This is a question the Guardian asked me, and so I explained that hair changes texture and loses pigment as we get older and shorter hair is easier to manage. Though having said that, not all older women have short hair. And  I’m a firm believer in doing (and wearing) what you like, rather than following generic rules.

 

So, I turned the feature into ‘three of the best ageless hairstyles’. First up, the grown-up crop as worn magnificently by actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Julie Walters. Next, the tousled bob. Anna Wintour’s power bob may have reigned the fashion world for decades but the looser, choppier version of this classic style feels fresher, right now. Sienna Miller has the hairstyle du jour – maybe the actress is finally getting her own back for being made to wear a wig in the September Issue?

 

Sienna Miller’s hair is getting shorter

 

Then back to the belief that as you get older, hair should become shorter – there are loads of elegant women with fabulous long hair to disprove this notion. In the grey corner we have one of the founders of London Fashion Week, Wendy Dagworthy (who doesn’t love a nifty top knot?).

 

And in the non-grey corner, Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore:

 

You can read the full feature HERE including advice on how to create each look, products to use and tips from top colourist Josh Wood, hair stylist to Alexa Chung and Gwyneth Paltrow George Northwood and Andy Heasman artistic director at Rush Hair.

 

23 thoughts on “Why do older women have short hair?

  1. Interesting article Alyson, thank you. I had a short bob for ever and went "shorter" last year. Nothing to do with my age (40+), it was more about realizing shorter was in fact very flattering on me and suits my overall style. I love long and short hair equally on women no matter the age. Thankfully no signs of aging hair here yet:)

  2. I am loving Sienna's new tousled shattered bob but she is so beautiful, I do think that length will be perfect for me soon as I see the swift descent of my jowls.
    I haven't coloured my hair for over 3 months, I have about three inches of grey and very dark brown hair, ( then dyed light golden brown) hmm, no likey, it would have worked had it been all silvery grey but it's still too patchy. Will no doubt reach for the bottle soon.

  3. I am loving Sienna's new tousled shattered bob but she is so beautiful, I do think that length will be perfect for me soon as I see the swift descent of my jowls.
    I haven't coloured my hair for over 3 months, I have about three inches of grey and very dark brown hair, ( then dyed light golden brown) hmm, no likey, it would have worked had it been all silvery grey but it's still too patchy. Will no doubt reach for the bottle soon.

  4. I think Kristen's cut is a little severe and has added a few years to her look, I'm afraid. I used to have very short hair for a very long time. I'm very slim, and as I got older, I decided short hair was too harsh for me and made me look like a pin! So I grew it out into a chin length bob. It takes a lot of looking after, as my hair breaks very easily and grows painfully, painfully slowly, but I think it softens my face. Julianne Moore is blessed with a luxurious mane of hair. How jealous am I! I believe we should wear our hair however we feel comfortable with as long as it's clean. There's nothing worse than unwashed hair. I can smell three-day hair a mile off!

  5. Love, love my short hair. Looked like apprentice witch until I decided to take a leaf out of Judi
    Dench's book and go short. Now instead of straggly salt-and-pepper I am sharper steel grey. Especially wonderful when travelling. Or caught in rain.

  6. Love the short styles, very sharp and elegant; a real statement and so much better than long, grey straggle. If you are blessed with good, thick, strong hair long can look great too. Matter of being honest about your own hair and being brave! Like my hair so much more since I let the grey win (natural, better condition) and keep it short as it's fine.

  7. I have had short hair since high school, but grew it into a bob when I turned 40. I wore it that length until I saw a picture of myself at 45 and thought my bob made me look older. So I had it chopped off again; it was edgier and more me. I think any length hair is great as long as the cut has some pizzazz. But I also think that longer hair needs cutting and styling as much as short hair. Nothing worse than "give-up hair."

  8. I love Wendy Dagworthy's style – nice photo! I go back and forth with my hair – when it's short I get tired of it requiring cutting so often, but when it's long it gets flat and stringy. When it's in a bob it can get boring. I guess constant rotation is the answer!

  9. Short hair has become very stylish, even for the young. I've worn mine short for quite a while now. I love to change it up from a pixie to an asymmetrical cut. It does depend on the shape of one's face though. For some, a simple bob suits best. Some women can look quite masculine in a short cut. Consult a good stylist on the cut best for you. After all, that is their forte.

  10. I love Kristen S-T but I agree with Cathy S, her hair is a bit too short and unforgiving in that photo. The 'rules' are all changing now – in that there are no rules, so nice that women can do what they want with their hair. Mine is coloured – until my parting shows a full grey not the mix it grows out in now, and it's a bob – easy and versatile. Who doesn't envy Julianne though?

  11. My hair gets shorter as I get older (44) Simple reason: longer hair doesn't work on me anymore, it gets brittle and wirey and down right ugly. Wish I could wear it longer as I had when I was in my mid 20s. I could sit on it, thats how long it was! But now It is cut well in a beautiful bob and I lve it this way.

  12. One commenter said it's about being honest about your own hair and I couldn't agree more. My hair simply does not look good long, and even less so as I get older. So I have a super-short pixie and fortunately it suits my face. I envy women with a mane like Julianne Moore's, but one has to be realistic …

  13. I think a lot of older women have short hair because their hairdresser tells them to do so. Just as older women go baby blonde because they are told they will look younger. I think it might be prior general consensus that long hair and sagging skin are droopy and ageing.It's also easier upkeep for color maintenance as well as for potential arthritic issues. I have had new wave short, but I prefer a medium bob. Now I am letting it gray…

  14. I'm 58 and my hair is now the longest it's been, ever. Even longer than when I was 13, in the late 60s:). I think I might go for shoulder length soon, just to change it up!

  15. I've had varying short cuts since my teens, mostly because my hair is so fine and looks lank when longer. I agree, hair length (and color!) should be a matter of personal preference, not age.

  16. I'm a fan of long, well maintained hair at any age. If you have the right sort of hair to wear it long, then why not? I've spent the last three years going long, silver grey, AND curly. I just never got the hang of the straightening iron. Gosh. How many over 50 hair taboos have I broken? Also a big fan of the elegant topknot and statement lippy. I swear by good conditioner and Moroccan Oil. The magic combination for me! Mimi x

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