I remember the exact moment Gayle’s mother caught me ironing her hair. Gayle was bent at an awkward angle; her head, sideways on the ironing board; her arms hanging down toward the floor. It must have looked like something out of a bad “B” movie where some twisted creep is torturing a helpless teenage girl.
With the battle cry of mothers everywhere, Gayle’s mom screamed, “What are you doing!” It was more of an hysterical declaration than a question, but for me and Gayle, it was just another bad hair day. Nothing we hadn’t done before.
WHILE MANY WOMEN ARE CLUTCHING THEIR BOTTLE OF HAIR COLOR LIKE THEY’RE HANGING ON TO A LIFEBOAT FROM THE TITANIC, OTHERS ARE CHOOSING TO GO GRAY.
Women now have better haircare options. The trick is to find what works best for you: a style that’s easy to maintain and one that makes you look your best. In the future, I’ll cover some of the following points in more detail, but for now, here are some easy tips to improve the look of your hair:
If you’ve had the same haircut since high school, it might be time for something more modern. By all means, resist the urge to pull your hair back in a ponytail, and let it go. While a chin-length bob, cut on an angle, looks chic on most any woman, don’t rule out a mid-length cut with long layers around the face. Bangs can also be flattering. Not the short, cut with a bowl, Mamie Eisenhower look, but long, full bangs, brushed to one side of the face.
As we age, that thick head of hair we had in our youth tends to thin. Thinning hair can be caused by loss of estrogen, stress, diet, thyroid or iron deficiencies, medications, anesthesia, a serious illness, even female pattern baldness, which can run in families. To be on the safe side, it’s best to start with a visit to your doctor.
Hair color actually makes the hair shaft larger, resulting in the appearance of thicker looking hair. If you have a real problem with thinning hair, be careful not to go too blonde, or too dark, as it will emphasize your bare scalp. While many women are clutching their bottle of hair color like they’re hanging on to a lifeboat from the Titanic, others are choosing to go gray. Try and determine if you’re one of those women who looks fabulous with gray hair, or if it just makes you look older.
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
By shampooing every other day, it not only makes your color last longer, it prevents your hair from drying out. Since gray hair is dryer and coarser, and color treated hair sometimes needs a moisturizing boost, it’s a good idea to periodically use a lightweight conditioner. Only condition the ends of your hair. Applying conditioner to the scalp weighs hair down.
DRYING YOUR HAIR
Blot your hair with a towel, then use a wide tooth comb. Ruffle your hair back and forth with your fingers, and use your blow dryer, until it’s three-quarters dry.
When your hair is nearly dry, spritz on a lightweight mousse or root lifter, to the roots only, to add volume. Be careful not to choose anything heavy that will weigh your hair down. Finish blow drying with the right hairbrush.
While 100% boar bristle brushes may seem like they might be harder on your hair than plastic bristles with those little nylon pins on the end, boar bristles add shine and volume. When your hair is almost dry, start with a paddle brush, then a round brush to smooth the ends and avoid frizz.
If you want a bit more body, use velcro rollers and a light hair spray, or electric rollers. Leave them in while you do your makeup and finish getting dressed. After you’ve taken them out, lightly fluff your hair with your hands. Be careful with a brush. It can undo what the rollers have achieved.
Regardless of whether you color or cut your hair, let’s agree to banish the term, “age-appropriate,” whether it refers to clothes or hair. Age-appropriate is a state of mind. If you think you’re old, you will act old. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for that.