Mature Ladies Hairstyles

Stylish older woman with short gray hair
Photo: T-Design/Shutterstock
Q: I am 71 years old and have gray hair. I wore a wedge cut for many years, but I cannot find a stylist in this area to cut that style. They say they know how, but I have ended up with anything but a wedge. My last haircut was horrible: several different lengths and I can't do anything with it.
What do you suggest for a mature face and lifestyle? I have an oval-shaped face and want something easy. The wind blows here all the time. I'm in North Dakota. I see very few hairstyles in the books for gray-haired, mature ladies.

A: First of all, I’m sorry you’ve had difficulties finding a stylist who can give you the haircut you want. I know from experience how frustrating that can be. Perhaps part of the problem is that as years go by, the hairstyles and hairstyle “types” become known by different names. This is complicated by the fact that the names for certain hairstyles can be different from region to region, even within the same country.
Because of this, it’s important to try and be very specific about what you want in a hairstyle. Whenever possible, take a photograph, or picture from a magazine or newspaper to show the stylist exactly what you want. And if you can’t find a picture that shows the exact look you desire, find one that is close, then sit down and make notes about what you would like to have different for your own hair – before you go to the salon.
We all know how easy it is to get rushed when we’re on the spot, but by taking the time to consider what you want for your hair when you’re not rushed and can relax and think about how to describe it, you will be able to be much more clear and specific in your direction.
Also, remember to avoid using vague terms. Instead of saying “I want something short, but not too short,” try being specific: “I’d like to see my hair a little shorter, perhaps to the middle of my ear on the sides, and about an inch above my collar in back.” Be sure to get as specific as you want. Your stylist’s main concern is making you happy, and the more information you can give him or her, the happier you both will be with the resulting haircut.
As to the dearth of photos of hairstyles for mature ladies, I consider this both a good and bad thing. First, it’s a good thing, because many older women tend to think that they are limited in how they wear their hair because of their age. This should not be the case.
Every woman should base her hairstyle choices on the same criteria: facial shape and feature balance, hair texture, length, density, wave pattern and growth pattern. The desire for ease of styling does come into play in selection, but there are many easy to style haircuts that some older women overlook because they think the style “too young” for them.
The bad thing about the lack of “mature ladies’ hairstyle photos” is that it shows how youth-oriented our society is. The hairstyle magazines focus on young women and their hair, without showing the versatility of most hairstyles and their suitability for women of all ages.
In general, there are only a few differences in a hairstyle for an older woman as opposed to a younger one. Older women generally want more easy to care for styles, therefore the majority of the styles elements come from the cut itself, or from a periodic service (such as a perm). These styles are usually shorter, because shorter hair is typically faster to style and easier to care for. All in all, most of my older clients say they want to spend less than 10 minutes on their hair in the morning.
I’ve searched for, and found a few photos of maturing women (varying ages) that I think are similar to what you are looking for based on your description. As you can see, these hairstyles are shorter and generally take their main elements from the cut of the hair.