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Eight Tips to Better Looking Hair


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.


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.



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.



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.

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6 thoughts on “Eight Tips to Better Looking Hair”

  1. Ok I laughed at the ironing hair. all I ever wanted was to have perfect straight blonde hair like my friends instead of this wavy do hanging down my back. I would hang my head over the ironing board put a cloth over to prevent burning… and across my hair my friend would iron… It looked HIDEOUS!! The things we’ve done to our hair over the years…. I accidentally had a yucky shade of green. I mixed the wrong colours….My grandmother would “Spoolie” my hair when I was little. OH MY LORD!! Talk about frizzy!! Post Chemo my hair has never been the same. It is thin, grew in nearly reddish… I have always been naturally blonde. I loved my hair in a ponytail now it’s far to thin to hold. When I first began loosing my hair , my hair came to the center of my back I was always complimented how beautiful my hair was, After these crazy cancer drugs you have to baby your hair and scalp. I use Tea Tree Shampoo & Conditioner. I like the tingly sensation it leaves, feels medicinal. We do have choices these days we don’t have to go into the Blue Granny hair rinses, we can have a streak of blue or it all because we like it .. I do admit the most liberating I felt was being bald…. I loved the no hair , no worry about conditioners curling flat irons.. I wore a scarf only when I went out … Helen Mirren has great hair I’d like hers one day…… XOX

    • Alli,
      I’ll have to tell Gayle we weren’t the only ones who ironed our hair! Did you sleep on orange juice cans as well? “Sleep” being the operative word. We wanted California surfer girl hair, but didn’t get that in our gene pools. You were smart. Don’t think we used a cloth.

      After chemo, my hair didn’t come back the same way, either. Before chemo, I had auburn hair, lots of body and on a humid day, very curly. After chemo, it came black and silver, stick straight, fine and MUCH thinner. The first time I went to my stylist in NYC, I asked him if I needed a wig, but then I ask that of every hair professional. They all say no. Must be self-preservation so they’ll continue to have us as clients. I can pass on doing the bald thing, again, but Helen Mirren? Oh, yes! I’d love her hair.

      The key to thin hair is the cut. Don’t get a blunt cut, but get it cut on an angle. Other than my dog, Sam, I told my NYC stylist he’s the “man in my life.” I will build my schedule around when he can cut my hair. I still color my hair, but go easy on the conditioner. It doesn’t take much to make my hair look like it’s plastered to my scalp.

      • Brenda how true!! Orange Juice cans fit perfectly My hair was so straight – for a short time at least… My aunt was a Hair Dresser she had these very long hair clips that held them in pretty well. As far as sleep… Lord I can’t name how many days I ended up with a sore neck so tired but hey the hair looked good!
        One trick that was not successful my friend wanted to be blonde desperately , she could see herself with slick blonde hair .. Her method pour JAVEX Bleach on her head… You can’t begin to imagine the fiasco that was….. The things we did….

        You are right though it is about the cut! With thinning hair a very small amount of conditioner is all it takes. Otherwise your head feels like it’s been through an oil slick.

        Alli x

        • Alli,
          The long hair clips could be more painful than the cans! LOL! Sore necks… Yes. And we’re STILL concerned about our hair… Until our dying breath. JAVEX Bleach…. Oh, my stars! I can’t imagine. Just the bleach your aunt would have used caused wet, bleached hair to feel like limp spaghetti. In my 20s, my hair was frosted. Once I reached up and touched those bleached strands in the tinfoil. Scared me to death!

  2. Maybe for me the most appealing phrase to describe my style should be “personality appropriate” rather than “age appropriate.” I would describe my hair and makeup as fresh and classic, pretty much a “Bobbi Brown” type of woman. I can’t ever see myself desiring to streak my hair blue or pink, or dress in a trend co-opted by youth. If someone wants to, more power to them, I guess. But my general rule of thumb is: “Don’t embarrass your kid by trying to copy their trends!” Every generation needs something to call their own, and we had our moment of trendiness..our own “15 minutes,” so to speak. Think bell-bottoms, crop tops, bralessness, long-straight hair parted down the middle. None of those things would be flattering to me anymore, and because I’m not yet retired, I need to be taken seriously in the working world. My personality does enough talking for me. And, quite frankly, I don’t see “age appropriate” as old…more like classy, sassy, and I’ve earned it!

  3. Oh, Val!
    You have me laughing… Imagining my mother, when I was in school, with bell-bottoms and long, straight hair, parted down the middle. LOL! I would have been mortified!

    Personality appropriate! What a great term. You should trademark that one. You’re right. Think of model Carmen Dell’Orefice. She’s 83, white hair, lots of makeup and high-fashion. Classy and sassy. I’m somewhere in-between Bobbi Brown and Carmen… closer to Bobbi Brown, but definitely want to be seen as a classy woman. Regardless of how we choose our style, you’re right about something else: We’ve earned it!.

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