Advice for finding the most flattering haircut can hinge on several factors, from face shape to lifestyle to hair type. But for gals of a certain age, these factors all become even more important. After all, you want to look effortlessly put-together—not desperate or age-inappropriate—and a good hairstyle can make all the difference.
So, we were happy to find a great blog from Prevention that guides middle-aged and senior women to their best haircut based on hair type, face shape and—yes!—lifestyle. The article provides tips and pointers for nine different scenarios, with celebrity examples for each look. Here are five of our favorites:
Best Haircut for Coarse Hair
Citing actress Viola Davis as a good example of someone with hard-to control hair, the blog suggests that a short, close-cropped ‘do will minimize stress from styling and chemical treatments, while allowing for some personalized length on top depending on individual style and facial features. The blog suggests that you use the term “wash-and-wear hair” when speaking to your stylist about the type of low-maintenance haircut you’d like.
Best Haircut for Thick Hair
Good news for fans of long hair! According to Prevention, “thick hair actually looks more youthful and polished when it falls shoulder-length or longer. Shorter hair has a tendency to expand at the ends, leaving you with an unflattering triangle effect.” Stars such as Denise Richards (above) get this look right by wearing their long locks with minimal, face-framing layers. It should be no shorter than your shoulders, with the length being dictated by your face shape—so ask your stylist what she’d recommend.
Best Haircut for Thinning Hair
To achieve the illusion of fullness, opt for a chin-length cut, like this edgy bob worn by Cameron Diaz (above) that makes the hair feel fuller while avoiding a “matronly” feel. Just ask your hairstylist to cut into the ends of the hair to create more volume and give it an uneven edge. This come off as fresher and more flattering than a blunt bob, says Prevention.
Best Haircut for Curly Hair
Older, curly gals can revel in longer locks by making sure their hair is cut into layers, which shapes the hair and avoids the dreaded “big triangle” at the ends. “Go with a cut like Andie Macdowell’s for a playful, fun vibe,” suggests Prevention. This haircut should be no shorter than chin-length, and should have shorter strands around the face, with the ends of the hair thinned out. Prevention also suggests bringing a photo with you when going to the salon, as a visual is the best way to communicate your desired style.
Best Haircut for Straight Hair
With hair that tends to be limp, a shoulder-length bob is the best bet. “Too much length adds weight to your hair,” says Prevention, “killing volume at the root and body along the hair’s length.” So, ask for layered, sideswept bangs with a deep side part, with shoulder-grazing length for the rest of the hair. This look also is great for softening sharp and angular features on women such Reese Witherspoon, above. “A great rule of thumb is to separate the bangs at the highest point of your eyebrow arch to accentuate your eyes,” Prevention adds.