Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Is there some secret age that women cut their hair?

Asked by GloPro (8326points) June 19th, 2014 from iPhone

It is so rare to see an old lady with long hair. Why is that?

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46 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

A lot of the time their hair gets thinner, gray, and dryer. The shorter style is easier to comb through when your hair is thin and knotty. It also can help prevent dry split ends. I think it also has to do with just what looks right to our eye, and a long gray ponytail or flowing hair looks a little odd. Many much older women grew up when women would wear big rollers and set their hair. Look at photos from the 50’s, and they still are in that mind set of teased or styled hair that is frozen in place. They get their hair done once a week at the salon.

Also, they might not want to spend a lot of time doing their hair. Their arm might get tired trying to do fancy styles. The choices are shorter hair that dries quickly, and is an easy style, or long hair that you can throw into a ponytail or up do. Right now I prefer a ponytail, because when I have short hair I make it like a bob, not very very short, and then I have to do my hair every day. Ponytail long I don’t have to do my hair. I’m 46. My husband already tells me all the time he likes my hair better shorter, because my hair is thin.

GloPro's avatar

I wonder about this a lot because my hair is thick, brownish blonde so that gray hair doesn’t show. It’s naturally curly and always looks great without effort. My hair is currently just below my shoulder blades. I’m 34. When should I consider cutting my hair? Is long hair weird on old ladies?

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about it at your age. Who knows what will look nornal when you are 75. What to you is old?

snowberry's avatar

When you get older, your hair often changes. Anyone’s hair will be affected if there are hormone changes or a decline in health, which can make it fall out, get brittle, etc. Gray hair has a different texture than younger hair. Mine goes really frizzy. Having more of it isn’t prettier!

I’ve cut my hair several times because it started tying itself in knots. Having long hair isn’t worth that!

trailsillustrated's avatar

I am 50 and my hair is to my waist. It’s shiny, heavy and wavy. I french plait it or put it up sometimes. My sister who is 3 years older than me has the A-line helmet bob. She keeps telling me to cut my hair. I’m not. lol PS long hair is not weird on old ladies let me tell you.

JLeslie's avatar

I hope 50’s is not considered old lady? Where I live women in their 50’s often have long hair. It isn’t unusual at all. Not down to their butt, but certainly they still have hair past their shoulders.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’ve known older ladies who kept their hair done up in a bun, but when they let it down at night, OMG, talk about all the way to the floor. These ladies were in their 60s.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am 28 and have very long hair which I am proud of. I have also wondered how long I will be able to get away with it. I think it is becoming more common for older women to keep there hair long nowadays, maybe I’ll copy Barbra Streisand when I get to a certain age and go for a classy bob but I can’t imagine going shorter than shoulder length.

CWMcCall's avatar

When they have granbabies they cut their hair so the kiddies can’t pull on their hair. I thought everyone knew this!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro You’re 34 and you’re worried about this? You aren’t even close to old age lady. Just do whatever feels right. Friggin kids these days, jeez. :)

jca's avatar

I thought this last night because I am in a book group and the other ladies are in their 60’s and 70’s and all have short hair. One has a nice type of gray hair which is in a bob and it looks very smooth. The others have it short in a boyish cut. Two are dyed, one is just gray.

I agree long gray hair can look witch-like. It seems to get bushy and long gray bushy hair is not attractive, in my opinion. Long gray hair that is braided and wrapped around the head or pulled back in a ponytail is not attractive, either. Just my opinion. When I get old and gray I intend to dye it, unless I’m in a nursing home and don’t know any better.

I have often wondered why, even though the elderly ladies are getting it cut short, why does it have to be such a severe style? I understand short, but there are short cuts that still look stylish. I see many elderly ladies with hair cuts just like boys.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I do think long hair looks odd on most older women. But “older” certainly isn’t 30-something or 40-something. I’m talking about those women with long, straight, thin, silver hair that goes halfway down their back. I know a few women like this, and all of them are a bit odd themselves, hairstyle aside. I know a girl who’s mother has hair down to her butt – that lady is the biggest hippie I ever met, and not in a good way.

It really depends on what YOU look like. My mom is 50 and gravity paired with stress has taken its toll. Her face looks “longer” than it once did, if that makes sense. Having long hair just makes her look even older. She usually does a longish bob, somewhere between her ears and her shoulders. It looks good. She’s not gray yet, but our hairstylist told her he’d kill her if she grew it out long again. It’s just not flattering.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Long gray hair on women is not unattractive especially if they are keeping themselves fit and healthy. I’m actually attracted to it. Short gray or poorly dyed hair is not really attractive though. At least it’s not to me.

GloPro's avatar

I don’t think 34 is old by any standards. I’m thinking around 60 one starts to feel/look older, but what do I know at 34…
I do think at some point long hair just doesn’t look right. It’s like wearing tight sexy clothes. It makes some women look like they can’t let go of their youth. With naturally curly long hair I think I fall into that category. @trailsillustrated I wish I could go to 50 with this hair, but I think it’s not the right hair for the age. I don’t look forward to cutting it.
I’m going to ride the wave as long as I can, but at some point doesn’t it become unprofessional or look odd? I’ll be the one with the permanent French twist.

filmfann's avatar

My chemistry teacher in High School had very long hair. She was in her 60’s, and it was all I could do to maintain my lunch in my stomach.
My wife began cutting her hair short when she was about 40. I didn’t care for it then, but I am very happy with it now.

Coloma's avatar

I will NEVER chop my hair off just because of my age. I am turning 55 this year and wear my hair below shoulder length and still wear bohemian pigtails adorned with beaded bracelet ties. I receive, near daily compliments on my hair. I still pull it off quite well.

anniereborn's avatar

I also will not cut off my hair JUST because of my age. I have grown mine out the longest it has been in about 17 years. I am 46 and I love it. So does my partner.

Blackberry's avatar

I’ve been told some women do it once they settle so they don’t have to maintain longer hair anymore.

Pandora's avatar

All the reasons above, but I think it has more to do with menopause causing thinning of the hair and after years of tying your hair back, you usually get some sort of split in the hair where you notice all the greys coming though and you get to the point of being tired of dying your hair. Especially now. Even the cheapest salon charges 80 dollars for dye that will only last you a month before the roots show. So you can do it yourself. That gets old after a while. So you cut it short and let it all grow out and you are able to comb your hair back and cover the thinning or hair or the parts that show the new growth. It is what I plan to do. My hair grows fast and I am constantly needing to do my roots or I look like a skunk. I just keep resisting because short hair looks crappy on me. :( I have a lot of hair so it looks like a helmet when I cut it short. It makes my head look twice as big. Blah. I’m already growing tired of dying my hair.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@GloPro You made me choke on my peanut butter and honey sandwich! You are NOT an old lady!

JLeslie's avatar

I thought of another besides looking possibly witchy with long grey hair; length is an indicator of socioeconomics too. Not that people have to fit in with the stereotypes and norms of their group, and it all changes over time. Very long hair is often a lower class style unless you are quite young. In the last 10 years Hollywood has been very long hair oriented, but they almost all have extensions making their hair look fuller and hence younger, and of course have their hair dyed constantly. They still dont go below a certain legnth, even though I consider a lot of female stars to have long hair. But, middle of the back and longer is odd to see among adults in the middle classes and wealthier. People generally conform somewhat to the people around them. Dress like them, hair like them, they have even said having fat friends will make you fatter too, so even that might be affected in how you look. People certainly don’t have to conform though.

My SIL in her 50’s has quite long hair, close to the middle of her back, but not quote that long (she also is barely 5’2” so her hair length is shorter than mine would be if it hit the same part of my back). She looks 40. She has full hair that she constantly dyes (she has been grey since her 20’s) it has a great cut to give it great shape, and she also has a great figure, and very pretty. I can’t imagine what her hair will look like when she is 70. I wonder if she will go much shorter? She also when her daughter hit late teens used to get after her to cut her hair a little when it was getting very long, because she did not want her to look like the people who had extremely long hair. There is a fine line for her between long hair that looks young and beautiful and too long hair that is trashy or unsophisticated. It is similar to nail length; too long and it looks lower class.

Where did @GloPro say she is old now? She said maybe around 60 it starts and she isn’t even sure how she will feel at 60 since she is so far from that age.

@jca I know for me, somewhat above shoulder haircuts that are not “boy” short are a pain and hot. They take more work than long hair. When my hair is chin length or a little longer I have to do my hair every day. I can’t pull it back in a ponytail, for sure I will have wicked bed head in back every morning, and the length is on your neck. Summertimes and hot flash time a lot of women want to be able to get their off their neck so that is ponytail ready or severly short.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Good point about women from certain classes with very long hair. I find if hair is below shoulder length and cut often so the bottom doesn’t look raggy, and well colored, it’s good. If it’s long and untrimmed so it looks sloppy, with many streaks of gray, not good.

Coloma's avatar

I agree it is all about the cut, style. I do not care for long gray hair, some women pull it off well but it usually doesn’t look that great IMO.
I have little gray, color mine, and it is a few inches below shoulder length, has long layers, and I can either let if go naturally wavey, straighten it, or toss it up in my signature pigtails.
It all depends on the woman and the hair. haha

Aethelwine's avatar

My hair is long and blonde and I’ve started to get a few gray hairs. The hairs blend in well with my blonde hair and they aren’t very noticeable. I’m only 43, but my plan is to continue with the long hair and I will not be dyeing it. I’m going to go for the Jane Goodall look when I’m older.

I have two sisters in their mid 50s and they both have long hair that looks great on them. They both look like they are in their late 30s to early 40s. I doubt they’ll be cutting their hair any time soon. They both did their short Billy Idol look back in the 80s and they laugh at those pictures now.

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond Me too, blonde with just a few random strands of gray that show up in my bangs and a bit at my temples. I use a natural, semi-permanent rinse every few months that is a perfect medium, golden blonde that matches my natural color perfectly. I like the Jane Goodall look, I shall be Jane Goosall. lol
Natural blondes are lucky, the gray is muted really well.

OpryLeigh's avatar

My grandmother has a friend who is in her late 80’s and she has always kept her hair long. It isn’t grey but lovely and white and she wears it in a bun all the time (I’m not sure I have ever seen it down but my grandmother tells me it reaches the middle of her back). I think it looks lovely much nicer than the boyish cuts that others have described here.

Coloma's avatar

@Leanne1986 I agree, My grandma had long white hair too that she did up in a braided bun. It looked great and she wore it that was til she died at age 97.

jca's avatar

I think people whose hair turns silver are lucky – to me, it’s a pretty color.

I have a friend who has blonde hair (or should I say she did have blonde hair) and it’s now dirty blonde/gray. I think she thinks nobody sees gray, but it’s like a gray blonde. If she did color it, a new, fresher tone would totally brighten her face. Of course I don’t say that, as I let her think what she wants.

Coloma's avatar

@jca Yes, a little gray is better camouflaged in blonde hair but once it gets too much I think it looks best colored within one or two shades of your natural color.

jca's avatar

@Coloma: Yes I agree.

Aethelwine's avatar

Ugh. Just shoot me if I’m going to be that little old lady that’s always getting her hair dyed. I’d rather go natural.

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond I do mine myself, easy, I use Clairol natural Instincts Sunflower, a 24 shampoo, semi perm. color rinse that covers what little gray I have. Works like a charm and only takes 30 minutes every couple months.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Coloma A friend of a friend recently mentioned that she wished natural hair color could be pretty. This woman is in her 20s. I just think it’s kind of sad that so many women can’t be happy with their natural color. I think about all the time I spent in my late teens worrying about my hair and if my roots were showing. It’s just not something I worry about these days. I’m not going to stress over a head of hair. It’s just hair. But that’s just my opinion and I know I’m in the minority, or at least it feels that way. :)

JLeslie's avatar

The only thing I don’t like about going blonder when I get older is that older women tend to have blonder hair because it camoflouges the grey better, we all know it. I just went blonde ironically, but I still am very brunette naturally with several grays, but no one notices really. My husband says something but he says something about almost every “imperfection” I have. My SIL, the one I said who looks fabulous, keeps her hair dark, very close to her original natural color, and I think it helps her look younger. She does have to keep up with it constantly though. Natural blondes are a different case, and people who always dyed their hair blonde I think it is different too.

@jonsblond I think Jane Goodall pulls it off great.

canidmajor's avatar

@jonsblond: You may be in the minority, but you have at least a few who agree with you. I am delighted to have survived to my middle years, I just can’t spend the time or energy worrying about my gray hairs. Just different priorities, I guess.
However anyone wishes to appear is fine, @GloPro, don’t feel compelled to cut your hair if you don’t want to, or shave it off if you don’t want to bother with it. :-)

jca's avatar

Academics seem to get away with being somewhat more rumpled looking than otherwise professional women. When you see lady college professors, they often have gray hair that is not styled but may be worn long and gray or pulled back with clips. When you look at photos of professional women other than college professors (at least in the area I live and work in) they never have gray hair, never have hair that is not dyed and styled. The Hillary Clinton style is an example of what I am referring to.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Women in scientific research also.

Actually, for a while during Hillary Clinton’s travels as Secretary of State she pulled her hair into a ponytail. She says she was tired and not wanting to deal with so much fuss about her hair. Of course, people pointed out her hair though, and not in a favorable way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Women who are more intelligent seem to not want to bother with foo foo stuff. My hair’s a wreck BTW! Not really. Most of you saw that recent pic of me. I’m lucky in that it has natural curl. Decent hair cut, wash, mousse, scrunch while it’s drying, and go.

JLeslie's avatar

More intelligent? Uh oh. Thems seems like fighting words. Maybe people in more intellectual fields. At work they are not judged on their outward appearance as much as in other careers. The woman calculating what trajectory a satellite should be launched at is going to be valued for her math skills, not her hairdo.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: You’re not a college professor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I’m not, and I was just fooling around in my post.

GloPro's avatar

Hmmm, I have long blonde hair. That’s my new excuse :-)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have always found women attractive when they go organic, no makeup, hair color etc…
It’s so uncommon that it’s actually kind of exotic and intriguing. Young features and gray hair or aged but in shape can be very attractive. Nothing says that growing old means you can’t be attractive.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Aethelwine's avatar

Thanks for sharing those pics @ARE_you_kidding_me They look better than this imo. I also like a natural look.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jonsblond yeah, your link is not attractive. I think it’s sad that people end up ruining their appearance trying to chase cosmetic youth artificially.

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