Look Chic in a Short Haircut – Here’s How

Pamela Anderson did it, same with Robin Wright. Halle Berry has been doing it for years. These 40+ gals chopped off their locks and now sport sexy short hairstyles. Cute short haircuts perk you up and give you an instant facelift!

pamela anderson short haircuts for women over 40
Pamela Anderson’s has made very short haircuts for women over 40 very popular.

If you are feeling the itch to go short and chic, but aren’t sure if it will suit you, Celebrity Stylist Billy Lowe has this advice before you get the big chop.

Billy: One of the biggest issues a woman faces when she decides to cut her hair short is body consciousness.  I’m not talking head & shoulders. It’s everything including facial features, your neckline, even your head shape, and how your hair frames your face.  For example:

A Short Cut = A New Headshape

You’ve got to remember that if you’ve had long hair all your life and you decide to go short – your entire head will appear to have a completely different shape than before (usually it will be a lot rounder looking). This means you have to be very careful of any cuts or styles that look like a helmet or a bowl.

Remember Sally Field’s famous line in Steele Magnolias:   “Shelby was right.  It does look like a brown football helmet!”

A Short Cut = More Scalp  

Another thing to think about if you decide to go short is that more of your face line and scalp will be visible.  This is where it becomes a balancing act if you have fine or thinning hair.  Sometimes keeping hair, a little longer will help hide hair loss or thinning. Other times, the short hairstyle can help hide hair loss if you tease it.

Robin Wright Penn short layered haircuts for women over 40
Robin-Wright has one of the best short haircuts for women over 50 with fine hair.

A Short Cut Demands Texture and Movement 

The biggest mistake women make when going short is the dreaded stacked bob that just stacks higher and higher and higher (I call it The Q-Tip cut).  Stiffly coiffed hair gives you a “bowl-shaped” style. This is very aging. The key with short hair is to have a softer texture throughout.

You can also achieve this by NOT turning your round brush under when you blow dry.  Instead, use an outward blow-drying technique and a backward-directed technique on the sides to add softness and texture.  A short, soft style is ALWAYS en vogue no matter what your age, and it definitely makes a statement.

jane fonda - best short haircuts for women over 40
Jane Fonda has one of the most popular layered haircuts for women over 40.

A more feathered look like Jane Fonda’s usually makes a stronger statement than hair that has a softer fall and moves carelessly.  Both are good. Your personality will determine which style you prefer.

Tip: Shaping clays work beautifully for shorter styles as they are more mattifying and add texture and shape without feeling too waxy.  A little bit goes a long way.

Face Shape Will Also Determine the Right Short Cut 

Face shape can definitely play a pivotal role in establishing a cut that’s right for you.  Many hairstylists make the dreaded mistake of cutting round layers rather than square or inverted layers on shorter styles, making round faces look rounder, and long faces look longer.

Lifestyle Counts Too

While it’s important to follow a head shape, it’s also important that your hairdresser considers your lifestyle -, how much time do you have to work with your hair, what styling products you are familiar with, and what’s going to work for you overall? Be honest with your hairdresser. You want to be able to maintain your short hairstyle with no fuss.

How Trendy Can You Go?

Miley Cyrus’ short pixie buzz is cute on her but it’s not for everyone.  It’s a great “street smart” look, but I wouldn’t suggest it for mature women.

The Best Short Haircuts for Women Incorporate Color, Color, Color  

I’m all about it!  Short hair can have a lot of fun with color because it grows out, and gets cut more frequently, so the ends of the hair are never any older than 2-3 months, six months, or a year at MOST depending on the length. Experiment and have fun. Take a closer look at these 40/50+ Instagrammers below,  sporting some of the best short haircuts for older women.

@fakefabulous @glendakharris @une femme

Final Tips on Short Haircuts 

  • Remember to keep timely appointments. There’s nothing worse than a perky, shortcut that has lost its shape.
  • Use products recommended by your salon professional. Gloss and Toss® will help keep up that youthful shine that makes short hair sexy.
  • Don’t do it yourself. Get a professional cut.
  • Very short haircuts for women need to be trimmed every 4-6 weeks to keep their shape.
  • Avoid the “self-bang trim”. It shows. It does.
  • Collect photos from look-books of short haircuts for women over 40 for inspiration. Write out what you like or what you see, describe it to your stylist & take photos with you to your salon appt if you’re thinking of making a change.Billy Lowe

A change is as good as a rest. A perky, short haircut might be just what you need to Look Fabulous After 40, so go for it.

Thanks, Billy! Billy Lowe is a noted hair & beauty expert based in Beverly Hills, and the Founder/CEO – of GLOSS & TOSS®
“Celebrity Shine in a Bottle!”™  


Visited 37,933 times, 4 visit(s) today
Join the Conversation

14 thoughts on “Look Chic in a Short Haircut – Here’s How

  1. These short styles look so boyish. The women say, “fine, I’m old, I can’t be feminine, so I’ll just be a guy.” Indeed there is an alternative.

  2. I do not have a comment but a question. I am 67 and just about to retire; my style of dressing has always been very professional -suits, always jackets. I have alw s felt comfortable, stylish, and age appropriate with my wardrobe. However, n that I am retiring, I am unsure how to dress. I certainly do not need suits or jackets daily, but I do not want to fall into not looking stylish and fabulous just because I am not working anymore. However, my wardrobe e is no longer appropriate, so what do I do? I have checked many stores and online shops, but nothing makes me say, “Wow, I need to have this,” So please help.

  3. When showing haircuts for women over 40, please use models that ARE over 40 and not 20 or 30-year-olds. Please show some significant cuts for seniors, also.

  4. One month after the first comment…got hair “chopped,” although not as short as Pamela Anderson’s. It is an “A-line with a twist.” I had a “feature bang” done, and I can style the layers several ways. Also, the extended length dragged down the wave that my (colored) gray hair has developed, so I can now scrunch and air-dry for a different look. I love it! Yes, long hair can drag down an older face; several other clients in the shop, watching the process, exclaimed how young I looked with the new ‘do—starting color transformation next month.

  5. We love this article on shortcuts. I used to have long hair and went short several years ago and will never go back. As we age, it is much harder to look good in long hair – we need a nice frame for our face shape. Thanks, Deborah!! Cherie at

    1. Hi Cherie,
      Long hair can make you look gaunt if you have a thin face, and it gets narrower as you age. That’s the biggest problem I see. Sometimes taking off just a few inches can make all the difference.
      Cheers, Deborah

  6. Hi Admin, Now I am 30 years old. Reading your post, I knew there are more nice short haircut tips. Thank you for sharing an informative post about women’s short haircut style.
    Have a nice day!

  7. I have been growing out the length of my hair for almost two years. First, I wanted longer hair, and then because of financial hardship. I decided to see how long I could get it before it drove me crazy so that I could donate it. It is almost “chop time”! I will also stop dying and work to get it to the natural gray that keeps showing up in the roots. I think I will try platinum blonde as a “camouflage color” during the grow-out phase…

  8. I’ve been wearing my hair short for about fifteen years. Last year at 45, I decided to go platinum blonde. I love it and get compliments on it all the time! My husband also loves it, especially since when it’s wet, I put some gel in it, put it in place, and go! So tired of all that blow drying, curling, straightening…life’s too short to spend hours on my hair!!

It's your life. Make it Fabulous!