What Beauty Tips Do You Think I Should Use to Attract Men?

An attractive elegant senior woman sitting on a white sand beach with grass and a blue sky behind her.

Evan, I know you get a lot of really heavy questions, but I have a simple, light-hearted question for you. Should I grow my hair out? I’m 51 and have some gray, but not a lot. I recently added highlights to help blend in the gray. My hair is currently a shoulder-length bob. I have a great stylist and the cut is very flattering, but I wonder if longer hair would be more appealing to men. —Liz


Since there are so many people (and women’s magazines) who think that dating coaching is all about the physical, I tend to shy away from topics like this. Isn’t there enough societal reinforcement to remind you what men find attractive?

And aren’t there enough exceptions to these rules to prove that you can still find your partner even if you don’t listen to Cosmo?

Hell, walk around the mall: how many people actually look like a thinner version of Kim Kardashian? Not many, that’s for sure.

In fact, it seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models. Men with a gut. Women with an ass. Men who are balding. Women who are graying.

It seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models.

Are all these people crazy? Are they settling? Do they have no standards whatsoever? No, no, and no.

In fact, most people arrive organically to the conclusions that I draw as a dating coach — that holding out for a commitment-oriented George Clooney is tantamount to choosing to be single forever. And that if you want to pair up and build a life, you might have to deal with a guy who is shorter than 5’11”, or has a belly. Why? Because that’s the majority of men.

I believe that most of us understand that people do get “thicker” as we get older (at least I do!). People do get wrinkled. People do start to sag and shrink and lose height and musculature. It takes a lot of work to avoid this fate and many people are just trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

So it’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

In my experience, men dream of something that isn’t even real — or is at least exceptionally rare — they want thin and curvy. Some combination of Salma Hayek and Alessia Ambrosio. Big boobs, tiny waist. No fat. Young. Long hair.

This would explain the models you see inside and outside men’s magazines: Maxim, Playboy, Esquire…and would also explain the actresses you see in women’s magazines, where they have their bodies dissected by “experts” in various states of undress.

It’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

It’s hard to say who’s to blame for cultivating this unrealistic taste — men, women, advertisers, editors — all I know is that we’re being sold an unhealthy fantasy that’s going to smack us really hard when reality sets in. Because people aren’t airbrushed in real life. They don’t have professional hair and makeup. They don’t stay 25-39 forever.

And from talking to my clients, I’ve learned it’s quite dispiriting when you go through the effort to run a triathlon, grow your hair out, hire a personal trainer, get a professional eye job and dye job… and you discover that the men on Match are perfectly content as a paunchy, salt-and-pepper haired 50-year-old businessman. He doesn’t worry about getting his nails done or his scrotum waxed. Why? Because there are plenty of women who will appreciate a smart, considerate, relationship-oriented man, even if he doesn’t look like he did at 35.

Long story short, Liz: yes, long hair, thin waist, big boobs and a stylish and sexy wardrobe will certainly help garner more attention. But you want a man who will be attracted to that and then see past it.

Don’t fall into the beauty trap like so many others who are afraid of what men will think. Instead work on becoming the kind of woman that men will marry because of your character, patience and humor.

Your looks may get you in the door.

Your personality will be what keeps them there.

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  1. 1

    Just don’t do the super short, Peter Pan cut.

  2. 2

    I could be wrong, but I think that was her point: looks get you in the door.   If you don’t get in the door; personality, character, sense of humor, being laid back – these things don’t matter very much.  

  3. 3

    I read your blog religiously.   This entry was well-written and spot on.   As an African-American woman who is in her thirties, I often feel as if we are never apart of the equation or the discussion.
    What I have learned is that life is too short and time is too sweet.   I am working on being the best me that I can.    
    I will never have long, straight hair.   I have meat on my bones and proud of it.   Like most African American women, I will never look like most of the women in womens’ and mens’ magazines.   At the end of the day, I am happy with me.
    Thanks for telling this woman to work on herself and the rest will follow.

  4. 4

    If Liz looks like the woman in the photo, then I would tell her to stay out of the Sun, grow her hair to shoulder length and dye the gray out. If she is like the typical 51 YO, I would tell her to loose weight.

  5. 5

    the woman in the photo look older than 51, more like 60.
    And , out of curiosity, why does a 51 yo woman feel the urge to ask permission to gorw her hair past her shoulder?   I know plenty of 45+ and beyond women with long hair ( well maintained, of course) and they look much younger than the ones who chop off their hair because they heard somewhere that women past a certain age should chop off their hair.   Ridiculous.

  6. 6

    Although I had striking silver hair up until last August, which I and my friends loved, I got NO attention from men… I was invisible, especially with my blonde girlfriends. So I switched, and blondes DO have more fun. I absolutely resisted this for so long, since I wanted someone to be attracted to the “real me”, but ultimately you do have to be able to reel ’em in before you can keep ’em. My two cents.

  7. 7

    Wear your hair in a way that makes you feel happy and confident. I’ve worn my hair in a pixie cut since 1995, and it seemed to have no impact whatsoever on my dating and eventually getting married, twice. It was only recently, in reading dating blogs, that I learned that many men find short hair on a woman hideous, and would never, ever date one with a short cut. That was real news to me, since   I still met plenty of quality men, many from online dating, who seemed to find me attractive.   Go with what makes you feel best, and your confidence will be the thing that draws the right man in.

  8. 8

    @Cate Really? So what is that suppost to mean, that, for example, brunettes will never get a guy? It’s because of comments like these that so many girls have self-esteem issues… With all due respect for Evan and his great blog and all of the other readers, that was some ingorant comment. If you are old enough to have completely grey hair, you should be old enough to have some brains and say something smart! I’m sorry if I offended anybody but I’m really getting sick of this ”blondes are better” thing…

  9. 9

    Christina, I like your response, and David, your response is simply a personal preference.   I am 51, just like the OP, I wore my hair chin length and shoulder length for years, and fought with it every day.   It was difficult to keep looking good, camping and going to the beach were out, and I spent way too much time with it in the morning. I had plenty of dates, but no more, or no less than I do now.   I do color the gray out, and that is a personal vanity thing. Recently, because I had seen so many cute short cuts, I asked my stylist to give me a pixie, and not only do I love it, but everyone I know is constantly complimenting me on how nice it looks … men as well as women are appreciative.   I feel happy and confident, I look good all the time, and I think that goes a long way towards being attractive to the opposite sex.   Furthermore, if a guy thinks short hair is hideous, then he is simply unwilling to get past appearances, and probably isn’t worth your time anyway.   C’est la vie, and move on.

    1. 9.1

      Your spot on Blondie!!!

  10. 10

    I think being in shape, not overweight, and toned is more important than a couple of inches of hair. But if her body is looking good, then yeah, I think most men prefer hair past shoulders. It doesn’t have to be down her back, even a couple of inches past shoulders makes a difference to men. And tint away gray.

  11. 11

    Geeza Ana, I’m brunette and didn’t find anything offensive about Cate’s comment. When she said “Blonds DO have more fun,” she meant in comparison to being gray. Not in comparison to brunettes.

  12. 12

    Some men love redheads, some love blondes, some love brunettes, some guys love real women with curves, some love kind of skinny girls, some love tall girls with legs that go on forever, some love short cute girls, some guys love blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, freckles, short hair, long hair, I won’t go on  …  but no matter what you look like, if some guy doesn’t look at you and go “wow, she floats my boat and I want to get to know that woman better” then you’re out of luck. That’s how men are like it or not,  they like what they like!  
    Not too many guys like cuddling up to a slab of gristle at night if you work out like an iron man so it’s really a matter of taste and you never know what is going to turn a man on and one man’s or woman’s  opinion on what you should look like or say or do is just that … their opinion.
    Do what makes you feel comfortable and attractive with your body,  hair, makeup and clothes and let the rest go as there is too much contradictory information out there and it will do your head in trying to keep up with everything especially if you are over 50. Do what is best for  YOUR own health and well being and the rest will follow.
    I’m 64 and the dating pool at my age can be pretty awful but I took Evan’s advice and didn’t give up, kept hanging in there, got more selective and only went out with guys that were more interested in having a relationship and let the rest of them go by.   
    I stopped being too critical as I have had  to realise I’m not 25  and gorgeous anymore, the  same as  the men my age  and I’m getting on a lot better and having much better dates.
    Currently the man I am seeing is asking for another date before the current date is over.  
    Thanks Evan, your advice is working. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen.  

  13. 13

    To ThatGirl#5… many women find their hair thinning after they turn 40 so cut their hair NOT because they’ve “heard somewhere that women past a certain age should chop off their hair” but rather because scant hair grown long can look wispy in ways that shorter hair does not.
    I agree – focus should be on the spirit and personality rather than looks.   However, looks still count for something so I’d say I’ve say that most guys like women with hair that’s not super-short, relatively light makeup, a bra that fits properly – helping create a bit of an hour-glass shape, bright smile (ask 3 friends who you trust to be honest if you could use a bit of whitening) and clothes that aren’t dirty or rumpled.   I think that any of us could achieve this.

  14. 14

    Liz – if you have a shoulder length bob then most men would class that as “long hair”, and for most women in their 50’s that’s about as long as you can go. There are exceptions   – if your hair is particularly thick and glossy then you could grow it longer but otherwise what’s the point? One of the problems women over 45 have is that their face begind to lose definition – and long wispy hair has no definition either. This can be fine on a 20 year old with great features   but hair without definition and a face losing definition is just… too much lack of definition! A bob has a SHAPE, and can be cut to a length that hits your ears, or chin or shoulders depending on what suits your face shape. You  want something that’s more Michelle Pfeiffer than ageing hippy – just my two cents.

  15. 15

    Agree with #5, woman in the photo looks closer to 60.

    A close friend of mine is in her mid-fifties, slender, very pretty, not at all matronly, but looks like a woman in her fifties. She has gray hair, in a pixie cut, and gets plenty of attention from men, some as young as 30, at least in real life. She’s very youthful, charming, and fun.

    A woman over 50 can look great with long hair. It all depends on her and how it’s styled.  Generally some layers do look better than long and straight, though. Otherwise, it can weigh down her face.

    Not all older men are looking for young women, but they are looking for one who seems  youthful.









  16. 16
    Evan Marc Katz

    Um, everybody? That’s stock photography. It’s not the actual woman.

    I didn’t think it was necessary to state that until multiple people mentioned “the woman in the photo”.

  17. 17

    EMK #16

    I think it was brought up because the OP is 51, and the stock photo looks like an older woman, so it doesn’t really represent her. I wasn’t going to mention it until Lance2012 #4 wrote,  “…if Liz looks like the woman in the photo…”  

  18. 18

    @16 Thank you for saying that Evan! I was thinking the same thing. “Why is everyone talking about that photo?”
    In any case, I’m in my early twenties and have chopped my hair off numerous times. I found that confidence in your sex appeal is what draws in the men and personal character keeps them. I think she was looking for approval and “tips” rather than a confidence boost. Cosmo is full of that! She should do what makes her   happy with her own personal appearance and that will shine through. 🙂

  19. 19

    My personality calls for a LOT of self-expression, and my hair is part of that, along with my clothes and make-up.   For me, the important thing is that these characteristics operate like my facial expressions do: to show how I feel.   During one episode of my life not long ago, my clothing choice was very limited because I was “transitioning” from one place to another and couch-surfing in the meantime.   I felt so limited I actually started feeling depressed when I thought of dressing because there was no meaningful choice left.
    I grew my hair out for the same reason. Having exactly one hair arrangement felt so limited ~ I had so much more to express! Now I’ve discovered other cool things about my hair, and it gets a lot of attention from both men and women, but I do it only for me, to express myself, because that’s a big priority in my life.
    I think for everyone it is important to know yourself and let that integrity radiate to your outer expressions.

  20. 20

    Nobody can become beautiful using some beautiful tips, in my opinion. You are beautiful or not as for the outside beauty.
    This is just an advertisement that the cosmetic and fashion companies do to make a lot of money for themselves. We, their clients buy just a hope that we could look better.
    Of course, there is also inner beauty but there are not many women that want to achieve it.

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