Medium hairstyles for women over 50: fresh ideas for every hair type

Get inspired by our edit of medium hairstyles for women over 50 – they're chic, versatile, and super flattering

Jennifer Connelly wearing one of the most flattering medium hairstyles for women over 50, a a collarbone-grazing one length long bob
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

It's easy to see why medium hairstyles for women over 50 are so popular. A stylish medium-length cut is short enough that it doesn’t take forever to dry but long enough to provide plenty of styling options.

Don’t just take our word for it – medium haircuts are hugely popular with celebrities in their 50s and beyond. Viola Davis, Jennifer Connelly, and Sandra Oh are just a few of the famous faces who sport mid-length styles, from long bob hairstyles to shaggy curly hairstyles or a shoulder-skimming bouncy blow dry

“There are no rules when it comes to what you should or shouldn’t do to your hair once you turn 50,” says Nick Willis (opens in new tab), Senior Master Stylist at Charles Worthington. "But there are tips that can improve the way you wear your hair and look your best." So if you were wondering should women over 40 cut their hair simply because of age, that would be a no. Ready to get inspired? We've curated flattering medium hairstyles for women over 50 plus the expert advice you need to make each look work for you. 

Medium hairstyles for women over 50—key considerations

Wondering which medium hairstyle might suit you? Nick Willis' tips will keep you right:

  • Hair color: "Naturally graying hair can look very chic with a great cut. I would advise a sharp, precision cut to complement your natural color and command a feeling of sophistication. I tell my clients to avoid a soft, feathered cut with gray hair because this could make the hair look coarse."
  • Cool-factor: If it's a trendy hairstyle you're after, our expert hairstylist has additional pointers. “Medium shag hairstyles are a bang-on-trend at the moment,” says Nick. These cuts give you a natural, easy-to-style look if you’re busy and don’t have time to maintain a polished 'do. 
  • Layers: As the trending C-shape haircut has proven, layers are very much back in focus and can be so flattering. “Mid-length hair is a great way to experiment with layers if you want more texture," adds Willis. "Hidden layers are a fantastic way to introduce movement to your hair. This look is versatile, you can wear it sleek or have it textured.”
  • Maintenance: Medium-length hair requires less maintenance (unless you go for a medium haircut with bangs) But it's still important to get frequent trims to keep it looking its best. Wondering how often should you cut your hair in a medium style? Ideally, your mid-length style should be cut every eight weeks or so, to prevent it from growing into long hairstyle territory. 

21+ inspiring medium hairstyles for women over 50

1. The asymmetric blunt lob

Thandiwe Newton

Thandiwe Newton

(Image credit: Getty images)

Face shape: oval, round, heart | Hair type: Fine to thick

Styling Tips: Achieving this sleek texture and glassy shine relies on a combination of clever styling and gloss-boosting products. Blow dry smooth using a round brush, finish with straighteners, then use a serum or shine mist for a beautiful finish. 

2. The curly shag

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh 

(Image credit: Getty images)

Face shape: square, heart or oval | Hair type: curly, medium to thick

Styling Tips: This gorgeous shaggy style is enhanced by a relaxed curl and wave pattern. Use a diffuser when drying curls to gently encourage natural texture with a bit of mousse or curl cream to boost body and hold.  

3. The thick mid-length cut

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: When styling thicker hair at this length, ensure your hair is adequately prepped. We recommend a hydrating hair mask before dividing your hair into sections and blow drying each smoothly with a round brush. 

4. The beach wave lob

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: Perfect beach waves can be styled at lob length using your best curling iron. We recommend dividing your hair into sections, pointing the barrel down towards the tips of your hair before taking each piece, and wrapping it around just once or twice for loose waves. 

5. The tousled bob with side bangs

Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: Square, round, heart| Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: A tousled bob is best achieved when the hair is left to air dry or by giving it a rough blow dry. We recommend prepping the hair by brushing through some mousse to build volume in the hair and set the style. 

6. The short shag with curtain bangs

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, except round | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: Prep for this style by focusing attention on the roots of your hair, using volumizing spray to build volume before blow drying. If you have natural curls, we recommend letting your hair air dry and twisting it in your fingers.

7. The classic layered bob

Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: This glam layered style is best achieved by blowdrying with a round brush or one of the best hair dryer brushes. The aim is to build volume and create bouncy flicks that spotlight the graduated cut, then set with hairspray. 

8. The natural mid-length curls

Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily 

Styling Tips: For an effortless and easy look, opt for au-natural with these air-dried curls. To sustain the volume of your natural hair, we recommend prepping with a hair mousse or, after drying, one of the best dry shampoos to build volume and grit. 

9. Glam past-the-shoulder locs

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: natural

Styling Tips: To keep locs looking glamorous, wash your hair every two weeks to remove excess oil and rebalance the pH of your hair to encourage healthy growth. When washing, work the shampoo into the roots of wet hair and air dry for the best results. Avoid direct heat as this can damage the locs. 

10. The sleek graduated lob

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, except maybe square | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: Brush through your bob with a wide tooth comb when wet to gently detangle the hair, before drying a large ceramic vented brush. Divide your hair into sections, gently pulling each piece of hair forward and down to ensure a sleek finish. 

11. The corkscrew curls

Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to thick, curly or coily

Styling Tips: If you have naturally straight hair but want to create these corkscrew curls, the trick is to divide your hair into small sections and wrap each piece tightly around the barrel of the curling wand to set the curl. Set the look with hairspray. 

12. The side parted blunt lob

Jennifer Anniston

Jennifer Anniston

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, except maybe square | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: If opting for this style, be prepared to visit a hairdresser every six weeks or so to maintain the blunt cut. With medium hairstyles with one-length ends, ensure your hair is properly hydrated, using one of the best hair masks or serums to boost the shine. 

13. The super-bouncy layered style

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: heart, oval | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: A bouncy layered hairstyle can be expertly created at home with a round brush, a good hairdryer, and a curling wand. Before applying heat, we recommend using heat protection for hair. Then, divide hair into sections before blowdrying, using your round brush to create a loose wave. Finish with the curling wand, wrapping the ends of each piece once around the barrel. 

14. The vintage mullet

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, heart, square | Hair type: fine to medium

Styling Tips: The mullet is not a style for everybody, but it certainly makes an impact. To achieve this ultra textured look, we recommend giving it a rough blow dry upside down, running your fingers through it to build volume. Set the look with hairspray and maintain volume by applying dry shampoo to day two or three hair. 

15. The ultra rounded lob with side bangs

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, except round | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: Styling this rounded bob is best achieved with a round brush and a hair dryer. Divide your hair into manageable sections and pull each out to the side, curling underneath at the ends to achieve a rounded look. To style side bangs, curl the round brush under the hair and pull outwards to add dimension to the look. 

16. The long bob twists

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, heart, square | Hair type: natural

Styling Tips: To maintain this beautiful twist hairstyle at home,  air dry your hair and use hair butter to combat frizz.

17. The thick and voluminous style

Elizabeth Banks

Elizabeth Banks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any, except maybe heart | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: This style is best achieved by giving the hair a bouncy blow dry and lightly backcombing the roots to maintain volume. Ramp up dimension using a hair mousse when wet and set the look with some hair spray. 

18. The block bangs and rounded layers

Davina McCall

Davina McCall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: When opting for a bouncy, curved finish with block bangs, befriend your round brush. When drying, pull the hair out to the side and curl underneath at the ends, repeat the motions with the block bangs and finish with shine-boosting hairspray.  

19. Super-layered long bob

Deidre Hall

Deidre Hall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: round, heart | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: Opting for lots of layers when you visit the hairdressers is a great way to manage the weight of thick hair as well as add a trendy spin on any medium hairstyles for women over 50. This style looks the best when left to air dry or roughly blow-dried to maintain the volume. 

20. Side parted gray curly lob

Glenn Close

Glenn Close

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: round, heart, oval | Hair type: curly, coily

Styling Tips: Transitioning to gray hair is a fabulous way to help dyed locks become happier and healthier. Lighty tousling this feathered style will help show off the various lengths, while side partings are an easy way to change up a look and make a statement with your hair. 

21. Medium-long wand curls

Madonna

Madonna

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: long, heart, oval | Hair type: natural, thick

Styling Tips: There are many different types of curls that can be created with a curling wand - the narrower the barrel, the tighter the curl. Whatever shape of curl you are planning to create, divide your hair into sections, point the wand down, and wrap each piece around the barrel once or twice to create the perfect curl. 

22. The tousled lob with balayage

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: straight medium to thick

Styling Tips: Balayage hair is the perfect way to revive your look in a subtle way as it incorporates plenty of your natural color. For low maintenance balayage, visit your salon two to three times a year for light touch-ups, or alternatively, for a stronger look, speak to your stylist about traditional highlights or babylights

How to style medium hairstyles for women over 50

In addition to the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, dry volume-boosting products are the best friend of medium hairstyles for women over 50. "With a shag haircut you can wash and go, and finish by using a sea salt or texture spray," Nick says. 

You can also boost your style's appearance with your choice of color. If you don't want to embrace the gray just yet, highlights in hair can offer an effective lift without completely masking your natural tones. "If you choose to color your hair, I would recommend 'color contouring' highlighting techniques, where natural-looking colors called 'babylights' are woven around your face, framing it with bespoke tones to compliment your skin," Nick explains. "You could also have lowlights woven between your natural hair to give you a soft radiance with less obvious re-growth." 

The last absolute must with every length is heat protection for hair to shield your strands from damage and keep them looking fresh, healthy, and youthful. "Always use a heat protector when styling your hair, to protect your hair from UV and heat, keeping it strengthened from any day-to-day damage," our expert concludes.

Image (opens in new tab)

L’Oréal Pro Tecni ART Pli | RRP: $23/£16.50 

Nick Willis' preferred texturizing spray for medium hairstyles, "I like to recommend Pli as this product will hold your textured waves all day long," he says. 

Image (opens in new tab)

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique | RRP: $39/£26

It is so crucial to protect mature hair from the ravages of heat styling (even the best hair dryer can cause damage) and this is the product Willis recommends we do it with. Sold!

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.

With contributions from