I’m dying, dying I tell you, for a new cut. I’m even ready to quit–shh!–coloring!! But I’m feeling my age, more than ever, limiting the styles I’m considering. I like this one on the left, but I wonder if it wouldn’t involve too much putzing, not to mention make me look older.
For most of my childhood, I had long hair. I could show you some chilling pics of me with my hair in braids, but we won’t go there. After my senior high photo, I chopped my hair to my shoulders and from then on it kept getting shorter and shorter and shorter. By the time I had my first job out of college, my hair was, at best, a few inches long.
I kept it short for many, many years. Through the young mother stage of my life it seemed the easiest thing to do. Then, when my kids were older and less time-consuming, it finally dawned on me that I’d probably have short hair as an old lady (How many 80 year olds have you seen with nice long tresses?) and since I wasn’t getting any younger it was time to grow it out a bit. Coloring helped too, giving my fine hair more texture.
But it’s been long long enough! I’m ready for a change. And I’m seriously ready to stop coloring. I’m going au naturele. Really. I swear. After my high school reunion this summer, that is!
So I started looking into new styles for gray hair and I ran across these tips for graying hair from the Prevention website (although I think the tips can be used with any dramatic change in appearance):
Step 1: Go Gradually
Wait until your roots are at least 60% silver before giving up your dye job, so your new gray hair hue will look symmetrical and natural as it grows in, suggests colorist Jennifer J., owner of Juan Juan Salons in Beverly Hills, CA. But don’t give up color altogether just yet. “The contrast in texture and tone as your hair grows can look unkempt,” she notes. During this phase, which can last up to a year, get a do-it-yourself highlighting kit or ask your colorist to weave in a few fine highlights or lowlights (darker streaks) to add dimension and blend in roots.
Step 2: Consider a New Cut
Cropping your hair above your collarbone during the in-between period will lessen the contrast between silver and pigmented strands. Layers can also help camouflage multiple hues. “A choppy cut looks youthful and helps hide your roots,” says Jonathan Gale, a colorist at the John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles. When your gray has grown out, don’t regress to a matronly ‘do. “For gray to look glamorous and chic, your cut should be contemporary,” says Mark DeVincenzo, creative director at the Frédéric Fekkai Salon in New York City. To enhance silver strands, which absorb light, making your mane look dull, style hair straight (use a flatiron or a dryer and a round brush) to promote shine. Once your hair is completely white, talk to your stylist about adopting an above-the-shoulder, layered style that provides movement and softly frames your face.
Step 3: Pick Silver-Specific Products
When hair turns gray, the protective cuticle thins out, which can make strands coarse and prone to breakage. Keep tresses soft and healthy by doing the following:
- Choose a moisturizing shampoo to soften and smooth gray hair and make it appear more lustrous.
- Wash hair with a formula geared for gray once a week to counteract yellowing caused by sun, pollutants, hard water, and smoke. But don’t overdo it: Many of these products contain a blue tint that can cause a purplish cast.
- Apply a clear gloss or glaze monthly on gray hair to coat the cuticle and boost shine.
- Opt for gels and mousses that are clear: The dyes in colored stylers can tarnish gray hair.
Does/should age limit the hair styles women choose? What’s your favorite style? Is there a hair style you wish you could wear, but for whatever reason can’t? Ever go for a really drastic change? Did it turn into a disaster or the best thing ever?