Easy to maintain hair styles for older women

Updated February 21, 2017

The demands of kids, grandkids, and work leave women over 40 with less time and energy to devote to their own appearance. If you still want to look stylish, a low-maintenance hairdo is a must. Take a tip from some older celebrities who look fashionable (even when wearing sweatpants in those "they're just like us" photos) because of their easy, yet chic, hairstyles.

Long Layers

Generally, women tend to wear their hair shorter as they get older. Although short hair can be stylish and easy to maintain, long hair can also be trendy for older women. Cindy Crawford is a woman over 40 with long hair, cut with multiple layers - but you don't have to be a supermodel to look good with long hair! All you need is the right cut and the right products. First, ask your stylist for layers, with the shortest layer ending just below your nose to frame your face and draw attention to your smile. This length will also allow you to part your hair on the side or in the middle. If your hair is straight, simply use a large round brush to brush your hair from underneath while it's wet, then allow it to air dry for a no-fuss morning routine. This cut will also work if your hair is curly, giving you the option of wearing your natural curls or straightening your hair. Applying hair serum to the ends will keep all hair types from frizzing.

Short and Choppy

She may be over 40, but Meg Ryan looks better than ever. Part of her beauty comes from knowing her hair's limitations and sticking to short, easy-to-maintain styles. Whether your hair is naturally curly, wavy, or straight, you might want to try a short, spunky 'do. Tell your stylist to cut your hair to just below your ears, with a few layers that vary by only one or two inches. You should still be able to clip the top layers at your crown to keep hair out of your eyes when necessary. For a wavy look, use a quarter-sized drop of mousse to "scrunch" wet hair and allow it to air dry. For a straight version, either let naturally straight hair air dry with a bit of hair serum on the tips, or straighten hair for a super sleek look.

Razor Cut

Lisa Rinna has looked great since entering her 40s thanks to a choppy razor cut. This look is very easy, and you'll almost never look "undone," even right after you wake up. Blow dry your hair, then use a serum for a shiny, pulled-together look. Brush downward without much fluff for a more conservative look. Because this cut is so choppy, it's easy to maintain. A razor cut should be trimmed every six weeks to avoid split ends but virtually no other maintenance. To add depth to your style, do a two-tone hair colour.

The Bob

With her classic bob, Janet Jackson shows off the confidence that comes with age. Attractive for women of any age, this cut is never out of style. You can achieve the look simply by asking your stylist for a sleek, classic bob. Usually, these cuts lay just below the chin but can be longer or shorter as desired. To encourage the ends to curve inward, straighten your hair by curving the iron in toward your neck, and use a round brush when brushing in the same manner. For a choppier bob, tell your stylist to razor-cut the tips. This will allow for even less maintenance because you'll be able to roll out of bed with hair that looks fabulous (and youthful!) from drying naturally.


As we age, our hair turns grey or white and often loses volume. Although celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis have shown us that grey can still be chic, grey-covering hair colours are also quite common and can help trick the eye into seeing more volume. When your hair starts to thin, highlights and lowlights are your saviour. The contrast between different shades of colours will add depth and deceive the eye into seeing hair as thicker than it actually is. Celebrities with fine hair use this trick no matter what their age, and they will surely continue to do so as age takes its toll on their natural volume.

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About the Author

Laila Alvarez has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for Houston Community Newspapers and "L.A. Zoo View," "North O.C. Magazine," "Perpetual Phlegm" and other magazines, newspapers and websites. Alvarez has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University-Fullerton.