Denise McAdam is an expert on hairstyles for older women. Whether your hair is short or long, thick or thin, she knows exactly what to do to make you look your best.
For 40 years, Denise has worked with women from all walks of life. She has worked her magic on celebrities, royalty, models, and the rest of us. Through it all, she has learned the secrets of what it takes to deliver the best haircuts and hairstyles for women of any age.
As our hair gets a little thinner with age – and I know about this phenomenon first hand – short hair is often the way to go. Personally, I’ve resisted the urge to cut my hair too short, but, after talking with Denise and looking at all of the amazing short hairstyles for older women, I’m honestly reconsidering!
In today’s interview, I talk with celebrity hairdresser, Denise McAdam. I hope that you enjoy listening to her advice. If you have any questions for Denise, please add them in the comments section at the end of this article. Enjoy the show!
Denise starts by reminding us of two important things. First, short hair can look quite masculine, so, it’s important to make sure that it has some height and movement. Secondly, if you’re going to go short, you need a great cut!
Let’s summarize the main options that Denise and I discussed when it comes to short hairstyles for older women.
Very short hairstyles are pretty easy to style, and you even have more styling options than you may think. You can sleek it, wear it messy, or style it back. The only thing with short hairstyles is that you need to visit your hairstylist more often for upkeep.
We all love Dame Judi Dench and her wonderful blonde pixie haircut. Adding a little bit of volume and short wispy bangs create a super feminine look.
This messy pixie looks great if you have thick hair and are a little edgy. Perfectly messy!
Another woman who sports a gamine style haircut is Annie Lennox. She is simply natural and radiant. Just on the edge of grey, Annie chose this haircut as a statement about the way that she was aging. She wanted to be seen as strong, independent, and inspirational.
Soft layers and wispy short bangs is easy to style.
Bold, choppy, and all-natural! We love it.
An edgy and stylish way to wear a short hairstyle is to give it some extra volume on the top and slicked back on the sides.
Soft upswept curls are always trendy and suit many face shapes.
Another short hairstyle for older women to consider is the more dramatic smooth bob. This is the haircut that television host Suze Orman became famous for.
Denise points out that women in the public eye, such as journalists, corporate leaders, and politicians often go for this haircut and sculpt it back and to the side. They opt for soft hairstyles, letting their hair fall over their foreheads, with an edge of elegance.
The tailored “bob” can be a sassy, sexy, and professional-looking cut, which is perhaps why I chose it for most of my corporate career.
One thing that Denise reminds us is to keep the hair slightly shorter at the back. This helps with the chin line, which may have become beautifully jowly.
Suze Orman is known for her perfect short bob hairstyle. Add highlights to create texture.
Add layers at the back of a short bob hairstyle for a softer look and added volume.
No-layer bob and bangs softens the features.
Add layers to the style if you want more bounce and texture.
This is definitely not a wash-and-go style as it needs a blow-out and some teasing. Looks fabulous!
Another short hairstyle for older women is the layered, chin-length style. This is the hairstyle that is preferred by actresses like Jane Fonda and Meg Ryan. Both of these women use a brush to flick the layers of the cut and give their hair fullness and sparkle.
Light and layered, this cut can create an organic look. The hair is long enough to fall into your eyes and give a sense of seductiveness.
Meg Ryan wears this chin-length hairstyle very well. Natural-looking blonde flirty curls soften and flatter her features.
Timeless Jane Fonda wears this hairstyle with elegance and grace. The added highlights in her bangs and around her face create softness and perfect texture.
Large loose waves and a longer version of this hairstyle looks amazing in natural grey.
Create side part longer curls for a flirty look.
Blow out the hair to add volume.
Sweep the curls back for a professional look.
Joan Collins has worn wigs all her life, and they’re fabulous. Denise 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 we get older.
Denise traveled the world with Cindy Crawford. They went everywhere and worked together for Revlon among 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. She had stunning hair!
She’s in her 50s now and 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.
Her hair is not considered short, but maybe that is where she will be transitioning in the next years, one step at a time.
Denise encourages us to be flirtatious and not worry about what other people think. So, love yourself and embrace your short hairstyle.
Finally, remember that these are only guidelines. No matter what short hairstyle you choose, you are a whole woman, complex and beautiful. Your hair is an important part of your look, but, more importantly, you should choose a cut that brings out your personality and makes you feel amazing!
If you have had long hair and also short hair in your life, you know that typically short hair is a bit trickier to style. It’s sometimes easier to “wash-n-go” with longer hair than it is with shorter hair.
Short hair often needs texture and styling to keep it from going places it shouldn’t and to sculpt out some volume. Here are a few products we feel are excellent for short hairstyles. Whether you like foam, gel, or spray there is sure to be a product for your short hair on our list.
This versatile hair styling mousse from Paul Mitchell enhances texture with long-lasting memory that controls frizz and flyaways while adding shine and balancing moisture.
Thai dry texturizing spray from Kristen Ess creates a soft, matte texture or lived-in look.
This sculpting clay from VERB is a pliable pomade that provides medium hold, natural texture, and flexibility to re-shape your hair throughout the day as you wish.
Living Proof makes this great styling cream that creates amplified volume, touchable texture, and flexible hold.
Kenra Platinum Texturizing Taffy 13 creates separation and texture with a soft, moveable touch and feel. Flexible styling without stiffness!
Oribe molding paste is a texturizing formula that defines hair while lending a soft touch and shine.
Thermal Creations from TRESemmé is a heat protection spray for hair that is heat-activated to help guard against harsh styling damage and hold your hair shape.
Small, travel size, hair straighteners are best for short hairstyles. The Tiny Tress Press is perfect for styling your short hair everyday.
Do you have a short haircut? Which one? What questions about haircuts and hairstyles for older women have you wondered about? Please join the conversation.