There’s a lot to think through if you’re a woman looking for a new hairstyle after 50, but first a story for why you should.
At 96 years old, my mother continues to live outside of the box. She has always tackled everything on her plate. She learned to play every card game. She learned to ski and play golf. She did the daily crossword puzzle, used her hands to knit, crochet and needlepoint and entertained with grace. She had a style that was her own. She put my father first, her children second and her friends third. I think she would have enjoyed having her own business, but that was unheard of in her day.
I acquired her appetite for taking risks and have also spent my entire life living outside of the box. It has been a wild ride and I never want it to stop. I have done things and gone places that none of my friends have, such as wearing a buzz cut for nearly four years, traveling to Iran and Syria, starting a dotcom company in my sixties and God knows what else.
As an empty nester, you likely have the time to think about this passage of your life. I suggest you expand your lifestyle and take new risks. Why not begin with a new hairdo?
My hairstyle story
My hair story began when I was still in diapers and the saga continues to this day.
I imagine if my mother was a young woman, she would be a world renowned hairdresser with salons across America. Why? Because for the first 18 years of my life, I was her client. Her professional shears were unstoppable and not until I escaped her escapades, when I left home for college, did I finally have a chance to choose my own look.
My college friends were city girls and taught the ropes to this small town girl from Kankakee. They went to the hairdresser weekly because they said they were mature. They dragged me along to be pampered and I loved my first hairdresser, who streaked my brunette hair blonde and took pleasure in styling it as it grew longer throughout the year. Young women meeting me for the first time would ask, “Are you from LA?”
I wore my hair long until I married my Sheldon in my 40s. One day he casually mentioned to me, “I love short hair.”
I decided I needed a change and figured, why not try a new do? Ask yourselves, dear readers, if you might feel the same.
What to consider when choosing a new hairstyle
Having left the Hawaiian Islands a year after my late husband passed away, I was now a city girl. I remember exactly what went through my mind as I walked into the hairdresser. Take notes, darlings.
- I wanted low maintenance, meaning I did not want to go to a hairdresser except for a haircut and a streaking.
- I wanted to wash my hair daily. I had done that in Honolulu for the past ten years with long hair.
- I did not want to tease my hair, use a blow dryer or a straightener.
- I wanted a look that worked during the day, but that I could wear black tie if need be.
- Last, but really first, I wanted my husband to love it.
My wish list was fulfilled. The hairdresser cut my hair one length and it was short, but long enough to comb behind my ears. I washed it daily, towel dried it, put a little gel through it and I was done. I went for a trim every six weeks or so and my husband loved my new ‘do. It was very edgy and stood out in a crowd.
Taking a hair risk
Think about yourselves, darlings. Whether you go short or long, wavy or curly, dare yourself to take risks.
In my fifties, I really did a number on my hair when I accompanied my husband to a new barber shop. He wears a crew cut and to find the right barber is not easy. Her name was Christine and as she was cutting my husband’s hair she said, “You would look great with a buzz cut.”
I asked my husband what he thought about the idea and he replied “Do it.”
I sat in Christine’s chair and before my eyes, watched as my hair disappeared. It was so edgy and I loved it. I felt so fresh and squeaky clean.
I survived all types of comments from the peanut gallery including:
“You look like you just got out of a concentration camp.”
“At least you did not jump off the top of a building.”
“You look like a cancer patient.”
“I liked you as a blonde.”
“I liked you with longer hair.”
My husband loved my haircut. I wore this crew cut for nearly four years, ignoring the comments from others. In other words, be a relevant woman to yourself, first and foremost.
I knew growing out my hair would be very difficult. One day I accompanied my mother to a wig shop. Her hair was thinning and she wanted to go the wig route.
As I watched the salesperson put the most gorgeous salt and pepper wig on my mom’s head, I realized my problem was solved. I invested in two wigs and wore them for a few years until I have what you now see…my own hair.
By the way, real salt and pepper hair wigs are impossible to find, but you can buy synthetic wigs which are easier to maintain and cost a third of the price.
I must confess – I am my mother’s daughter. When my hair is feeling a bit too long, I walk into the kitchen, open up my knife drawer where I keep the kitchen shears and think of my mother with a smile as I cut my hair. If you notice in my pictures, you will see my hair is uneven on the sides. That is what I have named the Honey Good cut and I have decided I like it just fine. It is edgy, isn’t it darlings?
I have heard from so many of you, dear readers, about your necks. I am anxious to hear if you have decided to be daring and try a new hairstyle after 50.