There are certain guarantees in life: Death. Taxes. A 'Real Housewives' season premiere.
And there is a final guarantee, which is in the form of a question you will ask yourself at some point after you celebrate your 45th birthday.
Deep breath. Are you too old for long hair?
My Midlifer self was asking that exact question yesterday while my behind was parked in a great swivel-y chair at the swanky Aria Salon in Las Vegas. I was there to get a little color, but my questions were really about hair length.
Should I get my post shoulder length hair chopped? Should I let it grow longer? Can it grow longer? Should I even try? Should I pull a Jennifer Aniston and get that adorable bob? Should I have a salad for lunch or a burger? Wait….. I digress.
Jeff Wescott, the man who saved my hair from the ravages of too many highlights (hello, straw hair in 2010), is the lead color director at the Aria. He's also one of the best hair advisors of celebs and non-celebs alike.
So I asked him: Am I too old for long hair?
Deep breath. Little prayer. Please say no. Please say no.
"This idea that as you get older that you should cut your hair is an old wives tale," Jeff insists.
"I believe if you look good in short hair and feel pretty then get it chopped. If you look good in long hair at any age and feel pretty then do it.
"The very worst thing to do," he cautions, "is to believe that when you get older that you must have short hair or that you're required to even go a little shorter."
It's what this column likes to call Beauty BS.
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?
Of course, we've all seen that woman whose hair goes way down her back like a river. Sometimes we see her at the discount mall. Sometimes we see her at the ballet. The hair has taken over her being. She's grown up Cousin It.
When she turns around, the face is post 50.
"I do believe that anything past your bra straps after 50 is excessive," Jeff advises. "But you can certainly explore anything below your collarbone.
"And please," he pleads. "Just because you're turning 50 or 60 does not mean – and I repeat – does not mean that you get your hair cut above your earrings – unless you love that sort of style, which incidentally only works on a few facial types."
"Be pretty. Feel pretty," he says.
"The saddest thing is when I get a client over 50 who just chopped off her hair and feels miserable about it. When we age, sometimes our hair doesn't grow as quickly. Now that woman has a long grow out ahead of her.
"Again, if you can carry off the long hair then do it or gradually cut to where you feel good. Don't do anything drastic," he says.
GOING GREY…NOW THAT IS THE QUESTION
Jeff does caution that women should think carefully about allowing their hair to go naturally gray. Of course, it looks stunning on certain ladies like Helen Mirren. I also have a friend whose natural gray looks like a bad wool skirt I had in the '80s.
"There are other women who go gray and tell me, 'I earned every one of those gray hairs,'" Jeff says. "I joke, 'Honey, no one wants to know that life has been that rough!"
"A little hair color can take a decade off your look. Sometimes gray can make someone who is 50 look 60. The choice is yours, but color is an instant way to erase years," he says.
He advises to stay away from constant highlights, which dry hair out and can even make it break off when you're a bit older.
"Color should be simple. Don't do 15 different streaks and colors. Choose one rich color. After 45, you don't need to do the base color and highlights every single time," Jeff says.
"That's so hard on your hair. Just do the base and then highlights a few times a year," he says.
BUT BACK TO LENGTH
My big Midlifer question is how often should I get my past my collarbone hair cut?
"You can do what I call a haircut without a haircut. You just nip the ends every eight to ten weeks. If you're getting it cut monthly it's too much. Your hair will never get a chance to grow longer because you're cutting all the growth," Jeff says.
"If you want your hair to grow, double up the time you're doing right now between cuts," he advises.
His favorite cut for fall? It's not long or short. In fact, it might be just right.
"I love Jennifer Aniston's new bob," Jeff says. "It's sexy. It moves. It says I'm a woman not a girl.
"You can't go wrong," he advises.
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