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Long or Short Hair Over 60?

By Penelope Jane Whiteley February 28, 2023 Beauty

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


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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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I have long hair dyed as close to my natural color as I can get it. I have tried it short, professionally cut, with highlights which was a perfect match to my action color when I was young and the style was nice but so much more maintenance and not truly me, despite the compliments. I love it long, but will go back for better color and styling, longer styling than last time, and if it “makes me look old” well I am!

Penelope Whiteley

Yay! Go for it Joan. This is about you and your choice …


I have let my hair grow to shoulder length for the 1st time in over 31 years. My hair is salt and pepper Gray. I cannot believe how many compliments I get all the time. For the 1st time in many years. I hear you are beautiful all of the time now. I have a narrow face so I believe the long hair suits me better. I definitely take care of it and am thrilled to have found some good products that keep my hair from looking dull and frizzy. It is more work but worth the effort.

Penelope Whiteley

You’re right Emily … the length of your hair will make your face look ‘plumper’ which, of course (!) is youthful. Which is your best Conditioner?

Tara Osterberg

I love my hair long at 62.

Penelope Whiteley


Toni Stritzke

My hair has never done what the hairdresser told it to do. And I’ve got two left hands when it comes to styling. I’ve always kept it around chin length and while it suits me, the maintenance is really annoying.‘I am in the process of growing out my fringe and it suits the silver streak running through it.
As it’s become very straight, I wash it, do not dry it; I simply wind it up into a butterfly clip and leave it unbrushed for a couple of days. Then it’s got enough curl going, to keep it in a pony tail for the next few days.
Loads of drinking water has kept the thinning at bay. I alternative between a purple shampoo and my expensive shampoo and conditioner.
It’s saved me hundreds on hairdressers, I reckon.

Penelope Whiteley

Well, it’s working for you! How lucky you are to have a silver streak in your fringe. The only thing I can do is reiterate the information I heard … spend more on your conditioner and less on shampoo! Probably more like thousands, so treat yourself to a day at a spa!


I have my hair just about chin length and layered. I have not been able to find someone locally who can give me a great cut, and that makes all the difference. My hair thinned a lot on top, but it’s full everywhere else.. so annoying. Finding a stylist who truly understands how to cut your hair based on its texture, body etc.. is like a needle in a haystack. I have a relative who can do that, but she’s on the other side of the country.. and I’m not Miriah Carey.. I can’t fly to Florida for a haircut!!


I am in the same boat. I can’t find ANYONE who knows how to style and texturize my hair – thin on top, thick and full on the bottom. I’d like to know where in Florida – I’m not Mariah Carey either, but Florida is certainly closer… my ex-go-to is in Las Vegas, so far away….

Penelope Whiteley

I know how you both feel. I had a brilliant cutter (you know … the gosh-what-a-great-haircut type) and then I had to move. It’s only a 3-hour drive but still … Good luck!

Penelope Whiteley

Finding a good cutter is key to any hair … I have never been able to understand why there seem to be so few around and you’re right, why should you have to fly hundreds of miles?! Good luck … someone will turn up …


What part of FL. Do u live

Penelope Whiteley

I live in London (the English London) Bernadette. It’s as hard to find a good cutter here as anywhere and I don’t know about FL but here, it’s like taking a mortgage for a house …

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, Twitter, and Facebook.

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