WHAT do you do with your hair as you get older? Should you dye it? Cut it short? Or let nature take it’s course? Just last week, Jerry Hall, 57, the legendary supermodel, who has had the same, long hairstyle throughout her 40-year career, bravely chopped off her golden mane.
Posting a selfie on her Twitter page, Jerry unveiled her new, fresh, modern, shoulder-length style and immediately everyone commented on how much younger she looked.
“Surprise. I have cut off my long locks and got the short ‘lob’ haircut,” she tweeted.
Is there an unwritten rule that older women cannot have long hair? According to Lesley Byrne, a top stylist and hairdresser who has 20 years’ experience at Peter Marks, Grafton Street, Dublin, the answer is no.
“I don’t believe there is any age that you have to cut your hair short, as long as it is groomed and well-maintained. If Jerry Hall had cut a fringe into her hair, then she needn’t have cut her long hair,” she says.
“Jerry has a long face and a long forehead, and her long hair was dragging it all down, making her look older and tired. If she had just tried out in a fringe, kept her hair the same length, I think she would have looked amazing. She just needed a softer look.”
Very short hair on older women can be ageing. “Women of a certain age do need a little bit of softness, especially around their necks. Even if it is short hair, keep a little behind the ear, just to soften it,” she says.
“I don’t believe that women need to cut their hair off when they get to a certain age. A bit of length is nice.”
What about long, grey hair? Is that too ageing?
It all depends on the woman’s skin tone and whether the hair is maintained properly, says Byrne.
“I don’t believe you can wear long grey hair and leave it wild. I think long grey hair can look so well, if it is groomed properly. I think pure white hair, that is healthy and shiny, can look so good, but this is rare,” she says.
“Long, grey hair can be very ageing. However, it does look very well on women with a tan, the Mediterranean look, and so that is why French women can get away with it. Whereas, most Irish women can’t, as we are too pale — so we have to colour it.”
For men, the situation is very different — most look great and distinguished with grey hair.
Those tempted to colour it should think again. Paul McCartney, despite his wealth still can’t get the right hair dye.
Only last week, McCartney’s former hairdresser, Guy Thomas, said he was “sick” of people blaming him for the popstar’s hair, which he described as a “mess”.
“His hair looks horrible. It becomes dark initially and then lightens,” he told New York Daily News.
Lesley agrees. If men want to colour their grey hair, then, she says, they should use a base colour with no tone in it.
“Putting in coppers, mahoganies and blondes just doesn’t work for men,” she says.
“Paul McCartney could look well if he did not have any tone in the hair colour. He kept his natural colour for a long time, and then, when he started greying at the sides, he just dyed it there, which didn’t match his natural colour, so, obviously, it really stood out.”