Chic, Age- Appropriate Hairstyles for Black Women

Short hairstyles for black women over 40
Viola Davis looking glam in her cute flip hairstyle.
photo: Shutterstock

African American women have some of the most beautiful hair on the planet, but it can also be the hardest to tame.

I’ve met lots of black women over 40  with gorgeous hair; that always looks fabulous. Some of these gals spend hours taming the frizz or making the most of their curls, whereas others manage their look with very minimal effort.

How do they do it?  Here are a few great styling tips they gave me for recreating their chic African American hairstyles.

Short Hairstyles for Black Women

Most of the women I spoke to had one particular tip that they wanted to share with my readers; keep it short!  Why? Shorter hair looks sporty, energetic and modern.

Also, the longer your hair the harder it is to look after, whereas shorter hair is easier to tame.  It seems as though that age-old question, ” Should women over 40 have long hair? is easy to answer when you have challenging African American  (or Afro-Caribbean) hair.  That’s not to say that longer black hairstyles cannot look good too, but we will take a look at that a bit later on.

short haircuts for black women over 40
Michelle’s cut has been copied around the world.

So, what are the best short hairstyles for black women?

The Modern Bob

One of these gals pointed me in the direction of Michelle Obama, who has hair in a long bob, straight and perfectly symmetrical. The bangs are cut straight across her forehead, and then the hair is  layered down the sides for a youthful and vibrant look. The rounded edges eliminate sharp angles that can be flattering if you’re 20, but are often  too harsh over 40, and can make you look tired.

Getting Michelle’s look can require some tough straightening irons and serums to ease the frizz, so this is only a good hairstyle if you have  a bit of time to get ready every morning.

The Pixie

I wanted to find some hairstyles for African American women that were a bit easier than battling with the straighteners every morning, so I asked a friend of mine who said it takes her 5 minutes to fix her hair every day. Her hair has a beautiful gray hue to it, which some may argue shows her age, but in truth gives her a radiant glow.

short haircut for black women over 40
Halle looks sexy and chic!
Photo: Shutterstock

Her style is a cute pixie cut (think Halle Berry and Angela Bassett), which instantly takes off years from her actual age and looks great with gray.

Her styling trick? A little bit of product goes a long way. Just a tiny squirt of serum, spray or wax can create that ruffled pixie style beauty, without looking as though you have just rolled out of bed. It’s a perfect for her casual lifestyle and a very sexy look too.

Want more ideas on short hairstyles for black women over 40? Then take a look at how younger celebrities are wearing their hair too, especially at entertainment Awards shows. Actress Lupita Nong’s, and singers Rhianna and Solange are currently wearing their hair short and these cute cuts can easily be adopted by a woman of any age.

Longer African American Hair

Not every black woman over 40 wants to cut her hair into a bob or a pixie cut. Some want to keep hold of the length for as long as possible.  That’s fine too. Although it can be more difficult to keep longer black hairstyles tame, it can definitely be worth it. The model Iman is a prime example of an over 40 woman  (57 in fact) who can pull off  a full mane of  long black hair.

best and natural hairstyles for black women over 40
Iman’s style is high maintenance, but gorgeous. photo: shutterstock

Iman has one of my favorite hairstyles for African American women over 40. I love her beautiful, wavy locks and how she always manages to have so much style and panache.  Large rollers tend to be the best way to create this look, but you can experiment with curling irons too.

By rolling the curls away from your face, you will create a look that highlights high cheekbones,  adds width to your face and makes you look glamorous and youthful. This style works best with darker hair that has been highlighted, or light browns and oranges, to accentuate your skin tone.

As you can see here with these black women,  hairstyles run the gamut.  Too often it’s easy to get stuck in a rut , especially after 40 and think there is only one way to wear your hair. In reality there are plenty of chic hairstyles for African American women if you just experiment a little.

Take a look around at your friends, at celebrities and check out some hair styling magazines. A small change in your hair can make a world of difference in how you feel. Do you like these suggested hairstyles for black women over 40? Would you wear them? Send me an email and photo and let me know.

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Join the Conversation

7 thoughts on “Chic, Age- Appropriate Hairstyles for Black Women

  1. My girlfriend is African American and over 40. The hairstyles she chooses varies from medium (should length) to mid back length. The styles vary from wearing her own medium length hair to longer styles using pieces or wigs. There are women over 40 who choose the shorter styles for quick maintenance. Style length depends on the person not really the age. From what I see every morning when she prepares herself for the day her hair is not hard to manage, it just needs care.

  2. Black women also wear their hair in its natural state. There are plenty of natural hairstyles, braided, twisted etc that are beautiful on black women and make them look more youthful than the straight hair style options.

  3. Hello,
    Most of the women I spoke to had one particular tip that they wanted to share with my readers; keep it short! Why? Shorter hair looks sporty, energetic and modern.
    thanks for information

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