My hairdresser Erika Schmidt has been getting to know and dare I say perfect my idiosyncratic and defiant curls for the last 20 years. In fact, the photo you see of me here was taken the day after she did my hair. For years my curls were my enemy, but no more. I can now say without embarrassment that I love my curls, or more accurately, I have learned to love them.
For the last decade or so our conversations tend to what I should and shouldn't be doing with my hair after the age of 50. While the dictum, "You get what you pay for," holds true here are a few tips a pro like Erika is suggesting to keep your hair do in play. What follows is her top four suggestions to, "soften and/or erase aging features:"
1. Don't get those bangs that little girls have. She's talking about the ones that cover and go across your whole forehead. The ones that don't blend or fit in with the rest of your hair in any way. Bangs like that are cute on children, she says. They are not pretty, sexy or attractive on an adult.
Erika's advice is to allow her to frame my face with a few curls. She cuts in a way with lots of layers to bring a few strands forward, up and back in a controlled messiness that includes some pieces that frame my face.
2. Don't go too shoe-polish dark with hair color that hardens you and creates a clownish look. Throwing a few highlights on top of my base color a couple of times a year is what I do along with discretely placed low-lights at my temples and roots. That is all I'll say, as color is a highly complicated process and an intensely personal choice. Chances are an experienced colorist will have some better ideas than your own.
3. Don't let your grey roots get too long. Roots are something that look better on younger women, maybe. The whole reason for coloring your hair is to not to let your roots show. When I can't get to Erika on time, she has introduced me to several different root cover sticks on the market. Have one handy, so that until there's time to have your roots done, your grey will be covered.
4. Cutting your hair short and like a man only brings your aging to the forefront. And we don't need any help in this direction. A better solution is to have a conversation with your hair stylist expressing your interest in a more maintenance free hair style. Short is not necessarily the answer. My 'go to' hair products are aloe straight from the garden and high quality coconut oil straight from the jar, as curls notoriously need a good deal of moisturizing and coaxing into place.
The truth is I value how my hair looks more than following clothing trends, which has become less of a priority over time, though I am getting ready to rethink that any day now. I value my hair presentation on par with my waistline, teeth and eyeglasses. Staying current with the upkeep of those things I'm good to go, in any company, and feel uber-confident even among my favorite and most stylish clothes-horse friends.
For me, looking respectable, but definitely not invisible, gives me an extra boost in mood and attitude that comes with a positive self-image that I look for every day. Though the people who know me well say my hair always looks the same - even when I think I'm having a bad hair day - knowing my hair is attended to adds to my day. Everything goes better if my hair is put together.