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Why older women look better with short hair

Judi Dench is proof that beauty has no age limits.
Judi Dench is proof that beauty has no age limits.Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Long hair may look sexy on someone in their 20s, 30s, or even 40s, but after the age of 50 few women look good with long hair. It is a general rule that as women get older, their hair should be lighter in color and shorter in length. When we think of a woman of 65 with black hair down to her waist, the image strikes us as being unnatural and unusual. It is much easier to imagine an older woman with light-colored hair cut above her shoulders.

One reason why older women should have shorter hair is because the aging process not only affects the skin, but also the hair. With age, our hair becomes less shiny, more coarse, and increasingly brittle. As a result, long hair on an older woman seldom looks healthy and, more often than not, makes the woman look bedraggled and unkempt.

Shorter hair also makes people look younger than they really are, because long hair gives the illusion of elongating facial features. If an older woman with a sagging chin and drooping eyelids and earlobes were to wear her hair long, she risks the chance of looking like a bloodhound.

Shorter hair is also preferred by older women because it gives the illusion of fullness. As we age, our hair loses volume, and long hair will look flat and lifeless on an older woman. Cutting the hair short provides many more styling opportunities for the older woman, since the hair can be set in rollers or a curling iron, it can be permed, and it can be teased. All of these things will make hair look thicker and fuller, and will make the mature woman appear more youthful.

Of course, as with every rule there are exceptions. There are some women with long hair who are able to pull off the look. But, chances are, these women have thick hair that still has its youthful luster. Had these women been cursed with thin hair that was dull in appearance, they would not look right with long hair.

Even though long flowing hair is the dream of nearly every woman, women must be realistic and accept their limitations. Getting older is an undeniable fact of life. Women who try too hard to defy Father Time just end up looking desperate and ridiculous. In an ideal world, women of 65 would have the same hair they had when they were 25, but in real life things just don't work out that way.