Old on to long hair

IT’S a question that crops up more and more as you approach your 40s – how old is too old to hang on to long hair?

While some see no reason not to stick with a longer style and dye away the grey, others believe there is a definite time for the final chop.

Here, celebrity hairdresser RICHARD WARD gives his guide to the long and the short of it.


Disguising age is all about creating softness and flattering tones.

As ageing skin naturally lightens warmer tones may suit more than youthful cooler shades, so go for soft colours.

Who gets it right? Judi Dench – fabulous platinum highlights add texture to a great choppy cut.

Who gets it wrong? Nancy Dell’Olio – unflattering raven black is too dark on older women. Ditch the ageing goth look, Nancy.

Shorter style

If you decide to go for the chop don’t rush into it.

Sometimes what you think makes you look younger can end up ageing you.

Avoid the trap of the �boring, functional short cut� and ensure you develop a signature style of your own.

Go for a flattering compromise – a mid-length cut can look glamorous as well as youthful and vibrant.

Avoid severe cuts such as Pobs and bobs – the key is softening your look so it flatters your face and isn’t harsh.

Who gets it right? Twiggy, Lulu, Felicity Kendal and Joanna Lumley look absolutely fabulous with their soft, mid-length locks and subtle caramel blonde tones.

Who gets it wrong? Esther Rantzen – she has fine hair that would look better a little longer to give some bulk and volume. It’s too �old lady� looking.

The long issue

In my opinion some women hang on to their long hair for far too many years.

But that’s not to say I always condone the old adage of lopping it off once you hit 40.

There is a right and a wrong way to wear long hair. Skin tone, skin texture and hair texture and colour naturally change with age so you need to tweak your style to cater for these changes.

The best way to keep long hair is to take it a little shorter, giving an illusion of length but softening hard edges.
Who gets it right? Liz Hurley – shoulder length, subtle side fringe and soft layers all make her look totally in keeping with her age.

Madonna – an example of a woman whose chameleon hair is her trade-mark and who never gets it wrong style-wise. (Shame she doesn’t pay as much attention to her roots.)

Who gets it wrong? Jerry Hall – her high forehead means a fringe would be more flattering.

Her hair isn’t in good enough nick to wear long – the straggly look doesn’t work on over30s.

The golden rules

Texture and movement are key – soft choppy layers and cuts with movement and volume work best.

Frame your face with finely placed meshes of lighter colours to complement your skin tone. Avoid going darker as skin tone lightens with age.

Avoid harsh cuts – no Pobs or straight lines. Keep it soft and fluid.

Celebrity Hairdresser


A fresh look at whitening - chanel

THERE is something about this Asian-specific, immensely popular whitening trend that makes me uneasy.

Maybe it’s the far-fetched promise of having flawless, porcelain-like skin (something I attribute mostly to genetics and to some extent, the combination of skincare, exercise, diet, stress control and general outlook of life).

Maybe it’s the fact that last year about this time, I tried a range and after three weeks, I found myself hypersensitive to the sun. My skin turned red and warm. I had to change my astringent toner to an alcohol-free one to soothe my face.

Maybe, as someone proud of her individuality, I don’t want to conform to the popular belief attached that being pretty means being fair. That notion of beauty is about as deep as a puddle.
I’d like to keep my skin healthy, happy, calm, well-hydrated and stress-free, thank you very much.

That is not to say that whitening skincare fails to deliver. Far from it. Just a few days back I squirted the last of my Estee Lauder Cyber White sunblock which I used until the end of its days because even with SPF50++, the texture remains light on my skin.

And yet I couldn’t see myself chucking my trusted bottles and replacing them with a whitening solution. My trusted skincare has served me well. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

But the barrage of whitening products that are launching this and next month tempt me to give whitening skincare another chance. So for three weeks, I used some of the newly released whitening products.

They are Chanel Precision White Essentiel lightening cleansing foam and ultimate whitening essence, Lancome Blanc Expert NeuroWhite X3 whitening beauty lotion, high potency whitening spot eraser, whitening hydrating emulsion, radiance reviving petal, whitening night essence and anti-dark circles eye treatment.

And like a scientist armed with lab essentials, I began my experiment to see if these products could lighten my sun spots, (self-inflicted) pimple scars and the general condition of my skin.

The Chanel Precision White Essentiel cleansing foam was more milky than foamy, something which I'm thankful for because that means my skin will not suffer that tightness often associated with foaming cleansers. This one is gentle and effective.

Lancome Blanc Expert NeuroWhite X3 whitening beauty lotion moist (read: toner) is kind on the skin with no tingling sensation. There is also a very moist option for those with dry skin.

Both the Chanel Precision White Essentiel ultimate whitening essence and Lancome Blanc Expert NeuroWhite X3 high potency whitening spot eraser somehow tingled on my face. They did not make my skin itchy but I did feel a momentary sensation, which, thankfully, stopped after numerous applications.

I loved the sweet and calming scent of the Lancome Blanc Expert NeuroWhite X3 range, which made skincare a pleasure instead of a routine. All the products absorbed easily into the skin. No grease, no oiliness. Just moisturised, bouncy skin.

The hydrating emulsion even locks in moisture to help the spot eraser work better. And the radiance reviving petal is like a gentle scrub to slough away dead skin cells.

The Chanel Precision White Essentiel products are great, too. The whitening essence has a gel-like texture that melts on the skin, and the foam cleansed my face just right.

On the third day, I noticed that the spots hadn’t lightened. But I wasn’t expecting miracles because of my own folly in squeezing the pimples. My whitening regiment continued. I was determined to see if they worked.

By the end of the third week, I understood why this segment has such a huge following in this region. My self-inflicted pimple scars look like they are fading off my face. The results are not immediate. You are not going to wake up one morning and suddenly have great-looking skin, but yes, I did notice a difference.

This time around, my face didn’t get sensitive under the sun. None of the products dried my skin, which was a real bonus because whitening products, due to their brightening agent, may sap the skin off its moisture.

There were no breakouts, no unpleasant reaction. Perhaps I may have rejected this trend a little too soon. My only complaint is that the range is too extensive. The Lancome Blanc Expert NeuroWhite X3, for instance, has 10 products from cleanser to masque. That means forking out a lot of money.

The sales people will tell you a range gives optimum results when used in totality. Sure, because the ingredients will work synergistically. But if you can afford only one product, try the whitening essence or spot eraser. Maybe you can build your whitening skincare from there.

As for me, my scars have faded so that I hardly need to use any concealer when I put on my makeup. One thinly-layered pressed powder brushed onto the face is all I need to have my skin looking flawless.

That's the best thing of all because if there is one cardinal rule in make-up it is this: Only well-moisturised skin will yield fantastic looking make-up.

My final validation (not that I needed any, but compliments are always nice, yes?) came from a close guy friend, who, on normal days, would never notice my makeup or even care to ask if I’m wearing any.

One day, when we met up for lunch, he told me that I looked, “more beautiful than usual”. And yet all I had on my face was powder, mascara and clear gloss, all of which took less than three minutes to apply.

And that, to me, is precious.

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