If you’re in your 40s and spending an inordinate amount of time and money on your tresses, style strategist Audrey Beaulac wants to know one thing: “Why are you fighting your natural hair?”
Chances are, you have a family or career or social life – or combination of any of those – that take a lot of time. Why would you waste precious minutes on your hair?
“Skin and hair change in your 40s,” she says. “In your 40s you likely don’t have to wash your hair as often.” So that’s good news – there are lots of ways to repurpose yesterday’s hairstyle.
The first stop is getting a really good cut, Beaulac says. “ I know people who spend thousands on their clothes but get a cheap haircut.” If you have a bad cut, it will never behave. It will grow out and you’ll just end up putting it into a ponytail all the time. Your hair will become your enemy. Nobody wants that.
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There are two people in a hair relationship: you and your stylist. At least one of you has to be a progressive and positive force. So if you’re insisting on the same cut you’ve had since you were 25, kiss The Rachel goodbye and let your stylist bring you into 2011. If your stylist can’t make the transition, you may have to bid adieu.
When you’re at the first appointment with a new hairdresser, Beaulac says, that is not the time or place to ask for radical transition. Pictures aren’t helpful if he or she doesn’t have a sense of how you live and who you are, if you’ll commit to color, and if you’ll be able to use product correctly.
You’ll also want your stylist to help you with a reality check. Beaulac recalls a client who always kept her badly home-colored hair in a bun. Her rationale: “I play tennis and want to pull it back.” She was gently coaxed into getting a sleek bob. She also let it go gray naturally, and got her natural lustrous shine back.
Being a 40licious person, you also may need to start thinking about glasses. Ordering the rare squid parfait on a menu because you can’t read it won’t make you look any younger. Even Beaulac herself once waited 12 extra hours in the airport because she was too vain to put her readers on, and mistook 8 p.m. for 8 a.m. on her ticket.
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“You’re 40, you’re not fooling anyone, the gig is up! If you need them to see, you need them to see,” she says.
She offers this advice on choosing and wearing frames:
- Take a picture of yourself in them to see how you really look.
- Almost as important as your frames is how your eyebrows look. “The painting changes the minute you frame it,” she says.
- Keep your lashes dark and draw a light line at the lash base, which will help open your eyes up behind the lenses.
Your smile is probably the first thing others notice about you, but don’t be too quick to jump into new whitening technologies, Beaulac says. “People go crazy on teeth whitening. Don’t damage them to get them as white as possible unless you’re a movie star. Some people have naturally ivory teeth.”
Finally, she reminds us that beauty is an inside job. “If you have a habit that’s causing you to want plastic surgery – say, smoking, frowning, eating too much – you’ll still end up with the same problem,” she says, “If you have stress in your life, that will show up in your face.”
So get thee to yoga, put down the BlackBerry, dust off that novel you’ve wanted to read and pour yourself a good cup of tea. After all, you’ve earned it.