“What’s the cut-off point for long hair as we grow older,” ask Lou’s Women.
It’s long been received wisdom that older women should cut back on their crowning glory.
And 45-year-old Davina McCall – known for her fabulously sleek dark mane – recently revealed that her granny thought no woman over 30 should sport long hair.
But should there be a cut-off point – and if so when?
I have always tried to grow my hair long but it always seems to get stuck at just above shoulder-length, starting to look straggly and thinner.
From time to time I’ve had it quite short but, even since I got to 50 (ahem, a few years ago now), male friends – and my dad – tell me it looks better longer, although when I have had shorter styles other women pay compliments.
As a frequent swimmer short would be much easier but I do still prefer the longer look.
It’s a close call between trying to keep younger looking but not appearing ridiculous – a “mutton dressed as lamb” or a BOBFOC (body off Baywatch, Face off Crimewatch) type mentality.
A friend who’s now 51 has really long hair and she is even letting the grey mingle in with her natural dark tresses – and she looks absolutely stunning.
But TV academic Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, has been described as resembling a “witch” with her long grey hair – though it’s the old grey matter rather than her appearance that is obviously her main concern.
At the other end of the scale, our favourite actress, Helen Mirren, now 67, looked amazing recently with short pink hair.
So, it’s very much a personal decision, depending upon the condition of your hair and how it matches up with your ageing face and body.
And, as we all seem to be ageing more slowly these days, we say “grow for it girls!”
Find out what the rest of Lou’s Women think – and have your say – below.
Feisty Bilston mum Gail Millard says: “I always think of older women with long hair as witches. It's something from my youth. A nice short cut can take years off you. I had my hair long up until the week after my wedding in 2007 simply because you can have different ways of wearing it. But I prefer my hair short now because I can't be doing with the faffing of it all. My husband prefers long hair - he would love his hair long (if he had some!)”
Former Stourbridge language coordinator Irina James, now living in Seoul, South Korea, says: “It totally depends on the person and the hair, whether it is ok to be worn long, at any age. As to wearing grey hair, I thought to try it out one day and went into a wig shop in Merry Hill. I fancied a lovely white silvery one and tried it on. I looked like 'death warmed up'. White hair does not suit me at all. I am colouring now and have gone two tones up from my natural colour, fabulous. Will colour my hair until the day I pop my clogs. By the way, I am over 30 and my hair is short to medium length.”
Recently retired Kidderminster midwife Ellie Wright says: “If the mature lady wishes to wear her hair long it's up to her. Finding a cut off point is a difficult one as some women age much more quickly than others. Thinking of one or two friends who have long hair at 60years I must be honest I think it would suit them shorter, especially as now it is grey. Maybe they just want to hold onto their youth, or just frightened to make the change. To me long grey hair is a no no, but I wouldn't get all bitter and twisted about it, it's up to them. As for colouring hair why not? we've all done it, yes to a colour but no to bleach as this does so much harm to the hair and can make it fall out. My daughter had this trouble last year, she has now left it alone and it's grown back fine. Leaving it to go grey naturally is again individual choice it's just when you feel ready. Why are we not mentioning men with long hair?( perhaps we shouldn't go there! ) that's a real turn off.”
Willenhall social worker Stacey Senior says: “I think you’re only just barely a woman at 30! Being nearly 30 myself I may be biased but I certainly do not think that age should have any influence on how you grow or wear your hair. Different generations might disagree but I’d rather keep people guessing at your age rather than give it away because you have blue rinse perm. Generational hair styles can give your age away so picking a style that’s not from your generation might attract comments. My nan, and probably most nans, has short permed/set hair. My mum has a 'cropped' cut that most people her age have and my younger sister has long dyed hair also typical of her age group. I think we should embrace a bit of diversity and an older woman with long, well conditioned hair is unusual and, in my eyes, attractive but so what? Who wants to be a product of their environment anyway?”
Health and safety officer Elaine James, from Cookley, near Kidderminster, says: “I was listening the other day to someone who is supposedly an expert on hair styles and she said that to have our hair cut short as we get older can be very aging and suggested that a longer style, even in older women, is much more attractive. Don't know about the grey bit. I really think that is a personal thing. I have a very good friend who has left her hair grey for years but has always looked after herself so well and has such a young outlook on life that it hasn't made any difference at all.”
Student Alice Durant says: “I think it is all down to what that person wants. As long as you're happy with how you look I don't think it should matter whether what other people think.”
Wombourne conservationist Sheena Hamilton says: “We should decide our own identity and stick to it. I’m not fashion conscious at all so I just keep it how it is, short and grey – but if someone wants to wear a long blonde wig then get on with it.”