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


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