34 Great Short Hairstyles for Older Women

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

Woman with short blond hair
Getty Images

From the pixie to the bob and natural to edgy styles, there are many gorgeous short haircuts that will flatter any woman over 50. These are not boring styles, either. They're modern, classy, and follow today's trends. If you're ready for a new hairdo or looking to chop your long locks, these photos will offer tons of inspiration to take to the salon.

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Any Woman Can Go Short

Juliette Binoche
Getty Images

Short hair is flattering on almost everyone, which is great news. While some cuts are universal, others are better for certain face shapes and hair textures. The goal is to find the perfect hairstyle for you.

When looking for inspiration, select the photos of women who have a face shape, body type, and overall style that is similar to yours. Consider the hair texture as well. If you have wavy, coarse, curly, fine, straight hair, look for styles that match. Even if it's a different color, these factors will help you know whether or not a certain style will look good on you.

You can even pick different pictures for various elements of the style. For instance, you might enjoy the cut of one photo, but the color of another. Take these to your stylist and tell her what you like about each. She can then create a new style that is uniquely you.

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Short or Very Short

Teryl Rothery
Getty Images

Both of these hairstyles on actress Teryl Rothery are great. They also show the way different cuts look on the same woman. Both are very flattering to her heart-shaped face.

The cut just below her chin has a fun, youthful appearance and great body around the ears. The shorter one works well with more volume on top thanks to all the layers, which elongate her face. She also adds side-swept bangs in both, which add to her youthful appearance.

Consider the Maintenance

If you've worn long hair for some time, you should consider that a shorter cut will require more trips to the salon. It should be trimmed every four to six weeks if you want to maintain your style. Yet, a great cut will grow out beautifully, so you may be able to stretch that out a bit, depending on how fast your hair grows.

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Bangs Add Youth

Helen Mirren
Jim Spellman for Getty Images

Bangs can liven up any haircut, even one that you've had for a few years. The biggest benefit, though, is that they can take years off your face.

Bangs have a few other advantages as well:

  • Bangs are great for covering up a hairline that starts farther back on the head.
  • Bangs that sweep down to the eye, instantly draw attention to them.
  • Bangs can help add volume to flat, lifeless hair.

Keep in mind that bangs require maintenance. You will want to trim them every few weeks, either at the salon or on your own. Learning how to blow dry them to get that salon-fresh style every day is also a good idea. Ask your stylist for a few tips before you leave the salon.

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Side-Swept Bangs

Sharon Stone with short hair
Getty Images: David Livingston

Sharon Stone is radiant in a short hairstyle that includes side-swept bangs. This style of bangs is one of the most popular, especially for older women. They are youthful, classy, and professional, all at the same time, and can work with any short cut, from the pixie to the bob.

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The Pixie

Woman with short hair
Michael Blann/Getty Images

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

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The Versatile Pixie

Rolando Watts
Maury Phillips / Contributor

The pixie can take on many different looks. From sweet to sexy and classy to playful, it's a great cut that can be adapted to your personality and style. It works wonderfully for women of any ethnicity and hair color. Getting layers cut in and adding a few highlights can also freshen up the average pixie.

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A Super Edgy Pixie

Judi Dench
Vincent Sandoval / Contributor

This pixie hairstyle on Judi Dench is edgy and cool and could suit a woman at any age. This one just happens to look fabulous with her naturally gray hair.

Gray hair is hot and more women are choosing to embrace their grays. It's a beautiful color and going natural eliminates extra trips to the salon or nights at home spent with a box color trying to cover up roots. It's not right for every woman, but if you're ready to show off those grays, know that you're definitely not alone.

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An Elegant Pixie

Carolyn Hennesy
Carolyn Hennesy/Getty Images

This pixie is soft and sensual. It has more layers than most and, with the help of a little styling product, has great volume. It's going to work best on thick hair that has a little bit of a natural wave. It's also perfect for making a rounder face look a little longer.

Schedule a Consult

If you're going in for a big change, schedule in a 10-minute consult with your stylist to discuss the styles you love and if they'll work on you. Keep maintenance and your lifestyle in mind. If you are a wash-and-go woman, make sure your stylist knows this. She may blow dry and flat iron your hair, but will you?

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A Stylish Pixie

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

Super short pixies tend to work best on petite, thin women, anyone with a long, elegant neck, and thicker hair. If you're tall and have some curves, it can be a great choice as well.

Think about going a little longer than this if you're tall with a smaller bust or are full-figured. You'll find that having more volume in your hair balances out your natural body shape below the neck.

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A Modern Pixie

Jamie Lee Curtis
JB Lacroix (r) for Getty Images

The pixie tends to work best on women with oval, square, and heart-shaped faces. If you have a rounder face, consider adding some longer bangs and style them forward or up to create the illusion of length.

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The Long Pixie

Melita Toscan du Plantier
Venturelli for Getty

Not all pixies are super short. Keeping the layers longer can really add volume. It's ideal if you have thin hair that can fall flat. Adding highlights not only creates the illusion of more body, the color itself will actually plump up your hair follicles.

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A Hip Short Haircut

Emma Thompson
Karwai Tang and Tristan Fewings for Getty

This is a gorgeous look on actress Emma Thompson. It's a super modern take on the classic pixie and really shows off her hair's natural wave.

If you are thinking of a change and want to go from frumpy to cool, make an appointment with a salon that caters to stylish women. While it's great to be loyal, it's amazing what a new perspective from a different stylist can make.

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Give Your Cut Some Edge

Lisa Lampanelli
Getty Images

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.

This cut is absolutely fabulous. It is short on one side and long on the other, which gives it a playful, modern touch. By cutting in softer layers, it retains a maturity so it doesn't look like you're trying too hard to be 20 again.

You also have to love those strawberry highlights. They're very subtle and would do a beautiful job of camouflaging any gray hairs that grow in, reducing trips to the salon for touchups.

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A Red Flip

Frances Fisher
Michael Bezjian for Getty

This is a gorgeous red hair color on Frances Fisher. It is chic and the cut is easy to maintain because you can let it grow out a little longer and it will retain some style before you get back in for a trim.

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Dark, Red, and Bold

Sharon Osbourne
Getty Images

Sharon Osbourne has a signature look and it's gorgeous. She's worn this funky version of the pixie with spikes and long bangs for years and the dark red color sets it over the top.

Even if you don't share her rock 'n roll personality, it's a great look. On women with a softer personality, but similar face shape and build, it can look professional or playful.

Should You Go Dark?

The one concern about going with a darker hair color is that you'll need to maintain the color to avoid obvious gray hairs. Any new gray growth will blend in with a lighter color, like a blonde. It's one more maintenance issue to keep in mind as you explore a new style.

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A Slightly Edgy Cut

Suze Orman
Getty Images

America’s favorite personal finance advisor, Suze Orman, always has very short hair with somewhat long bangs. This is a slightly more hip version of that style and it's a ton of fun. By leaving some length on the top and wearing a side part, it's an easy-to-care-for style that works as great during the day as it does at night.

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A Cool, Casual Cut

Mercedes Ruehl
Walter McBride / Contributor

Mercedes Ruehl always looks stylish. At 5-foot, 10-inches, she's very tall and it works with her choice of short hair. This cut is chic, but it also has a casual touch. It's a great choice for anyone who doesn't like to spend an hour styling her hair every day.

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Volume for Round Faces

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

To balance out a full figure and a rounder face, adding volume in your hair is a great choice. Actress Kate Mulgrew wears a great example that adds height to the top and sides of her head. It's a classic look for older women but has an updated style that looks modern and fabulous.

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Simple, Sleek, and Short

Cecile Richards
Desiree Navarro, Paul Morigi for Getty

If simplicity is your style, Cecile Richards' cut is a great choice. It's especially fitting for thin, straight hair because the extra length adds body and angles. This is also a hairstyle that is easy to care for, perfect for busy women or those who don't like a lot of fuss.

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A 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. However, if you can trim them yourself, it's a style that will grow out nicely and reduce your trips the salon.

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Just Spike It

Angela Bassett
Michael Tran / Contributor

You will need to have the right personality to pull off this fun spiked cut. It's a great choice for black women who want to go short and still show that you have tons of spunk left.

Somewhat thick hair is best for this look because it will allow you to use less styling products to sculpt it. Yet, if you want to soften it up, simply skip the spikes and let it lay flat. There's enough length here so you can change your style day to day.

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Mussy Layers

Kris Jenner
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Contributor

Natural looks are in and you can certainly go short and get the lived-in look that's on trend. Kate Jenner's cut is fun and very casual, with lots of long layers that just fall into place. Then again, she has shaped this same cut with slicked-back bangs and a more polished side-sweep, so it's a very flexible length.

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A Shapely Fine Haircut

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 getting layers cut in and using the right styling product.

Products Are Key

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

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

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The Classic Shag

Jane Fonda
Stefanie Keenan for Getty

The beauty of the shag hairstyle is that it flatters all face shapes. Jane Fonda is known for wearing this look with high style and it's a great choice for older women who don't want to go too short.

The key to the shag is lots of choppy layers and plenty of texture. You can wear it as she does with some curls and waves or opt for a more tousled look.

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A Shorter Shag

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 for years. It's her signature look and it works very well on her.

This is a shorter shag and it's perfect for thick hair that has some natural wave. It also has more dimension because of the carefully placed highlights. It's a look you can get by having your colorist paint on the color using the balayage technique.

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The Long Bob

Christine Baranski
Ben Gabbe / Stringer

The long bob (or demi-bob) has been around for quite some time and it's a trend that will not go away anytime soon. This is a great option for any woman who wants longer hair that is easy to maintain and flexible in style.

Christine Baranski has a stunning long bob that is full of volume. Wisps of hair are flipped back and likely held with hairspray to really show off her beautiful face. Keep in mind it's harder to keep volume in hair that's long. The shorter you go, the better your hair will hold its shape.

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A Casual Bob

Mariella Frostrup
Getty: David M. Benett, Anthony Harvey

For straight, fine hair, the long bob is a fabulous choice. It's a length that naturally adds volume to straight hair and offers a perfectly casual look. 

With this one, you can also pump up the volume by simply changing your part. When parted down the middle, it looks sleek and professional. Pull that a bit more to the side and you have an instant volume that takes this simple style from day to night.

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A Gorgeous Gray Bob

Eileen Fisher
Paul Zimmerman for Getty

Eileen Fisher's gray color can make anyone fall in love with the idea of going natural. It is a stunning color that's as bold as a platinum blonde, but it has a certain glow that is hard to miss. She wears it in a classic bob that's chin-length and a little shorter in the back.

Her choice in dark-framed glasses really completes her look. Have fun when choosing your frames and treat it as a fashion accessory.

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A Classic Flipped-Under Bob

Alina Cho
Eugene Gologursky / Stringer

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 or 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 a sleek look. If you don't pay much attention to your hair, think about whether you'll enjoy maintaining your bob, including the trims you'll need every six weeks.

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A Wavy Bob

Alfre Woodard
Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff

Bobs work very well on thick, wavy hair as well. This chin-length bob on Alfre Woodard is super cute and it has an elegant, mature look at the same time. The long waves frame her face beautifully and show off her beautiful dark skin that is barely touched with makeup.

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A Thick, Wavy Bob

Short wavy hair
George Pimentel / Contributor

If you have thick, wavy hair, be sure to have your stylist cut in a lot of layers. You can take your bob shorter if you do that and avoid the potential of too much poufiness. With the right cut, you may even be able to go completely natural and enjoy a wash-and-go style. Instead of worrying about styling, you can concentrate on keeping your hair super healthy.

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Tame the Frizz

Marisa Paredes
Getty Images

Not only can hair thin out as you age, it can also dry out. This may leave you dealing with frizz, especially on humid or rainy days. You can tame your frizz by concentrating on moisturizing your hair and applying an anti-frizz styling product. It may not prevent frizz entirely, but it will help and as long as you own your style, you'll look beautiful.

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The Au Naturale Bob

Gemma Jones
Francois G. Durand / Contributor/Getty Images

It's hard not to appreciate this casual bob with minimal styling and a gorgeous gray color. The blunt bangs help draw attention to the eyes and make Gemma Jones look younger, confident, and wise.