When I look back over my life in pictures, it could be called "a journey through hair." I've had everything from a wedge (remember Dorothy Hamill?) to long and straight to shoulder length and crimped. I've been through perms and color to keep myself updated (Viva la L'Oreal) and have worn a slicked back ponytail for years at a time while my children were young.
In her book How Not to Look Old by beauty expert Charla Krupp, the first advice she focuses on is for hairstyles for over women 50. Update your look by cutting some bangs and you will look five years younger. She says "Nothing ages you like too-short bangs, too-long hair parted down the middle, helmet head, high hair, an updo, or visibly thinning hair." This is one tip I can attest to--I've had bangs for a year now, and it has made a big difference in just how young I look and feel.
Ms. Krupp continues by stating that," Bangs are a cheap and easy way to chic up your look. They also accentuate the positive and camouflage the negative. This haircut cure-all hides a large forehead, a wrinkled forehead, or a receding hairline. At the same time, a soft fringe of hair falling along the side of your face draws attention to your eyes (which should still be sparkling) and deflects scrutiny from your jaw (which may be a little slack or saggy)." Charla suggests getting bangs cut that are long and thick, and not too severe or geometric.
Other subtle hairstyle changes to consider that might make a big difference in your looks:
- Cutting angles and layers to open up the face
- Changing your length just a bit, maybe wearing it longer in the summer than winter
- Switching your part. Your profile is different on each side, so you might want to accentuate the side of your face you like the most by parting your hair on that side.
- Keep it moving, no more "helmet head." Nothing makes you look older than perfect hair that doesn't move. You will look much younger if your hair has bounce and swing.
- Wear your hair down, not in an updo. Hair that is pulled tight on the top of the head looks matronly. If you pull your hair back, wear it casual, loose and a little messy. "When in doubt, wear your hair down. It's so much sexier."
- Grow it. Shoulder length hair can look long and lush, but don't grow it too long--you don't want to look like you're trying to imitate your daughter.
- Pump up the shine. Too many styling products will gunk up your hair and weigh it down. Over-processed hair can look dull, so use a deep conditioner once a week. Keeping your hair healthy and shiny will give you a much more youthful look.
Changing your hairstyle after 50 can seem daunting, and even if you've had the same stylist for years, you may need to find a new one.. If you've had the same hairstyle for a long time, "... you may have become an exaggerated version of what was once good... Move on if someone tells you that you can't have a certain style. Everyone can have everything, just a different version of it that's right for your face and your hair and your lifestyle and body type."
Helen Mirren is a perfect example of how bangs and an updated hairstyle over 50 can make you look years younger.