Haircut trends are fickle. What’s popular is constantly changing every few years, and what suits your face may shift as you age. While your age, on its own, shouldn’t make you choose one style over another, we talked to experts who shared some tried and true haircuts for people over 50.
“I am a firm believer that age is what you make it and [you shouldn’t] let a number hold you back. I hear far too often, ‘I’m too old for that’ or ‘if only I was younger,’” says celebrity hairstylist Samantha Bentson. Choosing the most flattering hairstyle for your face can be a journey, and we’re here to help with a few suggestions. “Watching our faces mature can be a hard pill to swallow, so choosing the most flattering haircut can ease the pain,” says hairstylist Michelle Cleveland.
Age isn’t the only factor when choosing a hairstyle nor is it the most important. “It’s more about identifying your face shape and understanding the features of your bone structure and highlighting what you want to accentuate, or features you’d like to take away,” says Rodger Azadganian, the founder of äz Craft Luxury Haircare. “The cut and style also has to suit the individual’s lifestyle.” Check out expert backed advice and see if any of the cuts they suggest are right for you.
Do: curtain bangs
Bentson wants people over 50 to step out of their comfort zone a bit this year. “For 2022, I would love to see more waves and curtain bangs on women over 50. A face-framing hairstyle can enhance natural waves and look beautiful on women over 50,” says Bentson.
Avoid: wispy bangs
Do: add layers and movement
Cleveland says layers and movement that direct the hair up and away from the jawline tend to suit people over 50. She recommends “a textured bob or a face frame with strategically placed layers. These pieces redirect the eye up and away from the parts of the face that tend to show the effects of aging the most.”
Avoid: over-stacking or over-layering hair
While layering is your friend, too much of a good thing can be bad. “The biggest styling no-no’s for women over 50 both come down to over-stacking or over-layering your hair,” says Bentson. For example, “We love an angled bob, but when the back is stacked too high, it flattens the back of your head and accentuates the appearance of a thicker neck.”
Although medium-length cuts with short, stacked layers have been the standard for a long time, Bentson says it’s becoming a thing of the past. “The over-layering and feathering [tend] to look like a mullet when it isn’t styled. So for the busy woman, there is a lot of upkeep to keep it in a perfect shape.”
Do: a sleek classic bob
A sleek classic bob is a timeless style. It’s “very flattering and chic, and always on trend,” says hairstylist Jennifer Korab. “Classic bobs, which are generally softer, usually fall around chin length and are the perfect face framing style. They show off your face but are not as exposing as a pixie [cut].”
Do: a lob
Somewhere between a bob and medium-length hair lives the lob. “A lob accentuates volume and frames the face,” explains Korab. “This cut is most flattering and will give a youthful appearance.”
Do: a medium-length moderately layered cut
“This cut will give your hair back some life and bounce,” says Korab, and it suits many women of all ages and hair types. “It’s light and youthful while remaining strong and polished.” She recommends trying it “with a bang, for more coverage around the face.” Opt for longer, more moderate layers to avoid the over-layering mentioned earlier.
Avoid: long un-layered hair
“I would recommend avoiding long, layer-less hair with middle parts,” says Korab. Without layers or movement, this style can appear flat. “Long straight hair with a middle part can drag your face down. It lacks the needed volume to give life and vibrancy to your hair.”
Cleveland notes that “as we age, our faces head south, so redirecting your cut to aid in visually lifting it is a good idea,” which is why long un-layered hair may not be the most flattering. “Wearing your hair pin-straight with any length below the chin creates a vertical line around the face. This line directs the eye of someone looking at you, up and down, which actually works against an aging face,” she adds.