From PRIME, a special edition of City & Shore Magazine
By Deborah Wilker
Cut it or grow it? Leave it long – or chop it off to keep it strong?
Among the varying messages aimed at women over 40 regarding their hair, we seem to be near consensus that long hair is perfectly fine as we age. Not only that, hair doesn’t necessarily have to be short to be healthy, or “appropriate.”
In a glamorous new ad campaign for Garnier’s Olia hair color, actress Kate Walsh, 47, tosses around her lustrous red locks like a teenager. English actress Jane Seymour, 63, famous for wearing her hair at waist-length for decades, still keeps it well past her shoulders – as do Barbra Streisand and Raquel Welch, both in their 70s.
Andie MacDowell, Tina Fey, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lopez and their flowing manes have all been featured in recent ad campaigns for hair products that promise youth and vibrancy.
Seems the message really is, “yes, grow it!”
“Our world is a different world today than 20 or 30 years ago,” says longtime stylist Todd Maine, owner of The Maine Event Salon in Fort Lauderdale. “If you can pull it off, go for it,” he adds, as long as your hair is healthy, has movement and the right color and dimension.
“But, if it’s just drab and hanging I would have a different consultation with you. If your hair is damaged or thinning, you need a fresh cut and a fresh look. It doesn’t have to be short. It can be medium length and we can get you started on a path to recovery and good hair growth.”
Washing hair less frequently, and cutting back the high-heat on blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons, will help preserve natural oils and reduce breakage, he says. Deep conditioning treatments at salons also help, but can be costly, starting at about $150 and up. (Avoid products with formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals).
Less expensive at-home conditioners like simple argan oil and Moroccan oil treatments, (about $20-$40 per bottle), also work well, particularly for fine, brittle hair.
Hair with even a little length not only exudes a youthful vibe, it can also help camouflage imperfections such as neck sags and other wrinkles we’d rather not showcase.
Maine’s advice if you’re thinking about growing it past your shoulders for the first time in years: “Look for photos of people with hairstyles you like who have similar hair-type to yours and bring them in to the salon with you. Be realistic about who you are.”