Baby Boomer Women Wearing Hair Longer

Remember that old-fashioned rule? “Thou shalt not grow your hair past your shoulders after the age of 50.” In the past, if older women dared to hang on to their locks, they swept it into a dowdy granny bun.

No more! Have you noticed that baby boomer women – and I’m not just talking about celebrities – are bucking the idea that you must lop your hair off at a “certain age?”


Photo by Anderson Guerra from Pexels

I’m one of those boomers embracing longer locks. Turns out this is a new trend. Which is kind of funny. Usually, by the time I discover something is a fashion trend, it’s already over.

But I can see why times are a-changing. Boomers are discovering that long hair can look flattering. For one thing, it hides some of those unflattering problems that pop up as you age. You know, like a wrinkly turkey neck or a double chin.

Plus, I think women are tired of society telling them how they should look.

After I had my first child, I fell for the myth that you had to cut your hair short to look like a proper mother. Although I was only in my early 20’s, I suddenly felt old with my not-so-stylish pixie cut. Not to mention, a bit naked and awkward without my long hair. For decades afterwards, my hair was cut into a sensible bob and – as was popular at the time – permed like a poodle.

By the time I hit my 50’s, I was getting tired of the term “age-appropriate” and ready for a change.

Mind you, I’m not talking about clinging to the 60’s or 70’s with straight hair parted down the middle reaching my butt. But, as you can see in the photo below, my hair is a few inches past my shoulders.


A pic of my hair from the back.

If this is your preference, and you want long hair, I say go for it! Have you gone gray? No matter. Personally, I’ve seen some women look like gorgeous silver foxes with their long tresses. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a hairstyle:

  • A good haircut with a few layers around your face is flattering and can give some extra lift to your hair, making it look more modern and healthy.
  • Long, side-swept soft bangs can be a boomer’s best friend, drawing attention to your lovely eyes and away from a wrinkled forehead.
  • Avoid a formal coifed look and go for a more relaxed style – that goes for whatever length of hair you choose. According to hair stylist Sally Hershberger, best known for creating Meg Ryan’s iconic blond shag, “Once you get older, you have to get messier or you look like a newscaster or a real estate lady,” she says in an interview with Zoomer. “Conservative hairdos are aging. Hair needs movement.”

And, since hair grows slower, thins, and becomes more fragile as you age, here are a few hair care tips for longer locks:

  • Experts say you don’t need to wash your hair every single day, which can strip your scalp of essential oils. When you do jump in the shower, use quality shampoos and conditioners specially formulated to encourage growth and keep hair strong and healthy,
  • Use a wide tooth comb to minimize breakage.
  • Reduce drying time by allowing your hair to dry naturally for the most part. Use the coolest setting on your blow dryer. Avoid curling irons whenever possible.
  • Keep your hair healthy from the inside out by staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet.

One more thought: If you prefer short and sassy, more power to you. After all, how you wear your hair shouldn’t have anything to do with rules, what your husband, kids, or grandkids thinks looks best, or what’s trendy at the moment.

Instead, your hairstyle should make you feel beautiful, confident, match your personality and fit your lifestyle. Girls, it’s all about you!

What’s your verdict? Do you like long hair on women past the age of 50? Do you love your long or short hair?  Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!




Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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16 Responses

  1. Rosie says:

    Hair, my biggest problem, Ha! Guilty of drying and using hot rollers to get that lift on my thinning hair. Thin hair runs in our family.
    I agree and think women (and men) know what fits the best for them and should go with their choice, not worrying about the trends.
    Great tips Julie!

  2. I’m trying to decide about letting my hair go back to being long or cutting it again. I dislike having to fuss with styling shortish hair and I dislike having to keep paying to get it cut. But it looks lank when it’s long.

    Not quite sure what I’ll do.

    • juliegorges says:

      Maybe shoulder length, Pearl? That may be a good compromise. Long enough that you don’t need constant haircuts but short enough to keep some fullness. Just an idea. I’m certainly no expert. One nice thing, if you don’t like whatever hairstyle you choose, you can always change it later!

  3. Janis says:

    I have fine, straight hair so a long style doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I have noticed a lot of stylish older women with spikey-short hair and wearing colorful, fun glasses. I love that look too. I guess the main takeaway is “do what you want and feel most comfortable doing.” You’ve got nice wavy hair so enjoy it!

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks, Janis. My hair got a bit curlier with menopause, lol. I’ve also seen a wide variety of hairstyles on older women and some fun, stylish looks in all kinds of different lengths. Agreed, do what you want and makes you feel most comfortable!

  4. Cat Michaels says:

    I did long straight hair in college and my first teaching jobs, but tired of messing with it and went for a stylish no-fuss short cut. I cannot tolerate any kind of product on my hair, so natural and easy-care all the way. LOL, my sis is the opposite, keeping her curly tresses shoulder length. btw…your long hair is beyond *beautiful,* Julie!

  5. Hi Julie, this was a fun read. My hair has always been thick, curly and wild. It was short until my late teens when I took control of paying for haircuts. Have kept it long ever since, much to my mum’s despair. When I turned 40 she tried to insist I finally cut it short. Nope, 15 yrs later it’s still longish. Menopause has meant it has begun to thin, and I have cropped it to just below my shoulders, but I have no doubt I will grow it a few more inches again. Out of control hair doesn’t feel right short no matter how old I get. Sometimes I straighten it for a smooth silky look, but usually only for a special occasion. Embrace your long locks, they are beautiful.

    • juliegorges says:

      Funny, my Mom was always trying to get me to cut my hair too. Said it was too thin and stringy to wear long. Finally, in her old age before her death, she told me she liked my longer hair. I about fainted! Lol. Glad you have embraced your wild and curly hair. I think it’s beautiful!

  6. I forgot to mention in my post the other day, my mom wore wigs most of her life. She had very thin hair and styles for wigs were popular in the 60’s and 70’s. Eva Gabor wigs were her favorite. Our family has some pretty funny stories of all the things she went through with them.
    1) Playing badminton in the front yard with us kids and she reached back to hit the birdie and her wig flew off! Ha!
    2) She was getting off the bus and her wig got caught in the door and shut it between the rubber slates. Oh my!
    3) One rainy day, she got it caught on the end of her umbrella, yep, snag it right off!
    4) And last, a very windy day, her wig blew off and rolled down the street. She was standing visiting with a friend and her friend had to run half a block to get it.
    Thanks Julie! Your post brought me some fun memories today. Mom was always a great sport about her funny “wig stories” and I know she wouldn’t of minded at all that I shared.
    Have a great weekend,

  7. Nancy Lee says:

    I hate whining with styling shortish hair and I detest continuing paying to get it trim, yet tired of upsetting it and went for a smart straightforward alternate route. have seen a ton of snappy more seasoned ladies with spikey-short hair and wearing brilliant, fun glasses. I love that look as well.

  8. hahaha Love this ! As I always say to elder people in my salon. Getting old does not mean wrinkles and grey hair – it means managing to pull off hairstyles that no teen can! I love them baby boomers who always get worried they wont look good, and end up looking greater then ever ! I always love to suggest different styles for them , as one look does not fit all.

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