The Best Curly Hairstyles for Women Over 50

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Diane von Furstenberg

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

I know a ton of women with naturally curly hair. They fight the frizzies the minute there's humidity in the air and many of them straighten their hair either chemically or via the blowout process.

But most of them embrace their hair's natural texture and step out in gorgeous, lush curls. They've learned how to properly care and style their hair and they know what cuts look good on them and which ones don't.

That's something that age brings you: wisdom.

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Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters with hair down and in an updo
Getty Images

Women with super-curly hair should limit heat styling to 2 to 3 times a week. Any more and you could risk damaging your hair. Preventing frizz is basically a four-step process: deep condition once a week. Apply a leave-in conditioner to ends after a shower. When styling hair, apply a serum that contains silicone (look for "dimethicone" on the bottle) to wet hair, coating every curl. Let hair air dry or use a diffuser.

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How to Go Straight When You Have Curly Hair

Marisa Berenson with curly hair, left and straight hair, right
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If you want to try out straight hair for a day or 2, considering getting a professional blowout at a salon. There are many blow dry salons in big cities where you can get a blow out for under $50.

Women with curly hair who want to go straight should try a professional hair straightening at the salon. The solution is much like a perm, only instead of curly hair, it straightens it. I'd suggest finding a stylist who specializes in hair straightening or who has super-curly hair herself.

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Kate Capshaw Curly

Kate Capshaw
WireImage/Getty Images

Medium length is the perfect length for hair in women over 50 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 for anyone no matter their age, their hair texture, and their face shape.

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Michelle Pfeiffer

michelle-pfeiffer-curls.jpg
Michelle Pfeiffer. Marc Piasecki for Getty

As you likely know if you are on this page, curly hair can be tricky to take care of. In all sorts of weather, it can frizz up on you because dry hair loves to soak up the moisture from the air.

You can fight this frizz using any one of the amazing curly hair products on the market today including treatments, shampoos, conditioners, and masks.

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Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Curly hair needs some length to weigh it down and keep it from puffing up. If you like your hair longer, you can actually go long when you have super curly hair.

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Joan Osbourne's Curly Updo

Joan Osbourne
Jeff Vespa/Getty Images

You can pull your curly hair up into an updo, like Joan Osbourne's here.

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Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard in curly hair
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

When drying hair after applying product, squeeze (never rub) curls with a towel or paper towel and be sure to use a diffuser when using a blow dryer. Dry hair on the lowest speed setting.

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Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Unlike your sisters with straight, flat hair who should stay away from products that weigh down their hair, you need a few products to keep frizz and dryness in check.

First off, you need the right kind of shampoo.

A new craze in shampooing curly hair is the "No Poo" movement. This means not shampooing hair but instead conditioning it daily. My curly-haired friends also swear by Deva Curl's No Poo and Lo Poo shampoos (buy from Amazon). If you must you a shampoo, creamy shampoos are a better bet than clarifying (or clear) shampoos.

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey with curly hair
Paul Redmond/Getty Images

Women with curly hair need to condition a lot.

You simply cannot over-condition frizzy hair. You need a heavy conditioner for use every time you wash your hair, and a deep conditioner for use once a week. Consider a leave-in conditioner for every day.

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Melina Kanakaredes

Melina Kanakaredes
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Invest in styling products that are made for women with curly hair. Here are a few to consider:

  1. Smoothing cream and alcohol-free gel. From the minute you step out of the shower, you need to coat the cuticle so it locks out moisture. In her book "Confessions of a Beauty Editor" (buy it from Amazon), author Linda Wells suggests a one-two-punch: 2 parts cream for 1 part gel (yes, you have to buy the products separately). A walnut-sized amount will do you. Simply rub the product in your hands and then palm the mixture from mid-shaft down. Comb the product throughout all of your hair with a wide-toothed comb.
  2. Styling cream Enhance your curls with a cream created for curly hair. Rub it in and let hair airdry.
  3. Style serum Warm up a couple drops of this in your hands and palm over dry, frizzy curls. The serum will solve your frizz problems.
  4. Straightening balm or gel If you want to blow-dry hair straight, rub a quarter-size amount of this on hair before drying curly hair (always in sections, working from the lower layers on up).

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Amy Irving

Amy Irving
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Women with curly hair are usually advised not to go short. Short hair can frizz up on you more easily than long hair and you run the risk of major poufy hair. The longer your hair, the more your curls will weigh hair down.

That said, the right haircut can work on curly hair. They typically feature long layers and while there might be a bit of pouf going on, it can really work.

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Valeria Golino

Valeria Golino
Getty Images Europe

If you were born with super curly hair, you may find it aggravating at times when it frizzes up in certain climates and other times when you'd like straight hair without spending hours getting it that way. There are secrets to styling naturally curly hair.

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More Great Hairstyles for Older Women

Helen Mirren smiling
Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Just because you are a Woman of a Certain Age does not mean you have to go out and get a short, spiky haircut, or a perm once a week ala Steel Magnolias. It doesn't mean you have to dye your hair blonde or put your eyeglasses on a chain.

Quite the contrary. These days there are no rules to hairstyles for women over age 50. You can wear your hair long, straightened, curled, or in an updo—and as long as it's flattering on you, that's really all that matters.

In this hairstyle gallery, we've pulled together hairstyles on women over 50 that are absolutely gorgeous. Not all haircuts work on all hair textures or with all face shapes. You'll learn what looks get on whom and by the end of this gallery, you should have an idea of what would work with your hair texture and face shape.