Going Over 40
From Madonna to Demi Moore, Julianne Moore to Courtney Cox, Hollywood's hottest fortysomethings are swearing off the scissors. Should you?
Is It Aging?
The old thinking was that after a certain age, long hair makes you look older. "True, long hair around the face can create shadows," says Victoria Gentry, founder of Vain Salon in Seattle. "But if you have the right cut, long hair actually disguises wrinkles and lifts the face."
Besides, many women find that a past-the-shoulders cut matches the age they feel inside: 29! To make sure your style turns the clock back, not ahead, ask for a good amount of layering.
Is It High-Maintenance?
Declining hormones and going gray cause hair to get dryer, coarser and possibly thinner, and when you have longer hair, these normal changes can be particularly challenging.
"Wash hair every other day, because shampooing daily strips the hair of natural oils, leaving it dry and fragile," says Diane Irons, author of Age-Defying Beauty Secrets. Giving it a rest allows the natural oils to build up and replenish your hair.
If you need extraconditioning power during the off days, wet hair and apply a leave-in conditioner. Curly hair can get really unruly when it turns gray, so heavier styling products that are packed with moisturizers are a must.
Does My Hair Color Matter?
Absolutely. Once you're out of your 30s, it's essential to avoid intense, deep shades that can look harsh at a longer length (think Morticia Addams!). Try softening the color with a toner or some highlights in the front to bring your color to life.
If you go au naturel, you're in luck. Gray patterns are amazing and almost impossible to duplicate, so celebrate it. To give your gray more oomph, though, Gentry suggests a transparent color or toner that lightly coats the hair, softening the texture and boosting the overall tone without losing the color variation.