20 Gorgeous Shoulder-Length Haircuts for Women Over 50

01
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Shoulder-Length Works for Everyone

Diane Keaton in two different shoulder length haircuts
Andreas Rentz for Getty

Medium-length hair is the perfect length for every woman and it's a graceful look for anyone who's over 50. It's still long enough to be considered stylish and sexy but not so long that 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 for anyone, no matter their age, hair texture, or face shape. What's more, it's a super popular length and never goes out of style.

Find Your Perfect Medium Length Cut

Finding the perfect shoulder-length cut for you depends on three 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 for you.
  2. Your face shape. The same goes for face shape. Some cuts flatter some face shapes better than others.
  3. Your personality. Whether you consider yourself edgy, laid-back, hip, sophisticated, classic, or trendy, there will be a shoulder-length cut for you.

The most flattering hairstyles include long bobs, shaggy styles, wavy hair, and pin straight cuts. We'll also show you how bangs can take years off a face and why layers can both lighten thick hair and add loads of body to fine hair.

Diane Keaton's Style

This haircut works on Diane Keaton because it doesn't compete with her funky wardrobe. It's simple, flattering and no-nonsense. An edgier cut would overwhelm her. It's a perfect example of the haircut fitting a woman's personality.

Keep in mind that Keaton sports some pretty amazing glasses. If you wear glasses, you can use them to play up your style. It's a fashion accessory that not everyone has, so make the most of it and explore your options to find a fit that matches your personal style.

In her book, "How Not to Look Old," the late Charla Krupp insists that an easy way to take 20 years off your look is to invest in trendy, modern frames.

02
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Add Body to Thinning Hair

Raquel Welch hair
Getty Images: Gabriel Olsen, Gregg DeGuire

As we age, our hair loses some of its body. To get some volume back in fine, thinning hair, you'll want to have layers cut in, 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 your hair. Blow dry it with a diffuser or scrunch it dry to create body.

Raquel Welch may have been in her 70s when these photos were taken, but her voluminous hair defies her age. The bright highlights really help as well, but it's simply unbelievable how young this Hollywood legend looks.

03
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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 it won't work for everyone. Long layers add body to flat hair, texture to thick hair and control to curly hair.

Be careful not to layer too much in the 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, don't allow layers above your earlobe or you risk a dated look.

04
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Color Gives Hair Body

Jessica Lange
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

Getting your hair colored also adds tons of body. That's because hair color actually plumps up the hair's cuticles, plumping them up. Jessica Lange colors her graying hair a gorgeous blonde, which is a great choice because any grays that grow in blend into the lighter color.

05
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It's Trendy to Embrace the Grays

White hair on woman
LWA/Larry Williams

It's now popular for women to embrace their naturally gray or silver hair. It's a gorgeous color and natural gray is a hue that many younger women are trying to emulate with dyes, though it's not the same.

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 all skin tones, you may want to warm up your makeup as well.
  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 that you can always color it whenever you like.

06
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Covering Up Those Grays

Deirdre Hall
Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff

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 Krupp's book. 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, it may be best to get 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 may look a bit washed out.

07
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Staying Dark

Finola Hughes
Mark Mainz / Staff /Getty Images

Many women become blondes as they get older, a natural move considering gray is a softer, lighter color than a natural brown. But blonde hair doesn't complement all skin tones. A better bet for naturally dark-haired women like Finola Hughes 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 with a good drugstore hair dye. Be sure to choose a permanent dye because it works better on grays than the semi-permanent options.

08
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Embrace Your Natural Hair Texture

Kate Capshaw
WireImage for Getty

Kate Capshaw has worn many styles over the years, but her naturally curly hair is one of the best looks for her. For years, many women fought their natural hair texture—straightening curls and curling straight hair—but it's become trendy to embrace your natural hair texture.

It's much easier on your hair. Once you ditch the chemicals and excessive heat, you'll find that your hair is much healthier. The trick is learning how to work with the texture you were born with.

If you have naturally curly hair, chances are you know the challenges that come with styling and caring for it. Learning how to tame frizz on humid days as well as proper shampooing and conditioner can really make a difference.

09
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Embracing Your Waves

Women with wavy hair
​Ada Summer/Getty Images

Many women have a wavy hair texture. If yours is also naturally thick, this is a spectacular length. Any shorter and it would pouff out. Any longer and it could draw down a rounder face, potentially making her look older than she is.

10
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A Simple Haircut for Straight Hair

Woman standing on pallet wall
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. The side part adds volume to thinner hair and it can be styled with a center part for face-framing elegance.

11
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Bangs Can Take Off Years

Mary Steenburgen
Amanda Edwards / Contributor

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

Bangs can be high-maintenance, however. You have to get them cut every few weeks or learn how to trim them at home to keep up the look.

12
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Show off Your Eyes With Bangs

Glenn Close
Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images

Glen Close has beautiful eyes and her long, side-sweeping bangs highlight them perfectly. The angle draws attention to her eyes and they work with both wavy and curlier hair at this length. Bangs can also camouflage some of your less than flattering features, such as a high forehead or a few wrinkles.

You have a choice when it comes to bangs. If the side-sweep isn't right for you, consider fringe bangs or have your stylist cut layers that start at the eye.

13
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Handling Frizzy Hair

Blythe Danner
Rich Polk / Stringer/Getty Images

Blythe Danner has thick, wavy hair that can get frizzy. Sure, you can fight it as much as you want, or you can just go with it. This hairstyle is gorgeous on Blythe Danner 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.

14
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The Short and Long of It

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

Kelly Lynch offers an example of hair that looks much better shorter than it did long. While it's a myth that you can't wear long hair after a certain age, cutting off a few inches can make a big difference.

Bob hairstyles are a chic choice for 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.

There are a couple things 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 great 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.

15
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Bring Out the Curling Iron

Eliana Miglio
Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Staff/Getty Images

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.

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The Mussy Shag

Kate Capshaw
Toby Canhan / Stringer/Getty Images

The shaggy look of this haircut on Kate Capshaw makes her look much younger than her years. It's due, in part, to the rather youthful cut. The shag is achieved through proper layering. Make sure your stylist keeps the ends textured and chunky.

17
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The Wavy Long Bob

Ellen Barkin
Donna Ward for Getty

This shoulder-length wavy bob is very trendy among women half Ellen Barkin's age, and it looks great on her, too. Her bright blonde color contrasts her darker features. The waves have that sexy beach look that's so popular. It all comes together perfectly because it's modern and sophisticated at the same time.

18
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Go Edgy if You're Edgy

Carine Roitfeld
Jim Spellman / Contributor

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.

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 the trends she worked with.

19
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The Long Bob Rules

Carla Zampatti
Caroline McCredie / Stringer /Getty Images

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 very flattering on her face shape.

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

20
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A Gorgeous Wavy Cut

Jaclyn Smith
Paul Archuleta / Contributor

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 the first two seasons 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 a key to her look.

21
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A Youthful Cut

Michelle Pfeiffer
Dominique Charriau / Contributor

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).

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 be at holding​ its shape.

22
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The Classic Flip

Camillia Duchess of Cornwall
Leon Neal / Staff

Camilla Parker Bowles sports a Farrah Fawcett flip that would not work for everyone but looks beautiful on her. What works for you may not on someone else.

You have to find your best cut. 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 may say.

23
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Long Natural Curls

Julia Louis Dreyfus
Michael Tran / Contributor/Getty Images

This is a great way to show off natural curls without them looking frizzy and unkempt. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has kept her hair long over the years, and though she has gone straight, she often goes with her natural curls. 

24
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The Wavy Lob

Angela Bassett
Tibrina Hobson / Contributor

Angela Basset has a very fun wavy lob (long bob) that is a great length for African American women. It has a beautiful texture and the layers give it a wilder look that's just a little easier to keep up with.

25
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The Bob, But Shoulder-Length

Lorraine Toussaint
Stefanie Keenan / Contributor /Getty Images

Lorraine Toussaint shows off a much sleeker version of the bob and this one is shoulder length. Taking the classic bob down an inch or two can really elongate your face and that inner curl at the bottom draws the eye right back to her face.

Getting your hair this straight and smooth will require some help from things like flat irons and relaxers, but the elegance is worth it.