By the time we reach our early to mid fifties, most of us have issues with how our jaw and neck look.
Many of us show a wobbly jaw line. And while some of us are starting to get a double chin – a droopy layer or layers of fat beneath our chin – others have a scrawyny neck where the tendons stand out or there’s a crepey look to the skin beneath the chin.
How to look your best despite a double chin
There’s not much point looking for ways to reverse these signs of aging – although you will see hundreds of people claiming they can do exactly that for you. The way your jaw and neck age is mainly down to genetics – did your mother have the same worries at your age? And of course, our lifestyle will have made worse or lessened our inherited imperfections.
But frankly, by our mid fifties, we’ve done a lot of living and even taking off weight won’t sort the problem of a double chin. At best you’ll get a flabby bit of crinkled skin where once you had fleshy curves.
So if you don’t want to get facial surgery it’s time to rethink how to improve your face shape with the right hairstyle.
I’ve scoured the internet looking for hairstyles I believe make all of us with less than perfect necks, look better. Here’s what I’ve found and why I think these styles work well for women well over fifty.
How to deflect attention from our jaw and throat if we don’t like our neck.
The bob is a classic cut for women of all ages. And many of us who have had long hair through our youth decide to chop our locks into a bob.
But the exact style of bob is important.
A bob generally has hair over the face. This can easily age us.
Straight hair each side of our face can make us look drawn, now that we have lines running down from our nose and on towards our chin.
So if you decide to go for a bob you have to be willing to style it often. Depending on your hair type – fine, sleek and straight or with more body through curls, waves or going gray – you may need to use a styling tool and/or styling products every morning.
The right length bob for a fat or lined neck
The length of the bob is important. If it ends below your ears then all the drama of the cut will take place just where your jaw, chin or neck start. But you don’t want people to focus on those areas. So it’s best to get the hairdresser to make the chop no lower than the earlobe if the hair is mainly one length.
But most bobs that work well for older women include side-swept bangs that soften the look and draw the eye to the end of that sweep of hair. Then a small amount of hair is left to cover the ears and camouflage the exact contour of the neck. Perfect!
The side-swoosh bob
This gray hair has plenty of natural body so will keep its shape for several days. It has been carefully cut into layers so that there’s a sense of bounce (read youthfulness!) to the look. The heavy side fringe swoops across the upper face and our eye follows this lovely curve to ear level. This is a great look for any age.
The high-back bob
Here the bob is shorter and finishes just below the ear. The side swoop is less obvious so our eye will tend to focus on the middle of the face. A few longer strands of hair give a feminine curve to define the jaw line, which doesn’t really exist any more.
Two features make this hair look good – excellent color and that high bounce of volume at the back. Ask your hairdresser if your hair could hold this bounce – some hair can, some simply cannot. Models pop an under-hairpiece in to get this look to last all day.
The longer, straighter bob
I think this bob is nice but less successful. The length of hair makes us notice this model has a short neck as there’s no space between hair and shoulder. The inward bending hair around the face makes it look as if the model is trying to hide the contours of her face.
But the color and texture is beautiful. I just think a shorter bob would work even better.
The voluptuous bob
If you’re just turning fifty your double chin will probably be more like this. The older you get the more it sags. So if you still have a ‘full’ neck then you can do as this model has done – flaunt your delightful curviness!
The flippy side fringe does its job perfectly, adding to the curvy look. The hair color, bounce and shiny youthful texture make this a gloriously sexy bob.
The wide curly bob
Curls are great for adding volume. This wide bob reduces the size of the face and neck. The contrast of the hair color makes us focus on this woman’s smile and we hardly notice that there’s a double chin just beginning to develop.
If you have very curly hair then ensure the color is intense – whether it’s near to your natural color or a perfect white or grey or even a funky purple – and keep the bob wide and bouncy.
Styles that push the hair away from the face
This is almost the opposite of a bob. There is no attempt to cover the face or neck up.
This means the eye finds the most rivetting feature to focus attention on. This will usually be your eyes.
If you wear glasses or sunglasses this is ideal. Otherwise you should pay some attention every morning to make your eyes more noticeable. This could be just mascara or it could be shadow, or eyeliner or both. Once you’ve had your cut and had it well styled, go home and practise with the eye make-up. What you used to wear on your eyes may no longer look right.
Short hair with high top
The hair here is styled away from the face with special attention being paid to lifting the front hair to give height. This means the actress’s eyes are now on the mid line between top of the head and chin. So our focus doesn’t really include the neck. The top hair is likely a fringe that has been styled then sprayed back. A good look if you are growing out bangs.
Medium hair with wide sides
This style still needs help from spray or mousse to keep the lift even though it is softer. The model’s eyes are midway between her hairline and her lips – great! Just where we want people to look. The hair at the sides is styled away from the face adding width so the chin does not lengthen and age the face.
The cut finishes on the earlobe. The color is carefully enhanced so it brightens the face.
What a beautiful look for an older face.
Very short hair with very high top
This style also builds up the height so we gaze at the model’s eyes not lower. And note that she has emphasized the brows and the eyes as suggested. Though I would recommend a softer shade of lipstick to ensure it is the eyes we focus on.
This is a cleverly cut and layered style with a warm blond color added. The very fine fringe may be there to cover lines but I don’t think it is helping the style.
The little side tufts sculpt a good strong line for the upper face, though brushing them back so we see the tips of the ears may look more youthful. Especially as this model has lovely flat ears.
Short wavy hair with medium high top and medium wide sides
Bette has embraced her natural curves by curling her hair into bouncy rolls which complement the soft rolls beneath her chin. Cut short to above the ears, this style draws the eye high up on the face. Good skin, careful eye make-up and look-at-me-now glasses complete the confidant and vivacious look. Yes I see her neck is fat. Do I care? No.
A frame for the face
If you’re not sure you can keep the bounce and swing of a bob between visits to the stylist, and if you don’t want to be working on that top height every day before breakfast, then the frame may be right for you.
The trick is to cleverly shape this frame so it gives you the shape of face you want.
Think carefully about length and heaviness of a fringe. Consider where the side bangs will stop. And decide on a color that makes your complexion look healthy and youthful.
The upper face frame
The soft short fringe means the eyeline is halfway between the end of the fringe and the lips – the face is framed to make the chin less noticeable. The wispy side layers end at the cheekbones – a good look for this face.
The attractive color and defined layers add interest. But, with a more natural salt-and-pepper color and smoother combed layers the chin and its lines would be the area of this model with the most texture. Because texture (anywhere) interests humans, this would be a mistake.
The eyes and cheekbones frame
A wavy frame of hair stopping at the ears gives this model a good face shape with all the drama going on around her smiling eyes. Any lines on her neck are hardly noticed (sorry about the small photo!)
The full face frame
Although this model is younger the frame she has created is worth noting. A strong contrast between the hair and her complexion and lots of messy curls for volume mean the face is highlighted. Add to that the heavy fringe, and we focus right in the middle of her face.
All her features are strongly emphasized. We know this is a woman with a lot of confidence.
Yes, her face has curves and lines and texture. But because she shows off all her face equally we don’t especially note her chin and neck. Again, this style only really works for a youngish face.
The cheek bones frame
Whilst this young woman looks to have a perfect neck and chin I just wanted to show you this style which you could copy.
Of course it depends on having very curly hair. These curls are chopped at just about the height of the ears. Instead of building height, this model has emphasized width. Her cheek bones are now the focus. A very attractive look at any age.
The cheek bones frame 2
This is the same idea on an older model with a double chin. It works well to take the eye away from the chin and neck. Because the model’s hair is not quite so curly she has added product to keep those curls bouncy and separate. (Think texture far away from the neck!)
My only worry is that, in this shot at least, the hair seems overburdened with product so that the hair lacks youthful shine.
A hairstyle with attitude for an older woman
Let’s be honest, not many of us have the confidence to go for a modern dramatic look. But that’s just the point. If you do, you’ll immediately seem younger, more in-touch, interesting and stylish… and confident!
Here are two styles that are great examples of how to radiate natural confidence at any age, despite what might have happened to you chin or neck.
By keeping the centre of attention on the hair and the upper face, these styles minimize the imperfections of the lower face.
The blond over dark razor cut
What makes this style work so well? The cut is dramatic so we really notice it.
The color is dramatic – upper pale blonde, under hair dark – so we really notice it.
The ears have big interesting earrings attached – so we really notice this area.
What we don’t focus on is the chin or neck. Hurrah!
The high back pixie cut
This pixie cut finishes at cheekbone level. The top and back hair is tonged then sprayed to stand away from the scalp, drawing your eyes up high on her face.
The fringe is wispy so it doesn’t weigh down the look.
The result is a vivacious, youthful, energized portrait where the exact contours of her chin hardly matter. Yes, she’s wearing a high neck, but even without this garment, this model would look stunning.
A style that follows all the rules
Here’s a model who has perfected a smart but casual style that makes her look great, despite her chin and neck.
She’s followed most of the ‘rules’ (suggestions) above but kept things subtle and right for her personality.
There’s the side swipe front fringe drawing our eye sideways not downwards.
The hair stops at ear-lobe level emphasizing the eyes. (I’d go for a tiny bit shorter in fact so the hair stops level with the mid-ear).
The side hair is swept off the face giving the mid-face section prominence.
The color is carefully managed in several highlights to make the separated wavy layers (think texture) stand out.
With regular cuts this style will not need too much work each morning. Just a little help for those top layers to look airy and youthfully bouncy.
I love this look.
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