Stylists Share How to Get the Best Short Hair for Older Women

Going short? Consider these styles.

Short hair for older women _ Collage with Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Taraji P Henson

Getty Images/ InStyle

Once you get to a certain age, you must cut your hair short, right? Well, not necessarily. There's no hard and fast rule about when to make a major chop, but most stylists agree that shorter hair looks better on more mature women, even making them look younger. Long, thinning hair can visually drag down the face, but a short crop works the opposite. However, the question at stake remains: How short is short enough?

Celebrity hairstylist Kimberly Gueldner shares that as women age, their hair starts to thin out due to hormonal changes. "Cutting the hair short can make it appear fuller while helping to hide signs of hair loss," she says. Plus, textural changes, like frizz, brittleness, dryness, and wiriness, are better camouflaged with a short hairstyle.

Another reason to consider cutting your hair short? It will appear more voluminous. Celebrity hairstylist Zahir Ziani of Zahir Ziani Salon in New York suggests shorter hair for older women "because it holds volume and fights against gravity. Gray hair also looks good worn short by bringing youthfulness to the face." He adds that while some women consider shorter hair to be more masculine, that’s not the case when it is cut to complement your face shape. 

One thing to keep in mind: Going short doesn’t mean less maintenance, says celebrity hairstylist Richard Marin. "The hair needs consistent trims to maintain it, and daily styling becomes more important," he says. :Short hair needs attention." Equally as important are the right hair products. "Shampoo and conditioner can give short hair shine and manageability, especially if it is dry," he says. "I love Meaningful Beauty Age-Proof Strengthening Shampoo and Smooth & Shiny Conditioner for adding shine, strength, hydration, volume, smoothness, and encouraging a healthy scalp."

No matter how short you go — or don't — the best hairstyle flatters your face and factors in your hair texture, type, and lifestyle. So consider these classic cuts as inspiration for the next time you sit in your stylist’s chair — you can even put your spin on them too.

01 of 07

The Pixie

Halle Berry

A pixie cut, which consists of shorter hair on the side and at the nape of the neck with a bit more length up top, is the most low-maintenance crop. Easily worn on all hair types, the pixie embraces the hair's natural texture for added volume. Gueldner adds it can even make fine hair appear thicker. Different variations of the cut exist — go long, spiky, or even shave the sides — and all exude a cool effortlessness.

02 of 07

The Bob

Lucy Liu

The classic all-one-length bob cut never fails, and it works for every hair type as long as the shape is correct. "Various lengths can be worn, from the collarbone to the jaw, and cut layered or blunt," Marin says. To make the most of a bob, share your favorite inspiration look with your stylist to determine the details of the cut so that it works best for you. FYI: Maintaining a clean-cut bob that looks fresh requires trims every six weeks.

03 of 07

The Shoulder-Length Cut

Meg Ryan

For more length, Marin says to cut the hair with strategically cut layers so it ultimately hits around the collarbone. Longer layers are necessary to make this cut work on curlier hair. Meanwhile, he says, "shorter layers work well for straight and wavy hair."

04 of 07

The Lob

Taraji P. Henson

Longer than a classic bob, a lob sits around shoulder-level so that you can maintain some of the length. Lobs look good on straight and curly hair, and blunt ends can create a thickening effect on thin hair. In addition, invisible layers add body and texture to the hair.

05 of 07

The Shaggy Bob

Charlize Theron

Unlike a structured bob, this cut's shaggier version exudes a laidback, effortless feel with dimension for that piece-y, second-day hair look. While layers are essential for a well-done shaggy bob, especially when worn on wavy hair, they shouldn't be contrived and can vary in length. "The layers help the hair curl and lay nicely while taking out some weight if your hair is heavy,” Gueldner shares.

06 of 07

The Crop with Bangs

Kris Jenner

Short hair with long or side-swept bangs lets you cover up what you want to hide — think forehead lines — while showing off a strong jawline. "I think bangs look best on women with an oval face shape," Gueldner says.

07 of 07

A Short Cut With Bangs

Jane Fonda

Adding bangs to a short haircut can, for some women, be the perfect finishing touch — whether worn as a full fringe, wispier, or swept to the side.

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