by Chrysa Smith

Mirror, mirror what do you say?
What should I do with my hair today?

Hair in the brush. Hair in the shower. Hair turning gray.

Bad hair days are ageless, but age sure does take a toll on hair. It thins. It washes you out. It can make you look older, or it can make you look wonderfully younger–like the very sexy Helen Mirren.

Just what on earth to do?

I decided to get to the root of the problems. For this, I turned to my hairdresser of 15 years (so you know she’s good). Eileen is the resident expert on color, a stylista and my personal hair advisoro at East Street Salon in Doylestown, PA.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I’d give, would be to tell women to be more gentle with their hair (chemicals, blow drying, etc.),” she says, “The hair, like the rest of the body will tend to dry out and lose it’s elasticity. The same routine you had at 18 will not work the same when you’re older.”
Darn. We wonder why our hair just won’t do the things it once did. But then again, neither does the makeup or the workouts or the diets. Eh, c’est la vie. Forget about it and have another piece of candy—
“Our hair actually changes as we age, ” Eileen says, and here are some of her tips for looking good despite the hormonal flux, Father Time and other factors that try to drag us down.
On color: A good rule of thumb is to stay either two levels lighter or darker. However, as we age our skin tone changes, so should our hair. Keeping darker hair when older not only looks unbelievable, but it can actually make one look sickly, emphasize wrinkles and generally, look older. If graying, lighter colors will blend better with hair regrowth and be less drastic. Semi-permanent color is a good option if your hair takes it: it gives more highlights and more shine.
On cuts: A hairstyle should compliment the face. When skin loses elasticity, it can appear to droop or sag, so a shorter style can often give a lift.
On products: I like Wella’s Age Restore for coarse hair; Redken’s Time Reset leave-in lotion for weakened hair. For shine, Goldwell’s Clear Colorance lasts about four weeks and Wella’s Pearl Styler; a styling gel with a shiny, pearlescent finish.
Thanks Eileen. My mother always said that it hurts to be beautiful. I always thought it was the primping, preening, plucking. But now, after years spent in finding the perfect products and the perfect routine, must we now begin again from square one? Oy, the pain of it all. Oy, where is that box of chocolates?