Whether you’ve always experimented with your hair — who can forget those ’80s perms or brassy Sun-In enhanced blond streaks—or have worn the same style for decades and are ready to try something new, the older we get, the more risky making big changes to our appearance can be. But the one small change that all hairstylists guarantee will make the biggest impact for women over 50? Bangs!
When cut in a way that suits your hair texture and face, bangs can be ultra flattering while working anti-aging miracles for women over 50, says Louise O’Connor, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Louise O’Connor Salon in New York City. That’s because, “bangs can hide thinning hair, give the illusion of thicker hair, soften fine lines or camouflage wrinkles and visually lift cheekbones,” she explains.
But with so many bang styles and lengths to choose from, it’s hard to know which type is right for you. Read on for the nine best bangs for women over 50, plus the hair type and face shapes they pair best with.
1. Straight bangs
True blunt bangs a la Mary Steenburgen, will be cut straight across the forehead, typically just brushing your eyebrows, which makes them a great choice when wanting to hide forehead creases. They also beautifully frame the eyes to make them a focal point and great bangs for women over 50.
Best hair type for straight bangs: Straight, thick hair types, says celebrity hairstylist Michael Braun, because they ensure the fringe keeps its shape.
Best face shape for straight bangs: Round faces, because their bluntness counteracts fullness by creating more angular-looking features, says Braun. They’re also a good option if you have an oval face as they add optical width to the face to balance out its length.
2. Side-swept bangs
Unlike straight bangs, side-swept bangs can be layered in with the rest of your hair — Jennifer Garner’s style is a perfect example. They tend to be longer than straight bangs, falling between the top of your eyes and the bottom of your nose, and create an effortless style no matter what type of hair day you’re having.
“A lot of women find their long hair is dragging them down as they get older and aging them but do not want to cut it off,” says O’Connor. This makes side-swept bangs a great alternative as they remove some of the weight of longer hair and create movement and texture.
Best hair type for side fringe: It’s good for all hair types, but particularly for naturally wavy hair since tucking them behind your ears with its swept-aside look emphasizes hair’s natural shape.
Best face shape for side fringe: Square and heart face shapes, thanks to the style’s rounded silhouette that softens angular features.
3. Curly bangs
This one’s for all the curly-haired girls out there! You might have thought bangs were out of the question for you, but think again. It turns out that they might be the ultimate hack to making your everyday look a total breeze.
That’s because bangs tend to blend seamlessly into the shape created by natural hair (just see Angela Bassett for proof). Curly hair is all about volume, and bangs “add even more dimension,” says Braun.
Best hair type for curly bangs: This style of bang works best for coily, kinky hair and should work with your curl pattern. “Make sure they are cut with minimal tension to account for shrinkage,” adds Braun.
Best face shape for curly bangs: They flatter all face shapes as the coils counteract fullness for round faces, help balance an oval face and offset the harsh angles of square and heart faces.
4. Shaggy bangs
Looking for a way to add bangs without all the work that comes with them? Give shaggy bangs a try. This low-maintenance style of bangs, seen on Suzanne Somers, has built-in movement and dimension, making them super easy to style — plus, they visually thicken hair. And they aren’t just for shag haircuts!
The shagginess means they’re slightly uneven, so you can do trims at home if you’re so inclined and if you mess up no on will know.
Best hair type for shaggy bangs: Fine or thick hair, since they can help thinner hair look thicker and remove some of the weight of thicker strands.
Best face shape for shaggy bangs: Round and oval face shapes, since they slim round faces and creating balance for oval faces.
5. Wispy bangs
Another lower maintenance bang? Wispy ones like Sally Field’s! “There’s no grow out period,” says O’Connor. That’s because they turn into layers as hair becomes longer. And there’s a reason why this bang style is usually paired with pixie and cropped cuts — they soften the cut and balance a thicker, piled-on crop really nicely to keep shorter hair from looking too severe or matronly.
Best hair type for wispy bangs: Thin or fine hair, as the feathery look helps strands appear more dense.
Best face shape for wispy bangs: Square and heart face shapes, as they draw the eye up and away from sharp jawlines.
6. Layered bangs (aka curtain bangs)
Layered bangs (also referred to as curtain bangs) drape across the forehead and seamlessly blend in with the rest of hair. They can be as short as your eyebrows, as long as your earlobes or somewhere in the middle like Halle Berry’s, depending on the shape of your face and how dramatic you want to be. And because they tend to be longer, they give off an effortless, youthful feel making them great bangs for women over 50.
Best hair type for layered bangs: All hair types as they can be cut to best suit different textures depending on where they rest.
Best face shape for layered bangs: Square or heart face since they can help reshape the face by balancing out a strong jaw and chin, says Braun.
7. Uneven bangs
A direct contrast to straight bangs’ blunt and straightforward look, uneven bangs don’t have to happen by accident. When done correctly (i.e. by a professional), uneven, choppy bangs are the perfect bangs for women over 50, because they amp up a cut’s playfulness and drama for an effortlessly flattering look, no matter what state your hair might be in.
Look to Lisa Rinna for inspiration who’s rocked uneven bangs for decades, pairing them with her signature shaggy, chin-length hairstyle. An added perk? Since there’s no need to ensure every single strand is the exact same length means these can be easily touched up at home—sign us up!
Best hair type for uneven bangs: All hair types thanks to all the texture it creates.
Best face shape for uneven bangs: Square or heart faces, since the uneven length adds visual interest to the top of the head, detracting from harsh angles.
8. Long bangs
Picture straight bangs that fall into the eyes just about midline with the pupil as seen here on Jane Seymour. That’s the length you’re looking at when you ask for long bangs, the cooler, artsy older sister to regular straight bangs.
One note: Because this style of bangs needs to fall at precisely the right place on your face to work, they’re definitely a little higher maintenance than other bang styles, cautions O’Connor. You have about a centimeter of leeway in each direction before getting too short or too long, meaning you’ll need regular trims.
Best hair type for long bangs: Straight or wavy hair and can add a bit of zest to an otherwise simple ‘do.
Best face shape for long bangs: Long bangs can accomplish a little magic: They automatically pull attention away from the forehead and down toward eyes. So if your forehead is on the longer side (like it tends to be with heart-shaped faces) or you want your face to look leaner and less round, long bangs could be the look for you.
9. Micro bangs
On the other side of the coin, micro bangs are also great bangs for women over 50. Not sure what micro bangs would look like? Glenn Close (above) is the perfect example. Also called short bangs or baby bangs, “they are a very edgy look,” says O’Connor. They easily create volume on a shorter hairstyle, so if you’re looking for a way to add some depth to your pixie cut, these are the right bangs for you.
Best hair type for short bangs: All hair types. And when getting short bangs, your hairstylist will “sculpt them to enhance the features, framing the face and going with the natural texture of the hair,” says O’Connor.
Best face shape for short bangs: All face shapes, but work especially well with square and heart faces as the softness of short bangs offset angular features.
New ‘do, new you!
No matter what style of bang you land on, the important thing is that you feel as good as you look. A new haircut can be refreshing and exciting, so if you’re on the fence about chopping your locks, don’t hesitate – the bangs of your dreams are waiting for you!”
To learn more about how to make hair look thicker, click through these stories!