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Long or Short Hair Over 60?

Are you a woman over 60 who has taken to the scissors and had the long hair of your past removed? Or are you still wearing your glorious mane at the same length and in the same cut as you did back in the ‘60s or ‘70s or ‘80s?

Why Do We Think of Cutting Our Hair as We Age?

One of the major reasons we think of cutting our hair as we age is the change in hair texture. It may be as thick as it ever was, but it starts to look like a toilet brush with frizz and wiriness everywhere. Combine this with a less than perfect jawline and neck and the odd wrinkle or two, and dissatisfaction may check in.

Some women also experience thinning of their hair, which can cause real distress.

The colour is probably the least of your worries. Whether to dye the grey or leave it alone is another subject.

The Pros and Cons of Keeping Hair Long

Pros

  • There may be less maintenance with long hair. On bad hair days, and especially when you don’t have time to wash it, you can put it up in a bun or ponytail. This is just get and go! We all like that.
  • You need less cutting, and the cutting we do is mostly trimming the ends to create a healthy-looking head of hair.
  • You have more styling options; from bun/ponytail to braids etc.

Cons

  • As you age, your hair sheds more, and if you have blonde hair, or foils or are encouraging the grey, wearing dark clothes becomes a problem.
  • If you don’t take care of your hair and just let it grow, it looks unhealthy, frizzy and straggly.
  • It takes longer to dry and style. Yes, you have to do this, or it starts to look unhealthy.
  • You may try, but you cannot hide behind your long hair.
  • It’s more expensive because you will use more shampoo and conditioner. Especially conditioner. Also, if you don’t spend time and money on really good conditioners, it’s easy to look old beyond your years! I was listening to a podcast recently, where hair care experts agreed that the cost of shampoo is irrelevant but buying a really good conditioner (the expensive type) is key… especially if you want to flaunt long, lustrous locks.
  • Long hair can make you look older because when people look at you they see your hair or chin (depending on the length). It draws the eyes down, and you need all looks to be drawn up to minimise the focus of jowls.

What About Short Hair?

Pros

  • Short hair usually looks and feels healthier because the ‘old’ hair is no more.
  • The cut removes the weight of your hair which means you have more natural volume. A little natural bounce!
  • Those half-up half-down buns are one of your best friends because they always look fabulous and more youthful on short haircuts!
  • Shedding is minimal.
  • A great cut can look much more trendy or edgy. It is more of an accessory whereas long hair pretty much looks the same on everybody.
  • Short hair works well in framing the face and bringing the eye of the beholder up to your features.
  • The Big Chop feels very liberating. You’re free from the work involved in maintaining long hair.
  • Because your hair looks as if it has more volume, you can play around with parts and flip your hair back and forth.

Cons

  • Contrary to popular belief and the promises of your hairdresser, you do actually have to style short hair. Don’t take a picture of a short haircut to your hair stylist if you don’t want to put effort into its maintenance.
  • You need more frequent haircuts, which needs to be considered if you don’t want to spend too much time with your hairdresser. You’ll probably want a trim and tidy-up every six weeks so it can be more expensive.
  • There are limited styling options. No long braids, long pony, big top knot, etc.
  • BUT, if you have found a magic cutter (they’re rare!), styling options aren’t a worry because your hair will look fabulous nearly all the time.
  • AND… you will look younger. Your posture will improve (it does, really!) because you feel brighter and lighter in every way, and now the world can feast on your beautiful eyes.

There are so many different lengths you can try if you decide to go short and it’s up to you to decide which suits you best.

I know the bob is incredibly popular, but it doesn’t suit everybody, so please don’t let anyone tell you it works if, deep in your gut, you know it doesn’t.

Choose something that makes you smile when you look in the mirror!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Is your hair long or short? When was the last time you changed your hairstyle? If your hair is short, why did you choose to have it cut? Are you happy with how it looks?

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41 Comments
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Pat

i am 70 and still keep my hair long–past the shoulder. At least once a week a stranger stops me and comments on how lovely my hair is! it is like the old shag-style with layers. I still color it my natural brown color. I love it long! Only one person told me it was old-fashioned–but she was no beauty herself.

Penelope Whiteley

Good for you Pat! You obviously keep it well-conditioned. Enjoy …

Pat Moore

Good for you Pat I’m 74 and love long hair my style is fashioned at the 60s centre parting …Kate Moss inspired .
I never follow trends or the crowd.
Pat

Deborah

Good for you….these folks don’t actually kno until they see your hair

Clare

You have a link on here for the hair growth gummies. RXhairgrow I believe it was. I was going to order them but the order did not go through after I entered my credit card. Got a call from my credit card co this was a scam and they had already used my card info on 2 charges. Had to cancel card.

Penelope Whiteley

Hi Clare, I can’t even see the link! In any event it’s not mine. I can only say thank goodness the credit card didn’t go through!

Katherine

I read the article because I continue with the internal debate! Long hair feels like an identity marker for me — even as I recognize it’s likely not as flattering as a shorter haircut. I’ve shortened it…but just can’t go “short”.
Yet.

Penelope Whiteley

Katherine, I know! Our hair is tied up with our identity and helps us to believe … in whatever we choose! I had mine cut several years ago and keep growing it until I reach the point at which it drives me nuts! Off it comes again …

Pam

I feel the same way! I love long healthy hair but mine is no longer the thick healthy mane it once was. I need a cut but I’ll miss being able to tie it in a knot. My bangs became curly and I hate that too.

Penelope Whiteley

Nobody tells us! We’re caught unawares …

Lisa

I had my shoulder length hair cut in a buzz cut last Summer.lt was liberating .l loved it after years of dying my hair its natural colour grew out, it was darker than l thought it was going to be.
Styling it was minimal and my clothes needed reassesing and l wore more earrings.
I have had it cut funky but short ever since and still love it! I can throughly recommend it.

Penelope Whiteley

Well done Lisa! And congrats on taking the plunge … I bet it looks great.

Bonnie

I am 73 and I wear my hair long, always have and always will. I’m tall, have gone silver and love the color, just wash and spray with a light conditioner, and twist it in a bun to air dry. I get it cut every six months and vary the amount I have cut off. Think I will go a few inches below shoulder length next month. I’ve learned to French braid it and when I get old, I’ll wear it up with flowers over my ear, since I live in Hawaii. Aloha!

Penelope Whiteley

It’s funny but living in Hawaii makes all the difference! Possibly because it always feels so ‘holiday’-ish and you feel as though you have more time …

JOLENE

Great idea. I love that you will wait until you get old. ❤️ some day I might be old too.

Penelope Whiteley

Jolene, I must be there already … short hair!

Gramzie Wytch

I can totally relate to all the posts here. As I aged, my Mom kept telling me that I was too old for long hair. I happen to love braiding & a french braid is my style of choice. When my hair was short, I wasn’t able to try new braid styles. To me, it creates a classically feminine look, almost reminicent of Victorian times.

Penelope Whiteley

I agree Gramzie … long hair braided or whatever other style you choose always look good!

Gramzie Wytch

👍

Karen

Aloha. I too live in Hawaii. I’m 70 and my hair is just past my tush. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on http://www.penelopewhiteley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

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