Long hair can look fantastic at any age with the right style, condition and attitude. All women over 40 should define their own hair and beauty sense.
Jane Seymour's Long Hair Is Beauty Signature
Jane Seymour, also known as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, is probably the most famous long hair celeb beauty over 40. Jane's long beautiful brunette tresses have certainly helped make her successful. It's also her beauty signature.
I've read many interviews with Jane in national magazines where she mentions that people often suggest that she is too old for having such long hair. Of course she ignores their advice.
It's sad, but many people believe that women over 40 should automatically cut their hair.
Developing Your Own Beauty Sense
Jane is a woman with her own beauty sense. As a result, she absolutely refuses to bow to public opinion about the length of her hair. She will not be dictated by her age.
Clairol agrees with Jane and in the past she enjoyed a lucrative advertising assignment for Clairol.
Many people ask me if I'll cut my long hair when I get older. My standard answer is I hope my hair is so long it won't fit in my coffin when I die. I have no intention of ever cutting my long locks again.
I have researched the roots of society's belief indicating older woman should have short hair. Society's attitude dictating short hair on older women has been prevalent for a long time. Before the current century woman of all ages always had long tresses. The older the woman, the longer her hair except in rare circumstances.
Short Hair Fashion Trends in 1920s
Short hair became the latest fashion in the United States in the 1920s. Even then, the majority of older women kept their hair long periodically wearing it up in a variety of buns, twists or braids.
After World War II the hair care industry welcomed the introduction of the shampoo and wet curler set for short styles. Chemically permed styles also became prominent.
Older woman flocked to hairdressers and emerged with short curls, and waves. It became very fashionable to get your hair done every single week.
The weekly hairdresser visits did not encourage long hair.
Most hairdressers made more money if they trim and style hair on a weekly or semi-monthly basis.
Older women with long hair were considered prime hair makeover subjects by the entire beauty industry.
Short Hair Fashion Trends Through 1950s & 1960s
Short hair for older women was the preferred style throughout the 1950s. When the 1960 ushered in the age of the long hair, older women continue to do the shampoo and set on their short styles.
Short hair for the middle-aged became the norm. It was rare to find older women with hair past their shoulders.
Many people still believe that older women should have short hair. However, Jane Seymour, Cher (shown to the side) and Jacqueline Bisset have proven women over 40 can look stunning with long locks.
The important thing is how each older women looks on an individual basis. If a woman looks fabulous, her hair is in great condition and flattering to her face, she should wear her hair as long as she pleases.
Catherine Deneuve looks great with either long or shorter hair. Kim Basinger, Melanie Griffith and Sharon Stone all decided to cut their hair as they got older. Whether they look better or worse is a personal opinion.
Other Aging Hair Factors To Consider
There are other factors to consider on aging hair. With age, long hair's condition and color can fade. It can appear limp, faded or discolored.
Long hair needs to be carefully maintained. Long hair which is aging needs to be treated to weekly conditioning treatments, regular trims. In some cases aging strands which are long would benefit from skillfully applied highlights or color added to restore luster, bounce and body.
Color extremes should be avoided for older hair. The bleached blonde look should be discarded for warmer blondes or carefully applied highlights.
Since skin color also changes on older women, they should work with an expert to enhance skin tone and blend it with hair color. Dark brown or black hair shades may also look harsh or unflattering on older faces.
If a woman has long hair in good condition with good color and body, she can also play with the edges of the style to add some softening around the aging face.
Soft feathering of a fringe (bangs) or around the hairline close to the face can be very flattering and not require any cutting of the length of the hair.
Use a variety of styling products to add softness throughout the fringe and around the perimeter of your face.
I recently saw a woman with gorgeous silver hair to her waist. It was thick, shiny and well maintained. The color was gorgeous against her deep blue eyes and pale skin. I was very impressed.
The woman looked to be in her 60s or older and was a great inspiration. Obviously she knows that long hair can look fantastic at any age with the right style, condition and attitude.
The bottom line for having long hair as you age is understanding what is best for your face and natural coloring. The first step to achieving this goal is to find a great hair consultant who will work with you and advise you on color and condition.
A great hairstylist will also offer creative suggestions on how to amp up your strands for maximum benefit.
Original Publication Date: March 1998 - Revised Publication Date: 01/05/12