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Category: All In The Name Of Beauty

Hair Crisis…The Story Of My Life

Never Satisfied

ironing hair

Once again I am in hair crisis mode. It should be noted that I probably never leave hair crisis mode. That is, no matter what hairstyle I have, I am not happy with it..or at least..not for long. As a junior-high and high-schooler, I had longer hair (like most girls my age). I enjoyed the ability to put it up, pull it back or just let it hang loose. Of course..back in my day..if you wanted your hair straight, you did what every other girl did..you got our your Mother’s iron and ironed your hair on the ironing board. If you were good at it, you didn’t leave a crease around your head  for everyone to see, or worse, burn your hair off. And truly, I don’t think that I obsessed about my hair back then,  as much as I do now in my older age.

Big hair

I used to consider myself somewhat of a free spirit as far as my hairstyles were concerned. I went through my various hair phases. I went through the “big hair” (what were you thinking) phase. I am both horrified and entertained when looking at those pictures from back in the day. Then there was the shaved (beyond Pixie haircut) period. I loved the ease of it. But when your hair is only 1/4″ high, there is not much in the way of maintenance or styling that needs to be done. The reality is that I think that this super short look is very cool, but only on the few women whose size and facial features allow them to fearlessly carry it off . But that didn’t stop me from trying, ya’ll.

short buzz

For many years I just wore a short, blown back haircut. I was and still am about the convenience & ease of a style. But with age comes a lot of head and facial changes that can have a dramatic impact on one’s ability to wear certain hairstyles. What I used to be able to get away with is no longer an option.

Of course I can’t forget the perm phase (or two) I went through. What’s interesting about perms..is that I somehow commit to them thinking that I will end up with a relaxed, tousled style and end up looking like a basketball with hair. It is always accompanied by the stylist’s comment: Wow, you’re hair really holds the perm solution..ya think!

perm

The Lengths That I Go To..

Yes..pun intended. Bangs or no bangs..decisions decisions. What I love about bangs is that they can hide a forehead, keep hair that is close to my face from falling into my face, and in general..can flatter most face shapes. The problem with bangs is that current hairstyles which feature bangs that are attractively feathered or curled, hang at a length that puts them at mid eyelid level. Did I add that I HATE hair hanging in my eyes no matter how cute the hairstyle may be. Going any shorter on the bangs with some of these styles gets a whole different unintended look.

And What About Those Random Non-Conformist Hairs?

old newspaper

You know the ones I am talking about right. At a certain age..we start growing these gray hairs that have a different texture and form from the rest of our hairs. They sometimes resemble thin wire which someone has curled. Seriously it is as if they have a mind of their own. They refuse to conform to style and shape that the rest of the group has decided upon. I can attempt to coax, heat or saturate them with product, only to be left with the same non-compliant behavior.  I am told by my stylist that one of the best ways to tame this acting out is to “color”  or highlight them with hair dye. Of course the coloring and highlighting of one’s hair begins an expensive, non-ending, every 6-8 week cycle of doing hair battle to fight off the inevitable. It gives new meaning to the words: color guard. With one there is honor, with the other, shame.

The Search

I remember a time when I could rock an outfit and the hair to go with it.  I have always considered myself to have  a healthy amount of fashion sense and taste. I did not have to ask anyone what they thought about my hair or outfit of choice (unless a group of girls were just casually sharing with eachother). And then it happened. I started to receive well-intended comments from my daughter or others in reference to a specific clothes choice or hairstyle. Or maybe pointing out that only certain retail stores were well-suited for women at my stage in life. When asking my daughter how she thought I would look with a specific hairstyle I was considering, she would comment,..”Oh no Mom..you’re a little too old to wear that”..or “Women of YOUR age..should never blah blah blah.” What!? Women of MY age! Although I am sure that it was said with an intention to be helpful, it has had a long-lasting (will never go away) impact on my hairstyle & fashion choices.

Google Search>  70 Respectable Yet Modern Hairstyles for Women Over 50

Sadly, I find myself googling ” Best hairstyles for women over 50. “ or “Should older women wear Bangs.” Of course I got the full low-down on us older women. Along with pictures of every aging actress whose still alive. Of course there are the beauty tips that accompany the images, such as this one I found: “Bangs can visually take years off your look–they bring attention to your eyes and keep attention off your neckline, which tends to get saggy and wrinkly even on women with the best plastic surgery.” Or this other tip: ” Play down a wrinkly neck with shoulder length hair .” Apparently it is universally understood that we older women are on a mission to do everything we can to hide or camouflage our multiple facial flaws. I found myself thinking about the fact that few men, with the exception of some fashion-conscious metro-sexual men would care about specific hairstyles for men over 50 (or under 50 for that matter).  I found myself wondering what a man would say to some well-meaning person who told him that after 50 years old, he should never wear a ball cap or a cool graphic Tee shirt. The only response  that I think he would give is either a crude two word response or it’s matching crude gesture. Because men don’t care. Of course I knew this already about my husband. Probably almost every woman anywhere has attempted to help style her man’s hair with a blow dryer or worse..tried to save them a few bucks from having to go to the barber. (Sorry honey…you’re sideburns will grow back). My only shaving grace is that I no longer give him haircuts after that the first one thirty-something years ago. Anyway, my point is that women seem to be the ones who are hyper-focused on vanity and how their hair, etc. looks.  As much as I would like to take myself out of that group, I can’t. Of course I care..whether I want to or not. It’s ingrained into my large pores.

So What’s The Answer

The only thing worse than having a hairstyle that you hate..is getting a new hairstyle and then not being happy with that either. Inevitably, I end up at the same place even if I like it for awhile. Why is it I can’t be satisfied with my hair ever? I wanted it all grown out and decided I had; had too many years of short hair. It was time for a change and so..I decided on a cute, ‘can’t go wrong’ Bob hairstyle. The cut: It’s cute..there is nothing wrong with this style…it’s me. The hair starts to find it’s way to my face or in my eyes. This leads to me pulling a strand on either side of my face back with barrettes. What I like: The hair stays out of my eyes. What I don’t like: Me with two barrettes holding my hair back. Next, I move to headbands (I have them in every texture and color). What I like: The hair stays out of my eyes. What I don’t like: The matronly look of me with a headband on and the two painfully cavernous holes/knots that are created directly behind each ear. If I wear the style as it was cut and intended to be worn, it is necessary for me to heavily spray it with hairspray to hold it in place. The only thing worse than using all of that hairspray is having crunchy, scarecrow hair.  I never dreamed I would be my age and be this conflicted about such a  seemingly insignificant issue. Oh the problems we see.

And The Winner Is..

I don’t know. I am still vacillating between the ‘Throw Your Age To The Wind’ Mid Length Bob With Bangs;  the ‘I’m Old And I Don’t Care’ Disheveled Dirty Bob Without Bangs or the ‘Keep What You’ve Got And Save Your Money’ Bob. What I do know is that what goes around comes around..so if I wait long enough..I’ll be in style again.

What-goes-around-comes-around

 

What The Pluck!

Cosmetically Disturbing

woman tweezing chin

It’s inevitable..we change both mentally and physically. Especially physically. Some folks will go to great lengths to hide or remove their unwanted signs of aging. For others like me, we just do the best we can.

I am not sure when it happened..but I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was growing random facial hair in a small chin cluster. In fact..it was probably about the same time that my son was sprouting his first facial hair. Of course, I certainly didn’t want to call attention to this fact or that my hair growth might have been more impressive than his. Interesting to know how proud he was of his hair vs how horrified I found mine.

The more I speak with women in my age group, the more I have  realized that I am not the only one in the unwanted facial hair group. Approximately, 20 million American women remove facial hair at least once a week. Likely for most of us, it is hormone related and naturally occurring, rather than medical in nature..but disturbing non-the-less.

As I read about facial hair, my source noted that before puberty, facial hair is a fine, thin type known as “vellus.” With the onset of puberty, hormones transform some hair to a course pigmented variety called, “terminal.” I kid you not, not only do we get unwanted hair..it’s terminal.

Equally Unflattering

hot wax

What I find equally unflattering is the process of trying to remove these unwanted visitors. There are various methods that we try in hopes of causing a stunted growth process that will stop their growth forever..but they continue to grow in defeat of our efforts.

There is the ” Hot Wax” method..the nice warm, soothing feel of warm wax on your face..until it’s ripped off with a harsh jolt of pain. Yes, this removes the hair temporarily and leaves one with a bright, red patch of smooth skin that stands out like a stop light. But no worries, my hairdresser dabs a bit of Witch Hazel on the area of attack & slightly pushes the cotton ball with pressure, to mask the intense stinging. It’s up to me to dab the tears out of my eyes. It’s hard to believe that women will put themselves through this process repeatedly with limited relief and no hair growth end in sight. Oh, be sure to schedule this type of removal when you don’t have an event to attend for a couple of days.

TweezerMan

fight-tweeze

Of course there is the Tweezer method. I find it interesting that one brand of this small torture device is called: “Tweezer Man”. I’m just sayin. Every woman has a pair of tweezers or four. We have our flat tips, our angle tips and our pointed tip tweezers. We surely have our trusty multiple magnification mirror and  our pick of pastel tweezers and are ready for action. I can think of few things less flattering than a woman with her mirror, tweezers, and pursed lips as she plucks with a vengeance, oblivious to the world (or people) around her. My thoughts are that this approach should be reserved for a private setting with no visitors (with the exception of a female slumber party using wine as the anesthetic)…though some women pluck in public with wild abandon and intention.

I suppose if your budget allows for it, and you are so inclined, you can go pay a cosmetic doctor or technician to remove your unwanted hair by laser. Physically, this approach is probably less painful than the primitive torture methods described above, but likely with a pricey cost for the privilege.

What About Bleaching?

Biggest accomplishment - Copy

I know some women who prefer the “bleaching” method. If you can’t stop em’ from growing, just bleach them so they blend in. Hmm. Just reading the instructions on the these bleach boxes is intimidating to me. And based on my past experiences with hair dye, I think that this method would be better left to the professionals who have been trained on how to use dye. Anyway..there’s just something about my husband running his hand through my furry face that doesn’t seem right..even if they are lightly colored.

Our Plucking Plight

True friends

So there it is..the perpetual plucking plight of the middle-aged woman and beyond. The positive thing about growing older after middle age..is that at some point, you don’t care. You don’t care if these unwanted hairs grow or live in harmony with your liver spots, dry skin and wrinkles, or not. Actually, I think that there is probably a comfortable freedom in not worrying about these pesky hairs.

Here’s to older age and not caring about the physical expressions of ourselves. But until then… pluck on Princess!

Sandy