Age Appropriate Hair
Hairstyles that looked good on you when in your youth just might not do the same for you as you age. Once you get into your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s a lot changes, your skin, your hair, your body. Each year it takes a little more effort to maintain it all. What will keep you looking fashionable vs. a misjudgment or a colossal blunder? It has been a question for women since the invention of fashion.
“Who decided women over 40 should cut their hair?” I spent quite a bit of time researching, google-ing and asking where this age old requirement came from…no one knows! So I ask, is there really an age that would require you cut your hair?
Demi Moore, Christie Brinkley and Raquel Welch all maintain long beautiful locks, (see 9 celebs who prove you can wear long hair at any age: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/03/long-hair-older-women_n_4833179.html ) These women in their 50s, 60’s and even 70s still look stunning with long hair. Of course there are many older women that look just as beautiful with short hair (Lisa Rinna , Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Fonda) . I always thought Halle Berry and Sharon Stone both looked their best with very short hair or slicked back tight. But an interesting note, scientists in Japan studied why across almost all cultures it is agreed certain women are extremely beautiful; Marilyn Monroe, Halle Berry, Sophia Loren. Through the use of computers it was determined that all of the women chosen had almost perfectly symmetrical faces. Both sides looked identical (another reason not too many of us look good with a center part…compare both sides and pick out my flaws). These women can have no hair and still look perfect; the rest of us can use the hair we have to create that perfect face shape. I love the way Hairfinder.com describes this: “When it comes to hairstyles and age, the strict rules like “no long hair after 40” are outdated ideas. In this new age we view hair from different perspectives. Women are independent, stylish and confident; they are altering how we look at aging and fashion. Technology and education are also literally keeping us younger physically. We all want to age gracefully and be proud of the years we have been blessed with. We also want to keep the gap between how we feel inside, and what we see in the mirror as small as possible.”
Elle magazine went so far as to state that cutting your hair short may very well make a woman look her oldest, as the stereotype has determined you must cut your hair at a certain age… therefore you must be old.
Choosing to wear your hair long, medium or short has more to do with what suits you. There are guidelines which may make it easier for you to determine what length will be your best. If you never looked good with long hair when you were younger chances are, it’s not going to change as you get older. The same would be true of short hair. If you think your hair long and flowing has been one of your most desirable qualities. Ensure it is still the case.
• Maintain a healthy diet and hair regime. If hair becomes dull and stringy it will make you look older. Hair naturally loses its luster with age. Graying hair is simply the loss of pigment, as it disappears so does the shine.
• Make sure your hair looks like a style. Don’t slack on maintaining your hair because you are no longer hitting the bars or looking for a date. When we were young, that sleepy, messy look may have been sexy. But years down the road it’s just plain a mess. You may be able to get away with perfectly messy… this is hair that looks like it is supposed to be messy, but still maintains the perfect head/face shape.
• Play with your style. Don’t just let your hair continue growing without changing or adding style. There are many new techniques to add body, shape and design without losing the length. Layering, texturizing, facial framing can all create volume, movement and soften hard lines.
• Bangs or Fringe… Thick straight fringe brings attention to the eyes; this may include lines or wrinkles that could appear more prominent. In this case soft, textured fringe or longer and side swept. If you choose to go without bangs it may still be wise to have a few shorter, wispy/soft pieces to hide some of the lines.
• Most hairstyles will flatter you most flowing and soft. Sometimes the style or design creates your image. Stronger sharper lines such as a classic inverted bob or a modern wedge might look stunning on you. However it requires softening with makeup and coordinating your wardrobe. The lines of your cut must work with your facial features round face do not have a bob chin length that emphasizes this. Cut cheek length for lift or longer than the chin to slim. A good stylist can offer you many choices.
• Some people are born with thin hair. For most people it gets thinner with age. If your hair has gotten very thin, consider a medium length or a short haircut…. or consider hair extensions. Hair extensions have evolved with modern technology to great heights. You can both highlight your hair and add fullness at the same time using hair extensions. There are methods which can add volume and body with no extra effort and are completely undetectable. There are so many differing types of extensions; some will actually improve the condition/health of your hair. If the proper type of extensions are chosen for your hair. If they are applied and maintained properly they will not damage your hair. Only help you to look and feel your best.
• If your hair is thinning profusely (anyone can easily see your scalp), see your doctor (check for low iron and thyroid issues) then visit a stylist that specializes in working with thinning hair. There are new inventions, modern extensions, pieces, micros, wigs and products to restore your hair to that beautiful natural look again.
Always, always avoid wearing tight little buns unless you spruce up the ballerina look with a pair of dramatic earrings and makeup. The same is true for dramatic colors, platinum blondes, vibrant reds etc. Fabulous long hairstyles for grown-up women often include large waves, soft curls, tapered; face framing sides with a lot of feathery texture. Medium looks that are well cut and styled should also favor softer lines, some movement and be in harmony with the face shape. Layers are the magic word for long and medium haircuts. Movement, texture, volume and a visual softening makes them the miraculous fairy dust in the world of hair.
Once again Hairfinder.com says it very well: “Textured pixie cuts and short bobs are classic and very popular with many women. Be careful with the gel and spiking up the short tresses. If you cannot rock a micro mini anymore… then you cannot rock punk spikes any longer either… The tendency of some among us to keep going with the funky punky 80’s” ….. Is no different than still wearing a mullet.
When makeup Guru Bobbi Brown was asked “What is the best thing a woman can do to stay looking young as she ages?” Her immediate answer was Color her hair….
Hair color, don’t panic. Work with a knowledgeable stylist, any choice you make can always also be changed. Turn it into a fun experience! If your hair is turning grey and maybe even changing texture there are many. Talk to your stylist about the perfect color that matches your, skin tone, eye color, lifestyle and is expressive enough for your personality. Expressive is good, intense can work well too, but there are a few things to consider when picking your hair color.
Think about softening your color. No one with black hair in their youth naturally still has black hair when they are older, with age we naturally loose pigment so hair becomes lighter (softer). There is a difference between maintaining our youth and attempting to still look like a teenager when in our 50’s.
• Avoid very dark and harsh colors like black, blue black, very dark browns. These colors will not look natural and may enhance all of the little issues you may have with your skin.
• Stick with an overall natural tone that matches your skin and brings out the colors of your eyes. You can always add additional colors to make it pop or have fun.
• Highlights are the wonder weapon to look fresh and attractive. They soften colors, blend grey and add much flattering dimension to your hair.
In summary, there is no such a thing as a specific haircut that is designed to be appropriate for specific age groups. The lines are much more diffuse than they have ever been throughout history. We have a wide range of choices for gorgeous hairstyles at any age. Keep in mind the basic rules: find a cut that really works for you, one that brings attention to your best assets (eyes, lips, ears, profile etc) and distracts a bit from others (nose, wrinkles, droop eye, scar, etc). Long or short keep it uniquely yours.