Medium-Length Hairstyles for Women Over 50

01
of 30

20 Gorgeous Shoulder-Length Haircuts for Women Over 50

diane-keaton-medium-length.png
Diane Keaton in two different shoulder length haircuts. Andreas Rentz for Getty

Medium length is the perfect length for hair in women over 50 age bracket because it's still long enough to be considered stylish and sexy but not so long you'll look like you're trying to be 25 again. 

You simply can't go wrong with a cut that falls somewhere between the chin and a few inches below the shoulders. This length works on anyone no matter their age, their hair texture and their face shape. What's more, it's a super popular length at the moment, so popular that it made my list of the The Year's Top 20 Hairstyle Trends.

How to Find Your Perfect Medium Length Cut

Finding the perfect shoulder-length cut for you depends on 3 things:

  1. Your hair texture. Whether you have curly, fine, coarse, frizzy, straight or just plain finicky hair, there will be a medium cut that works on you.
  2. Your face shape. The same goes for face shape. Some cuts flatter some face shapes better than others.
  3. Your personality. If you consider yourself edgy, laid-back, hip, sophisticated, classic, trendy or lazy-to-the-point-of-wearing-your-hair-always-in-a-ponytail, there will be a shoulder-length cut for you.

In this photo gallery, see all-time favorite medium hairstyles on older women, such as long bobs, shaggy styles, wavy hair and pin straight cuts. You'll see how bangs can take years off a face and why layers can both lighten thick hair and add loads of body to fine hair.

But first, let's talk about Diane Keaton.

Why This Cut Works On Diane Keaton

This haircut works on Diane Keaton because it doesn't compete with her funky wardrobe and her edgy glasses. It's simple, flattering and no-nonsense. An edgier cut would overwhelm her.

This is an example of the haircut fitting a woman's personality.

Keep in mind that Keaton sports some pretty amazing glasses. If you wear glasses, the wrong frames can ruin your look, making you look dowdy no matter how fabulous your hair, makeup and personality are.

In her book, "How Not to Look Old," the late Charla Krupp insists an easy way to take 20 years off your look is to invest in trendy, modern frames for your glasses. And she's right.

02
of 30

How to Add Body to Your Medium Length Cut

Raquel Welch hair. Getty Images: Gabriel Olsen, Gregg DeGuire

As we age, our hair loses some of its body. To get body back in fine, thinning hair, you'll want to have layers cut in, and then use a volumizing mousse or spray to style it. Be sure to add product to the roots and at the crown and never on top of hair. Blow dry hair with a diffuser or scrunch it dry to create body.

Raquel Welch, born Sept. 5, 1940, is in her 70s. Unbelievable, right? Get inspired by other hairstyles on women this age in Great Haircuts for Women in Their 70s & 80s.

03
of 30

Proper Layering is Key

shoulder-length-hair.jpg
Image Source for Getty

The key to a great medium-length cut lies in the layering.

One-length hair is great for hair that's not too coarse and not too thin, but won't work on everyone. Long layers are the key to the perfect haircut because they add body to flat hair, texture to thick hair and control to curly hair.

Be careful not to layer too much in back. Too many layers and you may end up with a mullet -- a heavy top and straggly, anemic ends. Layers should be cut in the front to frame the face. If you have short hair, don't let your stylist cut layers above the eye. If you have long hair, never allow layers above your earlobe or you risk a dated look.

04
of 30

Color Gives Hair Body

Jessica Lange. Frederick M. Brown // Getty Images

Getting your hair colored also adds tons of body because hair color affects the hair's cuticles, plumping them up. Jessica Lange, pictured here, colors her graying hair a gorgeous blonde.

Lange is in her 60s. Get inspired by this gallery of Great Haircuts for Women in Their 60s.

05
of 30

Why It's Trendy to Embrace the Grays

shoulder-length.jpg
LWA/Larry Williams

It's now popular for women to embrace their naturally gray or silver hair. If you're thinking about going gray, here are some things to consider:

  1. If your natural gray or silver hair is gorgeous, then go for it. But not all gray hair is flattering to skin tone.
  2. If you don't want the hassle and expense of covering up gray, letting it go could be a perfect option.
  3. For women who want to embrace life as it develops, wrinkles, gray hair and all, going natural is, well, just natural.

If you have some gray hair and you're considering going natural, listen to your gut. If you want to grow it out, you can do so knowing you can always color it again if it bothers you.

06
of 30

Let's Talk About Covering Up Those Grays

Deidre-Hall-hairstyles.jpg
Deidre Hall. Michael N. Todaro for Getty Images

Silver hair can be very sexy. However, not all women embrace their natural hair color.

Many older women with graying hair opt to go blonde instead of dark. Blonde hair tends to blend in better with the grays as they grow in. Dark hair can emphasize the lines on your face, according to stylist Brad Johns in the late Charla Krupp's book, "How Not to Look Old." If you have gone all gray, consider becoming a blonde rather than a brunette as actress Deidre Hall does here. You'll have to update your roots less often.

While you can do your own hair, I recommend getting your hair colored professionally. You don't want your blonde color to be too light. It's best to have some contrast between your skin and your hair, otherwise you can look washed out.

07
of 30

Should You Stay Dark Instead of Lightening Up?

Finola Hughes. Alberto E. Rodriguez // Getty Images

Many women become blondes as they get older, a natural move considering gray is a softer, lighter color than a natural brown. You'll see examples of blondes in this gallery. But blonde hair doesn't complement all skin tones. A better bet for naturally dark-haired women like Finola Hughes, pictured here, is to color your hair a dark base and get lighter highlights.

There are times when you should get professional help: if you have complicated hair, if you want to go from gray to auburn or if you want highlights. If you are simply trying to cover up a few grays or you want to dye your hair a couple shades lighter or darker than it is now, you can do that via a good drugstore hair dye.

08
of 30

The Mussy Shag

Kate Capshaw, wife of Steven Spielberg, born November 3, 1953. Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

I love the shaggy look of this haircut on Kate Capshaw, taken a few years ago. She looks much younger than her years in this photo and that's partly thanks to the youthful cut. The shag is achieved through proper laying. Make sure your stylist keeps the ends textured and chunky.

09
of 30

Wavy Long Bob

Ellen Barkin. Donna Ward for Getty

This shoulder-length wavy bob is hugely trendy among women half Ellen Barkin's age, but it looks great on her. 

10
of 30

Embrace Your Natural Hair Texture

kate-capshaw-curly.png
Kate Capshaw. WireImage for Getty

Here's another image of Kate Capshaw taken more recently. Here, she wears her naturally curly hair curly. These days it's trendy to embrace your natural hair texture and let it go, instead of chemically straightening it or curling it.

If you have naturally curly hair  like Capshaw, chances are you know the challenges that come with styling and caring for curly hair. There's the frizz you have to deal with the moment humidity enters the air. You know how to properly wash, condition and dry your (oh, hair dryer, how we wish you didn't cause so much frizz!).

11
of 30

Go Edgy if You're Edgy

Carine Roitfeld. Getty Images

A hairstyle must fit your personality type. For example, if you are laid-back and sporty, you might consider a haircut that won't take a lot of time to perfect. Or better yet, opt for a style that's wash and go. If you are classic and sophisticated, consider a long bob that's blown out to perfection. Here, Carine Roitfeld shows off an edgy shag that matches her status: trendy, edgy and cool. As the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Roitfeld manages to wear a cut that epitomizes cool.

12
of 30

Embracing Your Waves

wavy-hair.jpg
Stone for Getty

Let's talk more about hair texture. This woman has naturally thick, wavy hair and it looks spectacular at this length. Any shorter and it would pouff out. Any longer and it could draw down her face, potentially making her look older than she is.

Women these days spend an extraordinary amount of money trying to change their hair texture to something it's not. They straighten their naturally curly hair with potentially dangerous chemicals, they add volume to their flat, fine hair with extensions that can damage the flat, fine hair they were born with and they curl and flat-iron and get perms all in the name of, well, changing themselves.

One of the greatest lessons in life that many women don't learn until they have a few years behind them, is that to be truly happy, you must accept yourself for who you are.

13
of 30

Bangs Can Take Years Off Your Face

Mary-Steenburgen-hairstyles.jpg
Mary Steenburgen shoulder-length hair. Jon Kopaloff for Getty Images

If you don't have bangs, consider getting them. Long, side-swept bangs such as these can visually take years off your look. They bring attention to your eyes and keep attention off your neckline, which tends to get saggy and wrinkly even on women with the best plastic surgery.

Bangs can be high-maintenance however. You have to get them cut every few weeks.

14
of 30

The Long Bob Rules

This long bob on fashion designer Carla Zampatti is a favorite because it defies age. Zampatti's hair is thick, has a beautiful sheen and color and is a very flattering on her face shape.

The long bob works with all face shapes and all hair textures. If you have curly hair, you'll have to straighten your hair to get this effect.

15
of 30

A Gorgeous Cut on Jaclyn Smith

Jaclyn Smith hairstyles
Jaclyn Smith hairstyles. Jason Merritt for Getty Images

Jaclyn Smith looks so youthful here it's hard to believe she's almost in her 70s. Her hair is thick and wavy and as long as the average 25-year-old's. How does she look so awesome at her age?

Hair is a big part of Smith's career. She hosted seasons 1 and 2 of Shear Genius, the reality TV show about aspiring hairstylists, and she was a hair model early in her career. She has thick curly hair that tends to be dry and not too oily (it would fall flat if it was), so a good cut is key to her look.

16
of 30

Michelle Pfeiffer's Youthful Cut

Michelle Pfeiffer. Jesse Grant for Getty Images

Volume in hair is key. Flat, lifeless hair is something you might battle as you age. The secret to voluminous hair lies in a good cut and great styling (styling sprays, curling irons, etc). Here, Michelle Pfeiffer shows off gorgeous hair that's a bit longer and full of volume. Keep in mind it's harder to keep volume in hair that's long. The shorter you go, the better your hair will hold it's shape.

17
of 30

The Short and Long of It

Kelly Lynch. From left: Frederick M. Brown and Joe Scarnici for Getty

Here's an example of hair that looks much better shorter than long. After a certain age, super long hair can make you look as if you are trying to be 25 again. Kelly Lynch would look great with a mop on her head, but in side-by-side comparisons, I her shoulder-lenth bob looks better than the long hair.

Bob hairstyles are a chic choice on older women because they tend to look good on all face shapes. Anyone with a nice jawline and neck will look good in a bob.

Here are some tips to consider before getting your hair cut:

  • Consider your personality. If you are classic and clean, consider yourself to be sophisticated, a bob may be for you.
  • Your lifestyle is important. Bobs usually require a blow dryer and sometimes a flat iron to achieve this sleek look. If you don't pay much attention to your hair, consider if you'll be able to maintain your bob, including the trims you'll need every six weeks (unless you're growing your hair out).

18
of 30

Show off Your Eyes With Side-Sweeping Bangs

Glenn Close. from left: Steven Lovekin and Jason Merritt for Getty

If you think it's time for a new or updated hairstyle, consider playing up your good features while camouflaging your not-so-good ones. For example, if you get compliments on your eyes, you can play them up with side-sweeping bangs, fringe bangs or layers that start at the eye.

19
of 30

A Great Haircut and Color

Arianna-Huffington-hairstyles.jpg
Arianna Huffington. Tommaso Boddi for Getty Images

Love this haircut on Arianna Huffington, who shares her top beauty secrets here. Huffington is in her 60s.

20
of 30

How to Style Frizzy Hair

blythe-danner-hair.jpg
Getty Images

Blythe Danner has thick, wavy hair that can get frizzy. This hairstyle is gorgeous on her because it shows off the amount of hair she has, which is a lot. If you have thick hair, show it off! Grow it out and fluff it up.

21
of 30

What Works For Some, May Not for Others

Camilla; Duchess of Cornwall. Chris Jackson

Camilla Parker Bowles sports a Farrah Fawcett flip that would not work on everyone but looks beautiful on her. What works on you may not on someone else. You have to find your best cut and you can do that with the help of a knowledgeable stylist, a dear friend or just by trusting your gut and opting for a hairstyle that you love, no matter what the naysayers say when you bring up the idea to them.

Bowles's hairstylist, Jo Hansford, is quite the character. Read what she has to say about working with Bowles, A-listers and D-listers and find out how she feels about gray hair in this interview. 

22
of 30

Olivia Newton John's Perfect Long Bob

Olivia-Newton-John.jpg
Paul Archuleta for Getty Images

This long bob on Olivia Newton John would work on a woman of any age, it's that fabulous.

23
of 30

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus.jpg
Jeff Kravitz for Getty

This is a great way to show off natural curls without them looking frizzy and unkempt.

24
of 30

Sally Field's Perfect Waves

Sally-Field.jpg
Jason Merritt for Getty Images

Note the side-swept bangs on actress Sally Field's wavy lob. They taper perfectly into her layers.

25
of 30

Lisa Edelstein

Lisa-Edelstein.jpg
Mathew Imaging for Getty

Love Lisa's natural curls here.

26
of 30

A Simple Haircut for Straight Hair

Getty: Image Source

If you have straight hair that requires very little upkeep and you're low-maintenance, then this is a great classic hairstyle.

27
of 30

Add Bangs to Your Cut

Getty Images

Side-swept bangs like these are an easy and fun way to change your look without cutting off the rest of your hair.

28
of 30

The Wavy Lob

Actress Angela Bassett. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

This wavy lob flatters Angela Bassett.

29
of 30

Bring Out the Curling Iron

Eliana Miglio. Getty by Ernesto Ruscio

To add some sexiness and dress up straight hair, bring out your curling iron. Curl hair away from your face by winding hair around the barrel of the curling iron. Leave ends out for a more modern, fresh look.

30
of 30

The Bob, But Shoulder-Length

Actress Lorraine Toussaint. Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

This shoulder-length version of the classic chin-length bob is lovely on this actress.