When you have short hair there aren’t very many styles you can choose from. The good news is that Denise McAdam, celebrity and royalty hair stylist, has joined us today to give us some ideas we can use on short hair. If you are looking for short hairstyles for older women, you’re really going to enjoy this interview!

 

 
 

Margaret Manning:

Hello, everyone! This is Margaret Manning with Sixty and Me. This is the place where women over 60 come to be inspired.

My guest today is Denise McAdam who has over 40 years of experience as a hairdresser. She is one of the best hairdressers you can find in the UK. She’s been breaking ground in her occupation since she was 21 years old and became the first woman to be a celebrity and royal stylist.

She has a royal warrant, which means that she works with the royal family in the UK. Many of her clients are actresses and celebrities. She has also worked with some of the world’s best photographers, so Denise is the absolute expert on hair.

Hello, Denise. I’m thrilled to have you here! Welcome.

Denise McAdam:

Yeah, thank you for inviting me. It’s great to talk to the community of Sixty and Me!

Margaret:

Thank you! Sixty and Me encompasses about 100 000 women over 60, and we all love our hair. With aging, hair becomes thinner. It grays, and we have to decide what to do with it.

Back in high school, my hair reached my waist. I used to iron it to get it in shape. As I got older, I had it cut several times. I’ve tried wearing it middle length and short. The question though is how do we know which style is best for us?

Today we will talk about short hair styles for older women. I think there are some categories you can tell us about – bob versus pixies versus layered. What is your breakdown on short hair categories?

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenDenise:

Yeah, the word pixie is great, but I like the word gamine a little bit more. Short-to-middle length hair can still maintain a glamour element as long as you keep a little bit of height to it, which is important.

Margaret:

Jay Jimmy, for example, has a pixie/gamine hair style.

Denise:

Yeah, thinking of Jay Jimmy, she’s got the look of a gamine. A bit like Firal had years ago, though she was younger, and her hair was kept flatter. We remember these styles as elements of Twiggy.

Then there’s Audrey Hepburn. Her hair was a tiny bit longer, styled in a short L with a soft and wispy fringe. It was short behind the ears, and there was softness to it, which is vital. If you give it a harsh feel or raise it up at the back, the style loses its femininity. It’s important to keep the style feminine, glamorous and a little bit jaunty, so you still have that twinkle in your eye.

There are other short hair styles that carry more power in their look.

Margaret:

Do you mean a very short bob?

Denise:

If you prefer a short style with much more power to it, you would think about Suze Orman. A lot of British news journalists wear styles that give them a serious look. The hair is sculptured at the back, but the height remains untouched. The style is short behind the ears, with a wispy fringe that is much more sweeping. This brings softness over the forehead and gives the look an edge of elegance.

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenMargaret:

Yeah, Suze Orman’s is very short at the back.

Denise:

Yes! It’s very pulled over, but still sexy. It makes you look sassy. The first look we discussed was more gamine, while the second one was sassier. They are both great short styles. What makes them different is the length of the layers: one is achieved via short layers, the other via longer layers. In a sense, they both expand on the classic bob style.

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenThe next style is applied to chin length or shoulder length hair. An example would be Jane Fonda’s style, which is very layered and short. The sculpture is short with short layers. When you dry it, you’re just whizzing the layers, flicking them out with the brush. You should use brushes that catch the edges of the hair. These short styles are much bawdier and flickier, which works great with color.

Margaret:

Layers seem to be important in these styles.

Denise:

There are a lot of people with hairstyles like that. Meg Ryan wore her hair like that for a long time. It’s a style that always looks great. It has a soft fringe, and you still have a longish short hair with layers.

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenMargaret:

It moves, too.

Denise:

Yes, you can push it back and move it slightly. That’s good because it gives you options. I think it’s quite nice if you can tuck it behind your ears because it gives you a sense of mystery. Young girls go for the free wispy look, and as you become older, you can just tuck the hair behind the ears.

Margaret:

It looks flirtatious.

Denise:

It does. I think it’s important to stay flirtatious not just for the male world but for yourself. When you go out with your girlfriends you want to be all happy and jaunty.

Margaret:

It is sort of mysterious. It gives you a look of secrecy and complexity. That’s great!

Denise:

Absolutely. You might also go into the bob style shapes. A bob like yours keeps the hair more at one length. It could be a little shorter at the back, which gives a great profile. It works nicely because with age your chin could become a bit more sculptured, the skin may get juggly and the lines more pronounced. This style gives a little bit more shape at the back.

Margaret:

Yeah, mine is a bit shorter at the back.

Denise:

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenBringing a bit more graduation to your style gives a lovely profile. One of the things we tend to forget to do is use a mirror to look at the side of our head. This is an absolute must, if you want to have a finished and lovely shape to your hair.

Women do forget about the back of their hair. I saw a lady recently who looked absolutely gorgeous. Her hair was layered, short and stunning with a beautiful color. She had on lovely makeup and jewelry that really looked good on her. When she walked past me though, I saw the back of her head. It was flat and shapeless. Waking up in the morning, you have to get your hair moving and then comb in your hairstyle.

You can wear a lengthier bob with a bit more color to soften the effect of the style. The Cleopatra bob is not good for older women because it is sharper. What you should be looking for is softness, whether with color or something else.

Jane Seymour still wears her hair long. It isn’t what I used to style for Max Factor fairs, but it’s still lengthy. Softness is achieved via layers, which give it a sense of movement. However, this is certainly not the long hair we used to work on once upon a time.

For example, I travelled the world with Cindy Crawford. We went everywhere for Revlon and other brands. Cindy’s hair back then was long and one length. It had an iconic height that will be remembered on the cover of Elle. It was stunning hair. Nowadays, her hair is more layered. It looks finer as she’s grown a little bit older.

Margaret:

She’s in her fifties as well.

Denise:

She’s just had her 50th birthday. Her hair’s a bit finer, more layered and there is movement to it. She’s transitioning into the next stage of her life, the next decade. She isn’t trying to look like her daughter, which is an unspoken taboo. If you have a daughter, don’t try to look like her. Instead, try to compliment her looks. You still want to be the mom, not the sister.

Margaret:

It’s about keeping a positive attitude of your age.

Denise:

Yes, we should embrace a positive attitude.

Margaret:

In our discussion so far, you mentioned several important points, when it comes to short hair. One was being careful to keep femininity in the style. We can accomplish this by giving our hair some softness and lightness. If it’s a pixie or a gamine cut, it would be very short and spikey. We can also go for a Suze Orman bob style or something more angular and layered like the style Jane Fonda wears.

These are the three major short hair styles we covered. My final question relates to facial shapes. Do you think that short hair wouldn’t look good on certain facial shapes? Would it be better for those women try to grow their hair longer?

Denise:

Not necessarily, though some women do look younger with a bit longer hair. If the hair is short and layered in that old lady round style, it wouldn’t look flattering on anyone. You have to add a softness of movement, a lightness on the fringe.

Short Hairstyles for Older WomenThe round short hair style doesn’t look good. It’s got to be a little bit angled with some square lines in it. Annie Lennox was on TV last night. She wears a sculptured short hair style.

Margaret:

I love Annie Lennox.

Denise:

She had on a black suit and a strong, short hair style. It didn’t look masculine though. She looked stunning.

She looked really elegant. It made me want to run out, buy a black suit and cut my hair short. I found it lovely that she wasn’t botoxed. Her hair was colored on the edge of grey, so it looked silvery. She was simply embracing her next decade of ageing.

Margaret:

I think she’s in her sixties.

Denise:

I think she may be, I’m not sure.

Margaret:

Age doesn’t matter anyways.

Denise:

She looked inspirational.

Joan Collins has worn wigs all her life and they’re fabulous. I’ve worked with her many years ago on some TV adverts. There’s always a bit of movement in her wigs and they’re always layered. She looked stunning whether she wore the three quarter wig or a part wig. There’s nothing wrong with using a bit of hair extensions as you get older.

Margaret:

Yeah, we’ve talked about that before. We’ll close on what you said about Annie Lennox. She is the perfect example of a woman who is not challenging the aging stereotypes. She’s just being herself. She’s embraced who she is. I think that hair is a great way to express yourself.
This was a wonderful discussion on short hair. We’ll cover medium and long hair length in another video. Thank you again for your expertise. I’d love to have you alone with a pair of scissors working my hair. We might try that one day. Thanks a lot, Denise!

Are you a short hair kind of person? Which of the three styles Denise discussed – gamine, bob or layered – do you think would look best on you? Please join the conversation.

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