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10 Ways to Embrace Keeping Your Hair Long After 50

Yes, you can keep your flowing locks at any age, stylists say.

If there's one beauty myth that needs to be dispelled, it's that you have to cut your hair short as you get older. According to stylists, if you want to, you should most definitely embrace keeping your hair long after 50—you'll just want to pay attention to certain considerations.

"As we age, our hair naturally becomes more brittle and prone to breakage," explains stylist Michelle-Nichole Jones. "Women over 50 may be dealing with hair loss or thinning, which can be caused by hormonal changes or certain medications." However, she says that caring for your hair properly can help prevent breakage, minimize hair loss, and keep your strands strong and healthy.

Over 50 and want to keep your tumbling tresses? You absolutely can—all it takes are a few extra steps in your hair care routine. Read on for tips from professional hairstylists on how to keep long hair beautiful, shiny, and healthy through your 50s and beyond.

RELATED: The 7 Best Hairstyles for Gray Hair, According to Experts.

Opt for face-framing layers.

middle aged asian woman with long hair
Shutterstock/pixelheadphoto digitalskillet

The key to embracing long hair after 50 is making it look intentional and styled. You'll also want to ensure your strands frame your face in a flattering manner. An easy way to accomplish both is with face-framing layers.

"As we get older and things seem to start to droop, we want to keep the layers around the face so we can sweep up and away from the face to create the illusion of tighter skin," says Cody Renegar, an L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Marie Osmond.

Bring the idea to your stylist and they'll be able to create a cut that suits your features best.

Try a lob.

A smiling older woman with gray hair wearing a green sweater sits on the couch with her head leaning on her hand
Vadym Pastukh / iStock

A lob, or long bob, is another intentional-looking haircut. "This style is easy to maintain and very versatile," says Cindy Marcus, a professional hairstylist in Las Vegas and editor-in-chief of Latest Hairstyles. It's short enough that it doesn't take hours to style and long enough that you can clip it in a bun if needed.

RELATED: How Humidity Is Ruining Your Hair—And What to Do About It.

Try curtain bangs.

Close-up portrait of a smiling middle-aged woman with dirty blonde hair on the beach
goodluz / Shutterstock

Curtain bangs are a great way to compliment your long hair. They're not quite as heavy as regular bangs and can be styled in various ways. Nikki Corzine, owner of The Canyon Salon, describes them as a light and wispy option for your hair: "Their soft appearance can help frame your face and add a touch of elegance to your overall style."

The best part is that you can wait a little longer between trims since curtain bangs don't need a lot of upkeep.

Get regular trims.

Close up of a hairdresser cutting a woman's gray hair.
Vitaly Fedotov / Shutterstock

Speaking of trims: As you get older, your hair gets drier, thinner, and less dense. As such, it's important to properly care for your strands and prevent damage when possible. The easiest way to do this is with frequent trims.

"It's important to regularly cut and trim your hair to keep the ends healthy," says Renegar. "I recommend a trim every six to eight weeks." This will prevent split ends from causing breakage, leaving you with silkier locks.

RELATED: 5 Secrets For Highlighting Your Gray Hair, According to Stylists.

Alternate between a protein and moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

Kritsada Namborisut / Shutterstock

The next step to keeping hair healthy—so it can stay long and strong—is to choose the proper shampoo and conditioner. Renegar suggests alternating between a protein and moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

"As we get older, our skin and hair get drier, [causing hair to] become brittle, frizzy, thin, and break," he says. "You'll want to alternate a protein-rich shampoo, which holds in moisture, and a moisturizing shampoo, which holds the protein in your hair follicle. It will help keep it shiny, strong, and elastic."

Add in deep conditioning treatments.

deep conditioner
plprod / Shutterstock

Another way to keep drier or more brittle hair long and strong is with a regular deep conditioning treatment, says Krysta Biancone, co-founder of Amari Salon & Spa and hairstylist at Hair by Krysta: "Deep conditioning treatments can help restore moisture, improve hair texture, and enhance shine."

You can easily deep condition at home, but if you want a more intensive treatment, consider setting up a salon appointment.

RELATED: The 5 Best Styles for Thinning Hair, Experts Say.

Use the right styling products.

View through the bathroom cabinet of a mature businesswoman getting ready for work and checking her hair.
monkeybusinessimages / iStock

If you commit to long hair after 50, you'll also want to commit to styling it. According to Marcus, this can mean touching up your blowout each day or revamping your curls to ensure they look done. It also means investing in the right products.

"A good volumizing product for fullness, a hydrating cream to keep down frizz, or a curl cream to boost curls are all important in allowing your style to look its best, which in turn can make you look your best over 50," says Marcus.

Joel Warren, a hair and beauty expert and creator of The Salon Project, suggests strengthening products, which are especially helpful if your hair is gray and more fragile. "Look for products that contain ingredients like biotin, keratin, or collagen, which can help to strengthen and nourish your hair," he advises.

Wear your hair up.

Middle-aged woman in pink silk blouse with her hair in a bun stands looking at her organizer in her office.
AzmanJaka / iStock

Biancone says protective hairstyles can be really great for your length by reducing the daily wear and tear on your hair. "These styles, like braids or buns, can help reduce breakage and protect the hair from environmental factors," she shares.

However, ensure you're not pulling your hair too tight in these styles, as this can cause tension on your scalp and potential hair loss.

RELATED: 5 Secrets for Thicker Hair Over 50, According to Stylists and Doctors.

Add in hair extensions.

adamkaz / iStock

If your hair has gotten thinner over the years but you're still hoping for long locks, hair extensions can be a great way to achieve the look. Your hairstylist can help you figure out which type of extensions—clip-on or tape-on, for example—are right for you.

However, Dawna Jarvis, a beauty industry expert and business strategist, recommends sew-in extensions. "They add a youthful volume and are both low-maintenance and gentle on the hair," she says.

Change up your diet.

Foods Rich in Omega 3 and Fatty Acids

Your diet also has an effect on your hair health. "Add in foods that are rich in biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins E and A to support hair strength and shine", says Susie Geda, salon owner and master stylist. You can also look into styling products that specifically have these vitamins.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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