Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you notice hair as a signal to how old someone is?

Asked by JLeslie (59822points) November 1st, 2015 from iPhone

What ages people? I always think wrinkles and weight can age a person, but I am more and more aware that hair is a big factor too. Thinning hair, a characteristic sign of aging. I’ve had extensions for 6 weeks now and I love feeling the thicker hair hit my back, and it’s so much easier to do my hair in the morning. My hair looks in much better condition, even my real hair, and even though I have spent more time drying it and used more hot appliances like a flat iron.

People often tell me I look younger, but usually I think they are being nice. With longer, thicker hair, I noticed almost shock in their voice and face when I tell them my age.

My hair isn’t much longer than my natural length, it’s about 4 inches below my shoulders now I think? If I go straight across from under my shoulder, my underarm, my hair is still above that. My natural hair is about two inches shorter than the extensions. My stylist wanted me to keep it longer, which I tried for a week, but I went back and had her cut back 2 inches.

I also think hair color matters. Brunette looks younger to me usually if a person, especially a woman, is obviously over 40 by looking at her face. There are exceptions of course.

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23 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

For men, no. So many men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are shaving their heads (by choice) that hair or lack of it is not a good indicator of age.

Women are a different story. In my (non-scientific) count, the numbers of women over 45 that have hair lower than the back of their neck is about 10%. Which is a real shame. To me, older women with short hair have just said “I give up”.

Maybe I am just an old hippie, but to me, if you have hair, be proud of it, whatever color it is. If I see a woman who is my age (60+) and her hair s dark black or even totally brunette, she is faking it. And that tells me something about her.

I cam to grips with having my beautiful brown beard go grey about 15 years ago. Everyone knows that colors change. Live with it.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso A lot of women go short because their hair is thinning.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Usually yes, but there have been a few cases where the “wearer” had the most gorgeously thick, glossy and amazingly styled hair. Standing with her back towards me, I was expecting her to turn around and reveal her beautiful, young face. The moment she turned I saw an elderly lady who was just well-groomed and not even remotely attractive!

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

My husband started losing his hair at 20 and I know many people who started turning grey at a young age.

For me it’s aging skin and dark puffy eyes that make people look older.

kritiper's avatar

I do if it’s really white. I look at it funny if the color looks too fake.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Do you notice hair as a signal to how old someone is? Not any more. The hairstyles of today range so much that judging someone by their hairstyle seems to be moot.

What ages people? For women, I used to believe that it stems from having a husband and/or children.~ Doesn’t it really boil down to genetics, age, and lifestyle?

A lot of women go short because their hair is thinning. Is that true? I don’t know any female that has mentioned that their hair is thinning. Women having their long locks lopped off after having a child seems to be a more common reason.

As a teen, I used to lament the fact that my nose was slightly crooked due to it being broken as a child. An older sister said, “If it bothers you that much, save up to have it fixed.” If that is the way you feel about your hair, then embrace the hair extensions. There is nothing wrong with that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer My husband likes my hair shortish. It’s because my hair is thin, and when it’s long he says it looks too much like cotton candy. He exaggerates, I think you have seen my hair on Facebook, but he comes from a family of Latin Americans, originally from the Mediterranean, and their hair is right with what you might stereotype. Thick, dark brown or black, some curly, some straight. He also is sucked in by TV and media and there is so much fake hair on TV. When it’s too thick, or too obvious I don’t like it.

I got my hair extension cheap. $380! It’s a fortune. No way I would do it all the time, even if I wanted to. Most places it’s $500 and up.

Coloma's avatar

I think, short of fully gray hair, that skin is the most obvious telltale sign of aging, but…not always.
I had a friend years ago that was only 42 at the time but she looked like the Marlboro women. She honestly looked 60+ IMO.
She didn’t smoke but had been an avid horsewomen her whole life, competing in various equine classes and endurance trail riding.

She was thin, petite, in amazing shape but extremely wrinkled and weathered from years of outdoor activity. I have very nice skin for my age, ( 56 next month ) and, after years of using a color rinse on my hair to highlight my lifelong, natural blonde color I not only stopped coloring last Feb. but, I also just chopped off about 4 inches and now have a shoulder cut. I have been told recently it makes me look younger and while I have always liked longer hair it is much easier to care for now. The most amazing thing though is now that my hair has grown out for almost 9 months, my natural color is still only about a shade darker than the original and, I have very little visible gray.

Just a few strands that blend almost imperceptibly and a tinge at my temples. I am going to let it grow completely out and see what it looks like. It is blending very well and you would never know that this is what I am doing. I figure I’d like to see the real me for the first time in 15 years or more. So far I am pleasantly surprised. I can always resume my semi-permanent color routine if I so desire.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As said before, if there is satisfaction in altering one’s looks, and they can afford to do so, then why not do it?

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not stopping anyone from doing it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

That is understandable. It is not in your nature, nor is it in mine.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I’m not vain enough to pay the money to keep them up all the time. Plus, it interferes a little with my swimming and Zumba. Not to mention I can be lazy about these things. At times I wish I always looked put together, but alas it isn’t in me. Part of me doesn’t want outward appearance to matter so much in society, and yet I admit to caring about it to some extent.

I think hair is past of what tells your age. I’m fascinated and envious if people with beautiful hair. Many “older” women still have beautiful full hair. They usually have cut it short though. I agree it’s not always because of thinning hair. Some women go short because they flash.

ucme's avatar

Whenever the time comes that I see a grey pube, on either myself or the wife, then I know…

1) Sign of ageing
2) High likelihood of fainting
3) Panic Attack

jca's avatar

I think I asked a question on here once about why older women get short haircuts like boys. I can see shortER but I don’t understand why the need for a severe style.

For myself, hair is still pretty long and layered. I get it colored every 5 weeks and cut every other visit, so every ten. I go to an expensive salon that uses low ammonia color, so my hair feels good, not dry like it would from cheap color.

Otherwise, I wear moisturizer with sunscreen every day for the past 20 years. That makes a huge difference.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I don’t remember that Q, but I think it’s many reasons:
Thinning hair

They flash (you have to go really short for that, off the neck).

They find it easier (I find short hair to be more trouble).

They like how it looks.

Their peers are doing it.

jca's avatar

A friend of mine dyes her hair brown. She’s 55. Her eyebrows are white and it’s an awful look.

Coloma's avatar

@jca Haha…why wouldn’t she dye her eyebrows too? Funny!

JLeslie's avatar

I dye my eyebrows when I dye my hair. They don’t do it in the salon though. I only have a few white eyebrow hairs, I usually pull them.

filmfann's avatar

Eye puffiness is my favorite indicator.

jca's avatar

What I find is that older people have hanging, stringy necks, which is a sure sign of age.

JLeslie's avatar

Gawd, my age really shows on my neck. It’s proof that makeup is good for the skin, contrary to popular belief.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Put sunscreen on your neck and top of your chest. When you look at older women and their chest and neck is dark and mottled, it can be prevented with sunscreen.

JLeslie's avatar

I do. Since my late 20’s I’ve done it, but it wasn’t soon enough.

Living in FL you protect every drop of skin. It’s why I am so D deficient.

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