It used to be that turning 50 meant snipping your long locks into a short, more ‘age-appropriate’ (read: matronly) style. But as these over-50 A-listers prove, with the right cut, you can rock any length you want — and look years younger to boot! Here are five of the most age-defying cuts for short, mid-length, and long hair. Find the one that works for you.
The banged bob masks forehead furrows.
“A classic bob is universally for lattering for all ages,” says hairstylist Diane Stevens, who has worked with Angela Bassett and Regina King. “It’s chic and works well with all hair textures.” What ups the cut’s anti-aging factor? Full bangs — an instant way to mask deeper-set brow wrinkles. Tip: Giving bangs a slight part adds a modern touch.
What to ask for: A shoulder-length bob that’s slightly graduated in length with razor-cut ends and full, eyebrow-skimming fringe. Styling tip: Mist damp hair with a leave-in conditioner (we like SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment, Buy from Target, $10.99), which will nourish and soften coarse, textured hair. Then, blow-dry one-inch sections of hair with a medium-size round brush.
The sassy swing softens crow’s-feet.
A cut that floats above the shoulders and has soft layered movement pulls focus off of the face, away from agers like pesky fine lines around the eyes, says hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein, who has worked with Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Garner. What’s more, infusing the mid-length style with bouncy curls helps “blur” other agers like smile lines or jowls.
What to ask for: A bob that sits above the shoulders with graduating, blended layers throughout. Styling tip: Spritz dry hair with a generous amount of a volumizing spray (we like MONAT Studio One Volume and Lift Spray, Buy from MonatGlobal.com, $40) to help prop up strands at the root and give hair some grip. Then curl 2-inch sections of hair with a 1¼-inch curling iron, having curls fall away from the face (this will draw the eye out and away from crow’s feet). After all of hair is curled, gently tousle with fingers. Set with hair spray.
The silky shell camouflages thinning.
The combination of a bluntly cut style (it makes hair appear more “solid”) and side fringe (it hides sparse spots along the temples) creates the illusion of a fuller-looking mane. Adds hairstylist Rodney Cutler, who has worked with Rachael Ray and Emma Watson, the mid-length cut “chisels” the jawline and sideswept bangs “lift” cheekbones.
What to ask for: A blunt crop with point-cut ends that rest below the chin, and side bangs long enough to tuck behind the ear. Styling tip: Blow-dry damp hair using a paddle brush until all of hair is dry. Next, use a f lat iron on one-inch sections of hair to smooth out any natural waves or kinks. Finish by misting strands with a dry texture spray (we like Redken Dry Texture Finishing Spray, Buy from Hair.com, $28). The spray provides finer tresses with some grittiness so the smooth style doesn’t lie flat against the head.
The cheeky chop thickens fine hair.
“A heavily textured crop adds depth and dimension to even the finest of hair so it appears thicker all over,” says celebrity hairstylist Diane Stevens. “And all of the layering throughout gives the style fun, flirty flair.”
What to ask for:A jawline-skimming cut with graduating, stacked layers throughout and soft side fringe in front. Styling tip: Work a dollop of a volumizing mousse (we like Nioxin 3D Styling Bodifying Foam, Buy from Ulta Beauty, $21) through damp hair. Next, blow-dry hair while using a small round brush and pull strands up and out at the roots for added volume. Once hair is dry, gently tousle with fingers to enhance layers and create piecey texture. Set with hair spray.
The feathered flip slims the face.
Weaving soft, long layers into strands that fall past shoulders optically elongates the face so it looks longer and leaner, says celebrity hairstylist Marty Harper. Plus, these layers prevent longer locks from looking limp and lifeless.
What to ask for: A cut that hits below the collarbone with long layers cut at an angle. Styling tip: Apply a quarter-size amount of a blowout cream (we like NatureLab. Tokyo Smooth Blowout Lotion, Buy from NatureLab.com, $13) from roots to ends of damp hair. Next, blow-dry 2-inch sections of hair with a large round brush, pulling some sections away from the face and others toward it to create flippy texture. Once dry, lightly tease hair at the roots, then set with hair spray.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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