Can women over 40 wear long hair?

by Sylvia

Can women over 40 wear long hair

Can women over 40 wear long hair is a common question amongst women over 40. The jury seems to be out on this question and opinions differ. The official answer is NO. Better not do it, but I find a lot of women over 40 looking georgeous wearing long hair. As for myself I decided to defy the belief and grow my hair. My hair is now the longest it has been in over 25 years and sofar I’m enjoying it. I’m a bit of a yoyo though, when it comes to hair, and I’m pretty sure that sooner or later I will cut it again. I have thin hair so it’s not easy to manage.


The thing is, my hair is difficult to manage with short hair too! Sofar the advantages of long hair for me have been:

  • I tend to look better. My face is quite small and my longer hair gives it more body
  • It’s easy to manage on a bad hair day by just putting it in a pony tail
  • The longer hair has been easier to style by just blowdrying and a voluminizer in my hair (but I also got a brazilian blowout style treatment)

Which reasons are usually presented when women over 40 are advised not to have long hair:

  • Long hair drags your face downwards and emphasizes the unpreventable sagging that will occur after 40
  • It does not suit their face shape. Women with an oval or long face shape can pull of long hair much better.
  • The hair tends to thin out after 40 so it is hard to keep the hair looking voluminous and healthy.

Which women over 40 look good with their long hair?

Elle Jane Seymor, Elle McPherson, Demi more, jennifer Amiston, Christie Brinkley, Jennifer Lopez and Christie Brinkley all still look gorgeous in long hair. Although all these women look good, bear in mind though that they are looked after by the best stylists, use the best products money can buy and probably spend hours styling the hair before these pictures were taken. You may not have the time or money needed to look after your hair that way.

How to make long hair work with women over 40?

  • Add highlights for more texture
  • Add layers so that your hair does not become too heavy
  • Use very good (overnight) conditioners to keep away the frizz and look after your hair
  • Try a brazilian blowout hair treatment to remove frizz and get a nice sleek look

In the end, as with all the ‘rules’ for over 40 women, you should just ignore them as you please. If  long hair makes you happy and it suits your personality then by all means just go for it!

If you like to get more inspiration and see some fabulous women with long gray hair, check out out these 2 articles.

What do you think of long hair after 40?


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula

Sylvia–you did a brilliant job in putting this together and defining the rules! There are always caveats to any rule, and you outlined the exceptions well! I have thin hair so long hair has never been an option for me. But I have a few friends that have gorgeous hair and the right shaped face and they still look great with long hair. Accent the positive!


2 sylvia

Hi Paula,

Thanks for stopping by. Your hair is not supershort either. I love your hair style!


3 littlegoldwoman

I have super long hair and almost always have. Im 44. I can’t imagine cutting it because I’m overweight and I feel like short hair will make me look fatter.


4 Sylvia

I think you should do what makes you feel the best. However, I don’t believe that a short haircut will make you look fatter. I think that a good short or middle long haircut will probably look the best on women over 40, no matter their size. Thanks for visiting and commenting on 40+Style!


5 Nicola Morris

Hi Sylvia, I had short hair for over 20 years but started growing it when I retired to a remote village where access to a good hairdresser was a problem. I now love its longer length, currently a shoulder length bob. It allows me to put it up in various ways; and can be braided (using utube tutorials). I discovered ‘Claires’ which sells different hair accessories to ring the changes.
I read your earlier blog on pros-cons of going grey. After suffering the intermediate period of greying hair and always having to color it, I’ve let is go to its natural grey colour. However, I regularly use a blue shampoo which prevents the grey from looking a ‘dirty’ color and encourages a silvery look which I like.
On perfume, I don’t feel dressed unless wearing a perfume, even up here. Current favourite is Paco Rabanne’s Lady Millions, also a fan of the Thierry Mugler range, and loving Tom Ford’s Black Dahlia (I think that’s what it’s called). Currently also enjoying the ‘perfume’ of the Elizabeth Arden body creme ‘Green Tea and Honey Drops’. Good dollop of body cream never goes amiss on my drying skin with added extra of smelling great!
Love your site, especially advice on capris.
Ciao. Nicola


6 Sylvia

Hi Nicola. Lovely to receive your feedback. You’re replying to several articles in one go! Very glad to read you are enjoying the site. I hope to connect with you more.


7 Ann Marie

Im 42 and I’ve had short hair most of my life. I started growing it out last year in may and have kept going. It’s now medium length but it’s frizzy as could be. I lose tons of it every day no matter what I do and it is really flat on top even if I style it differently, use volumizer or hair spray. I hate that it doesn’t look polished and clean. I have fine hair but a lot of it. I tried coloring it brown (it’s naturally black) because the black looked too harsh, but the regrowth of black and gray (I only have gray around my part) was too hard to manage. I hate my hair. I hate how it looks. If I cut it short I’ll be unhappy because everyone tells me I look 25 with long hair. My face has gotten wider since I put on 10 pounds and I don’t feel I look as nice and young with short hair anymore. I’d try a shorter length but (but still somewhat long) but then I can’t do anything with it. I need a makeover. A stylist who can tell me what would look the best (like they do on that what not to wear show). I thought we’re supposed to be more comfortable and secure with our styles and bodies in our 40s? I hate mine more now than I ever have! Help!


8 Sylvia

Hi Ann Marie. It can be tough to go through a phase when both your body and hair are changing. Yes, it would be great if you can find a good stylist who can give you an honest opinion. Perhaps you should also see a hair specialist about your hair loss? There are certain things they can do or you may have to alter your diet which can also affect your hair. Have you tried a bob hairstyle? I recently changed mine which I can iron so it’s not so frizzy. In terms of color, lighter is usually better when you have grey roots coming through, or something closer to the color of your grey hair. That way it’s not so immediately noticeable. You are welcome to submit a photo of yours in the style forum of this site so I and other ladies can look at your hair and give you more advice. Good luck!


9 Jackie

Thank you, so positive. I am turning 40 in a month and I am kinda in a panic because of all these rules and I love long hair ever since and I may not change just yet and just enjoy hoing to 40s.


10 Sylvia

There are no rules Jackie. If you enjoy your long hair, keep wearing it long!


11 Kim Martin

Thank you for this article. I truly believe that we r each an individual, thus what hair length works for one, may not work for another. I’m 50, & my hair is just past my shoulders. I get stopped constantly & told how pretty my hair is. But my hair is very thick, curly & blonde. (I participated in your summer wardrobe challenge recently & you can see my hair in those posts)Thank you for your blog which empowers women to be the best they be. Sylvia you do an amazing job!!!


12 Sylvia

I so agree and thank you for the kind words Kim!


13 Heather

I have grown my hair and am starting to let the gray show because I don’t want to put anymore chemicals in my hair that I can help. I take antidepressants which are causing my hair to fall out more rapidly. I want to protect it. Is it true satin pillowcases are good for hair?


14 Sylvia

Satin and silk cover help a bit to make your hair less frizzy.


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