Help me find the perfect hair style!

by Sylvia

hairstyles over more than 40 years
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Today’s post is a little different than usual. I’m going to ask for your expert advice! I haven’t discussed hairstyles so often on this blog, even though it is an important part of your style. (update: here is a new article on tips for the best hairstyles for women over 40 and I also have a dedicated pinboard now for women over 40 hairstyles). So let’s start with my own hairstyle. Hopefully by analysing my hair style, you may find some information that is useful for you too.

I’m feeling pretty confident when it comes to my clothes, but when it comes to my hair, I’m always struggling. I haven’t got the easiest hair. It’s thin, very frizzy and difficult to style. Add to that my ‘5 minute ready to go’ attitude and I am usually left with rather unglamorous hair. It was years before I finally found an iron straightener and could finally get some of the frizz out of my hair. My life became a whole lot easier still when I discovered the Brazilian Blowout keratin hair treatment, which allowed me to get my hair frizz free with very little or no maintenance.

The story of my hair styles

My hair has gone through all kinds of styles. I started with some cute tails when I was 5, but unfortunately my ‘cuteness’ was completely destroyed at age 8, when I had the ugliest glasses and the worst haircut you can imagine (what was my mother thinking?). Suffice to say, that I did not cut my hair short for a long time after that, although I can remember doing some of my dance exams with short hair again at age 16. I went through a a curly hair phace (it was the seventies!), the bob, and various short and long hairstyles after that. I’m a bit of a yoyo when it comes to hair. I cut it short, then let it grow again until I get really bored with it and then cut it off again. My hair has been mid long to long a few years now and is now almost the longest it has ever been; maybe it’s time to cut it off.

Go for the perfect hair cut or convenience?

Although I’ve had several periods when I had short hair, I cannot remember ever really being happy with it, although I love the convenience of it when it’s really short. It does not offer a lot of options. When you have a bad hair day, you can’t just put it in a quick pony tail, which is what I usually do when my hair has a decent length. But I have seen so many women looking absolutely fabulous with a short hairstyle and I DO find it a very trendy look.

Pony tails and hats

The other option for bad hair is a great hat, which is an option I have been using a lot lately!

What do with my hair – Pony tail acceptable?

Question now is, what to do with my hair? I’m reasonably happy with my long hair, but it gets increasingly hard to manage. I definitely can’t have long hair without doing the brazilian blowout treatment as the frizz is just too much here in Singapore. The structure of my hair is getting even worse as it would be completely grey if I did not color it. I’m definitely breaking the ‘rule’ of needing great hair, if you are to keep your long hair after 40. But if I cut it too short (say bob length), I can’t put my hair back in a pony tail, which is still a very convenient look for me.

Finding a style that suits your face shape

The shape of my face is oblong, which would mean that long hair would not be so great for me, unless I wear it as shown below. A bob style is recommended or a short style that aims to make your head look a bit wider.

Here are some hair styles that The HairStyler recommends for my face type. You will also be able to check suitable hairstyles for your face shape there.

Hairstyles for oblong face

I quite like the last one, although I’m not sure I could ever style it like that. My hair just doesn’t have that much body. Also that style may look messy quite quickly. I’m tempted for a bit more funky color. Perhaps i should keep it long, but spice it up a bit with color.  As you can tell, I’m undecided when it comes to my hair. So it occured to me that perhaps there are a couple of hair experts amongst my readers? Why don’t you tell me what to do! All opinions and advice welcome, although I can’t guarantee that I will act upon it….

What do  you think?

Which style do you think I should go for. Keep to my long hair? What color? Do you have similar problems when choosing your hair style or is that just a breeze for you?

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Heather Fonseca

I also have very fine hair with little to no body, but it’s not frizzy. That might have something to do with the dry climate where I live. Anyway, I find a chin length bob looks best on me especially when it has a few layers to give it body. I do miss long hair though – it’s so much fun. I like the photos of you with a bob too. You have a higher forehead so you can wear bangs, which at so flattering!

Since you’ve never had really short hair you might want to try that just for fun. I had a pixie in my 20’s and other than the frequent cuts to keep it in shape it was super easy to care for. I also think you look great super blond!

Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Heather. I DID have really short hair, 2nd row, 2nd from right. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that again…

Heather Fonseca

That one looks sort of medium short with long in the back though. I’m thinking more like a pixie. Short in the back too.

Suzanne

I am not talented at giving hair advice but I wanted to tell you that your pictures are adorable! I had dark hair that fell below my waist for many years but cut it to mid-back and had it highlighted when my daughter started middle school (6th grade). It has gotten a little shorter and a lot lighter ever since. :) It is medium thickness and has natural wave so my stylist just cuts many layers into it and I have it trimmed and colored (highlights or lowlights or sometimes just glazed) every 5 weeks. I really like it and it is simple – wash and go. If I had to pick a cut for you to try it would be the last one – choppy and not too short. It reminds me of the cut you have in the 2nd picture of the bottom row – very attractive!

Sylvia

Thanks Suzanne. I thought it would be fun to show how I aged in life and the various hairstyles I have had. Thanks for your recommendation!

Suzanne

I am not saying that you shouldn’t keep your hair long – I thought you were ready for a change and wanted to know which cut you should go for. If you are happy with the length you have now there is no reason to go shorter. Only you know how difficult your hair is to style and care for and what works best for you. I would not let anyone talk me into cutting my hair short. I like to be able to put it up when it is hot and I like to be able to have it done in a elegant updo for formal evenings. Today I had breakfast with a friend visiting from out of state and did not recognize her because she went from long and blond to short and dark and it was too drastic. Hair is such a personal issue. Do what is best for you!

Sylvia

I’m in for a change, but also know that it is so hard to get a cut that I like and that is easy to style. So from that point of view my longer hair is easier. I’m going for a keratin treatment tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes. Then on Sunday the hairdresser. A new stylist, so have no idea how good he is… Will read through all the comments again, have a look at some more hairstyles and then it just all depends on what mood I’m in on Sunday! Thanks for your feedback!

Terri

I have a similar dilemma. I’ve had short hair multiple times, but never give it the styling attention it really ought to have. Generally, I pull my hair back in a pony tail high or low and often play with buns. I know that the older I get, each time I cut it it doesn’t grow back as full and thick as I like.

Sylvia

Hi Terri, That is exactly my problem too. At least with long hair I can pull it back…..

Nanne

Hair is so difficult! Mine is thick and quite coarse with strange cowlicks and starting to get grey. I cut my hair in a short pixie last summer and garnered tons of compliments, but now I’m in the process of growing it out again, which has actually been easier than I thought. I now have a short, layered bob that I feel really comfortable with. Of all the hairstyles, I think the one in the second picture in the last row of your photos of your previous hairstyles, looks absolutely adorable on you! The colour seems to really suit your skintone, and the shape frames your face. One possible solution would perhaps be to go for something similar, just long enough to put it up in an elastic band? By the way, as you have frizz issues, have you tried Moroccan Oil? I haven’t tried it myself yet, but from what I read it should really do wonders:)

Sylvia

Thanks Nanne for your great feedback. No never tried Moroccan Oil. Is that a brand or generic name? Where could you get that?

Nanne

Moroccan Oil is a brand, and you can read about the products, reviews and shop online here: http://www.moroccanoilproducts.com/.

Sylvia

Thanks Nanne! I will check it out.

Nanne

I’m excited to hear if you decide to try it:)

Brenda

When i was in my 20’s my hair was much shorter and easy to maintain. I have thin hair and past my shoulders in length. Once or twice a year i get my hair styled but always seem to go back to pony tails or putting it up in a bun.
It’s really hard giving hair advice!

Sylvia

It is! Thin hair (that frizzes) is a pain. Not many options…. Thanks for your feedback!

Cynthia

I find long hair to be a lot of effort, while a good short hair cut tends to be nearly effortless. Have you tried short with longer bangs/no curl? Or a precise bob with no bangs? Also, as I mentioned in a recent post (linked below) the manageability and texture of my hair totally changed when I stopped washing it with shampoo.

Sylvia

My long hair is reasonably manageable when I have the keratin treatment. In any case I’m going to have that done on Friday. That’s even necessary to get the frizz out, even with short hair. I think I have tried all kinds of bobs throughout my life, but a pure bob would be too classic for me now, I think. Or only have it when it’s nice and straight. Yes, I remember reading that post. Will read it again! Thanks so much for your feedback!

Lisa

Hi Sylvia,

I have to agree with you, I am confident with my wardrobe and style, but I struggle with finding my perfect hairstyle. I think I have loved my hair maybe 3 days in my lifetime LOL, and I have worked for 2 different haircare manufacturers during my career!! Ce est la vie!

When I look at all of your pictures, the style that stands out to me as super flattering is the bob with bangs (first set of pictures, last row, second pic from the left). When I think about the modern, chic lines of your wardrobe, that style and color just seem so fitting . I think it is so lovely on you!!! My 2 cents :)

Sylvia

Perhaps that’s why I try to compensate with my clothes :) Yes, I looked good on that day. But that is probably also the best picture, had my makeup done, just had keratin treatment etc. On an off day that hairstyle would look like the first picture on the left! But you’re right, this could be a good style for me. Nobody seems to think that I should just keep my long hair… Thank you so much for your feedback!

Manidipa

I really like the look you have in the second picture, last row too. What if you got a variation on that by way of Hairstyler’s last recommendation? So a choppier, longer cut with softer, graduated bangs, and hair just the right length to frame your face in front, longer in the back, with the choppiness adding interest and heft (I HAVE seen that look work on fine hair in RL).

Sylvia

That could be an idea, I just wonder if I could style it right. My hair will be soft after Friday, and if I layer it too much, there’s hardly any ‘body’ left…. Thanks so much for your help!

Bella

I like your updated bob in a sandy blond coloring. Your childhood pictures are too cute.
For me ….I just let my stylist tell me what she thinks and then we play around a bit. I’ve been using her for over 10 years and she never lets me down.

Sylvia

Wow I wish I had a stylist like that. I have the opposite, I’m always disappointed…. So time to try someone new.

Carole

I think your idea of the last style the layered shortish cut with a variety of lowlights and highlights could suit you very well. The layers should add some needed volume and make your daily prep rather short. Not a hairdresser just an artist and observer of people. It’s easy to do with other people but can’t say I am always that successful with myself.

Sylvia

thanks so much for your feedback Carole!

Helen

Hi Sylvia, I really enjoy your blog and went back to some photos of how you wear your hair and I noticed that you use hats a lot which I think looks great and really makes your style ‘funky’ and stylish
I also like the way you wear your hair – not too styled and think a blunt cut that sits on your shoulders would be a great length on you – as you appear to have a long neck so can carry it off and you will still be able to tie it up when required, which I think is necessary when living in a hot climate. Are you tall also – as I think hair to the shoulder and straight looks great on taller women.
For inspiration check out Kate Moss, as she too seems to have hair without a lot of body and I like how she doesn’t overly style it. If you do a google image search for her there are a lot of photos of Kate with various length hair that shows she appears to work with the texture she has . I will be really interested to see what you choose to have done. I am always looking for the fabulous cut that is easy to manage and looks like it was made just for me , I haven’t been successful yet!!!

Sylvia

Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response Helen. After so many of you think I should go back to shoulder long hair I think I will just do that. That is the length I’ve had most of the time and I would definitely want to have a look that is a bit more modern than what I have now. I will also have to experiment with some product in my hair. Will check out kate Moss’ styles! I’m 1.73m. Not considered tall in Holland but here in Singapore it’s definitely tall, especially when I add high heels as I did today!

Shybiker

I have no talent with hair so I can’t provide any advice, but I did want to say how much I enjoy seeing these photos. They show an evolution that is fascinating to watch. It’s interesting to see, as we age, what changes and what doesn’t.

Sylvia

Yes, it is interesting, isn’t it. That’s why I thought it was fun to include my really young pictures….

Greetje Kamminga

Hi Sylvia,
My hair is my nightmare: it is thin and there isn’t a lot of it. But it is not frizzy. For me a bob works really well. For you… I would keep the long hair. I like your last picture in the right bottom corner the best.
For a while I had short hair in a messy style. Wasn’t bad but it clashed with really nice classy clothes. And I vary a lot in clothes style. So I went back to the bob.
I have the best hair dresser on earth. Makes a world of difference how your hair sits and how to maintain it.. For a while I thought I would have to follow her to the end of the world, but fortunately she has tought a few colleagues how to cut that well.

Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Greetje!

Nancy

You have great features and I believe you can go with a cute short pixie style with longer bangs. Just my 2 cent’s.

Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Nancy!

Elizabeth

I cannot believe we did not talk in more detail about this today!

However, it was rather good to read your detailed list of criteria and challenges. I did notice your gorgeous brown eyes, not getting the star power they deserve. As a longtime hairdresser, i’ve seen many a dark eye get washed out with lighter hair, which is a shame. Roots are a drag, and the darker hair shades suffer as our hair gets lighter (whiter) as we become wiser.

That all sad, reading this, I immediately thought of that sassy chestnut deconstructed and super chic bob that Katie Holmes sported, post baby. A bit longer chin length might work, as I recall hers was cheek/jaw. As for he color, darker, but not too dark, maybe some teak colored panels added to what you have to ease into a darker mode?

Sylvia

Hi Elisabeth. I have already had my haircut and colour done now. I am still getting used to my lighter colour again as I was surprised how light it looked on the image…

Joni@WalkingColors

Boy, I could get lost on your site for hours! This is a late comment to add and not sure if you’ll find it, but I think the last photo choice would be darling on you! On the other hand, since you do look good with it pulled back in a ponytail, and it doesn’t look good on me, I’d say it’s rather classy. I’ve always wanted to enjoy the simplicity of a ponytail but it really takes the right shaped head. And you can do it!

Sylvia

Yes I”m very tempted to go even shorter for my last haircut and that last style would be great. But not having the convenience of pulling my hair bag is indeed what holds me back. It’s quite nice to have the hair out of your face in this hot climate…

Alex

My wife looks gorgeous with haircut similar to your picture #10 at the beginning of the post :) Thanks for the inspiration, Sylvia!

Sylvia

That’s great to hear Alex!

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