Seniors & Aging

Life is too short to worry about hair color

Remember when women of a certain age were dismissed by the color blue?

“Good luck with this audience,” remarked an exasperated comic who was opening a show for me in Tahoe, years ago, “It’s just a sea of ‘blue-hairs’ out there.”

Meaning the blue rinse that hairdressers used on their senior clientele, in a vain attempt to bring out the silvery highlights in grey hair, dry and damaged, from too many tight perms.

If only Ma Kettle had realized she was a trend setter! Because, sisters, there is now a plethora of post menopausal babes unabashedly coloring their hair in every hue because...

“It’s fun!” reports 63 year old Amy Tan, author of ‘The Joy Luck Club.’ “To hell with aging gracefully!” And I dare say the icy blue streaks amid her silvery bob looks terrific. She’s even rocked it with vivid purple, as did my former co-star, Shelley Fabares, doing so to celebrate open-armed living after nearly dying from liver failure.

The woman who pens the blog, ‘The Menopausal Mom,’ Marcia Kester Doyle, echoes many who say, “Now that I’m older, I care less about what people think,” but instead of yelling at kids to get off her lawn or going to the mall wearing Crocs, Doyle sports longish hair that starts out as a buttery blond at the roots and graduates to lavender mid way down. “I colored my hair these unique shades because it sends a clear message -that a woman my age is still allowed to be FUN.” she states, “I spent too much of my life trying to fit the mold and please others. My new hair color makes me feel younger, confident and sexy. At our age, we shouldn’t have to worry about what others think. Life is short — enjoy the ride”

Stacie Strong is about as conservative as you can get: 54, a Midwest grandmother who works in a book store, and loves to bake cookies.

“I let my hair color grow out to my natural color -- brown and going gray. But it started to feel a little frumpy and a bit old. I was in a rut. I had wanted to try fun colors for years, so I thought, ‘You know what? I will dye my hair on my (own) terms.’ And I loved it! Some of the responses I got was, ‘Is there a reason, like a fundraiser or lost bet, that you did that? Aren’t you kind of old for that?’ And my favorite: ‘I hope I’m that cool when I get old!’ Made me laugh out loud.”

And she wasn’t through there- she now sports a pierced nostril.

Before you think, “Oh, how sad, all these old broads trying to be relevant and young when Father Time (of course Time would have to be a man!) has clearly passed them by. But let me tell you something- I looked at photographs of these women and they do look younger! Whether it be the hipper, face flattering, layered, sometimes spikey ‘dos,’ there is a candid smile and a cunning, flirty, gleam in each eye. Their attitude is young, modern. They are willing to embrace a certain edginess as they bring their obligatory deviled eggs to the church pot-luck dinner. They are not afraid to clash with the tree during family Christmas portraits.

It is often said that grey hair is Mother Nature’s way of softening ones complexion. And I think we’re all in agreement when I note that nothing makes a woman- or man- look so old than perpetually dying their hair the same dark brown, or black, of a long past youth.

It looks terribly hard against the face and only accentuates the fine webbing of crow’s feet and lines.

But as Amy Tan explains, why try to cover the gray? Simply blend it with streaks of fuchsia or Caribbean blue!

My own hair tends to be dishwater blond and I’m certainly not above adding paler blond highlights. I’ve not yet seen any gray, but now I’m sort of looking forward to it. Who knows, I might go nuts and begin to blend in streaks purple or even crimson red?

At least that way, at my height, that’ll certainly stop planes from hitting me in the head.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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