Ugh, the roots. I shudder to think what my over-50 hair would look like without my good friend Feria #58. Without L'Oreal, I would be dull and gray, and would look years older than I really am. Fortunately, we have so many options at our fingertips today (literally) and rich, vibrant hair is just 20 minutes and $10 away.
In her book How Not to Look Old, Charla Krupp discusses how to look younger quickly by simply changing your hair. Charla says that nothing ages you like too-dark hair, a solid block of hair color, dull hair, gray hair, gray roots or ashy blond streaks. And, according to Brad Johns, global color director at Clairol, "the older you get, the lighter you go." Almost everyone looks better with lightness around her face. "Whatever your current shade, go just two shades lighter than your natural color, and you'll be collecting compliments about how young and hip you look.
A lighter color around your face will create a halo of warmth, illuminating your skin tone and giving you an all-over glow." If you don't like it, then just color over it and you can try something different. Think of your hair as a palette of color to use in creating a frame around your face. Nothing crazy, just a few hints of tone variation at first, then bolder as you get used to the change.
A great way to try out color virtually is at Clairol's Try It On Studio where you can upload one of your photos and experiment with colors and styles. This is an easy and fun way to go from blonde to brunette to gray without risking a giant mistake. If you are thinking about becoming a "silver fox" and going all gray, this is a perfect way to test the look to see if you have what it takes to look chic with platinum hair. There are many beautiful women over 50 who have gone totally gray.
Other hair color musts for over-50 hair:
•Protect your investment. Once you have spent the money on hair color, whether it's by a professional or do-it-yourself, you need to make it last. Use shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair, and don't wash too often.
•Be proactive, especially in the summer. Sun and chlorine can make color-treated hair even drier, so be diligent about using UV protection on your hair. Get a spray like Pureology UV Color Defense Spray online at Folica.com or Amazon Marketplace
•Be seasonal. Adjust your hair color to reflect the season, lighter in the summer to reflect the sunlight and darker in the winter for a richer look to match heavier fabrics. Use fall and winter highlights more sparingly and make sure they are in warmer tones; summer highlights can be light and bright.
Being over 50 gives you the freedom to experiment, so don't be afraid to try something new. If you are a bit unsure, have fun at the Clairol website, or try on hair extensions in a different color at the mall or salon. If you are adventurous, just go for it! Hair color can easily be changed if it doesn't work. In any case, be prepared for people telling you how young you look after you make a subtle change. And believe that old L'Oreal slogan "I'm worth it!"
Susan Tolles is the articles author and owner of Flourish Over 50, which is a website that provides information to women over 50 to help them live life to the fullest. Tips on fitness, nutrition and exercise provide ways to achieve a better overall "wellness." You can find out more information on how style and beauty tips help women look their best while accepting the changes their bodies are going through. Join us for stories about other women your own age who have accomplished big goals, or gone through their own transitions, help us inspire women to step out on faith and achieve their own dreams.