Older Women’s Hair Styles (Again!) Gray, Thinning~ Up Close and Personal with 7 Instructive Tips

From Beer-Rinse-Eliminated to In-Order-on-Short-Notice 

Many recollections about our parents come to mind when they are gone. One memory concerns my mother, who never seemed to be ready on time. I think a family member said she was late to her wedding, but I believe now that was in jest. My parents eloped and I can’t understand how one can be late in that situation. Regardless, I think it was mother’s hair that made her late much of the time.

In some ways we want to be like our mothers. In other ways we learn what not to do.  Early on I resolved not to be a slave to my hair or a hairdresser. In a previous post I mentioned fussing with hair seemed to be in women’s DNA, beginning as preteens. After college I stopped adding a beer rinse for extra volume; stopped doing my own hair. As a working educator with a paycheck, I had my hair done once a week (just like my mother did). However, once living in NY for graduate school and subsequent counseling positions, I found regular hair appointments disruptive and the upkeep too time-consuming. (And every time I went west to visit my parents, mother was still fussing with her hair before going out, and still often late.) I decided on a pony tail style that looked in order on short notice and did my own hair, which was cut 3-4 times a year.

With aging comes gray hairs (unless one’s hair is colored), then more gray, and thinning hair, not to mention texture change. Many women simply try to look in order; others do what’s necessary to look stylish, others seem not to care…but this may be untrue. The last group may simply be clueless about what to do, how to do it, or lack the money and/or research ability to find professional help. It could be us later on–or our aging parents.

August 29, 2012, I began writing about older women’s hair styles. I didn’t realize then that I was also acquiring information for what could be upcoming problems maintaining my low-maintainance, always in order, hair style.  I added links to that post, liking the information and/or the styles, then proceeded to add 3 additional “hair” posts this year.

This winter my hair was in desperate need of a cut and styling.  I again researched hair styles for older women. Thus, the January 6th post. But I wasn’t in NY and didn’t want to risk a bad cut by a new hairdresser. Indeed, months passed without so much as a sissors touching one strand of my lifeless, drab, thinning, too-long hair before I returned to NY in April.  Finally a photo taken at a recent event, convinced me my hair was in crisis mode. A new hair “everything” went to the top of my priority list.

Moving Forward

Being in one of the most stylish (and expensive) cities in the world, I decided I would do serious checking and take the plunge–a serious hair cut and new style that would cover the thinning at the crown of my head (which I became aware of when looking in 2 mirrors at my depleted pony tail.) It led to my May 16th post and action.

My husband was out of town the next week  (he likes long hair).
–May 21: Day 1 I reviewed all my research, took notes, and made a list.
–May 22: Day 2 I summoned my courage and began making phone calls to what I believed were hair salons with the top stylists. Since I’d spent no money on my hair since December, I decided price wouldn’t be an object unless it was beyond reason.

The “salon environments” ranged from (what I gathered) “snooty” to casual. My first call was to “snooty, but excellent” because I could walk there. I was immediately, politely put on “hold” before I could blurt out more than “I know I need a new hair style…..” Courage failed me. I hung up and went back to my notes.

I decided to phone Eiji,  another salon just a short walk from my apartment. The woman on the phone was helpful, patient, and said Eiji did consultations. I liked that and the fact that Eiji, “trained for 10 years under the direction of the late stylist-guru John Sahag. ….At Eiji, the goal is to ensure that the clients not only feel beautiful when they leave, but are able to maintain their style until their next haircut.” My consultation would be at 10:30 the next morning.

–May 23: Day 3  I met Eiji; sat down in the chair in front of a mirror in a relaxing, unpretentious atmosphere. What followed amazed me. Elj’s hands began fluffing my hair away from my head in seemingly all directions; then he began, like a sculptor, arranging my hair around my face. He refined and refined in an inexplicable way, finally arriving at a “look” he liked–and so did I. Fearing I would lose courage, I asked if my hair could be cut immediately. He called another hairdresser over, explaining how to achieve the look. Someone else took over.

There was a lot of cutting, sometimes only a few strands at a time. I liked the look. Wish I had a picture of the new hairdo to insert, but I didn’t think to take a camera–hadn’t planned to go beyond “consultation.”

Next, the unthinkable happened. Within minutes of leaving Eiji’s salon, the skies opened up. Rain hadn’t been predicted. Everyone was running for a doorway or canopy. I was in the middle of the street–dashing with many others, as quickly as possible to the other side, only to find all possible shelter was already occupied.

By the time I got home, the newly cut, gently straightened, curved-towards-my-face hair style of today, gave way to soft curls. Fortunately, my hair cut was such that I was able to push back the sides and let the curls fall behind my ears to almost shoulder length, which looked fine. The rest of my hair regained its body with a little fluffing. The new, unintended, slightly modified style  looked good. I will replace my blog picture with a new one in time. In the meantime, I will share what I’ve learned and annotate some links that I find instructive.

7 Tips

1.  A good hair cut from an experienced stylist, who understands hair and your needs, makes the difference.
2. Fine, thinning, hair needs to stay clean (otherwise oil and “dirt”weighs it down, makes it look thinner, and scalp can show through).
3. Anything put on fine, thinning hair needs to be light–ie. hairspray, volumizer. Be careful with mousse. In my case, I was told not to use it…too heavy.
4. If you have a cowlick, brushing against its natural growth produces a fuller hair look in that area.
5. Brushing against the direction you want hair to go, then brushing it back to its wanted place can create a fuller look.
6. My hairdresser said it’s time-consuming and difficult–for those not accustomed to blow drying while using a wide round brush–to have the skill and the patience to do a good job. If not completely dry, mine would frizz, he said. He suggested big, round rollers. I bought the velcro type at the drug store. They need nothing to hold them in place. Wrap hair around–it stays. Fine hair can possibly dry on the rollers with little or no need for the dryer…that was my experience.
7. A very light spray keeps hair in place (especially good in a windy city like NYC lately).

This is long; it’s late. Tomorrow: the links.

Short Hair Cuts for Women Over 60

Look good, feel better…

…has been one of the consistent themes to help parents age well. Isn’t it uplifting to look in the mirror and like what we see? We all know that a bad hair day–or just plain bad Bad Hair Dayhair–makes no one look good or feel very good, so naturally this article grabbed my attention.

It comes from More magazine http://style.lifegoesstrong.com/slideshow/6-short-hair-cuts-over-60-slideshow-image/1-cloris-leachmans-blond-pixie. Take a look, for those over 60 as well as for aging mothers and grandmothers. There are also styles for thinning and fine hair. I’m not a fan of the pixie cut, however, a stylist skilled doing layered hair could be an answer.

….. a few more shortish cuts: http://style.lifegoesstrong.com/slideshow/8-short-hair-styles-over-60-slideshow-image/1-pixie-hair-cut#7637614 with Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda again (but slight change to style) and 6 others.

Also, for variety, check out these “50 Hot Hairstyles Over 50;” and we know a few are 60+.  http://style.lifegoesstrong.com/50-hot-hairstyles-over-50/alfre-woodards-flippy-style.

And if you missed this August 9, 2012 post, there’s a photo of non-celebs (85 and 95) who look amazing for their ages. Are these excellent hairstyles for these elderly women!

I note Ronni Bennett Time Goes By blog began Hair Loss posts on May 19th. No solutions yet, but she’s researching, as am I.

May 21 Time Goes By Ronni Bennet finds a really good hair dresser who knows how to cut, is able to give her a cut and new, shorter style that conceals her scalp. (Post has photos.)

May 23 I went to a really good hair dresser for a consultation; decided to get my hair cut on the spot–before losing courage. Result–a shorter, not short, style. See June 2nd post and tips.

Check out June 11, 2013 post for “topical” solutions (Rogaine, MoniMay, Toppik)