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. Keep the color closest to your scalp color if your hair is thinning out.
This is a great hairstyle option when you are leaving your hair color grow out and your beautiful natural grey grow in. The “messy look” will help your dyed hair blend in with the growing grays while you transition.
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.
Some hair colors look great with highlights and lowlights. You can add dark lowlights at the scalp and selected strands to your short pixie to give it more texture.
This soft-layered pixie with face contouring bangs is quite easy to style and looks great on many face shapes
This gamine pixie cut looks great with the longer side-swept bangs. This short hairstyle looks good on most face shapes, but especially if you have a long oval face. This style looks good in any hair color, dyed or natural.
This is a great evening look!
Got curls? Flaunt them! Soft upswept curls are always trendy and suit many face shapes. Work with a curl activator to help your natural curls stay in place and to prevent frizz.rls 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 signature short bob hairstyle. Add highlights and lowlights to create texture and volume. Blow dry with a round brush to create a soft beehive look at the back.
Add layers at the back of a short bob hairstyle for a softer look and added volume. This is an easy wash-and-go cut for those who don’t like to spend too much time styling their hair. Layers are great if you have thick hair, but can thin your hair if you don’t.
This is a hairstyle that women of all ages can sport. It looks great on younger women and women over 60 as well. The no-layer bob and straight across bangs soften the features and is great if you have thin hair. This hairstyle is great in all colors. Why not go bold and try a vibrant color!
Bobs come in all lengths. This style is the combination of a pixie and a bob. You can add soft layers to the style to naturally create more bounce and texture. This style is a good option for those with round shaped faces.
This short bob hairstyle is definitely not a wash-and-go style as it needs a blow-out and some teasing to get the beehive effect. This hairstyle can be achieved with thick or thin hair and looks good on women with all face shapes. We think it 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. You can use a small 1/2 inch curling iron if you don’t have natural curls.
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. Her signature flicked ends give this hairstyle a playful look.
Do you have naturally wavy hair? Work with your waves to create a soft natural-looking hairstyle. Style large loose waves and use an anti-frizz product to keep your hair ruley with no fly-aways. This hairstyle looks good on a variety of face-shapes.
This is a longer version of the Meg Ryan hairstyle. Side-part the hair and let the longer loose curls barely touch your shoulders for a flirty look. Use a wider curling iron, like a 1 inch barrel, to create the loose curls and use a heat protectant anti-frizz product to keep your curls healthy and bouncy.
This elegant hairstyle is perfect for older women. It does require some blow-out and extra styling time to create the luscious volume. This style is great for women with medium-thick hair and oval-shaped faces.
You can use hair bands to sweep your curly hair away from your face to create a clean and professional look. This is a great look for older women with round faces without a receding hairline or an extra long forehead. Plump up your natural curls with a curling cream and texturizing styling spray.
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!
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 every day.
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.