The hair-raising topic of looking after our locks as we get older
Being the wife of a hairstylist, most people presume I’m constantly having my hair blow dried, faffed and fluffed by my loving husband all day long. Well, here’s the reality... As a mother of two teenagers and the owner of four dogs as well as running a busy salon (yes, Paul doesn’t do it all himself ) I rarely get time to have my own hair done. So as I fast approach the big 5-oh, which I’m feeling quite sensitive about, I thought I’d take over Paul’s column to share my thoughts on hair for ladies who are hair-age conscious.
Let’s face it, 50 is the tricky one. I’m constantly questioning myself about what is age appropriate to wear, clothes-wise , make-up-wise and weirdly even hair-wise, even though I’ve experimented with all lengths colours and shapes.
I now feel much more confident with a certain length, which historically goes against the grain of woman having their hair cut shorter when they reach a certain age. I’ve never believed that anyway, and have always suggested shapes and lengths that flattered an individual’s face shape and bone structure. Of course, if you have the cheekbones of Annie Lennox by all means go short but on the wrong face shape it can be ageing and severe. Personally I know my length and what I feel comfortable with, but even I have my doubts — is it too long? And what is too long anyway?
A good hairdresser will work with your hair’s natural movement and density irrelevant of length; they’ll encourage you to get to know your hair and advise what is the best way to shampoo it and dry it. I often recommend high street tools and products because as a stylist I like to know what’s out there and what is good or not.
I’m also very aware that as you get older, good products are essential. My own hair has changed texture and I’m now probably 30% grey. A conditioning colour adds shine and improves texture, giving a smoother and more youthful look.
Obviously the right colour is vital so don’t take a chance on home kit. A shade too dark can be ageing and a shade too light can look cheap. Trust me, you need a great colourist to advise on this as a subtle approach and vast experience is a must when dealing with grey hair. However, full coverage is often not the answer and a few grey hairs, slightly enhanced, can be flattering and authentic, as well as allowing for the natural change in colour over the new decade. I’ve also become a lot more careful about my shampoo and conditioner. Gone are the days when I thought high street shampoos were every bit as good as the salon equivalent. How wrong I was. I’ve seen so much colour stripping and even solvent build up by cheap and nasty detergent shampoo. The difference a quality shampoo makes is impressive. I’m pretty cynical, but I’ve seen hair being rebuilt after hair loss by a combination of great treatments and sympathetic hair care.
I’ve also started to discuss supplements, diets and lifestyles with my clients as not all hair issues are age related. In a lot of cases most people who suffer hair loss or texture change will find it’s an underlying problem completely unrelated to their age and given the right advice find it’s an easy issue to remedy.
It is true that as we get older our hair does become more important to us. After getting up at 6am, walking the dogs, packing the lunches, doing the school drop and then realising that I haven’t washed my hair, nothing feels more luxurious than a proper salon shampoo and blow dry. It’s one of life’s little luxuries and one every woman should enjoy.
SHORT CUT: Annie Lennox’s cheekbones ensure she looks great with a cropped style