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Trendy Hairstyles for 40+ Women


Liza Minnelli 14th Annual American Society of Young Musicians Spring Benefit 6-13-06

If you think that, because you’re - pick one - 40+, 50+, 60+, 70+, 80+year old woman, you can’t wear the new hairstyles modeled by 20+ women, here’s a newsflash for you: YOU’RE WRONG!

Age has very little to do with a good hairstyle. Many hairstyles are classics; look at Queen Elizabeth, for instance. She’s been wearing her regal style for years, and it suits her.

The short full cut favored by Princess Diana, the gamine look worn so successfully by Audrey Hepburn, the thick, spiky dark locks Liza Minelli made famous, Edith Head’s dark bangs, Jane Fonda’s fabulous shag in “Klute,” and Barbra Streisand’s sleek long bob are all classic styles.

Those of us over 40 can honestly say that we’ve seen hairstyles come and go, and have also seen styles of our youth repeated years later. The new hair products alone make some of the styling we enjoy today possible.

Back when I started going to what was then known as a “beauty parlor,” the choices were pretty slim; a basic haircut, a poodle perm, some pretty lightless all-over permanent coloring, and shellac-based hairspray.

Hairstyle Choices

Now that we are all alive and well in the 2000s, we have more hairstyle choices than ever. You can see wonderful styles everywhere—on magazine covers, newspapers, talk shows, soaps, TV sitcoms, etc. But the disturbing truth is that you mainly see these fabulous styles on young women. Does this mean that, after 30, our hair choices go in the proverbial dustbin? Absolutely not!

A good hairstyle lends itself to many variations, and is not limited to certain ages. Yes, of course there are some styles that are definitely too young--for example, girly little ponytails high on either side of the head, secured with pink plastic bows probably aren’t going to work for someone over the age of 9.

Do Your Homework

So, what does the smart, good-looking, stylish woman in her 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and up do to get a trendy new style? Simple: choose a style that you like, and one that you think will work well with your type of hair. As always, do your homework before you see your stylist:

1. Keep your mind open to the possibilities. Get a good idea of what you want, but keep your stylist’s advice in mind on what might work well for you.

2. Take the time to discuss your own lifestyle with regard to hair—your personality, how much time you have to devote to haircare in the mornings, and so on.

3. Bring some pictures with you of the kinds of styles you like. With these in mind, your stylist can better create your own style.

4. Don’t let yourself be shampooed right away. Talk over what you want while your hair is dry so that your stylist can see your hair in its natural state.

5. Once you have your new style, give it some time before you make your final decision; it takes a while to get used to something new. But if after a few days you are still not sure, go right back to your stylist to get help on how to make the style work better for you.

Two Hot New Hairstyles – The Dimensional Shag and the Versatile Cut

Let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty: new styles! Two of the best styles now are what are loosely called the Dimensional Shag and the Versatile Cut. According to our ties in the hair fashion world, these two styles are on the leading edge for what’s happening hair-wise for the upcoming seasons.

The Dimensional Shag

Basically, the Dimensional Shag is a “deconstructed” cut, which means the cut is less defined so that you can wear it a number of ways. If your hair is longer, then try the shag shoulder-length with fringy bangs and sides. Using a dryer, you can coax the bangs under and the fluff the ends of your hair outward.

If your hair is shorter, you can achieve a similar look. For a real WOW look, add streaks of color on top or underneath, or just around the face. Dark hair can be highlighted with blonde or red tones or lowlit with lighter brunette tones, blonde hair can be punched up with white-blonde or reds; the combinations are nearly limitless. Use pomades, gels, or mousses to keep it either soft and sleek, or harder products to produce a spikier, edgier look.

The Versatile Cut

The Versatile Cut is a modified undercut style—short underneath and long on top. It works particularly well for thick hair by reducing excess weight. As with the Dimensional Shag, you can opt for short, medium, or long versions. It can work sleekly hugging the head, or it can be looser and fuller, allowing for more movement. It works equally well with bangs or without. You can change the look with use of hair products, and add color as explained in the Dimensional Shag.

A quick word on perms—forget the old-fashioned “poodle perms.” You can achieve a newer look with looser, different-sized curls.

Here’s How to Make Those Great New Styles Work For YOU

Roma Downey Open Range Premiere 08-11-03

Ok, all well and good on those terrific new styles. So what, you ask, does an older do to make these styles her own? Again, let me state for the record: you do not have to be 20 years old to wear these styles! By this time in your life, you have a good idea of what your facial shape is, and what styles work best for you.

Put that knowledge to good use and apply it to these new styles. If you want to try the Dimensional Shag, for example, you can adjust it to your own looks and style.

Do you have wrinkles on your forehead? Detract from them with feathered or side-swept bangs. (Ever see Touched By An Angel’s Roma Downey with her hair off her forehead? She has huge forehead wrinkles! Keep the bangs, Roma!)

Are there what’s fondly known as ‘laugh lines’ feathering out around your eyes? Help hide them with softly fringed sides brushed out to the outer corners of your eyes.

As always, seek a professional when it comes to coloring. If you are coloring all your hair, be aware of what colors and shades work best with your coloring. Darker hair against older skin can make you look older if you’re not careful. White or gray hair can be updated and highlighted with lighter shades of blonde, platinum, or steel to give you a more vibrant look.

Naturally, make sure your makeup is working for you. At least once a year, check with a professional and get your look updated. Nothing ruins a good hairdo like out-dated makeup!

So—there you have it: great hairstyles are ageless. You can be stylish at any age, and most of the newer styles can be adjusted to suit your own style and personality. You can be fashionable and forward-looking at any age.

Remember: it took you years to amass the experience, ideals, joys, sorrows, wisdom, strength, and expertise you now have. Wear your look and your age proudly—you are a walking symbol of success and true female power for all those 20 year olds to emulate with honor!

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