12 Sep 2017

The Art Of Ageing: Hair Care

The Art of Ageing Hair on vickiarcher.com

Ageing means a re-think of our hair.

Let’s start with the colour.

The colour situation is an obvious one and we are either in the going grey or keeping colour camps. You know my position on that. I do waiver from time to time and I will admit the grey is confronting at times. I like the freedom of no colour and the alternative is less attractive.

At this point in my “grey life” I would be scared to re-colour.

If I did go back, what colour would I choose? Platinum? That would be a difficult maintenance challenge with the yellow glow becoming a problem. Grace Coddington red? I love it on her but it is too striking for me. I would probably hit the auburn shades with some golden streaking. That could work although the way my hair grows I would be in the chair every six weeks for three hours. I am not vain enough as yet nor committed enough.

So grey it is for now. I agree to disagree with those who think it is too ageing. I hear you.

How long is too long?

Length is an individual decision and very much plays to our comfort zone, it also depends on the thickness and quality of the hair. I am a fan of longer hair for older women if the hair is in good shape. As we age our features become less defined and the longer hairline provides softness. This doesn’t mean short hair isn’t fabulous; it is. Any length works as long as the cut is fresh and the style working.

There is such a thing as “too long” and at times I am guilty of that. Longer hair becomes a kind of security blanket that makes growing older a little more comfortable; don’t ask me why, it doesn’t make sense. There can be all the difference in the world to how longer hair looks; it depends on where it sits on the shoulders or back. The art is finding your sweet spot and working out the length to give the appearance of an attractive mane without weighing the face down. It is a question of trial and error.

I grow and trim and then decide where my hair looks best. I find nowadays I prefer the length beyond my shoulders otherwise it is too hard to manage. I wore a shorter bob for many years but my jawline was perkier.

Length of hair is important and can make the world of difference. The answer is to be brave but calculatingly brave. Don’t rush in, think it through very carefully but do try different lengths.

Turn up the volume.

Turn up the volume but don’t burst an eardrum.

Volume on an older face is far more attractive than a very flat style. It is all about where we place the volume. Too much volume aka teasing and we can look elderly before our time. Volume worked with brushes and the right shampoo is a whole other art and one we need to understand.

If the hair is too flat it tends to draw our faces down rather than lift them up. It also draws attention where we may not necessarily want it. I don’t know about you, but I need all the lift I can muster.

Changing styles.

It is important to mix it up and not wear the same hairstyle for 50 years. We change our clothes and our decor so why not our hair?

I know many women don’t change and it is their signature look but I am not convinced it is the answer for everybody. Changing our hairstyle can be a great lift and make us feel wonderful.

Change can be as little as a length adjustment, the introduction of layers or a move to the blunt.  The art is not to be stuck in a look. Be flexible and celebrate your daring.

Invest in the cut.

Whether long, short or in-between, invest in the cut and don’t let that slide. A good cut is everything and more. Find a hairdresser you trust and build the relationship; my worst haircuts and I have had many are those I have on an impulse.

Know your product.

The shampoo, conditioner and volume products can mean the difference between a good hair day and a bad one. Many shampoos and conditioners are too heavy and the hair feels flat, making it impossible to create the volume or shape you want.

Like skincare, it is also important to change product now and then.

It goes without saying, healthy hair looks and feels the best and any products should enhance the quality of our hair.  Hairspray can be the enemy, dry shampoo our saviour.

Beware of accessories. 

Hair accessories can be gorgeous on a young woman but extremely ageing on an older one. They are probably best left in my old life.

Subtlety when it comes to dressing the hair is paramount. Tie it up, clip it back and pin it but use tools that blend into the hair.

Wearing scarves and headbands? I am not sure; they don’t work for me anymore. What do you think about those?

Hair can be our best friend and a true asset; we need to be well acquainted. xv


Can’t Live Without Hair Care

i started using leonor greyl hair care products about 15 years ago; i chop and change but always come back; they are the best

shampooing au miel for everyday  ||  bain volumateur aux alges alternate every few weeks  ||  masque fleurs de jasmin once a week  

voluforme styling spray when and if  ||  mousse au lotus volumatrice with the blow dry  ||  travel kit for volume  

image joyce carpati for advanced style

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In This Post:



Beth Anderson

Have you ever tried Aveda? I have used their Shampure for years now. I switch out (v occasionally) to their mint shampoo because I have heard that you can get buildup from the same one all the time but I am not sure if that is an old wive’s tale. But for the most part it has been Shampure.


Where did you get the faux plait/braid? I had one from Vicky Ullah but Harrods stopped selling them a few years ago & I haven’t been able to find any as good.

Taste of France

Your point about change is echoed in your other points–it’s important to adjust/evolve/adapt. Shorter or longer might be more flattering. It’s hair–it will grow out, so no decision is permanent. Experimentation could bring surprising discoveries.
There is a woman I see regularly at the market who wears turbans and headbands (like turbans but they show the hair on the crown of the head, or a chignon). She looks like a 60-year-old version of Angelina Jolie, with striking cheekbones and generous lips. Hard to say about her eyes, because she is always wearing gigantic sunglasses. Anyway, the turbans just add to her exoticism. And who knows? Maybe her hair isn’t her best asset.

Linda B

I agree with almost everything you have said! I had super short hair for about a dozen years, and three years ago started growing that out. Now it’s shoulder length, in layers, and I love it. At 60, I have just the beginnings of grey in my hair–it is actually quite nice, adding a bit of subtle “frost” to my light brown hair that livens things up, actually. The one thing I am enjoying now that my hair is longer is pinning it up with bright clips that have rhinestones and beads. I live where it is still so hot at this time of year (100 again for a high today) and I can’t bear my hair on my neck during the day. The clips are light-hearted and fun, at least in my school environment! And they stay put like champs. I don’t wear them every day–I also have days when I choose ways to pin up my hair that don’t show–but I love them when I do!

Mimi Gregor

I’ve been re-thinking my hair lately. I think I’m going to go a bit lighter, for one thing. I’ve been dying it medium ash brown for a long while now, and I think I’ll go with light ash brown the next time. With grey roots, it will undoubtedly be less of a contrast, and also will make my hair look a little more voluminous. I’m also thinking of growing it out a little bit. Right now it is in a reverse bob (shorter in the back). I’m thinking of going all one length — chin length. I know that sounds rather boring and practical, but I find that the reverse bob requires precision in hair styling, and does not look good wind-blown or in humidity. I am bollocks with styling, and our climate is really hard on sleek styles. I think with the chin-length, I could maybe do a messier look when either my hair or the weather (or both!) are being uncooperative.


If choosing to go grey please make sure to use enough conditioner and maybe spend some money on a glaze every couple months. It keeps the grey hair from going so frizzy which I think is more aging than the color.

I’ve seen so many grey haired people who fail to use conditioner even and no that hair is not attractive at all. This however applies to other colors as well but we all know how frizzy and dry grey can be.

You don’t have to color to look nice, but a little upkeep and maintenance is still needed for the grey to look acceptable.


I agree with what you’re saying..it all comes down to what works for you and “feels” like you. I have to ask if you’ve ever used Christophe Robin products? They are amazing! He has a salt scrub that really cleans your scalp and hair. Just a tiny amount applied to wet hair and it foams and deep cleans without drying your scalp. He’s based in Paris but you can buy his products on Amazon. His shampoos etc are worth every penny.


My hair has never felt so healthy as it does now that I have grown my hair out grey/white! I have always preferred longer hair but try to use shampoos that moisturize and add shine! I also purchased a water filter for my shower which now I feel is a necessity (good for the skin also)


Well, I’ll always be blond, Vicki. My only problem is that my hair is baby-fine and now not so thick. So I use gel structuring from a tube, about a quarter in size, applied to wet hair, then I brush it through, turn my head upside down and blow my hair dry. It gets much volume from this. And the cut! This is key. The woman above looks divine with her hair btw. Sending love, my darling friend.

Mimi Gregor

What gel do you use, Marshah? My hair also is baby-fine and not as thick as it used to be. I may have to re-think my products soon, when I lighten my color and grow my hair out a bit.


Mimi and Marshah…please avoid gel when you have fine hair. It dries it
out and let it break. Would suggest a Keratin treatment every 4-6 month which
makes hair so shinny and stronger. It’s not cheap but personally I have got the
best results ever I tried a lot of other things. Give it a try.


I notice there is no conditioner listed. I need to use that every wash. I too am a fan of Aveda, but like all good products it is expensive, especially in Australia

Vicki Barnhill

Speaking of coloring one’s hair, my greatest revelation probably 15 or so years ago was in only coloring one’s roots every 5-6 weeks and having highlights added professionally as needed. Not only did my costs plummet but I was certainly capable of applying color to my roots.


Just had this discussion with my stylist re colour or no. At 62 I have very little grey in my hair ( temples and a streak at the part) but my natural colour is quite dark. I thought the contrast looked ‘aging’ …his comment was ” you know what looks aging? Letting your hair get out of shape! ( guilty) just letting it ‘go’ for months without maintenance.” He said that in his practice he had many clients who choose not to colour but maintain with regular trims which is very important for long hair that is going au naturel. Texture changes in greying hair and the style may need to change even in subtle increments with the change over. The number one reason given to him by women with longer grey hair looking to go short is ” I look like a witch”!! Of course they exaggerate but with a good cut or trim, even a few layers these ladies are quite shocked at how lovely their long silver locks can be. Maintenance can be $$ (my stylist charges $150.00) but with a shoulder length layered bob I can get away with a visit every eight weeks but there are great stylists out there that charge less. Takeaway for me, MAINTENANCE is the key to good hair days with the maturing head!
Also invest in a very good hair dryer it makes a huge difference and only wash hair twice a week as the scalp gets dryer as we age.


I agree with you on everything. I would love to go gray but as a concession to my husband, I color in my former “natural” color with highlights and lowlights. I use Oribe products and rarely use heat on my hair. I have good shine for my age because of the care I get from my stylist and the quality products I use. My length is coming up a little every year but is still several inches below my shoulders. Hair is personal – choice of color and length and style play into our courage or lack of, desire for attention or lack thereof, fear of change or lack thereof , and sense of style. What is right for one is not for another so we cannot lay down universal rules. How boring for everyone to look the same! The thing is to keep caring.


All the above comments are so spot on and so highlight how having a good hair day can impact on our daily life. The way your hair behaves on any given day, can make or break it, something that make up doesn’t seem to do. I am lucky that at 55, I have no greys yet, naturally blond but with the beginning of menopause it has slowly gone darker in colour and I note the texture has become a bit more wiry. A good cut, style and highlights are working so far.


Vicki, I am not 50 yet and my hair has been grey for a few years already. I decided to let my (fabulous!) hairdresser put platinum foils through the top at the beginning, to blend the regrowth. Then as that all grew out, she coloured the underneath layers a very dark brown (almost black but not as harsh) so now that all my grey has grown through on the top layers, it looks like Balayage. No more foils or highlights through the top, just the touch ups underneath and a good trim every 8 weeks. I’m there for a total of one and a half hours and minimal expense. I constantly get compliments on my hair even by very young women who are clearly bleaching theirs to get the same effect. The length I keep at my shoulders and my hair is naturally very straight. I use Goldwell shampoo and conditioner for blondes and highlights and a blue (sounds terrible!) tinted shampoo and a hair mask once a week to help keep the natural silver shiney and my hair soft. I’m lucky, I’ve found my happy hair place!


I would love to see a pic of your hair😊 Also have blond highlights mixed with my grey, but its blond right through. Thought about the balayage.


I am 60 and I think hair should be pulled away
From the face in any hairstyle. It seems like all
The recent hairstyles of late, tend to pull the face downward! Show off the face! Style with volume
And train the hair to go back,

Dianne Sisley

My hair is sadly thin, but I am trying Regaine for women. I also am hyopthyroid which doesn’t help. I am nearly whiteh haired now with some dark brown hair left, and am always advised by hairdressers to go blonde as it hardly shows the regrowth . Having the roots reapplied with a dark blonde compared with the honey blonde of the longer lengths, adds definition to my face, which stops me looking like a ghost, as I have very fair skin and blue eyes. I originally and nearly black hair when young, but having blonde is not an imposition! love Oribe products especially the volume spray applied after washing hair. Hair extensions are great for a special occasion using tapes. Di

Marie Smidt

Vicky, I enjoy reading your blog very much. I started growing out my hair to grey about three years ago as it grows very quickly and I got tired of colouring so often. But some time ago I started questioning my decision as people tend to see me as much older as my 64 years. The last straw was when somebody asked me if I am also an inhabitant of the old age home where her mother of 95 years recently died. I bought hair colour and changed to brown, which was my hair colour, and received compliments all around. I feel 20 years younger myself. I am blessed with lovely thick hair and although it turned a nice variegated grey, it wasn’t my time yet. Thanks for your very interesting writing!


Don’t blame you Marie, I think I’d have done the same thing. Am allergic to the idea of going into an old age home – saw too much of my mother’s. But she like many of her generation chose to go into retirement communities before it was really necessary and then became institutionalised, though she retained her interest in clothes, style and regular hairdressing appointments till near the end.
Hairdressers simply refuse to colour my hair. They like it as it is – naturally streaked, mixture of light reddish brown, with natural blondish highlights (from the sun) and silver white threads. More silver appearing gradually particularly in my fringe – but considering my age I’m lucky not to have really gone grey yet. Very white around ears but top layers mostly cover these, though some hairdressers like to pull them out in a long loop. I hide the white hairs back again when I leave. I always ask my Paris hairdresser when we visit each year for his advice on length – he’s so good and I know I can trust him. I let him cut a couple of inches off the bottom this June, still well below shoulder length though. He’s taught me that as hair thins with aging often better to go for “movement” rather than dead straight always as movement adds volume. While in Singapore on way home the hotel hairdresser recommended Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel conditioner which he said was very good for greying hair. I use it occasionally and it does help with volumising and shine. My hair feels really silky after using.
While not colouring hair I always have my eyebrows threaded and tinted closest to the natural darkest colour of my head hair. I think maybe we’ve had a conversation on this topic before. But hair is always such a burning topic for women of a certain age, hein?! Best wishes, Pamela


I think hair loss is a problem for many older women – and hugely demoralising. All the points you make are spot on – but irrelevant if hair is too wispy or non-existent. I am experimenting with scarves and all sorts to try and compensate for hair loss. I found it sad that you said you don’t think they work.

Anita Rivera

I think you are good to stay TRUE to yourself. Each one of us has a different face shape, texture of hair and overall presence. What looks good on you may not work for me, and vice-versa. I’ve chosen, like you, to just let the beautiful grays stay and I love it; I have also found what is working for me now at almost 60, as far as a haircut. I did try to grow my hair long as I once wore it. I had a gorgeous head of thick, shiny black hair (and my hair is still quite black) but the thickness has thinned out and the shine seemed as if it was a very short hormone-enriched moment of my youth. So for me, I’ve opted for a pixie cut with lots of volume of hair left on top, which allows me to enjoy a crown or short mane of my youth. Long hair no longer looks good on me because my hair is no longer that unusual, shiny almost gunmetal black color. It’s fun to find what actually works for certain periods of my life, and so far, so good!


I am so lucky. I am a blonde and when my white/ not grey hair started showing up, it just added a shine to my already light hair .. now it is basically all white , I wear it long and in a ponytail most of the time .. old hair/young style :)
I don’t care what a persons hair color is as long as it looks natural .. and older women should enjoy their hair color

Vicki Ford

When I go grey, I think this is what I will do. Put a very light shimmering platinum foil or ballyage in there with it, so that regrowth looks natural and part of the bigger picture. Its a theory anyway. I googled pics of Helen Mirren, there a few images for ideas there…not so much the yellow platinum but a very light pearl…what other time in your life can you go that light without damaging it?


Many good comments in this post! I am 50%+ grey and require a root touch-up every 3 weeks. My natural color was medium ash brown but is now light ash brown. Rapidly thinning hair forced me to make changes. First, I put a water filter on the shower. I rotate shampoos-Garnier Nutrisse Free and Clear, Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Kiehls Swimmer’s Shampoo-and shampoo 1x per week (rinse only the other days). Conditioner has been replaced by a light spray of Argon Oil on dried hair. Luckily I have straight hair and do not need to blow dry. Keeping my hair trimmed is a must…a missed appointment and my appearance ages quickly!


HAIR – always such an interesting subject.
Many of us have thyroid problems and, like me, have even had to have the thyroid removed and then commence taking lifelong medication. Since that major surgery last year my hair has thinned a lot and I have cut back shampooing now (used to do it daily but no more!) because of the hair loss!
I’ve been a redhead for about 20 years and now am definitely naturally grey from the looks of my roots! I have it cut and colored every 5 weeks and love to have the extra glossing step every other time. I have now been growing my hair for about 3 months from the short stacked bob of many, many years (with one drastic ‘pixie cut’ a few years ago – not for me and the devil to care for!) to what will eventually become probably a ‘lob’, a longer bob which I might be able to tie back in hot weather. I have a long way to go though and I’m still getting it trimmed as it grows, that way it shouldn’t look too bad. I just want a change and figure if I don’t try now while in my 70’s I never will! Of course I might get fed up with the growing out process and cut off again, who knows! Good products are definitely worth the money – my stylist is good about picking the right ones for me.
Turbans are making a come back – I love the look of twisted velvet ones for evening – and may try one for a theatre evening this season.
Our ‘crowning glory’ is always a job in process – but beautiful hair is just that, a woman’s ‘crown’ even when she’s not a queen!


Lots of good comments! I am a natural redhead that got tired of trying to keep it red about 5 years ago and have never regretted that decision. Have changed hair styles frequently since my youth. A year ago I got my straight hair permed! It was a bold move, but I wanted to grow it longer (now several inches below my shoulders). As straight hair it was SO stringy – not now! BAM…Instant volume – but the perm must be perfect and hair must be able to handle the chemicals, although don’t think old style perms – they are waaaay better than in the past.

Because of the perm, I discovered co-wash and wonderful products for curly hair that are non-drying – which I know would be great just for the dry frizzies of gray hair as well (love Miss Jessie products). I haven’t used shampoo in 9 months – only co-wash. No detergent, no drying out, wonderful! I recommend it to anyone who has gray or dry hair. Word of caution however, you really have to give it a chance, as it doesn’t lather at all and is “different” to get used to for a few weeks. I also only co-wash once a week to help with dryness. Cheers!


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