Why Older Women Cut Their Hair and Why You Don’t Have To

Have you noticed that women of a certain age all seem to cut their hair short at some point? Is it because they want to or because it’s what’s expected of them? From a classic bob to a pixie cut, shorter hairstyles are flattering on mature women, but it shouldn’t conclude as the be-all and end-all.

We love to see variety in women from their 40s, 50s, and up, so here’s a look at why the hair chop tends to appear at a certain age, plus some alternative (long hair) options.

Why Do Older Women Cut Their Hair Short?

As we age, there are many ways our hair ages as well. And so, older women turn to the scissors to snip their hair short and sport a hairstyle that is much easier to combat the effects of aging and simpler to style in the mornings. Here are some ways our hair changes with the years:

  • It loses pigment: One of the clearest signs of aging is that our hair changes color, most commonly turning gray or white. We lose melanin (what gives our skin and hair its color) pretty quickly as we age and can begin graying by our 30s.
  • It changes texture: After years of exposure to environmental damage and hair products, cuticle cells become weakened meaning the hair produced in our later years now appears rougher and more prone to damage.
  • It thins: When pigment is lost, hair becomes finer. And as hair regrowth slows as we age, women’s hair can quickly go from full and thick to thin and brittle.

Do I Need to Cut My Hair Too?

While there may indeed be reasons to go short, society has become accustomed to expecting a more polished, mature hairstyle on women from a certain age on. Whether it be a new mom or a woman just turned the 5-0, women drastically cut off their locks thinking that it is what they “are supposed to do” at some serious milestone in their lives. If you want short hair and it’s easiest for you, go for it! But there are plenty of women who keep their long hair well into their 50s, 60s, and beyond.

You are in charge of your own hair and can do with it what you wish, the important thing to be real about is that your hair will need extra care if you keep it long.

Tips to Keep Your Hair Healthy Over 50

If you want long hair as an older woman, here are some tips to keep it healthy and polished. As your hair becomes finer as the years roll on – and finer hair means weaker hair – it’s crucial to take extra care when styling, using hot tools and when combing it when wet.

  • Prolong Time Between Coloring: As the gray hair creeps in, you may be tempted to cover it with permanent dye; however, they often contain ammonia or peroxide (hair-damaging ingredients, to put it simply). If you want to maintain long locks and cover gray, go for semi-permanent dyes and root concealers.
  • Treat it With Kindness (and Less Heat): For whatever hair type you may have and no matter how it changes, you can use fewer heat tools on it to keep it as manageable as possible. Turn to air drying and the right haircut for low-maintenance hairstyles.
  • Get the Right Cut and Products: As hair thins, the easiest trick in the book is to avoid a center part which can flatten the whole head of hair. Go with an uneven part and stock up on thickening and nourishing shampoos to treat hair in the shower as opposed to with hot tools.
  • Add Proteins: As keratin levels drop as we get older, the loss of protein dramatically affects the strength of our hair. Strands break easier and become more brittle, at which point you will want to add protein-infused hair treatments and oils such as keratin or argan.
  • Change Your Regimen: The most important way to take care of your changing locks is to update your regimen (and haircut too if you choose). Thinning hair comes with age but it is also caused by stress, hormonal shifts, and genes so take note of how your hair is shifting and take action. That could be via extra weekly hair treatments or speaking with a dermatologist about what you can do to care for your tresses.

10 Examples of Long Hair on Older Women

Be a leader, be a rebel, be what you want. Be middle-aged with long hair. Who’s to say with a little bit of extra care you can’t rock whatever hairstyle you want? Here are ten pictures of long hair on older women that prove you don’t have to crop your hair.

Natural Looking Blonde with Curls

This sandy blonde look is youthful and suits her complexion just right. Older women often suit light dirty blonde tones as a way to effortlessly cover graying hair with a natural color. To stay away from trying to look too young, steer clear from straight and blonde and add soft waves for playful yet age-appropriate volume.

Source: @fibonacci__sequins

Voluminous Soft Blonde

Lots of volume at the top and rounded curls or, alternatively, a voluminous blowout is a timeless look for mature women. And the good news? It works best with shoulder length and longer. So, whether you are growing it out or have got the length, controlled curls are always a good look. Pair it with trendy balayage hair for natural-looking blonde color.

Source: @uppiesbeads59

Long and Gray

It’s a shame villainous witches are always portrayed in films with long gray hair because, to be honest, it’s simply gorgeous in real life. Keeping the long gray hair kept sleek and straight offers a polished look to what could otherwise be an unkempt hairstyle. Great for fine hair, keep it long and strong with weekly nourishing treatments and you have a beautiful daily style to go.

Source: @silverstorm777

Low Bun with Braid

 If you keep your hair long and want an elegant updo for an event, you can easily throw it back into something special. The bun kept low at the base of the neck and tugging down a few wispy hairs is easy to do at-home. Add a touch of braid moving from the crown to the bun for a fashionable twist to a classic hairstyle.

Source: @dafnebeautylounge

Half-Up Half-Down

Half-up half-down looks are always a good idea but have been especially popular these past few years. This style works because its youthful yet sophisticated with some extra volume at the crown. Pair it with a relaxed blouse and dainty accessories for a put-together (but not trying too hard) look.

Source: @dafnebeautylounge

Curly Shoulder-Length

Worn with soft waves or down straight, this medium-length hairstyle works well on fine hair. Full bangs are not just for the youth! They often take years off your face and can be an easy way to jazz up any hairstyle.

Source: @nikikinghair

Light Auburn with Bangs

Auburn hair, whether dark or light, has always flattered those with light complexions. This long hairstyle with bangs and a flirty red color, reminds us of Jane Asher circa 1960s. If you have light eyes and the length for it, this hairstyle is 100% approved for you.

Source: @trendsbytaylorae

Bright Color and Wavy Pieces

The mixture of colors in this look is great for those just beginning to turn gray because we still see a pop of natural roots mixed with bright blonde, sandy pieces and some gray. The overall look is put together yet not trying too hard. The long layers and waves keep the hairstyle perfect for on-trend ladies.

Source: @hairbyelisa1

Past the Shoulders with Side Bang

This hairstyle has a super manageable length, flowing past the shoulders. The side bang here is youthful and feminine, plus works great on long faces or larger foreheads. So if you’ve always rocked bangs, no need to give them up just because you’ve reached a certain age.

Source: @adoremadore

Bold Reds and Soft Layers

Is it just me or is anyone else a huge fan of mature women who rock bold colored hair? Reds are wonderful for living-up your hair and showing off that bit of attitude at any stage of your life. While the color is sultry, the tapered face-framing pieces and layers throughout soften the entire look.

Source: @hairbyelisa1

Long Hair Knows No Age Limit

Yes, short hair has its advantages and may seem like the road to travel down at 40, or 50, or 60. People may hold an opinion on when mature women should officially cut it all off, but at the end of the day, our hair is our own way of expressing our style and it should be something that makes us feel great whether that direction is long – like one of these ten amazing long hairstyles for older women — or a traditional length.

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