I got my hair cut–I mean CUT–right before 2nd grade. I was 7 years old. My mom had just gotten her 1960’s shoulder-length locks updated into the iconic 70’s shag. I loved her new do and wanted to be a grown-up who could make choices about my hair. So after much begging and pleading, mom relented. Thus was the beginning with my love/hate relationship with my hair.
It was many years later that I finally put my foot down, bit the bullet, and began to grow out the pixie, shag, and mullet styles. I hated having to keep my hair short, but even more, I hated the growing out phases required to transition from short to….ANYTHING else. As a young adult, it was time to have fun with my hair. I grew it out. Long, thick, and straight. Then I permed it. Spiral. I dyed it copper penny red and grew out my bangs. I wore the Rachel, an angled bob, razored layers.
One thing I’ve always hated was my decision to begin dying my hair. With my busy life and limited budget, it always seemed like my roots all to quickly appeared to announce my fakeness to the world. Now I’m over 50. I’ve experimented with cuts and colors and I’ve learned/decided a few things that will help you rock your style. Because let’s face it, HAIR IS AN ACCESSORY!
I read somewhere that women tend to keep the hairstyle from a “happy” time in their life. Maybe that is the “Dorthy Hamill” of High School, the “flipped ends” from your college days or the old standby ponytail from early parenthood that has you in it’s grip. Move on. Here are my top 3 tips for women over 50 who are wanting to own it:
Lesson #1 Color Your Hair…or NOT
When I turned 50, I revised my bucket list. One of the updated items was to let my hair go natural. Little did I know how challenging this would be. I had been dying my hair a caramel blond throughout my 40’s. What do you do when your roots (dark and greyish brown) become the only thing your eyes see when you look in the mirror?
Well, I was driving home on a Saturday afternoon on a crisp, cloudless October afternoon, from a seminar for work. I was feeling sorry for myself that I had just spent such a perfect day entombed in a Radisson conference room. It was 5:00 and I glanced in my rearview mirror. (It wasn’t aimed at my back window, but at me, a sign of vanity for sure.) The woman looking back at me looked faded…tire, old, and unkempt. My brain was fried and the workshop was one that, although helpful, showed me just how much work was ahead for me in the upcoming months. I made the impulsive choice to stop at the first strip mall I saw. I quickly saw a popular haircutting chain store (Cost Croppers, Clip Snippers…or something like that) and went in. “Take it off!”
You can grow out any color rather quickly if you go to a cropped pixie style! You can color your hair or not. Own your grey, or get warm highlights. Maybe you want to try out that new funky shade of lavender. Remember, hair is an accessory.
Lesson #2 Cut Your Hair…or NOT
When I went kamikaze pixie at 50, it was fun to see coworkers and family do a “double-take” the next time they saw me. Fortunately, I have thick, slightly wavy hair that is very forgiving of a C- grade haircut. Choosing to make a BIG hair change at the hands of someone who’s only been doing hair for a week is not my recommendation. In my case, I needed some therapy. Retail therapy that is. So I called up my sister and enlisted her supervision at the closest Kohl’s. A new sweater and a fun shirt would help me transition into this new person I was revealing the following Monday when I was back at work. Did I need to keep my hair short, short? No. Can I grow it out again? Yes.
Try this…do a google image search for Helen Mirren. She is a lady who OWNS her hair. She can do short/long, wavy/straight, white/blond, up/down…But, you don’t need to be a celebrity to play with the length of your hair! Can you say it? Hair is an accessory.
Lesson #3 Whatever you do, or don’t do…OWN IT
Put your shoulders back and “work it girl”! Back when I was in my young 30’s, my hair was almost shoulder-length with some layers. It was ok, buuuuut…I wanted a change. I scheduled an appointment to get my hair permed and I wanted it tight! The thinking was, that if I was going to have the expensive treatment, then I wanted it to LAST! (Why do “perfect” curls flatten within two weeks or the subtle lavender highlights fade to nothing in just a week???)
Well, when I left the salon, I looked like a blond Bichon Frise on a very bad day. What to do…what to do…
I put a smile on my face, my shoulders back, and PRETENDED that this was EXACTLY the look I was going for! Did I also buy a hat? YES! I did that too. (I love hats but my hair always flattens to the extent that I look like a toad when I take it off.)
No one cares what your hair looks like as much as you do. My hair eventually relaxed a bit, grew out, I learned a lesson and carried on. The world didn’t end, my friends didn’t dump me, my co-workers didn’t miss a beat.
So, change your hair. You may not feel called to go to your natural hair color, but what can you change? Get a cut. Whispy bangs? Try some highlights. A touch of blue peeking from underneath? Go grey. Consider this: feisty women don’t actually have “grey” hair, it’s just that we’re so fabulous that even our hair sparkles!!!
If you haven’t changed SOMETHING about your hair in the last couple of years…do something…anything. NOW!
What makes you feel put together? Hair is one way to freshen your look and update your image. So if you feel that “ombre” is only a sign that you need to get your roots done, or if growing strands of birthday glitter out of your head doesn’t feel empowering to you, remember…
You do you! Because…
(everyone all together now)