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Flattering Hairstyles With Bangs for Women Over 50

Stylish fringe that feels fun, flirty and suits your hair length and texture

spinner image jennifer coolidge thandiwe newton and julia roberts all wearing their hair in bangs
(Left to right) Jennifer Coolidge, Thandiwe Newton and Julia Roberts
Coolidge: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Newton: Francois G. Durand/Getty Images; Roberts: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Nearly every woman over 50 considers cutting bangs and the urge may be even greater now when a slew of new and revived bang styles are trending in beauty. Bangs are magic for mature faces and hair and solve many age-related issues but most of all they make women feel sexy, flirty and fashionable. What’s not to like? The wrong bangs! Here are the best choices (plus the worst) to freshen up your go-to haircut now.

spinner image jennifer coolidge isabelle huppert and monica lewinsky all wearing curtain bangs
(Left to right) Jennifer Coolidge, Isabelle Huppert and Monica Lewinsky
Coolidge: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Huppert: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images; Lewinsky: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

1. Curtain bangs

“Curtains” are parted in the middle (just like curtains on a stage or window) and sweep outwards to frame the face on either side. They add movement to the hair and give it a modern “broken up” look. They’re a cross between a bang and a layer and leave the center of the forehead open, so don’t count on them for crease camouflage though they can hide thinning at the temples. The length of the “curtain” varies from cheekbone to just above lip level and can quickly update a variety of hair lengths from bob to long. This bang does work best on hair with a little body or wave rather than extremely straight, fine or thin hair. Curtain bangs can give hair that’s worn “down” a fresh twist but are an amazing update if you like to wear your hair half up, half down, up in a clip or pulled back in ponytail since they add some softness around the face. You can emphasize the curtain section by using a curling iron or round brush as you blow dry to kick out the flare.

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spinner image christie brinkley and jaclyn smith wearing bottleneck bangs
Christie Brinkley (left) and Jaclyn Smith
Brinkley: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Smith: Rick Kern/Getty Images for Farrah Fawcett Foundation

2. Bottleneck bangs

Let’s clear up the confusion: Curtain bangs and bottleneck bangs are similar but different. Both are long, frame the face and accent cheekbones, but curtain bangs break cleanly at the center and fall away from the face in one smooth layer on either side. It’s a more sophisticated bang. Bottlenecks include some shorter bangs at the center (sometimes separated in an inverted V) that gradually slope and lengthen to curve at the cheekbone. The “bottleneck” is the flared shape that narrows on top, mimicking a bottle. It’s an edgier, choppier, lived-in look with a cool-girl attitude that works best on mature hair that’s medium to thick and healthy. Again, a round brush can assist in adding lift and body as you dry. Style bottlenecks in sections, blow-drying down to get a smooth look at the forehead and diagonally for a curved shape at the outer bang.

spinner image goldie hawn julia roberts and pat benatar wearing bardot bangs
(Left to right) Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts and Pat Benatar
Hawn: Sipa via AP Images; Roberts: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Image; Benatar: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

3. Bardot or Birkin bangs

These long, flirty bangs are all over social media now. Influencers attribute them to Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birkin as a French or Parisian thing. However, between us, it’s Goldie Hawn who truly made these boho bangs resonate on this side of the pond (and Goldie at 78 still makes them her trademark). What separates them from traditional blunt bangs is their longer, eyelash-grazing length but with a looser, more casual look. The payoff is coverage of forehead creases and the vertical ||s between the brows and the ability to skip applying makeup to skimpy brows. Ideally the shortest point should skim over your brows — not reveal them. Bardot/Birkins work best on longer hair that’s fairly smooth, and even those with fine hair can pull them off. Having the ends point-cut (the scissors are held vertically for tiny nips) rather than straight across can help create subtle irregularities in length for a lush look. The trick is to build in shape by blow-drying the bangs with a paddle brush. Lift the hairs from underneath with the brush as you direct the nozzle of the dryer on top and downward (like a sandwich). Then use your fingertips to separate and ruffle the bangs into shape.

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spinner image lea thompson and paula abdul wearing sideswept bangs
Lea Thompson (left) and Paula Abdul
Thompson: Monica Schipper/WireImage/Getty Images; Abdul: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

4. Sideswept bangs

Influencers claim Taylor Swift started this current trend, but the diagonal dip is nothing new. The most updated versions feature extra-long bangs simply brushed to the side or long bangs cut at a downward angle to melt seamlessly into the hair at the side of the face. Curtain and Bardot bangs can easily convert to a sideswept look with a side part. Sideswept bangs on long hair are the trendiest version and can be blown smooth or given extra wave and movement with a curling iron. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a classic sideswept bob or lob with a “faux bang.” This very low-maintenance bang is an extra-long section at the crown (where you’d cut bangs) that swings across the forehead and over. It’s an easy way to update a one-length or slightly layered style without committing to brow-length snips. Remember: The drama is all about the sexy peekaboo situation with your eyes, so be sure to part your hair on your stronger profile side for the most flattering effect.

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spinner image mary steenburgen taraji p henson and rosanna arquette
(Left to right) Mary Steenburgen, Taraji P. Henson and Rosanna Arquette
Steenburgen: Kayla Oaddams/WireImage; Henson: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Arquette: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

5. Classic full bangs

Blunt bangs cut straight across from outside corner of each eye are new again. This is a more structured fringe that gives bobs, lobs and long hair a chic statement look and dresses your face even when hair is pulled back. It’s a good choice for those who want serious camouflage for the forehead or a receding hairline and more attention on their eyes. However, unlike curtains, Bardot/Birkin bangs and sideswept bangs, classic full bangs require more precise maintenance to keep the line sharp. The angled corners and density are hallmarks of this fringe, but even these this can be modified for a slightly softer and more flattering effect by tapering the ends of the bangs or snipping the bang section slightly longer at the outer corners. Be sure your stylist adjusts the depth and width to your personal proportions. For example, your stylist might start the bang further back if you have a low forehead or expand the width side to side to give a long thin face more width at the cheekbones. Keep the slightly rounded shape by drying them with a round barrel brush, but avoid a bumper effect by brushing bangs to the left and then to the right as you dry. This bang requires frequent trims so ask at your salon for their policy (some salons do free bang trims) or ask your stylist for a lesson to DIY trim between appointments.

spinner image thandiwe newton molly ringwald and sandra oh
(Left to right) Thandiwe Newton, Molly Ringwald and Sandra Oh
Newton: Francois G. Durand/Getty Images; Ringwald: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Oh: Unique Nicole/FilmMagicUnique Nicole/FilmMagic

6. Textured bangs

It used to be that curly or wavy hair and bangs didn’t mix well. They required some kind of hot tool or chemical straightening treatment to get in line. That’s all over now thanks to more women with textured hair who are opting for springy forehead ringlets and wavy bangs as part of their look. Actress Natasha Lyonne had a lot to do with jump-starting this free-form bang trend, though 50-plus stars with natural curls and waves galore have clearly made this their signature. Be sure to ask your stylist to do a dry cut since wet curls and waves “shrink” as they dry. They look great with layered hair, textured lobs and curly/wavy looks.

spinner image rashida jones and emily mortimer wearing piecey bangs
Rashida Jones (left) and Emily Mortimer
Jones: Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Mortimer: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

7. Skip extreme bang fads at 50

Yes, some mature women with tons of charisma and an overall dramatic sense of style can carry off the mid-forehead bangs known as baby bangs or even micro-bangs that end just past the hairline. Leave them to “influencers” and younger stars like Rooney Mara and Zoë Kravitz. However, shaggy uneven bangs on a short cut are still flattering when staggered in length and not too short. Wispy bangs are another one to watch. They are trendy and can even work if your hair is fine in texture. Beware bangs that are too see-through if your hair is thin or thinning, especially at the crown, since that only emphasizes and amplifies the issue.

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