One of my grandmothers had hair down to her waist, which she stroked 100 times every day, half with her head upside down and half staring into the mirror. It was mixed gray, and she never cut it. She then placed it in a twist … the same hairstyle, every day. One day, she popped into the salon and chopped her hair off to her chin and got a perm. She didn’t dye it, but she took years off of her perceived age with that one impulsive act.
Now I’m not saying that we all need to take “years off,” as that would deny the real beauty that comes with growing older. As a wise gal said to me just last week, “I’m so enjoying the beauty of growing older; it’s the aging that stinks.” But we’re talking to a segment of our readers who continue to email and ask about the same thing: hair as we age. How to keep it fun and attractive, as by all means, no matter our age, we never escape bad hair days, and we certainly never get over the little boost of confidence that comes with a great hair day. After all, hair is the accessory that you have with you every day, so you obviously want it to look good.
I sat with Christina Mitchell of Hyde Salon, in Nashville, TN, and I quizzed her on the do’s, don’ts and maybes when it comes to hair as we age.
Christina was quick to point out that for both younger women wanting to look more professional, as well as older women wanting to look fresh, always strive to have an elegant, polished and tailored silhouette for both your hair and your entire look. Steer clear of trends, but instead, embrace a softer beauty with your hair and makeup.
There is no age attached to hair length, but keep your hair at a length that makes sense, maintenance-wise, for your lifestyle. But for a sure-fire length that looks good on most, consider that a good cut at just about chin length is always classy and fashionable. Here are three lengths to consider:
Soft and short
Consider losing the spikiness of shorter hair and go for a softer, well-cut look. The poster child of this style is Jamie Lee Curtis. If she were to add lots of gel, this look would be much harsher. As it is though, the look is clean, fun and approachable. For short hair, know that you may need to maintain the look with haircuts as often as every three weeks.
Keep your chin-length hair well-cut and in shape for the maximum WOW effect. Adding layers that showcase your eyes and cheekbones is always a good bet. Our example today is Helen Mirren.
This haircut frames the face nicely and works well, unless you have thin or thinning hair. Our celebrity spotlight with longer hair is Diane Keaton.
If you are going to color your hair, ask for a color that is purposefully formulated to work with gray hair to make it “pop” more than ordinary color. Christina is a huge fan of L’Oreal ammonia-free color (INOA Supreme, available through your professional hair salon) that is specifically blended to give a more brilliant and perfectly balanced color to gray hair. And be sure to look for a contrast of color with your skin tone. For example, if your skin has reddish colors, avoid gold tones. If you have gaunt and pale skin, stay away from ashy colors. For all skin tones, consider auburn, as it is almost always universally flattering.
STICKING WITH GRAY?
If you aren’t going to color your hair, invest in products that help tame the gray, especially when it’s partially gray. Gray hair is coarser than non-gray and can have more texture (think wavy and curly) than pre-gray hair. The combination on one head is hard to battle without the right products! With good products, your hair won’t frizz as much, and you’ll have a more cohesive look. So sure, keep the gray, but work with it. Give it the time and products it deserves so that you are the cool gal with the great gray, not the “what the heck is going on up there?” head of hair. Take that money you are saving on coloring your hair and put it towards great hair products. Ask your hairstylist for suggestions.
Want to see more gray hair suggestions? We found this great article on Oprah.com, with seven makeovers of women embracing their natural color: oprah.com/style/1.
As you age, embrace your changing hair!