HAIR CARE – STYLE: Flattering haircuts for the over 40s

Hairstyles for the over 40sDue to a variety of factors, our ‘crowning glory’ becomes a little less glorious as we age, we need to make the best of what we’ve (still) got and choose a hairstyle to compliment our features. I hope this guide will give you a few ideas.

Most of the styles above are shown on women with fine hair and without the aid of hair extensions (Sally Field that CANNOT be all your own thick, glossy hair!). Their hair not only has softness and movement, but is also in tip-top condition, which becomes more important as you age and hair loses its natural shine. You can address the condition problem internally, my mum swears by Philip Kingsley’s PK4 tablets, whereas I’m very happy with plain old Silica tablets from Holland & Barrett.

And externally – a weekly hair mask, either a shop bought one, Montagne Jeunesse have fabulous cheap sachets of delicious fruity masks or a simple homemade one:

Combine 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 2 eggs and apply the mixture to your hair. Use your fingers to work it through from roots to tips. Put on a shower cap and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower – Actually works, but rather messy to rinse off!

I’ll be doing more in-depth posts on hair treatments (including the Keratin Blow Dry), hair masques (budget and luxury) and shampoos and conditioners specially formulated for ‘time-weakened’ (they mean ‘old’) hair. They seem to work on the same principle as products for thinning hair, in that they ‘coat’ the hair to create an illusion of fullness. A huge favourite of mine is the Kérastase Age Premium range which does exactly this and hair really does feel more voluminous even after first use.

As the hair is usually finer, the ends should be blunt, not feathered, cut. Layers are kinder than an all one length style which can look too harsh (think Demi Moore). Hair straighteners too, will damage your hair and very few older women can get away with poker straight hair, plus the intense heat of straighteners will dry out your hair, at our age, we’re all about putting moisture back into our hair. By all means iron out those kinky bits but keep your GHD’s away from the delicate old ends. There’s no reason older women shouldn’t have long hair but again condition is key, so bite the bullet and have straggly split ends chopped off.

Kim Basinger hairKim’s straightened hair is too harsh and does nothing for her beautiful bone structure, the ends also look parched. The shorter, curlier style suits her more.


Close crops can also work, but they don’t suit everyone. Whilst Jamie Lee Curtis’s signature crop looks fabulous, it’s not so flattering on (7 years younger), Robin Wright.

Centre partings on women over a certain age can also be tricky to pull off. Jodie’s bob on the left is too short and ends at the widest part of her face, it makes her look a little bit severe (plus her hair’s doing that odd pointy thing at the top as well). Her parting is just a little too close to the middle for comfort. But on the right, her hair is longer and that flattering side parting softens her look.

Jodie foster bob

Notice how the majority of these age defying hairstyles have some type of fringe, either full, chopped in or swept to the side.


Fringes (or ‘bangs’ for US readers) need regular maintenance to keep them at their most flattering length. A good hairdresser will trim your fringe for free between your proper haircut. The other great thing about fringes is that on bad (or lazy) hair days, you can get away with just washing your fringe. Plus, as I think we all know by now, a forehead covering fringe is a lot cheaper than Botox!

Fake fringes are big news once again, thanks to a certain US celebrity. They’re a good way to bulk up your hair without having a fringe cut in. They simply attach to your own hair by tiny built-in snap-clips.


Hershesons sell beautifully constructed but synthetic, fringe pieces called Winges in a range of 9 shades at £30.00 each (plus £5.95 for delivery). The problem is that the artificial high shine from these fringes is a bit of a giveaway, fine for young girls with naturally shiny locks but not so great for the rest of us. Though I did read that dry shampoo will take away a little of the fakeness by ‘dulling’ the hair slightly.

However, for those who prefer the more natural look and feel of human hair, there’s a company called Pauls Hair & Beauty World

Their Human Hair Clip In Fringes are made from 100% Human Hair and come in a huge choice of 12 shades at £19.95 each (plus £5.99 delivery).

It’s just a thought, but perhaps women who are experiencing severe hair loss or the side effects of medical treatment, could clip these fake fringes onto their scarves, tie them back in the usual way and style the fringe piece?

If you want to experiment first, I suggest trawling Ebay for some really cheap fringe pieces. Do a search on ‘fake fringe bangs’ and you should come up with an assortment of fake fringes for about a fiver (incl P&P), handy for a bit of practice.

Your hair is always on show, when you get it right, it’ll make you feel on top of the world.


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