I’ve been doing hair for a couple of decades now, and I’ve been seeing quite a few lovely ladies through college, careers, husbands, kids and….aging. So every now and then I get asked–“Is this (pointing to her long luxurious locks) hair too young for me? You’ll tell me when it’s time to cut it off, won’t you?”
Now I’m the first one to admit, I love a big change, and if a gal is on the fence about a big change like lopping off 8 inches of hair, I’ll push her right off that fence. I get great joy in cutting that pony and handing it to her, because I know she’s going to love it and get tons of compliments and positive feelings from it. But when the question is connected to her age I have an entirely different philosophy about it.
And now, a story…
I remember when I was in high school and my friend’s older sister kept her hair in a bob. My friend told me that her mom (who had passed away a couple of years prior) had told her older daughter that she needed to cut her hair when she became an adult. There may have been an age attached to this, I can’t remember. But this was the first time I heard that a woman should cut her hair when she is “mature”. So then a bunch of life happens and one day I end up in beauty school, preparing to embark on my career as a hairdresser. And one thing that is very apparent to me is that pretty much every older lady has the same haircut and basic style. Short, layered, permed. They came in weekly to get a shampoo and set, spend at least 40 minutes under a dryer, then get their hair combed and teased into a little helmet with curls around the edges. One day it occurred to me, as I was looking through a family high school yearbook from the fifties, these ladies have been wearing their hair this way since they were in high school! Granted, the fifties were the hey day of the helmet hairdo– the sixties brought on the flip, bouffant, and the beehive, then the seventies brought us longer undone hair and the shag. Throw in somewhere one of the most important developments in hairstyles, the emergence of the the Vidal Sassoon geometric cuts, and we have a whole whirlwind of possibilities going on for young women of those decades and after to choose a hairstyle. I myself have worn my hair long and straight to my waist, bobbed, layered, lacquered, and everything in between. To this day I have never settled on “my style” and I doubt I ever will because every time I love my hairstyle, about 6 months later it just quits working for me and I change it. I don’t know why that is when I have a few friends that have had the same basic style for 20-30 years and it still works for them. I’m a little jealous of them, but maybe they’re wishing they could change. The grass is always greener. Anyway, I digress…back to why I say you don’t have to change your hair because of your age.
The whole point of my story is this: There was a time when a girl began to emerge into a woman, and a high percentage of them would begin to wear their hair in an above the shoulder coiffed style. A grown woman didn’t wear her hair long enough for a ponytail, and (this is along the same vein but a little different) there would also come a time when a much older woman would give up coloring her hair because she figured it was no longer “believable”. (I’ve been asked when one should stop coloring hair, and to this I reply, “when are you going to stop wearing makeup?”). There was a time when a mature woman didn’t wear the same type of style as a younger woman, but those days have passed people! When WE were growing up our styles were all over the place. We weren’t setting our hair and sitting under a dryer for and hour as seniors in high school and getting a set and style like many women, who are currently in their 70’s and up, are still doing!
As long as your hair is healthy enough to pull off the length or the style or the color and it’s working for you and you’re happy with it, don’t let anyone, even that nagging voice deep within your head that can sometimes be your worst enemy, tell you you have to wear your hair a certain way because you’re over XX years old. And if they do, tell them come talk to me and I’ll explain it to them for you.
I ask myself those questions often; should I let my new natural color of grey grow out? Should I let it grow long so it is not so curly? Or should I shave it off and wear wigs and have numerous styles to choose from? All I know is I am blessed with a head full of hair… Curly, grey hair. It is a chore to dry and straighten it and it can be expensive to keep it colored, cut, and styled. However, my biggest concern as I get older and the question I ask my adult children frequently, “Who will do my hair when I get old”? They laugh and promise to drop me at the salon! Hair…
Totally feeling you here. Even though you probably didn’t write this for men, just had to check out the article. And just about every January I end up shaving off all my hair because it makes me feel younger (and stronger for some reason).
Exactly. I like to see people wear the hair color/length/style that they feel fits their personality and lifestyle — and then change it if they feel like something new. (If it doesn’t work, it’ll grow out!) I know men and women, some of them in their 30s, who have lovely silver hair. I know one grandmother who wears her full, wavy hair down her back and attractively colored, and it looks great on her. I myself would wear a pink-purple ombre if I thought I wouldn’t get fired for it 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll just have to slip in some ombre nails here and there 🙂