60 Best Hairstyles for Women Over 40

Passing your 40th birthday is undeniably a milestone. At this point, any illusions that you might have had about being “not quite middle-aged” have fallen behind you.

Looking in the mirror, a lot of thoughts will probably pass through your head each day. They could range from anything from, “What am I going to do about these gray hairs?” to “Huh, I actually look younger than I thought I would by this point.”

Regardless, you may find yourself wondering if it is time to try a new look. And what’s the fastest way to achieve that? A brand new hairstyle.

In this article, I am going to share some ideas for you for hairstyles for women over the age of 40.

But rather than assume you have just one goal in mind (i.e. looking younger), I’m going to try and address a variety of possible goals.

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So let’s start by going over some of those potential goals first. Then we’ll jump into the hairstyles!

First, Set Your Goals: What Are You Trying to Achieve?

Below, I have listed some goals which women over 40 may be trying to accomplish with a new hairstyle. This is not an exhaustive list; obviously, you may have goals which I haven’t thought of.

1. More volume

As we get older, our hair can start to thin out. To say this can be troubling can be an understatement. Not only does it add years to our appearances, but it also can make it harder to frame out faces in an aesthetically appealing way. 

If you are experiencing this issue, you may want to look for a hairstyle which can help to add more body to your locks, and/or cover up thinning areas effectively.

It’s also a good idea to think about taking hair multivitamins. I will talk about that further down in the article, so scroll down near the bottom if you are looking for some recommendations.

You should also make sure that your diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, and has all the variety you need to support healthy growth. Giving your hair the right nourishment will help it to be full as possible no matter your age.

2. A youthful look

If you wish that you could turn back the hands of the clock, the right hairstyle may help to convincingly de-age you. There are hairstyles which we associate with older people and hairstyles which we associate with younger people. Picking a more “youthful” hairstyle may create just the illusion that you are going for.

3. A professional, mature, dignified look

While some people wish to return to looking and feeling young as they age, for others, the goal is just the opposite. You may want to age gracefully, choosing a hairstyle which you feel reflects the dignity of a middle-aged woman.

Plus, you may still be hard at work in your profession, and wish to convey a conservative, formal nature, consistent with presentation standards in your workplace (this is not applicable everywhere). If so, you will want to pick a hairstyle which is work-appropriate.

4. Sex appeal

While some people wish to return to looking and feeling young as they age, for others, the goal is just the opposite. You may want to age gracefully, choosing a hairstyle which you feel reflects the dignity of a middle-aged woman.

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While some people wish to return to looking and feeling young as they age, for others, the goal is just the opposite. You may want to age gracefully, choosing a hairstyle which you feel reflects the dignity of a middle-aged woman.

Plus, you may still be hard at work in your profession, and wish to convey a conservative, formal nature, consistent with presentation standards in your workplace (this is not applicable everywhere). If so, you will want to pick a hairstyle which is work-appropriate.

5. Hide your gray hairs

You might also choose a new hairstyle to try and cover up your gray. While that might not sound intuitive (after all, a hairstyle is distinct from a hair color), there are a couple of reasons why it may help.

Firstly, depending on where your gray hairs are, you might be able to rearrange your hair to cover them up. For example, if I have my bangs fall in front, my gray hairs are obvious. But if I choose a sideswept style, they are concealed.

Secondly, a different hairstyle may make it easier to dye your hair in order to cover up those gray hairs. It is for example much faster and easier to dye short hair than long hair. Once you have dyed your hair, those gray hairs may simply appear as brighter highlights. Indeed, they may accentuate the color you have chosen, making it appear even more vibrant.

6. Simplify your hair care routine

Another reason why you might consider changing your hairstyle after the age of 40 is simply to cut back on the amount of time and energy you need to spend on your hair’s upkeep each day.

You might not necessarily be low on energy, but moving into this time of your life, you might have other priorities that you want to focus on. You might also enjoy the carefree feeling of having a lower maintenance hairstyle.

Top Hairstyles to Try Over the Age of 40

Now that we have gone over some common hairstyling goals for women over the age of 40, let’s actually take a look at some ideas.

I will break these down into the same categories that we just went over above.

The reason I am choosing to do it this way instead of using more traditional categories (i.e. short hair, medium hair, long hair, curly hair, straight hair) is because I feel it will offer more practical value.

Since you are looking specifically for age-based hairstyling advice, I want to make it easy for you to find a variety of styles to help you to achieve your goals.

More Volume

Adding volume to your hair is probably one of the most common reasons why you might consider a new look over age 40. For that reason, let’s start by checking out some of the best haircuts to create a more voluminous style.

1. Braid Over-the-Top

If you have thinning hair on top of your head, this style helps out in a couple of ways. First of all, it might cover up some of the thinning patches. Secondly, the braid adds the illusion of volume. It can also be a nice way to frame your features.

2. Short, Curly Hair

One of the simplest ways to add volume to your hair is to curl it. If you cut your hair short before you do this, you can double up on the effect. Shorter hair weighs less, and therefore naturally exhibits more body. The curls also can be easily arranged to cover up thinning patches on your scalp.

3. Straightened Bob

This look doesn’t technically add volume to the appearance of your hair. Instead, its deceptive effect relies on the fact that it is supposed to look thin, flat and minimalistic. This may trick people who see you into simply thinking that you have been very successful in achieving that look on purpose.

4. Side Swept Bob

The way that the bangs are swept to the side with this short bob adds volume to the top. This could also hide a thin patch on the top of the scalp.

5. Twist on the Side

In this style, the hair has been twisted to the side and back, and allowed to fall in loose curls. Rather like the braid which I shared previously, this can immediately make hair look thicker and fuller along the line of the twist.

6. Layered Medium-Length Hair

It is hard to get long hair to look full when it is thin, even if it is layered. But with medium-length hair, you might get away with it. Since the layers are lighter than the hair underneath, they can poof up more, adding body.

7. Long Bob with Layers

Want to cut your hair slightly shorter? You can still get a great body-boosting effect with layers on a long bob.

8. Messy Pixie

Short, messy haircuts such as this one can add a tone of volume even with thin, light hair which would otherwise lay flat.

9. Uneven Part

If you part your hair unevenly like this, it not only can help you to recapture some of the glory of the early Aughts, but may also help to give your hair a little more body. If you are clever with the parts, you may be able to conceal thinning patches as well.

10. Short Angled Bob

There are several reasons this look helps to increase the appearance of volume in your hair. First of all, the hair is short and layered, which helps it to poof up, especially in the back (use a little mousse to accent this effect).

Secondly, when hair is angled so that it is shorter in the back and longer in the front, this naturally pushes the hair toward the front. This seems to be the effect of gravity or something; I don’t really know, but my hair is like this, and it works.

It naturally falls in such a way that it appears thicker, framing the face with lots of body. This is a great go-to look no matter what hair type you have, even if it is really thin and fine.

11. Classic Blowout

This look has retro appeal, and it does a great job making your hair seem flatteringly voluminous. It works especially well if your hair is right around shoulder length or a little bit longer. Learning how to do this on your own takes some practice, but once you master it, you should be able to enjoy this look for a couple of days at a time before it is time to wash and blow-dry again.

12. Loose Curls

If your hair is pretty short, you should be able to create curls like these pretty easily just by using a hair iron. Even fine, thin hair can hold this look without hairspray pretty well over the course of several days.

13. Longer-On-Top Pixie

With this hairstyle, the hair is short on the sides and longer on top. If the hair is thinning on the sides, it won’t matter with this look. On the top, it is possible to brush and style the hair in any way you choose, which is perfect for creating a look with surprising volume. As a bonus, it is also relatively low maintenance.

14. Comb Your Hair Back

If you don’t have bangs, you can push your hair back over your forehead instead of letting it fall to either side. This will give it a boost on top. Since you are keeping all the hair closer together, it will also make it look more voluminous cascading back over your head.

15. Ponytail On Top

If you wear long hair in this style, it disguises thinning in a couple of ways. First of all, you are pulling your hair tight around your head, so it lays flat—thinness is irrelevant there. Secondly, by putting the ponytail on top of your head rather than in the back, you give it a voluminous look on your crown, letting it fall down dramatically over your shoulders. The only downside of this style is that it can feel kind of heavy to wear.

16. Short and Tousled

With this hairstyle, you deliberately tousle up your hair in an artful way around your face. This enhances volume and can also create a fun, youthful appearance.

17. Bump Your Hair

Another way to increase volume is to bump your hair in a retro style. This look can greatly enhance the appearance of volume, but it can be a challenge to learn how to do it.

You either need to tease your hair a great deal, smooth it over on top, and spray it in place, or you need to use a bump accessory.

The accessories are easier, but they do not really create a well-rounded bump, and if your hair is very thin, it is hard to hide the accessory. If you have thicker tresses, you might get away with this method a little more effectively.

18. Shag Haircut

This hairstyle is very popular right now. The textured layers improve volume, and you can modify the style easily to fit well with your hair type and face shape.

19. Highlighting for Depth

Cutting your hair a certain way isn’t the only way to increase the appearance of volume—you can also do it through careful highlighting. Here, the highlighting has been artfully planned so as to increase the perception of depth in the hair. This creates an illusion that the hair is more voluminous than it actually is.

20. Pompadour

Rather like the longer-on-top pixie cut which I shared previously, a pompadour is short on the sides and significantly longer on top. In fact, while the effect is in some respects similar, it is far more dramatic with a pompadour, and it just shouts “volume.” It also looks a bit “edgy” since we’re used to seeing this style on men, so that may also be a plus.

Key Point: Whether you want short hair, medium-length hair or long hair, there are many different ways you can cut, style and even highlight your hair to give the illusion of more volume and body after age 40.

A Youthful Look

If you are don’t want the years to be as conspicuous, choosing a “youthful” haircut is one way to make a major change to your appearance. What makes a haircut “youthful?” Well, subjective association, mostly. Here are some ideas to consider trying.

21. Straighten Your Hair

As you get older, you might be concerned with scraggly gray hairs, but you might be equally worried about hair that hangs limp and straight. But actually, straightening your hair is one way to resolve both of these issues while obtaining a more youthful look.

When you use an iron on your hair, you tame some of those scraggly strands which can be so troublesome. You also make that straight, “limp” look appear to be deliberate and stylish (because in this case, it is), rather than unintended and undesirable. Straightening your hair gives it a silky, smooth luster which looks youthful.

It also seems to be more common for younger women to straighten their hair. It was more in vogue in the 90s than the beachy waves so prevalent today—but the association is still there. So take advantage of it.

 22. Beachy Waves

Speaking of beachy waves, it is pretty easy to get this youthful, carefree hairstyle just by using a flat iron. You can create the look in a matter of minutes, and beachy waves can hold well for days even in fine hair.

23. Messy Long Bob

This is another look which shouts “carefree.” As a bonus, it also can help to add body to thin hair.

24. Funky Pixie

This pixie haircut with its funky, attention-grabbing styling helps you appear fun-loving, eclectic, and boldly confident. Since it is an “energetic” look, it helps to capture the dynamism of youth. Looking in the mirror at such a vibrant hairstyle, it may help you to feel more energetic too, ready to make the most of your day and your new haircut.

25. Blonde Highlights

Another youthful trend which has been around for ages and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon is blonde highlights. This is a great way to give the impression that you have a carefree, youthful life, with plenty of time for lounging around in the sunshine.

26. Keep It Long

It is common for women to cut their hair short as they get older. Even though there are some logical reasons to do this involving upkeep and maintaining volume, we do naturally associate shorter hair with age to some extent.

Likewise, we tend to associate really long hair with youth. So if you can carry off long hair, this might help you to maintain that youthful illusion. If you happen to have really striking hair too, that can distract people from noticing some of your wrinkles and other signs of age you might want them to ignore.

27. Striking Colors

There was a time when I would’ve said that highlights like these would be an edgy choice for someone over the age of 40, but times have changed great deal. Now, it is common to see vibrant colors like this on all age groups. So choosing a look like this is definitely a way to show that you are “in” with current trends. This in turn can make you look and feel young and hip.

If you are just wading into the water with unnatural hair colors, I do recommend just going with some simple highlights first. If you like what you see, you can consider going for a full dye job the next time.

28. Ombre Hair

Speaking of hair colors, another popular trend right now is ombre hair. As a tip, if you try for this look, make sure that you create a gradual, smooth transition from one color to the next (unless you are going for that straight-across dip-dye look which is also trendy).

29. Consider Bangs

One easy shortcut to making your appearance more youthful by changing your hairstyle is to get bangs. Any type of bangs works, but blunt bangs seem to create this effect most readily, perhaps because they are more commonly worn by young people. So through association, they automatically make you look younger.

30. Androgymous Hair

As a woman over 40 looking to take a few years off of your appearance, another idea is an androgynous haircut. When you look more androgynous, it tends to have the effect of making you appear younger as well. In many cases, this is an easy way to take about a decade off of your appearance effortlessly.

31. Brush Your Hair Forward and to the Side Like This

A common haircut which is popular today among younger people who are going for an “edgier” appearance is this style with the hair brushed forward and to the side starting farther back on the crown. Sometimes, but not always, a section of the hair on the opposite side is shaved completely.

A Professional, Mature, Dignified Look

If it is not your goal to look younger with your hairstyle, but to exude maturity, grace and dignity, here are some options over age 40 which can help you to cultivate that appearance. These may be particularly good options if you are in a workplace with a more traditional appearance code.

32. Up in a Bun

This bun is a great look because it is dignified and professional, but it isn’t super-tight. It is loose enough to not be “severe,” but it isn’t a messy up-do by any means.

33. Classic Curls

These classy curls are elegant enough to really glam up anyone at any age. They are stunning and draw attention, and would be equally at home at a fancy formal event, at the workplace, or at home or out on the town.

34. Simple and Elegant

This is another breathtaking look which is reasonably conservative, but sure doesn’t blend into the crowd.

35. Simple Layers

While messy layered looks are in, you can go with a more classic, traditional layered look which is quite neat and elegant.

36. Soft, Feathered Layers

This is a soft, classic look which will never go out of style.

37. Shoulder-Length Curls

I’ve already shared a look with short classic curls. But you can go with shoulder-length curls and also get a beautiful effect which is big on both volume and style.

38. Sophisticated Pixie

This pixie cut is a perfect “best of both worlds” look. It is slightly shaggy, which lends it a slight edginess, but it is still pretty tidy and restrained overall. The result is sharp and confident. 

39. Classic Bob

One look which never will go out of style is the classic bob. Ooze sophistication and glamour with this timeless look which is low-maintenance and can complement any face shape.

Sex Appeal

Next up, we have some hairstyles which you might like if you are going for sex appeal. This is a super subjective category, but I have gone with looks which I’ve seen referenced that way and which fit in with current trends.

40. Razor Cut

This layered look is a great way to add some edginess and sexiness to super-straight hair. It gives it fuller body, and the way it is cut and styled around the face can show off your best features.

41. Peek-a-Boo Sideswept Bangs

There seems to be a general consensus that if you’re going to have sexy bangs, they should fall to or past your eyebrows. If they’re actually right in line with your eyes or even over your eyes a bit, that can be even better.

These sidewept bangs are a great example. While they actually fall in front of one of the eyes (at this angle, anyway), they create a come-hither “peek-a-boo” effect. They hint and conceal at the same time, inviting the onlooker to get to know the mysterious woman who sports such a sexy haircut better.

42. Softly Curled Layers

Just as the razor cut I shared before helped direct the eye to the wearer’s facial features, these layers are softly curled to draw emphasis to the woman’s neck and bust, highlighting her attributes.

43. Long Blunt Bangs

I’ve shared some long sideswept bangs with you. Here is another idea: long blunt bangs. As you can see, these bangs reach almost down to the eyes. I mentioned earlier how blunt bangs may help you look younger. They also naturally direct attention to the eyes, which is a great way to highlight them.

Also notice that this particular hairstyle has plenty of body. It is also not perfectly combed and smooth; it is just slightly messy, which gives it a nice “just climbed out of bed looking amazing” vibe.

44. High Ponytail

If you are going to wear a ponytail and want to exude sex appeal, consider a high ponytail rather than a low one. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First of all, this is a very youthful hairstyle.

Secondly, the high ponytail doesn’t obscure the line of your head, neck, shoulders and back. Instead, it accents those features in an elegant and feminine way.

45. Long, Flowing Locks

It’s no secret that long, unrestrained hair is considered attractive. This has been especially true in some cultures and eras. While it is probably not the best choice for offices with traditional appearance codes in the modern-day world, it can make for a sexy, eye-catching look that will stand out from the crowd.

Don’t think this is a look that only young women can get away with either! I once met an older woman with long, flowing hair like this which was down to her knees, and entirely gray. Both the hair and the woman were beyond stunning. While I only met her for 30 seconds, I remember her vividly to this day.

46. Wild and Untamed

This hairstyle almost calls to mind the impression of a lion’s mane. There is a ton of body, and the hair perfectly frames the face, with the bangs allowed to fall in front of the eyes.

It gives a primal impression of a woman who is wild and unrestrained. At the same time, you can tell that these tresses have been carefully and artfully styled to achieve this appeal, so it is a “best of both worlds” look. It comes across as “messy,” but it actually is extremely polished in its own way.

Hide Your Gray Hairs

Another of your goals might be to hide your gray hairs after the age of 40. What you need in order to do this depends totally on how much gray hair you have, and where your gray hairs are located. Still, I’ll try and share a few ideas with you.

47. Sideswept Bangs

If you have gray hairs which fall to the front with blunt bangs, think about making a switch to sideswept bangs. It is easy to customize sideswept bangs and control how they are layered and where they sit. You may be able to cover up the gray hairs completely with those which are still rich in color (it works for me!).

48. Highlight the Gray Away

Clever use of highlighting can help gray hairs to blend in with the rest of your look. If you choose the right stylist, or do a great job at it yourself at home, other people my not have a clue you are going gray.

49. Consider Going Blonde

Many people do not realize this, but technically, none of us actually go gray. “Gray” hairs are always white hairs. The “gray” effect is actually an illusion created by the white hairs and darker hairs “blending” at a distance. For this reason, gray hair is referred to as “salt and pepper” hair in some regions.

So you can actually get these hairs to blend in better if you lighten the rest of your hair! If you have ever thought about going blonde, it may be time to bring on the bleach.

50. Go Gray on Purpose

There is a major trend nowadays among young people to dye hair gray. While that may sound odd to you if you are going “gray” after age 40, dyed gray hair is very striking to behold. The reason of course is that it is true gray rather than the “salt and pepper” effect that actually happens as you age.

So instead of running away from gray, why not embrace it? Try dying your hair a true gray, and you can achieve a gorgeous and unexpected effect.

51. Do a Half-Shaved Look

Are all of your white hairs coming in on the same side? One excellent way to conceal them is simply to shave the section which is turning white away completely. This look is very trendy right now, so you can look forward to a lot of compliments in your direction. Depending on where you section the part, you might be able to hide some of your gray on top or on the other side as well.

52. Try a Few Colorful Highlights

If your gray hairs are relatively consolidated so that you basically just have streaks of white in your hair, why not dye them? You’ll get a cool contrast with the rest of your hair, especially if that hair is dark.

53. Or Just Dye It All

While the look I just shared is really beautiful, another approach is just to dye all of your hair without lightening it first.

I don’t know if the woman in this photo bleached some streaks in before she dyed or if those are gray hairs dyed over, but I can tell you from experience that the effect would be the same.

In fact, my hair looks similar to this right now with the same colors. The dye went on a dark midnight blue over my un-lightened hair. In the spots where I bleached or have white hairs coming in, I ended up with that brighter ultramarine. The finished effect is really cool!

54. Go Crazy With Different Colors

This woman’s hair puts me in mind of a colourful bird’s plumage. If you have lots of gray streaks, who says you need to dye them the same color? Consider arranging them and dying them in an artful way like this with vivid contrasts.

55. Got Lots of Gray Hair? Try a Pastel Shade

Young people with darker hair colors go through a lot of effort to try and lighten their hair to the point where they can get bright, bold colors or pastels. In fact, pastels are pretty much impossible for some folks.

So if you have lots of white hair, use it! Consider dying all your locks a lovely pastel pink, lavender or blue. If you keep your hair short like this, that can make it fast and easy to dye.

56. Go Gray With Grace

There are lots of ways to style your hair to hide gray locks, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Natural gray hair can be quite beautiful if it is well-styled, as this look proves.

Simplify Your Hair Care Routine

Tired of spending an hour in front of the mirror each morning, or having to make meticulous touch-ups to your hair throughout the day? It may be time to consider a new style after age 40 which will make your hair less of a hassle each day. The following ideas will help you spend less time managing your hair and more time enjoying it.

57. Simple Long Bob

This is a really basic haircut which is still really stylish. If your hair is naturally straight, you probably will have to do almost nothing to maintain the look. If it isn’t, taking a couple minutes with a hair iron should be all you need to achieve it.

58. Shaggy Pixie

This hairstyle would be very easy to maintain. It has a slightly “messy” look, so your tresses could fall just about any way and it would probably still look fantastic.

59. Straight and Long

Sometimes the easiest hair “style” is simply to leave your hair to fall naturally. True, you have to wash it and brush it, but aside from that, this look is literally effortless and self-maintaining.

60. Go Super Short

It should take very little time or effort to style super short hair like this, and it looks supremely elegant!

General Hair Care Tips If You’re Over Age 40

Now that you have had a chance to check out some hair styling options when you’re over the age of 40, here are some general tips to help you pick the most of your beautiful locks:

  • Do not wash your hair every day. In general, doing that is a bad practice at any age, but it becomes particularly problematic as you get older and your scalp becomes drier. While you’re at it, ditch shampoos which dry out your hair and adopt a natural product without sulfates. If your hair starts to look greasy between washings, try applying dry shampoo.
  • Take extra time to moisturizer your hair. Whether you use conditioner for this or other hair care products (even coconut oil can do wonders), turn it into a regular habit. Start near the roots of your hair and work your way down, concentrating on the tips where your hair is probably driest and most fragile. Keep in mind that you do not need a lot of oil. Just a dab should be sufficient, and you do not want your hair to look greasy.
  • Consider using apple cider vinegar in your hair. White vinegar can work too. Just make sure that you water it down before you apply it, or it might make your scalp itchy. You can add some herbs if you want to give your hair some extra nourishment and love. After your hair dries, it should be silky smooth, easier to detangle, and soft to the touch!
  • Do make use of a flat iron, but be careful that you do not overdo it. Stick with a lower heat setting, and consider avoiding doing this if your hair is extra long, at least at those drier, more brittle ends. Be careful with blow drying as well. You do not need to abandon it, but make sure that you’re not overdoing it.
  • Think about dying your hair. While bleach dries out hair and damages it, many hair dyes actually have a conditioning effect and seemed to help tame wiry grey hairs. I’ve noticed a lot fewer white hairs sticking up on end after a dye job. They tend to lay flat, which is awesome.
  • Make sure that you are using the most useful types of brushes and combs for your hair and your style. It is surprisingly easy to get this wrong if you do not experiment with different products. Changing your brush or comb may not only make it easier to style your hair but may actually change how it looks in a significant way.
  • Break the rules. There’s a good chance that when you were growing up, there were pretty strict rules about what was expected of women over 40 when it came to hairstyles. But you do not have to get a short perm, or stop dying your hair, or stop wearing your favorite accessories. Just have fun with your hair and enjoy it.

Another Way to Add More Vibrancy to Your Look … Try Vibrance!

If you are still looking for another way to enhance the volume, shine and softness of your hair while reinforcing its strength, one more option is to try using a multivitamin for hair like VIBRANCE by EU Natural.

We formulated this hair multivitamin with all ages in mind. Each capsule contains the healthy blend of herbs, vitamins and minerals which your hair needs to stay healthy, full and vibrant. It’ll be the fastest and easiest part of your daily hair care routine, and with continued use, the effects can be dramatic.

Conclusion: Change Up Your Style and Enjoy Your Hair in a Whole New Way

Passing age 40 can be a tough milestone psychologically—but it is also a time to celebrate your beauty, wisdom and experience. Show off everything you’ve learned about hair care and try a new experiment or two. There is always more to learn about increasing volume, framing your face, and making the most of your radiant locks. So enjoy trying these ideas and finding your new perfect look!