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

Get inspired by our edit of flattering medium hairstyles for women over 50

Viola Davis wearing an orange dress with one of the best medium hairstyles for women over 50
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

It's easy to see why medium hairstyles for women over 50 are so popular. This undeniably stylish and versatile length 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—a midi style is hugely popular with celebrities in their 50s and beyond. Viola Davis, Susan Sarandon, and Kim Cattrall are just a few of the famous faces who sport easy hairstyles at mid-length, from long bob hairstyles to shoulder-grazing curly hairstyles and a layered bouncy blow dry

“There are no longer rules when it comes to what you should or shouldn’t do to your hair once you turn 50,” says Nick Willis, Senior Master Stylist at Charles Worthington. "My only rule is that there are no rules! But there are tips that can improve the way you wear your hair and look your best." Ready to get inspired? We've curated the best 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: “Mid-length hair is a great way to experiment with layers if you want more texture with your look," 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, but it's still important to get frequent trims to keep it looking its best. Ideally, your mid-length style should be cut every eight weeks or so, to prevent it from growing into long hairstyle territory. 

Medium hairstyles for every hair type

1. The thick mid-length cut

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


2. The beach wave lob

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


3. The tousled bob with side bangs

Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


4. The short shag with curtain bangs

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


5. The classic layered bob

Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


6. The natural mid-length curls

Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily 


7. Glam past-the-shoulder locs

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: natural


8. The sleek graduated lob

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


9. The corkscrew curls

Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


10. The side parted blunt lob

Jennifer Anniston

Jennifer Anniston

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


11. The super-bouncy layered style

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


12. The modern mullet

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


13. 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


14. The long bob twists

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


15. The thick and voluminous style

Elizabeth Banks

Elizabeth Banks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


16. The block bangs and rounded layers

Davina McCall

Davina McCall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to thick


17. Super-layered long bob

Deidre Hall

Deidre Hall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


18. Side parted gray curly lob

Glenn Close

Glenn Close

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


19. Medium-long wand curls

Madonna

Madonna

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

20. The tousled lob with balayage

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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


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.

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. 

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!


woman&home thanks Nick Willis of Charles Worthington Salon (opens in new tab) for his time and expertise

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