Friday, 5 August 2011

A truth about hair nobody ever tells you

Many, many women when they get past their "first youth" cut their hair and/or lighten its colour.


Well, the first procedure - cutting the hair - deserves (and shall get) a post of its own in a very near future, but it usually doesn't even get a clear-cut explanation, if you'll excuse the pun - only that it "takes yeeeeaaars off" the person. Which may be true - or not.

The second procedure - lightening one's hair - is what I want to discuss today.
The usual reason for lightening the hair is that it will make an ageing face look "softer", and that darker hair will make it look "harsher" (or some other adjective to that effect). 

Oddly enough, for the very same reason women are often advised not to adopt extremely light shades, either - like platinum blonde.
In other words, adopt BLAND light shades, is the usual - and usually - unspoken suggestion.

Lighter hair does make the facial features look "softer". This is, in great part, due to a purely optical phenomenon of dispersion. By catching more of the surrounding light it drives the eye - somewhat - away from the facial signs of ageing, like wrinkles or sagging skin.
But the wrinkles and/or the sagging skin will still be there, and they still will be visible. 
Nothing wrong with that. It certainly is MUCH preferable - that is, much more beautiful and appealing to the others (whether you believe it or not) than botoxing yourself and plumping your lips into a shape that any trout would die for.

The truth is that your wrinkles and sagging skin will be less visible under "soft"-coloured hair because YOU will be less visible in general.

The problem - the core of the problem that practically nobody, not even well-paid stylists - tells you about is that "softness" isn't necessarily synonymous with youthfulness. And it is youthfulness - the preservation or restoration of their own youthful image - that certainly most of my clients want, even though some do not dare even to dream of it, at first.

"Softness" as an overall image is associated with babies, with prepubescent girls and boys - and yes, with old people. It is associated with harmlessnes, with cuddliness, with "cuteness" - with everything that lacks an EDGE.

To project - and even to help yourself rekindle inside of you - that feeling of edginess that is tacitly synonymous with a pursuit of a FUTURE, do not be afraid to add an "edge" to your own physical image. 
Many women feel this instinctively but then commit a major style crime by dressing inappropriately, in clothes that reveal too much of what should better be covered up - not because of "decency", but simply because of aesthetics.

The "edge" you're looking for is most easily, inexpensively and effectively achieved by changing the cut and/or colour of your hair. Shorter hair really can be "edgier" - but not necessarily.
In general, I would advise against the so-called "pixie" crop, unless you look and FEEL really good in it. (If you do, by all means keep it!)
The immense majority of women look wonderful in chin- or shoulder-length haircts. Anything shorter than that will likely make you look matronly, unless it is an exceptionally daring crop, completed with equally streamlined outfits. 
Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with being or looking a "matron" - after all, it was the most respectable title in ancient Rome, after Caesar, that is :-) - but is that what you're looking for?
If you are not, consider growing your hair out, down to the chin, or even longer, to shoulder-length. Anything longer than that is, again, very tricky  - at any age - because it can make the hair look messy, and not in a good way.

But it's the colour that is going to make the greatest difference.
If your hair is - or was - naturally black consider going for, well, black.
It doesn't have to be jet black - very dark, almost black-brown will probably look wonderful on you - but try stay away from brown shades, unless you like them a lot, because they will indeed make you look "softer"... so "soft", in fact, that you'll be rendered almost invisible. And if you have always had black hair, I bet you won't FEEL like your old self, either.
Why lightening it, then? Don't.
Ligthten your EYEBROWS instead. Not too much, of course - just a tone or two lighter than your hair.

This double procedure will make you look "edgy" - i.e. somewhat more youthful - while softening a little the actual features of your face.

If, on the other hand, you your natural hair colour was lighter than black - perhaps brown or blond - try finding a shade that you like among rich chocolate, vibrant red or brilliant blond hues. Go for platinum, if that's what you like (just avoid wearing platinum hair long; it tends to look trashy, regardless of your age).

Whatever you do, avoid bland, "soft" tones - unless you like them, of course. Only, make sure that you really do like them, and for the right reasons: because they make you feel more like YOU - not because your neighbour, or your hairdresser, or your daughter thinks it looks "nice" on you.

Remember: soft does NOT equal youthful.
Having an edge does.

The edge that you always had in you, but perhaps never dared to express it.
Well, if not now - when?

More on this in the future.

Yours always,


Which food is eating you today?