Short Hairstyles: 30 Great Styles on Older Women

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The Best Pixies, Bobs, Shags, Long Bobs and More

Getty Images

In this photo gallery, I feature my all-time favorite short hairstyles on older women. I include bobs, edgy cuts, shags, pixie hairstyles and other random and gorgeous short haircuts. Some of them are on famous women, others are not.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding to go -- or stay -- short:

Will It Be Flattering?

While it's a beauty myth that women over 55 must wear their hair short, the real marker for whether you should be wearing your hair short is whether it would flatter your face shape and work with your hair texture.

Curly hair, for example, tends to look better longer. And if you have a round face, you might be better off with a hairstyle that falls a few inches below your chin.

Find out more in How to Choose the Perfect Haircut for Your Hair Texture & Face Shape.

Do Your Research

There's nothing wrong with going into a salon and putting yourself in the professional hands of a stylist. But if you want to ensure you'll get a cut you'll love, do your research first.

My advice is to peruse magazines, this Website and/or Pinterest, and find a few looks you covet. Consider the hair texture of these women and if they match yours. If they have wavy, coarse, curly, fine, straight hair, yours should too.

Hairstyles have little to do with age. If the cut you love is on a 20-something, it might also work on you.

Go old school and print the images out and bring them along for your visit to the salon. Or better yet, save them on your phone.

How to Score a More Hip Hairstyle

If you are thinking of a change and want to go from frumpy to cool, skip the old-lady salons. Instead, make an appointment with a salon that caters to stylish women in your area. Ask women whose hair you admire where they go. Look on Yelp for reviews of salons.

Schedule a Consult

Schedule in a 10-minute consult with your stylist to discuss the styles you love and if they'll work on you. Keep in mind maintenance. If you are a wash-and-go woman (like most of us), make sure your stylist knows this. She may blow dry and flat iron your hair, but will you?

Consider the Maintenance

Short hair has to be trimmed every 4-6 weeks if you want to maintain your style. A great haircut should grow out beautifully, however, so if you're lucky, you might be able to stretch your visits to a few times a year.

Products are Key

To keep your hairstyle from going frizzy or falling flat, you must choose the correct hair product. Use mousse to build body, a pomade for texture and use conditioner liberally if you have dry hair.

Ask your stylist for recommendations, but don't feel you have to buy the pricey products in the salon. Buying at a drugstore or is much more affordable.

Now, enjoy the gallery....

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The Pixie

Cultura for Getty Images

Pixie hairstyles are a classic hairstyle option for women over 50. They frame your face, showing off and highlighting your best features. You'll be glad to know that aside from having to get your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks, they are somewhat low-maintenance. You can wash this hairstyle, add some pomade for texture, and go.

You will need special products for your pixie. I list my favorites in The Best Hair Products for Pixie Hairstyles.

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The Super Edgy Pixie

Judi Dench lets her hair go platinum white. Karwai Tang for Getty Images

This pixie hairstyle on Judi Dench is edgy and cool and could suit a woman at age 15, 25, 40, 65 or 85. I also love that she keeps her hair naturally gray.

More and more women are embracing their gray hair color. There are many reasons to let your gray hair go. If you have a naturally gorgeous gray coloring and you don't want the hassle and expense of covering up gray, it's an excellent option for you. Perhaps you just want to embrace life as it develops, wrinkles, gray hair and all.

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Bangs on a Short Cut

Long bangs on a short haircut. Jim Spellman for Getty Images

You might consider getting bangs if you are interested in the following:

  • Hiding a high forehead. Bangs are great for covering up a hairline that starts way back on the head.
  • Taking a few years off your face. Bangs are youthful. Find out why in Want to Take Years Off Your Face? Just Add Bangs.
  • Bringing attention to your eyes. Bangs such as these sweep down to the eye, bringing attention to them.
  • Adding volume. Bangs can help add volume to flat, lifeless hair.
  • Freshening up your look. If you've had the same haircut that you love for years, you might consider getting bangs just to change things up a bit. You can always grow them out if they don't work well on you.

Keep in mind that bangs require maintenance. They must be trimmed every few weeks (see how to do it yourself) and you want to make sure you blow dry them correctly so you don't get Bubble Bangs.

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The Mussy Shag

Jane Fonda. Stefanie Keenan for Getty

The beauty in the shag hairstyle is that it flatters all face shapes. To get that mussy, choppy look, you'll want to use a salt spray (try my homemade recipe) or texturizing spray and scrunch hair as it dries.

This photo gallery of shag hairstyles will inspire you.

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Funky Cuts Must Fit Your Personality

Angela Bassett. Dave Kotinsky for Getty

Who can wear this look? Anyone with guts, really. This cut is more about attitude than your face shape, according to stylist Matt Fugate to the Glo website. This cut works best on coarse, thick hair. Fine hair will just fall flat without the help of a ton of styling products. A good stylist is adept at funky hairstyles and knows to follow the shape of your head rather than just your face shape when cutting a short, edgy style.

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How to Pick the Perfect Short Cut

Mariella Frostrup. Getty: David M. Benett, Anthony Harvey

Almost everyone can wear their hair short. Some short hairstyles work better with certain face shapes and hair textures. For example, your haircut should give you the illusion of having an oval face shape. So if you have a round face, you'll want to elongate it and if you have a square face, you want to soften your jawline.

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How to Wear Thick, Wavy Hair Short

Getty Images

Let's talk hair texture. You want to make sure your hairstyle works with your hair texture. Typically curly or very thick, wavy hair, as pictured here, can be tricky worn short because it can turn frizzy and "pouffy" easily. But this haircut is absolutely gorgeous because it shows off the amount of hair she has, which is a lot. If you have thick hair, show it off!

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The Long Bob

Christine Baranski hair
Christine Baranski hair. Frazer Harrison for Getty

The long bob has been around for a few seasons and it's still just as hot this year but it has a new name -- the demi-bob. According to Vogue Magazine, which named the demi-bob a hot trend (see the article), it's a bob that falls anywhere between the mid-neck and the shoulders. It's also been seen on many actresses and models this season as everyone seems to have gotten sick of their long, tousled waves at the same time.

The long bob is great for women with hair that falls flat when grown longer. 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, Christine Baranski shows off gorgeous hair that's a bit longer and full of volume (and likely hairspray). 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.

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How to Style Fine Hair

Ellen Barkin with short, edgy hair. Mireya Acierto & Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Fine hair can fall flat and limp in any hairstyle. The secret to getting good body lies in the product.

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Side-swept Bangs

Sharon Stone with short hair. Getty Images: David Livingston

Here, Sharon Stone shows off a short hairstyle that also includes side-swept bangs. Bangs are great for older women because they can take years off your look, and they bring attention to your best features. They can be high-maintenance however. You have to get them cut every few weeks.

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Another Version of the Pixie

Jamie Lee Curtis. JB Lacroix (r) for Getty Images

The pixie, pictured here, works best on women with thick, naturally wavy hair. I find the pixie doesn't work as well on fine, straight hair because the hair falls to close to the scalp, looking a bit like a helmet. If you have fine hair, you may need lots of product to add body. The pixie works best on women with heart-shaped, square and oval faces. It's a good cut for women with round faces, too, just make sure to keep the bangs long and style them forward or up to create the illusion of length.

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Kris Jenner's Short, Edgy Haircut

Kris Jenner arrives at Cosmopolitan Magazine's 50th Birthday Celebration at Ysabel on October 12, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

I love this mussy pixie haircut on Kris Jenner.

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Another Gorgeous Long Bob

Linda Fargo. Ilya S. Savenok for Getty

The bob is so popular right now it is THE top hairstyle on my list of the Year's Trendiest Hairstyles.

Whether you go for a long bob, a mussy bob, a graduated bob or a classic bob like this one on Linda Fargo (Time Magazine calls her Bergdorf Goodman's "gatekeeper of style"), you have chosen well. Bobs just work. And they work on all face shapes and with most hair textures.

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See How Awesome Long Bobs Are?

Paul Archuleta for Getty Images

There's no reason you have to go really short as you get older. Simple, classic long bobs and regular bobs are absolutely gorgeous on older women. They work best on women with naturally straight hair, but wavy hair looks great in a long bob as well.

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Kate Capshaw's Cool Short 'Do

Kate Capshaw. Getty Images

This look works best on women with naturally straight, somewhat thick hair. The bangs are really flattering as well, but do require upkeep.

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Love this Cut

From left: Pascal Le Segretain and Andrew H. Walker for Getty

Short hair can have a bit of mussy edge, as Tilda Swinton (born November 5, 1960) proves here. Have the top of hair cut longer than the sides, slick it back or wear long bangs. You have several options with the bob, including having it cut to your chin or just below.

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Classic and Blow-dried Under

Alina Cho. Dimitrios Kambouris for Getty

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 6 weeks (unless you're growing your hair out).

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Super-Short and Edgy

Annette Bening. Frederick M. Brown // Getty Images

It takes guts to get a super-short, edgy haircut, but the results can be very, very cool -- and even sophisticated.

Whether you're seeking a cut that's sexy or funky or sweet, there are many, many cuts available to you. To find out what short cuts look best on you, I suggest checking out this slideshow: Photos: Best Cuts By Face Shape.

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Two Very Different Short Hairstyles on One Person

Cecile Richards. Desiree Navarro, Paul Morigi for Getty

So now that you're interested in short hair and you know that you can wear short hair, which short hairstyle should you choose?

This year's hottest short hairstyles are edgier and more modern than in years past. Stylish looks include long bangs with shorter sides, mussy shags and long bobs and even the pompadour, which some of the hottest celebrities of today are pulling off. You'll see examples of all these trends in this photo gallery.

If you're thinking about making the short hair plunge or just changing up your hairstyle, you may consider one of the 6 hottest short hair trends of the moment.

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Great Hairstyle

Kate Mulgrew. Getty: Alberto E. Rodriguez (l) and Frazer Harrison (r)

I love this hairstyle on actress Kate Mulgrew (born April 29, 1955) because it adds height to the top and sides of her head. Just lovely. Find out why this hairstyle works with her round face shape in my gallery The Best Short Hairstyles for Round Face Shapes.

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A Cool Cut on a Really Cool Woman

Mercedes Ruehl always looks stylish. I love the way she dresses (she's 5'10"!) and the way she wears her hair short, yet chic. You'd never guess she was born in -- wait for it, wait for it -- 1948.

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Could You Wear a Pixie?

Karwai Tang (l) and Max Mumby/Indigo (r) for Getty Images

Pixie haircuts that hug the skull look great on some women, but not everyone. This cut works best on women with long, elegant necks.

Petite, thin women also look great in this cut (think "Amelie"). Tall women can pull off this cut (think Charlize Theron, Jamie Lee Curtis and Audrey Hepburn, who was surprisingly very tall for her day). If you are tall and have a boyish figure, you could look like a pinhead with a pixie cut. If you're carrying extra weight and have a small skull, the pixie might not be right for you either. You need more body up top to balance out your body below the neck.

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Yolanda Foster's Gorgeous Platinum Blonde Bob

Yolanda Foster. Frederick M. Brown for Getty Images

Gorgeous hairstyle on Yolanda Foster of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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2 Versions of a Short Cut: One Really Short, One Chin-Length

I love both of these hairstyles on actress Teryl Rothery (you may know her as Dr. Janet Fraiser on Stargate SG-1), but I think the photo on the left is more stylish and youthful than the one on the right. These photos were both taken in January, but a year apart. The one on the left is from 2015 and the one on the right is from 2014.

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Lisa Rinna's Shag Hairstyle

Actress Lisa Rinna attends the stop YulinForever march to end dog cruelty In Yulin, China at MaCarthur Park Recreation Center on October 4, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Lisa Rinna has had some version of this hairstyle forever. It's her signature look and it works very well on her.

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A Great Short, Somewhat Edgy Cut

 America’s favorite personal finance advisor, Suze Orman, always has very short hair with somewhat long bangs, but this is a unique longer version of her short hair that she wore briefly in late 2014. I really love this look on her. 

I also love that this hairstyle would look great on women of all ages, whether 20 or 70 (Suze's in her 60s).

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How to Pull off a Cool Haircut

Lisa Lampanelli. Getty Images

If you are considering a hairstyle change and want to go from frumpy to cool, my advice is to skip the old-lady salons and head to a trendy one. An edgy hairstyle can look just as great on a 60-year-old as it does on her 35-year-old daughter. It's all about attitude. You may have to change your outfits, your glasses and even your makeup. These changes can completely makeover your look from frumpy to cool.

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A Gorgeous Short Haircut

Emma Thompson. Karwai Tang and Tristan Fewings for Getty

This is a gorgeous look on actress Emma Thompson.

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Would You Look Good in Short Hair?

Juliette Binoche. Getty Images

The great news is almost everyone can get away with a short hairstyle. Some styles work better with certain face shapes and hair textures. For example, your haircut should give you the illusion of having an oval face shape. So if you have a round face you'll want to elongate it, just as someone with a square face, would want to soften their jawline and someone with a long face (me! me!) would want to make their face appear wider.

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How to Pick the Right Short Hairstyle for You

Christine Baranski. Robin Marchant for Getty

Don't miss 8 Rules to Picking Your Perfect Short Hairstyle to find out if a bob, a shag or a pixie would best suit you.

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Julie Halston

Julie Halston. Walter McBride for Getty Images

When choosing a short hairstyle, your face shape and hair texture matter. Not all face shapes and hair textures work with certain short haircuts.

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How to Fix Frizzy Hair

Marisa Paredes. Getty Images

As we get older, sometimes our hair not only thins out, but it dries out too, leaving hair frizzy.

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Different Versions of a Pixie

Carolyn Hennesy. Getty Images

This is a pixie, but with long bangs. Get inspired with galleries of fantastic pixies.

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When to Get Bangs

Gemma Jones. Getty Images

I love these bangs on actress Gemma Jones.

Bangs are great for a variety of reasons. They hide a large or wrinkled forehead, they bring attention to the eyes and they can take years off your look.

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Classic, Blow-dried Straight

Penelope Ann Miller. Jason Merritt for Getty

This is a stunning hairstyle on actress Penelope Anne Miller. I love a classic bob, blow-dried straight. Note Barkin's deep side part.

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Frances Fisher

Frances Fisher. Michael Bezjian for Getty

This is a gorgeous red hair color on Frances Fisher. Chic and the cut is easy to maintain, according to Fisher.

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Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher. Paul Zimmerman for Getty

I love this simple gray bob on Eileen Fisher. It fits her personality and lifestyle brand perfectly.

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Rolanda Watts

Rolanda Watts. Leon Bennett for Getty

This cut would work on any woman with straight hair.

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Melita Toscan du Plantier

Melita Toscan du Plantier. Venturelli for Getty

This blonde pixie is simply stunning.

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Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne. Getty Images

I think Sharon Osbourne looks gorgeous here. The color and cut are perfect on her.

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Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard. Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage

This is a gorgeous cut on actress Alfre Woodard.