Aging Parents: Older Women’s Hair Revisited–with 2014 additions

Hair. A focus of women, regardless of age.
Look Good. Feel Better

Tips for appropriate cuts and gray hair, coupled with advice from medical professionals and top stylists to help women look good and age well.

I remember hearing that at one time the “wisdom” of the day for women (mostly until  the last half  of the 20th century) was that going out and buying a new hat would make ladies feel better. Hats were in style for over half of the 20th century. Can we deduce hats could hide a bad hair day, helped women look stylish, and therefore provided a psychological lift in an era when therapy was not stylish?

Minus a hat, isn’t the search for ways to make hair look good–or draw attention away from bad hair–a constant? (Actually, isn’t this true for all perceived inadequacies–be they inadequacies of body, limbs, skin, face, or hair–especially as we age?)

Internet articles to the rescue

Help! Aging Parents has written about aging women’s hair care, hair loss, hair styles, and hair enhancement quoting tricologists, MD’s and other hair experts and stylists (see RELATED below). As Time Goes By has a series of very good posts (below). In September offered “7 Secrets to the Haircut that Will Make You Look Younger” ( It was recently republished, with additional edits, in the 3/7/14 Huffington Post ( Key difference in the 2 posts is found in “Healthy Ends are Younger-Looking…” section.

An earlier HP article “Gray Hair Styling Tips,” can be found by scrolling below the 3/7/14 piece. It no doubt provides worthwhile tips for those who color their hair (eg. “shampoo once a week and just conditioner and water the other days:); yet I question whether this applies to those who have let their hair gray naturally.

Reason: Some on Mother’s side of the family have a prematurely-gray gene. We’ve had graying hair for so long. (Fun to see played out in our late-30’s at a first-ever family reunion.) I think those of us who haven’t colored our hair simply made adjustments as needed, learning what works best. For example, I question “…shampoo just once a week and just conditioner and water on the other days.” The rationale may be that it dries out the scalp (skin). The elders in my 90-year-old aunt’s assisted living facility were bathed/showered once a week for that reason. Check with a doctor if in doubt about a parent’s aging scalp (skin).

“Look good, feel better.” Isn’t it a given, regardless of age? Yet looking good takes on additional importance as parents age, slow down, see less well, hear less well, and lose many things that were previously taken for granted while acquiring wrinkles, thinning hair etc..  With good information we can be there to help.

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3/26/14 Help! Aging Parents has been nominated for 2014 “Best Blogs by Individuals” recognition and we would appreciate your vote by 4/28 if you’re on Facebook. We were honored to be judged part of a 3-way tie for first runner-up last year thanks to your votes which took us to the judging round. Click top badge at right to view a universe of helpful aging blogs and resources, even if you can’t vote on Facebook.

Changing often: “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Timely links to research and information from top universities, plus some fun stuff to help parents age well.

(Please note: Because I will be going between the Southwest and Northwest for several months, most likely I can post only once a week for the time being. It will be on Tuesday or a Saturday–just not both.)

Ronni Bennett’s 3-part series on her search for dealing with hair-loss.
Up Close and Personal with 7 instructive tips The More link is one of the best I’ve read, with information from dermatologists (MD’s, one a professor) that answers many questions.


5 Tips No One Tells You About Aging

This Huffington Post article “5 Tips…” is cleverly written; clearly aimed at women  younger than most of our parents. Yet, cleverness aside, some aspects of these tips about physical changes and looking good apply to those much older, if my senior advisors are any indication.

My older-women take on 4 of the tips from the HP + one from Sr. Advisor R (99) concern:

  1. Eyebrows and eyelashes
  2. Temporary hair coloring (thinning hair not mentioned)
  3. Changing feet
  4. Reality-based shopping
  5. + Finger Nails

Eyes and hair can make people look attractive–or not. Can’t this be a vicious cycle affecting how others interact with them–especially semi-strangers (store employees, receptionists, even doctors and dentists initially)? I’ve watched semi-strangers’ reaction to Sr. Advisor R over the years. They are impressed and heartened, sometimes comparing her to their parents, sometimes wondering how she does it; always respectful (never dismissive).

As noted in prior posts, R is always in order–hair and eye make-up perfect–before she’d step one foot outside the house. It’s pride.

If people never had pride in their appearance when young, they no doubt won’t have it in old age. On the other hand, when once-good-looking parents start to become careless about their looks, they’re probably beginning to lose interest. Is “look good, feel better” tied to emotional health and probably to physical well-being down the line? If so, isn’t  it in everyone’s best interest to support looking good?

Now 3 weeks away from her 100th birthday, her eyelashes and eyebrows have indeed lessened. Even at her age she uses a “good eyeliner” (L’Oreal) and Lancome mascara and adds color to her eyebrows when going out.  Yet she says “recently they’ve (eyelashes) suddenly grown a little; but I’d look like little Orphan Annie if I didn’t use eye make-up.” And her mirror–“a must have”– enables her do her eye makeup as well as see the back of her head to make sure her hair looks good front and back.

It takes a lot of patience for R’s thinning hair to be just the way she wants it, and it has been a challenge for several decades. Her red hair has faded over the years–goes well with her complexion. R has never colored her hair nor used the temporary hair color that prevents people’s roots from looking unkempt (Huffington post link above has details.) She’s a fan of Toppik for covering the balding spots.

Easy Spirit® "Cloverly" Velcro Hiking SandalR is many inches shorter than she was as a girl (wonder if our generation’s taking calcium will make this less of a problem) and feet do change, do get wider. R finds Easy Spirit sandals with velcro solve the problem for her in warm months, and says in earlier days (before velcro in adult shoes) she sometimes needed to buy 2 pairs of shoes a size apart to take care of the problem of one foot being wider than the other.

On a personal note, until a bit over a year ago I was able to wear any shoes in my size and sometimes needed to break them in before they felt good…but good they always felt, eventually (just as the article points out). I no longer do that. HP got that tip right.

CVS Natural Vitamin E Oil 30000 IULastly, Sr. Advisor supplies the finger nail tip. Saying finger nails break more easily, become less strong, crack vertically, and get ridges as people age, she recently started putting Vitamin E oil (bottle about $7.95 at CVS)  on her nails and finds it has helped strengthen them.

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If we’re immersed in health issues with aging parents, the above tips could seem frivolous. Nevertheless, these tips give us a “heads up” for what’s ahead and offer some practical help so older and old women continue to age well.

Related: Older Women’s Thinning Hair: Styles and Instructive Links

New: “Of Current Interest”(right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities about cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, plus some fun stuff–to help parents age well.

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 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: 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+.

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)

Help Aging Parents: A Round-up of Best Hair Style Options for Older Women

The more attention I pay to older women, the more convinced I am: if the goal is to look good, hair style is as–if not more–important than clothing. (For instance, a woman with a flattering hair style can look good in a night-gown.)

I know my mother–into her late 80’s–was concerned about her hair. And I’m guessing many aging mothers feel the same way and could benefit from a new “do.”  Todays post highlights 3 links, expanding on my more general August 2, 2012  post, Hairstyles for Old, Older Elderly Women.

Click the site below, if you have time for only one link. It’s very well organized: attractive photos grouped by hair style (long, short, gray, silver, fine), probably any/every hair style an older white woman could want. (I say “white” because  initially there were also hairstyles for black women when I put in this link, but they haven’t come up again. That’s frustrating; I’ll keep searching.)  offers short discussion of mature hair care and with photos highlighting hair styles of several stars 50+. This site has “an album”–over 204 images, not as well organized as the lovetoknow site, but very complete.

Finding an attractive hair style for an aging mother should no longer be a challenge. A good hair style makes everyone–regardless of age– look more attractive– another way to help parents age well.

Changing weekly: “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities, plus some free and some fun stuff–to help parents age well.


Aging Parents: Hairstyles for Older, Old, Elderly Women (50+, 60++)

Sr. Advisor R, 85 and Mrs. Miller, 96

Sr. Advisor R, 85 and Mrs. Miller, 96


60 once seemed old. No longer! Truthfully, 50 once seemed old.

Regardless– as women age, their hairstyle becomes more of a challenge than men’s, I dare say. Men have less to deal with–fewer options: graying hair and hair loss. (I’m missing something perhaps?–or sounding chauvinistic?)

On the other hand, most women I know seem to fuss with–or about–their hair, in fact have been since they were teens or preteens. Is it in the DNA? For these reasons, when’s Weekly Update/newsletter arrived in my email this week, featuring flattering hairstyles for those in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s (the bulk of their readership), I quickly clicked. Great styles–some seem appropriate for women over 60. The write-up accompanying the 60’s styles would seem to apply to those over 60 also.

While the second paragraph sounds pretty depressing…..

“What to pay attention to: changes in your body. “Your neck may become a little shorter. You may lose an inch or so off your height,” says Mirmirani. And facial changes will accelerate. “As you get into your sixties, you start to notice loss of fullness in your face,” she adds. “Your features may appear to droop. Your lips are thinning. Everything is moving down—the corners of your eyes, mouth, sometimes even your nose.” 

….those last 2 sentences are big-time depressing!

That said, on the positive side, it’s a heads up for what could follow–with constructive suggestions for hairstyles that draw attention away from the aging issues, complete with pictures.

So how can we go wrong having this information, using it for ourselves and for our mothers, if they’re willing to risk trying a new hairstyle? Actually the styles shown for 60-year-olds could be the updated look (check out Helen Mirren) of your mother’s current hairstyle.

Look good, feel better–looking good feeling better–helps parents age well.

Related: For a selected list of  links to over 100 hair styles for “mature/older/senior” women go to my 1/26/13 post:A Round-up of best Hair Style Options...

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.
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