The hair-raising topic of look­ing af­ter our locks as we get older

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FASHION/BEAUTY - Leisa Stafford (hair­dresser, mum dog pack leader — and not 50 yet) Leisa Stafford

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

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