The Haircare Secret for Older Women

In the words of Curl Queen Lorraine Massi, “Curls are for life.” Somehow, though, this sentiment is not reflected in the hair industry, where older women are seldom represented in marketing and advertising, nor are our specific age-related hair and scalp challenges adequately addressed. Consider the following rough statistics: as of 2018 there were approximately 674,874,638 women in the world over age 55, and an estimated 65 percent of them have curly or wavy hair. This is a community of significant purchasing power, yet it is a demographic that goes unseen for the most part. This site, which embraces and celebrates inclusiveness, and Lorraine Massey’s book Silver Hair: A Handbook are ahead of the curve when it comes to helping curly women over 50 care for their hair. Doing a robust Google search on the topic “older women curly hair” will retrieve vast collections of bad haircuts and hair toppers. On the rare occasion there are products marketed to myself and my age cohorts phrases like “anti-aging”, “age-defying”, and “gives a more youthful appearance” abound. I asked myself “Haven’t we earned the right to rock our silver crowns?”, and then I consulted my female curly friends over age 50 online and IRL on this topic and more. What we want the hair industry to know follows.

We would be thrilled to see ourselves represented in advertising.

Who says that hair can’t be healthy and beautiful at any age? I mean, is there anything more glorious than silver and white 4C coils, or a bouncy head of curls with a few streaks of nature’s glitter peppered throughout? We want our 50-plus hair to look the best that it can look, and showing models in our age group with healthy hair of all curl types encourages us to buy.

We want natural, curl friendly products to address thinning hair concerns.

By age 50, more than half of all women will experience hormone-related hair loss. Unlike other forms of this problem that are often (although not always) temporary, the type of hair loss older women experience due to menopause, androgenic alopecia, tends to be permanent. Shampoos and topicals that are used to treat it are often not the best things for curly hair, as they are often loaded with harsh sulfates, drying alcohols, and other harsh chemicals. Healthy, robust hair follicles should not come at the expense of the hair that we have worked so hard to care for.

We want stylists and other hair professionals to understand fading, gray, silver, and white hair and embrace it.

Hair that is losing pigmentation may become drier and more porous than it was, and we would appreciate having stylists who know how to care for it and educate us on it, rather than cover it up with hair dye. Treatments that impart moisture into thirsty curls and leave them shiny and hydrated should be on every salon menu.

Just because we’re over 50 doesn’t mean that we want a haircut that has been around since we were born.

We don’t need or want flat-ironed pixie shags. We prefer cuts that make the most of the texture that gives us effortless volume. Shape our curls and coils so they can show the world how beautiful they are.

Please don’t hurt our hair. We want it to be healthy.

Keep the heat styling tools, chemical relaxers/keratin treatments, bleach, and harsh shampoos away from our heads. Treat our hair as with the delicate care that you would treat fine silk. We will leave the salon happy, and you will have a repeat customer.

If you are a stylist, don’t push products on us that we don’t want.

Most of us enjoy trying new products and will support a quality brand. However, know that not every product is for everyone. There are very good reasons that we avoid certain ingredients. Respect the wisdom of our experiences.


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