shapes, and with most hair textures.
Jane Fonda's Short Hair
This cut on Jane Fonda is a classic Fonda hairstyle. It's full of layers and looks fantastic on her. Notice how it frames the face and is longer in the back. The fact that Jane colors her hair gives it volume. That's because the peroxide in the dye actually coats each strand, adding texture.
Catherine Deneuve's Hairstyle
Catherine Deneuve (born October 22, 1943) is in her 70s and another great example of a woman unafraid to grow her hair below her shoulders. Deneuve is another example that length should not be dictated by age. Shoulder-length hair is the most flattering hair length for female-presenting people, both young and old.
Few women have naturally blonde hair. Unless you're Swedish or Scandinavian, you will likely have to color your hair to get it any kind of perfect, buttery-looking blonde. Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) actually has naturally brown hair, and got her big break in television news when she colored her hair blonde many years ago. If you're thinking of going blonde, start by doing your research on how to get your hair before heading to the salon and committing to a color.
Senator Wendy Davis
She was a single mom at age 19, who later graduated from Harvard Law School with honors and then became a state senator in Texas. And yet, a one of the most common questions about her was "How can I get Wendy Davis's blonde shoulder-length hair?"
The key to Sen. Davis's hairstyle is in her hair texture and cut. She has super thick, naturally straight hair, with a bit of a wave in it. Fine hair cut into this style (long layers with long, side-swept bangs) would also look good, but has the potential to fall flat. You'd need to add body in the form of mousses or sprays to get that body. Instead, you might consider cutting hair a bit shorter so it doesn't fall flat. Hair with more wave or curl will have to be wrangled in with a hair dryer and a round brush. If you have curly hair, forget about it unless you want to get your hair chemically straightened.
Olivia Newton John's Long Bob
This is the perfect haircut for Olivia Newton John's hair texture. She has fine, straight hair, but it grows densely so she has a lot of it. The key to a long bob, which looks great on people of all ages, is to have the hair in the back an inch or two shorter than the front so it angles forward. Make sure your stylist doesn't cut in too many layers, though, which can ruin this look.
Sharon Lawrence is a great example of a woman who looks much younger with longer hair, and it's easy to go the other direction. She was born in 1961, but she looked quite a bit older when she wore her hair above her chin. Now that she's grown her hair longer (and chosen to lighten it) she looks younger. Note the layers cut into her hair and the lighter colors around the face. That's the secret to a youthful haircut and color.
Ellen Burstyn is proof that "women of a certain age" can look stunning at any age. However, you'll need a skilled hairdresser to pull off this look. That's because Burstyn's hair is chock full of layers that are cut to frame her particular face.
You also have to consider your hair texture. It's true that many women with fine, thin hair look better with hair that's above their shoulders with a few layers cut in. But women with thick, curly hair may actually look better with longer hair. That's because longer hair will weigh down the curl.
Hutton started modeling in her early 20's, so it's not surprising she knows how to look stylish and how to wear long hair over the age of 70. She's always worn her hair below her shoulders. It's also worth noting that her cut (parted in the middle) is the ideal shape for someone with a square face.
Dame Helen Mirren (born July 26, 1945) never goes out without a great haircut.
You may not believe this, but Mirren claims she cuts her own hair. She once told Redbook Magazine, "I can’t handle going to the hairdresser every six weeks, so I only go about once a year. In between, I get out the scissors and do something, usually rather disastrously. Sometimes I’ll even chop my hair the morning of a big red carpet event."
This cut on Mirren is likely a professional one. This cut in particular is super flattering. Mirren has an oval face shape, so she looks best in hairstyles that aren't too long, and that add width to the sides of her face, like this one. Not everyone needs to worry about their face shape—but it can be extremely helpful to know yours.
Back to this great haircut. Note the long, side-swept bangs which fall to her cheeks. When getting a haircut with layers, such as this one, make sure the layers are long. Short layers can make your hairstyle look dated.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem is still wearing her hair long at age 83. The founder of Ms. Magazine may have won the genetic lottery with her perfectly symmetric facial features, but she's proof that if you find the right hairstyle for your shape face, you can wear it in your 60's, 70's, 80's, and beyond.
Stand-up comedian Lisa Lampanelli was born in 1961 and looks much, much younger than her age. This is because she's chosen to dye to her hair a youthful shade of strawberry blonde and peppered it with highlights. Lampanelli has an extremely long face and the deep side-sweep of the extra long bangs help to deflect her long face shape. She wears her hair much shorter on the left side, which is another hairstyling trick tor those of you with a long face and easy to manage hair (i.e, not too fine, thick, wavy, or straight).
Czech-born Swedish model Paulina Porizkova, (born in 1965,) is the second woman after Christie Brinkley to be featured on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue two years running (1984 and 1985). Porizkova looks incredible in this shoulder-length hairstyle.
The off-center part helps to frame her square face shape and creates a young, modern look. You don't have to be a swimsuit model to pull off this look. Just bring a picture of Porizkova with you the next time you head to your hair salon.
Cecille Richards (born in 1957) is an American pro-choice activist who has served as the president of Planned Parenthood. It's clear to see how young she looks for her age in this short haircut. Two things help create a youthful appearance for Richards: the exaggerated side-swept bangs, and the bright (not warm) shade of blonde her hairdresser chose.
Donna Mills; Hoda Kotb
Donna Mills (born 1940, left) and Hoda Kotb (born 1964, right) both have stunning hairstyles in this photo. Can you believe Mills is in her mid-70s? You could easily find hairstyles that make you look a good 10 years if you scour the fashion magazines, or pay attention to older female celebs who walk the red carpet.
Just because you're a certain age, you don't have to wear your hair short. Rita Wilson (born October 26, 1956), looks gorgeous with her hair worn shoulder-length. What's important is that your hairstyle should flatter your face and your figure. If you have a round or square face, you may look better with hair that's longer.
Joanna Coles and Mika Brzezinski
Many older people with graying hair often opt to go blonde instead of dark. Blonde hair tends to blend in better with the grays as they grow in. Dark hair can also emphasize the lines on your face, according to stylist Brad Johns in Charla Krupp's book, "How Not to Look Old." If you have gone all gray, consider becoming a blonde rather than a brunette, as Joanna Coles (left) and Mika Brzezinski (right) do here.
Love her or hate her, but Lisa Vanderpump has great hair. Sometimes she even dyes a few strands of her favorite color (pink, obviously) into the front to make her look young and hip. Vanderpump was born September 15, 1960, and looks decades younger in part because of her long flowing locks and off-center part.
Leeza Gibbons (born March 26, 1957) has a classicly-styled medium length cut that is considered a bit longer than most medium length hairdos. A big part of this is side-swept bangs. Bangs on the right person, with the right cut, can take years off someone's age. Another age-reversal trick is cutting long layers into the front and back, so the hair has more bounce.
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Charla Krupp is a beauty guru for older women, and the author of "How Not to Look Old." Krupp says that easiest, fastest, and least expensive way to take 20 years off your look is to invest in trendy, modern eyeglass frames. It's easy to find the best glasses for older women if you just look around. Just be sure you get a second option (from a friend or family member) before you head to the optometrist.