Help! I Need A Low Maintenance Hairstyle

Dear Deborah,

I have only ever had a couple of hairstyles – in my LIFE, and they happened in my teens. I have been trying to grow my hair long, and this is the longest it has ever been, to my armpits. It doesn’t seem ever to get longer. I love my hair; I’m a Leo, and it is my mane. I do not color it to keep the condition and have a record of shocking haircut disasters that make me feel about hairdressers the way most people think about going to the dentist.

long hair over 40 - low maintenance hairstyle
long hair over 40

I have been tossing up for over a year, and friends have even told me straight up, “It’s time to do something with your hair.” I need low maintenance, but something that looks stylish and semi-professional without going too short. Please save me from me! PS. I’ll be 40 in August. Julie

To answer Julie’s question, I turned to my friend, one of the best in the business, celebrity stylist Christopher Hopkins (The Makeover Guy). Here’s what he had to say.

Hi Julie,

The lowest maintenance hairstyles are those that mimic as closely as possible what your hair wants to do on its own.

That being said, the most straightforward hairstyle to maintain for you is a one-length bob. Now the question is, where is that ideal length?

blonde gwyneth paltrow - professional brow grooming

Visually that length will be best for you between the shoulder and below the chin. Since you have hairdresser phobia, and I understand, I would start at the longest of the length choices.

The cut should start at the collar line in the back and descend at an angle ending at or slightly above the clavicle.  It doesn’t need to be a precise blunt bob. That is just the length guideline. By cutting into the line of the bob, you can create a more free-flowing/natural line that can use your natural wave to its full advantage.

Do not be afraid of color. It will add body, shine, luster, and youthfulness to your look. You do not need to use bleach that can be harder on the hair if done improperly, but a high lift tint that is similar to the color of your ends. It looks natural but will lift the entire look.

What will be most important, however, in regards to your desire to look semi-professional and stylish will be your makeup. Professional brow grooming makes the biggest difference for any woman. As we progress through our 40’s brows and lashes, diminish and fade. Well-groomed brows, mascara or tinted lashes, as well as skin evening and soft lip color will look natural, sexy but not “made up.” More important than hair, I always say, is restoring the face that fades with time.

Finally, it appears you may have some thinning hair at the part. There is a product called Dermatch that I recommend, and the color light brown would be perfect for creating the illusion of thicker hair. You can get it at

Use of a flat iron or thermal curling iron to create a less “fluffy and dry” look will appear more contemporary and polished. I hope that helps!


“The Makeover Guy ®” Christopher Hopkins encourages women worldwide with his entertaining and informative image improvement advice. His best-selling book “Staging Your Comeback, A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45” as well as his viral Internet channel,, continue his legacy of helping women at any age and any stage look and feel their absolute best.


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7 thoughts on “Help! I Need A Low Maintenance Hairstyle

  1. I just wanted to share with others About the do-it-yourselfers that color their hair. Al is checking to make sure the product is not out of date!! Don’t go c eap! When it co s to your hair, a good product will mean the difference between a lousy color that looks unnatural and the perfect look you want. Not to mention hair that feels great and looks healthy.

  2. Ok, my turn; I’ve had the same hairstyle since my thirties. It isn’t easy to find a current and flattering style for me now at 50. My hair is fine and thin. My face is round, and I have a high hairline. I would appreciate it if you could suggest a relaxed no-fuss cut and style.

  3. I finally went ahead and got the chop, and I love it! I got a bob, short at the back and longer at the front, with a couple of foils to lift the color from mousy back to buttery blonde. I’ve had much positive feedback already, and I wonder why I clung to my daggy tresses for so long.

  4. I’m looking for a low-maintenance haircut as well. Gwenyth’s hair looks so cute in that photo! But I agree with Karen’s comment that it might not be low maintenance. I know for myself (who throws her hair into a ponytail every day) I want a cut that I can wash, let dry, and go and look halfway decent. I love the look, though :)

  5. I think his advice is spot on. Julie asked for a low-maintenance, semi-professional look that’s not too short, and a long bob would suit her hair, face, and request. It’s just as easy to pull a flat iron through your hair as a curling iron, plus she would still have the option to do both (straight or curly). She obviously would like some change, or she wouldn’t have asked for the advice. If she chooses to color it or not, she’d still have a beautiful cut that would look more polished. I think Julie would look fabulous with the advice given on hair and makeup.

  6. Julie is ill-served by the hair advice here, though your expert is on target with the makeup.

    To suggest that a woman who has asked explicitly for a low-maintenance hairstyle should be using a curling iron or flat iron every day is silly. That’s not low maintenance. Neither is coloring.

    Julie would be better served by investing in a hot air brush and a good, moisturizing conditioner. A hot air brush is a dryer with a vented round brush head that the hot air flows through. A 1&1/2 inch or 2-inch barrel will give the most body. Also, many videos on YouTube by ordinary women, not just hairstylists, demonstrate how to use them.

    There are many models on the market, from Remington, Conair, John Frieda, and others. They are available at discount stores, but she might want to go to a beauty store like Sally’s or Ulta if she needs help picking one out.

    Reading between the lines, it looks like Julie is being pushed into cutting her hair by her friends. There has been a notion that women should cut their hair at 40 or even at 30 or when they have kids, etc. That’s bunk. Julie’s length looks lovely on her, and she should cut her hair only if she wants to, not because her friends want her to cut it.

    My advice to Julie is that she should spend the money she would otherwise spend on hair-coloring for an excellent hot air brush. Cut her hair if SHE wants to, or maybe get a trim and some shaping from a competent stylist. Again, only if SHE wants to, a makeup consultation at Ulta or Sephora or the cosmetics counter of a department store could be helpful. If she doesn’t want to spend that kind of money, there are many YouTube videos made by women around her age that will help her achieve a natural, modern look with her makeup. Mineral makeup is an excellent choice for mature women, but there are also liquid foundations, bb creams, and tinted moisturizers that would work well.

It's your life. Make it Fabulous!

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