10 Tips for Switching to Shorter Hair After 50, According to Stylists
If you're ready for a change, these tips will help.
An old beauty myth says you must cut your hair short after 50—and while we don't buy into any of that chatter about aging, we've got to admit that sometimes, shorter hair is just easier. Not to mention, it looks totally fabulous.
If you're ready to make the switch from long locks to short ones, fear not. The upgrade doesn't have to be the shocking experience you might expect. Here, beauty professionals tell us the best course of action for going shorter, from how to draw inspiration for your cut to the styles that look best on women over 50. Read on for their tips, and make this your best cut yet.
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Look for inspiration.
The first step you should take on your journey to shorter hair is research. "I recommend collecting various images of people with short haircuts to find inspiration," says Ksenia Sobchak, dermatologist and writer at Loxa Beauty. "It may be a friend online or a Pinterest board with trending hairstyles."
Google, TikTok, and Instagram are also great resources. Once you find a few styles you like, Sobchak suggests showing those images to your stylist. They'll be able to use their expertise to help you find a version of that style that will best flatter your features.
Find the right stylist.
"When deciding to go for the big chop, it's important to have a vision for your new look and to find a hairdresser who can execute," Tatum Neill, the creative director at Aveda Arts & Sciences Institutes and Elevate Hair, tells Best Life.
"I recommend searching on Instagram for cuts that inspire you and saving them into a folder on the app or your phone's photo library," he says. "Once you have a decent collection, take note of the photos that have a similar hair texture as yours and bring those to your hairstylist."
Be prepared to switch up your routine.
Neill says that while you're sure to be excited about the "new you" post-chop, "it's important to take into consideration that your hair routine might be altered."
"Have you had short hair before?" he asks. "If not, you might be surprised that it could take a little more daily effort to make your hair look its best. You won't be able to throw your hair in a ponytail anymore, but most short hair looks can be achieved relatively quickly with a blow-dryer and short-hair styling products. Be sure to discuss this with your hairdresser and make sure you get a thorough styling demonstration during your service."
Consider a lob.
Not ready to chop your strands into a super-short pixie? You don't have to. "A lob is a great cut for women over 50 who want to keep somewhat longer hair," says Cindy Marcus, a professional hairstylist in Las Vegas and editor-in-chief of Latest Hairstyles.
This hairstyle—technically considered a long bob—is defined by its shoulder-sweeping length. Lobs can also include bangs, layers, blunt ends, and more. If you'd prefer to go even shorter, a true bob is another incredible cut for women over 50.
Don't rule out a pixie cut.
If you've always had long hair, then going the pixie route might feel a little intimidating—but don't be afraid to go for it. Laurie Anderson Ashe, stylist and owner of Hair Colour Concepts in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, told Southern Living that a fuller pixie cut can be both flattering and feminine.
She advises asking your stylist for a cut that's clipped close at the nape of your neck and fuller on top, and says to keep the edges soft.
READ THIS NEXT: If You're Letting Your Hair Go Gray, Do This First, Experts Say.
Try face-framing layers.
Face-framing layers have the ability to lift your features in an insanely flattering way, says Cody Renegar, an L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist. Adding a few to your short hairstyle after the age of 50 can give the illusion of tighter skin and soften your appearance, he adds.
To accomplish this cut, your stylist will snip your strands at strategic places around your face—most often the cheekbones, chin, and collarbone—to emphasize certain areas and draw attention away from others. Again, this is a cut that will depend on your unique features, and your stylist will be able to create a look that works best for you.
Get in on the bang trend.
Bangs are all the rage right now, and if you're over 50, you can still get in on the trend. "Adding soft, framing bangs [is] a great way to change up any look," Janna Wright, a Virgina-based stylist, told Southern Living.
Whether you have a bob, a lob, or a layered cut, your stylist can recommend a style of bangs that will work with your face shape and hair texture.
Schedule frequent trims.
Short hair requires more frequent maintenance than long hair. (Think about it, a centimeter of hair on a bob is a much larger percentage than a centimeter of hair on a style that's down to your collarbones.)
"People with short hair tend to like to do every two weeks to four weeks just to keep it tight and looking good," Philip B, a celebrity hair treatment expert, told Good Housekeeping. He notes that by four weeks, short hairstyles may start to look overgrown. Bonus: Frequent trims will keep your strands healthy, too—so you can minimize split ends and flyaways.
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Pay attention during your appointment.
Chatting with your stylist as they work is part of the fun of getting your hair cut, but don't tune out on what's happening while you're in the chair, advises Neill. "Try to record the styling on your phone, so you have a visual reference for the next day," he says.
"It's also wise to ask permission to get your hands in there during the style. This might seem weird, but it allows you to be coached in real-time," Neill tells Best Life. "Next, ask permission to come back in for additional styling support in the first couple of weeks after the chop, and get the new styling product so you can duplicate the look at home."
Elevate your haircare routine.
The most fun part about switching up your hairstyle is investing in new products to properly care for it. For short hair, Sobchak suggests volumizing shampoo and conditioner. "A volumizer will help strengthen the hair strands and give additional volume," she says. That way, your lob, bob, or any other cut will have body and movement. If your hair requires added moisture, you might also consider using a moisturizing shampoo or mask on some days of the week.
With healthy, luscious locks, you can prepare for compliments aplenty!