The trick is finding a hairstyle that reflects our reveling in our newfound ease and confidence during this time of our lives/
The best hairstyles for women over forty are the ones that women over forty like best and that they feel most confident wearing. If a woman over forty wants to wear her hair in a short, curly bob, then of course that’s what she should wear. If she wants to wear her hair long and straight, more power to her. Gray hair? Purple streaks? Platinum dye jobs? You do you. A woman of any age should wear her hair in a style that makes her feel most confident—but many women need help knowing what that style is, especially during perimenopause and menopause, when our hormones our changing, and our hair is changing accordingly.
The hormone estrogen promotes hair growth, density, and fullness. But we lose estrogen before and during menopause, which means that women may notice their hair is thinning, becoming less full, and/or is shedding more. Not only does hair become thinner and finer, but after the age of forty or so, our oil glands produce less oil, which means that our hair becomes drier and frizzier. Years of using styling products, blow dryers and curling irons, and coloring our hair doesn’t help.
I know that most of us are very happy being over forty. We love the confidence we feel in our personal and our professional lives. But given that our hair might be thinner, finer, drier, and frizzier after forty than it’s ever been, many of us could use a confidence boost when it comes to our hair. The following are some hairstyles that might be worth considering to help us feel more confident at this age, when our hair experiences its own “change of life”:
A Layered Bob is cut in layers to create movement so that thinning hair looks fuller. The traditional bobs hit right around or above the chin, but a layered bob can fall anywhere to above the chin, to right at the chin, to the shoulders, or even below, depending on what women prefer. This cut can be styled straight, wavy, or curled. Balayage highlights can bring out the layers in this cut. Many middle-aged and older women are growing out their gray, which is also a lovely choice for this (or any) cut.
A Shaggy Bob is created using a razor cut technique to add choppy ends and textured layers. It may remind some of us of our 70’s teens or childhoods, and so may be appealing for nostalgic reasons; you’ll be happy to know it has never gone out of style. The cut has many variations, including an asymmetrical cut, a blunt cut, a cut with straight bangs, curtain bangs, etc. What’s especially nice about it for women over forty (besides the fact that it’s so low maintenance) is that it adds volume to fine and thinning hair.
Blow dryers and straighteners can cause further hair loss, so for women of all races and ethnicities with natural curls who want to avoid further damage, a Curly Bob is a great choice.
Longer than the bob, and said to be universally flattering, is the Lob. The word is short for “long bob,” and that’s exactly what this haircut is, a bob that hits between the chin and the shoulders. Because of its length, the cut creates a lot of swing and movement to the hair, and what’s more, this cut looks good on hair of pretty much any texture. Layers can add dimension to the lob, while a blunt cut can make fine hair seem bulkier, and a choppy lob can make hair look thicker. Just as with a bob, bangs, especially sideswept bangs, can be an attractive choice, especially for those who want to cover a receding hairline.
For women who are losing hair in the front, Sideswept Bangs can make a receding forehead seem to “disappear.” Just part your hair to the side and allow the long section of your bangs to sweep across your forehead. Besides covering up a receding forehead, another nice thing about this style is that it can be used for hair of any length. (Think of Kris Jenner’s short hair with sideswept bangs, and Reese Witherspoon’s long hair with sideswept bangs; both women are over forty, and both women’s sideswept bangs are flattering.)
A Cropped Cut is a chic choice for white, brown, and Black women who want to avoid styling products, blow dryers, and irons. (Many women actors over forty have rocked this cut, including Charlize Theron, born in 1975, and Halle Berry, born in 1966.) This cut is low-maintenance, except for cutting or shaving upkeep, and is especially practical for women who live in very warm climates.
A variation on the cropped cut is the Pixie, which is short on the sides and in the back, but long in the front. This is another low maintenance cut, with hair in the front that can be straight, textured, wavy, or curly/curled. Spikes can be added to the crown for a “punk” look. Because the front is long and can be styled for added texture, it can be a good choice for women with thinning hair or for those with receding hairlines. (I know many of us love Judi Dench’s choppy pixie in the later Bond movies.)
An effective way to combat the loss of fullness and volume due to decreased estrogen is to add Layers. For medium to long hair, adding layers can create a cascading appearance, which can look especially pretty on wavy hair or hair that is curled. Layers added to short to medium hair can add an appearance of increased texture. Straight, thin hair might seem to drag down a face; if you feel this is an issue for you, consider adding face-framing layers, which can perk up your features.
No matter your preferred hair length or hair style, having a colorist perform a Balayage Service can add the illusion of volume (whether one colors one hair or is letting it go gray). Balayage is similar to highlighting, but the colorist doesn’t use foils; instead, they paint the color directly onto the hair, creating a more blended, natural look. The variety of balayage colors is beautiful—and nearly endless—for blondes, redheads, and brunettes. And for women who have already embraced their gray, or who are transitioning to gray, adding gray or silver balayage is a lovely way to accentuate or offset your natural gray or graying hair.
The best hairstyles for women over forty are the ones that we like best and that make us feel most confident. For some of us, that might mean wearing the same hairstyle that’s worked for us for years. For others, it might mean experimenting with something new. The trick is finding a hairstyle that reflects our reveling in our newfound ease and confidence during this time of our lives—when we have more wisdom, but perhaps a little less hair. I think most of us would think that’s a pretty fair trade off, especially when there are so many beautiful hairstyles for us to choose from!
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