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Is long hair over 40 acceptable? Or do I need something shorter?

(34 Posts)
Hatesponge Mon 29-Aug-11 14:21:29

I have very long, curly hair - if it was straightened it would be almost to my waist, but the curl pulls it up a fair bit. I have had it at least this length since I was 20-21. My hair is my 'thing' - all my Exs have raved about it, said it was my best feature etc.

However, I'm 40 next year, and don't know whether - even though I don't think I look my age (according to blokes in pub last night I can pass for 30 grin) I'm getting too old for long hair and should cut it?

Aside from my advancing age what goes in favour of chopping it off is the condition of it is definitely getting worse as I get older, and it's hard work to get it to look really good, the hair itself is very fine and has a tendency to matt together blush

But, on the other hand, I've had my hair this long for almost all my adult life, so changing it drastically is a bit scary. I have a round face (which the hair hides!) and I don't know if short(er) hair would look right on me.

Anyone else given up their long hair? Or kept it??

suebfg Mon 29-Aug-11 20:59:39

I hope long hair's OK past 40 cos I still have mine

ThePathanKhansWoman Mon 29-Aug-11 21:03:39

Same here.40's the new 30 doncha know wink.

RandomMess Mon 29-Aug-11 21:08:28

My hair is such hard work short I'm keeping it long, I never was trendy though...

animula Mon 29-Aug-11 21:15:02

It works for Rula Lenska, and Elle McPherson, and ... loads and loads of older women.

The over-40 + short hair is a weird - and dying out - cultural quirk that has its basis in a squeamishness about sexuality in older women.

If it suits you - keep it long.

and be happy.

babycham42 Mon 29-Aug-11 21:19:17

In my case I"m sure short hair is ageing.
If people comment on it as your best feature,keep it long.

ameliagrey Mon 29-Aug-11 21:22:48

I think waist length hair is horrible on anyone except Alice in Wonderland.

Sorrysad am joking- well, half joking.

TBH unless you - or anyone- has really beautiful hiar, then once it is past your shoulders the extra length is just meaningless.

It's not a nice sight- and if you are short- then it will swamp you.

You could still wear it past your shoulders and it would look long.

I don't think it's age-related- it's just a style which IMO does nothing much for anyone.

Hassled Mon 29-Aug-11 21:26:15

I think it's fine - I do tend to wear mine up more often as I've got older (45 now) depending on the occasion but agree that with curly hair it's much easier to manage when it's long. I'd rather long hair worn up or down than short unruly hair that needs a load of products and attention to look half-decent.

Maybe lose a bit of the length to help with the condition? Sounds like you could shed a good few inches and still have long hair. And talk to a hairdresser about deep conditioning treatments, maybe?

auroraday Mon 29-Aug-11 21:27:42

Totally honestly - it sounds a bit too long to me. Long is fine at 40 but nearly waist length, matting together, doesn't sound great. Why not try a few inches off to perk it up - it will grow back within a few months if you are not keen on the result, and you will still have fabulous long hair.

Quite apart from the OP's own situation, I disagree with animula's analysis - fine to have the same style forever if you are Elle Macpherson - but most of us aren't. Many times someone looks fresh and fabulous once they have opted for a well-cut "style" (which tends to be shorter) over very long hair and people can fancy a change at any age. I think the age-related change has its basis in the fact that around late 30s/40s when many ordinary women may begin to notice a little wear and tear when they look in the mirror, they can sometimes feel like a hairdo perks up their image. This doesn't apply to celebrities who are usually pampered and botoxed to within an inch of their lives. It's also not the case for everyone, and as women are looking after themselves better, eating, exercising, skincare, they are less likely to feel the need for a change these days than perhaps our mothers may have done - but I feel your interpretation is overanalysing a simple need for a fresher look.

Hatesponge Mon 29-Aug-11 21:27:56

Might have to keep it for a few more years then! smile

I know some women over 40 have long hair, but then for every Elle Mcpherson who looks amazing, there's a Liz Jones (who imo doesn't with her hair so long, facelift or not!).

I think I might have to lighten the shade a bit (again thinking of Liz - mine is not so dark as hers, but a darkish brown, so might need to go lighter)

CaptainMartinCrieff Mon 29-Aug-11 21:28:10

I have long hair (not waist length, but closer to waist than shoulders) and I've been wondering this too and I'm 34. I've got loads of grey so have to dye it frequently and quite honestly it's becoming a pain in the arse.

However I saw a woman who was probably late 50s the other day with long grey hair and it looked fantastic.

thehairybabysmum Mon 29-Aug-11 21:29:46

Sorry, what Amelia says, really long hair not attractive(especially if 'matting'), always smacks to me of someone with no self confidence at all! Sorry!

Get it cut!! If you really don't like it then just grow it again!!

Ripeberry Mon 29-Aug-11 21:31:37

Acceptable to whom? Do what you want, none of their business. Now I'm just over 40yrs old and thinking of getting my first tattoo!
Only a small discreet one mind you blush

Hatesponge Mon 29-Aug-11 21:31:59

I will get the worst condition part cut off though - maybe 4 inches or so. Which will mean I don't need to worry about a style (have never had my hair in a style as such!), and its still long by most peoples standards but should improve its condition.

I do deep condition it myself once a week or so. It's always done the matted thing though even when I was little (and it was long enough to sit on grin)

Colliherts Mon 29-Aug-11 23:01:55

I always had long hair and thought I wouldn't be as attractive without it. But actually i have it quite short now and I think it suits me a lot better. You might be suprised at how much it suits you short.

PJFanClub Mon 29-Aug-11 23:49:39

You could try going shorter in stages, maybe start off having it cut to bra-stap level to see how you like it. But make sure that you get it cut by someone who understands curly hair and knows how to take the weight out of it.

Maybe something like this style?

I have wavy/frizzy hair and have just discovered this which having tried everything has been the one thing that I haven't been disappointed with.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 29-Aug-11 23:57:12

I had very short hair from 25 to 35 and love having it longer now (past shoulders). I am 48 but most people guess me at 10 years or more younger. I think Liz Hurley looks fine with her long hair, and Kate Moss, for instance. But yy to Liz Jones, oh deary me.

Lorraine Kelly length hair is good on the 50+ crew, isn't it? (hopeful).

princessglitter Tue 30-Aug-11 00:04:19

auroraday, curly hair will matt together whatever the length (unless it is a crop) because that is what curly hair does! It requires lots of detangling to look good. Nearly waist length curly hair will spring up a lot shorter in reality.

IWouldNotCouldNotWithAGoat Tue 30-Aug-11 01:10:13

Keep it long, but just a smidge past shoulder-length is long enough imo.

Please don't join the legions of women with 'that' short do - the one that say 'I give up: I'll never be attractive again'.

bigTillyMint Tue 30-Aug-11 07:59:19

I had very long hair down to my waist when I was 40. But I have had it cut progressively shorter an it is now around shoulder length (and I am nearly 47). People often compliment me on how it looks and say that I look younger.

Long hair is fine, but it probably looks better cut into some sort of style as you near 50!

worldgonecrazy Tue 30-Aug-11 08:33:38

I think to help with condition you probably need to get it to a length somewhere between shoulder blade and elbow, when it's curled, so a little bit longer straight. I don't think long hair is ageing, mine is long and wavy and I'm 41. Perhaps it depends on what age the rest of you looks?

I used to get away with not paying too much attention but now I find I need to spend money on products and regular trims to keep it looking good. Your hairdresser should be able to advise you on what you need to do, maybe fortnightly deep-conditioning, etc. and colour for any greys that are popping up.

cornsilksi Tue 30-Aug-11 08:57:13

short hair ages me now - was short in my teens and it made me look very young. Bastard mother nature.

cyb Tue 30-Aug-11 09:00:11

I've tried to grow hair long (am 41 <wince>) but have realised its face shape that counts

I suit a jaw length bob much better

If your hair looks good and is in good nick, keep it


cornsilksi Tue 30-Aug-11 09:01:39

bobs make my face look really square and fat because it is

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 30-Aug-11 09:07:02

Oh, bugger the 'rules'. If you like it and it makes you happy, keep it.

I have short dyed hair at the moment but fully intend to grow it long when I'm old and let it be its natural grey. Yep, like a witch. Just because you're not 'supposed' to. grin

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