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Young at Heart. And Hair Follicles.

Feb19

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Photo by seanomatopoeia

Dear Amy,

I’m looking at spring fashion / style / hair / makeup / whatever trends, and I’m seeing lots of lovely pink hair. Pink streaks or pink-tipped lower layers, usually on blondes. There’s also some pale green, though that’s a harder color for most people to pull off. Hair colors not found in nature are not for everyone, obviously, but I love it. I want it!

My hair is dark brown, cut into a funky messy pixie, with one side longer than the other. I am considering getting a couple of lavender streaks in the long side, put into the underlayers so that they peek through the dark brown on top. I have a stylist who can handle lavender hair dye. My question is not whether or not it will look good. My question is whether or not I am too old for it.
I will be 33 next month. I have a child who will be 2 in a few weeks. I am a long, long, long way from the pert teenage models who are sporting pink streaks in the style pages. Am I too old for lavender streaks in my hair? I’m not afraid of looking quirky, but I am afraid of looking like mutton dressed as lamb.

Please advise.

Yours truly,
K

GO FOR IT! GO FOR IT! (clap clap clap clap) GO FOR IT!

Seriously, what else can I say? You like it, you want it, you think-slash-already-know it will look good. It sure sounds to me like it will look good, and if 32 is too old to be doing fun, crazy stuff with your hair, then SHOOT ME NOW, because the next few decades sound too boring to bear. You know, to this 32-year-old.

I did the pink hair a couple years ago, and my recent switch to red hair actually started with a discussion of adding in a few streaks of a punk red and then spiraled from there, with my stylist getting giddy at the chance to try a super-dramatic makeover.

I am a fan of dressing “age-appropriately,” though I absolutely could not tell you what that even means, definitively. It’s soooo different for everyone, and has just as much to do with ATTITUDE as it does the age on your driver’s license. A 40-something who is happy and confident and takes care of herself looks very different in a short skirt than one who is unhappy and desperate for attention/lost youth/love/whatever.

I’m 32. I wear skinny jeans and minidresses and trends and more than occasionally realize I am the oldest lady in the store, including everybody working there. And definitely the only with TWO CHILDREN in tow. And I do not take this as a cue to head out the door. I know my style and what looks cute on me and what doesn’t (I don’t do much tight-around-the-middle stuff or anything midriff-baring, oh my God) and…well, my husband likes it when I wear short skirts and high heels. And I don’t really give a crap about anyone else’s opinion — I left all that angst and worry behind in high school. And frankly, I’m just not ready for highwaisted pants and elastic waistbands and sensible sweater sets and a Mom Bob. And I don’t see why I should be.

You’re a mom. You’re also still a YOUNG WOMAN who knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. GO FOR IT.

(And then send us some pictures.)

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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22 Responses to “Young at Heart. And Hair Follicles.”

  1. Michelle Feb 19 at 5:55 pm Reply Reply

    I agree – go for it! I used to work with an awesome lady who was well into her late 50’s, and had a whole head of pixie-cut white/silver hair. BUT every few months or so, she’d dye maybe 5-10 teeny pieces of it BRIGHT pink, or green, or blue etc. Everyone always had to look twice to see it -very subtle – but it was so refreshing to see, and so cool! I think that there’s a way to do it right, and it sounds like you’re going to! Good luck!

  2. Ms. K Feb 19 at 5:56 pm Reply Reply

    Well done, subtle lavender streaks? Go for it, absolutely.
    I can still remember being a teenager chatting with a friend’s mom who was (maybe late 40s at the time?) and sporting a very trendy cut with nicely done orange streaks. She was well dressed and well put together and I remember thinking how I hoped I would look that good when I was that age.

  3. Julie Feb 19 at 6:08 pm Reply Reply

    PICTURES, please!! I am 31 and am always asking myself this same question! I want fun, funky colors in my hair, but will I look lame if I try it? Maybe “K”‘s bravery will be my inspiration!

  4. kari Weber Feb 19 at 9:47 pm Reply Reply

    Oooooh! Definitely send us an update with photos! I say go for it too. As another 32 year old that would SHUDDER if I was considered too old to have fun, I bet you will look adorable!

  5. Lauren Feb 19 at 10:02 pm Reply Reply

    DO IT! Although I am one of the younger childless ones out there, I hate it when women assume kids and marriage mean they can’t do fun stuff with their style. If it suits who you are, go for it.

  6. sugaredharpy Feb 20 at 12:41 am Reply Reply

    Do it! DO IT!!!
    I did this last year, and I was 32. And I have TEENAGE kids. And I’m a teacher. And I dress like a librarian/teacher person, so totally my age.
    The kids loved it, my students loved it, and you know who loved it most? Old ladies. They always stopped me to say they loved my hair. One woman said to me, “And people think old ladies dye their hair blue on accident.”
    Enjoy it, have fun with it!
    I will say this, Manic Panic Ultra Violet is gorgeous as a purple, but fades very quickly to gray. Reds and pinks are great because when they fade it’s to…another pink and still looks good for a long time. I never tried green, though, but I’ve seen some amazing greens on people. It’s all semi-permanent, which is kind of nice because you can switch it up if you don’t like a color as much as you thought.
    So fun! GO FOR IT!

  7. Jaymee Feb 20 at 11:35 am Reply Reply

    DON’T DO IT!!!
    Hate to say it, but YES you are too old for this style. If you haven’t noticed all of the people saying that you should do it are all roughly the same age age as you. The only one that says she is younger said kids and marriage shouldn’t keep you from doing something. Well I agree kids and marriage shouldn’t, but your age should! You are in no way old, but you are definitely too old to be putting lavender in your hair. Sorry. There is nothing worse(well actually there are alot of things that are worse, but for dramatic effect there isn’t)than seeing someone that is trying to be ‘hip’ and ‘young’ by doing something that doesn’t suit their age. It makes you look like you’re going through a mid life crisis or something. And from a professional stand point it’s hard to respect someone with crazy colors in their hair(or earings all over their face or tatoos all over their body) no matter what their age.

  8. Tiffany Feb 20 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    Oh my gosh, I couldn’t possibly love this question and advice any more than I do!! I’m totally having a style crisis but am too scared to do anything about it right now (baby 2 is coming in 3 months so I’m too preoccupied!) This totally gives me hope and inspiration for getting back in the groove after this baby arrives.

  9. Maria Feb 20 at 12:40 pm Reply Reply

    This 31 year old says DO IT~! Remember that 30 is the new 20 – yes, it sounds corny but it’s true.
    PS. minidresses and shorter skirts are even more fun with crazy colored tights underneath, btw (I have hot pink, electric blue, teal, purple, a bazillion colors – perfect for those who are in their 30’s and are still young (but concerned with modesty)

  10. J Feb 20 at 2:12 pm Reply Reply

    I echo everyone here. Go for it. I know a woman in her 50s who always has a fire engine red streak in the front of her hair. Looks gorgeous.

  11. ms martyr Feb 20 at 2:40 pm Reply Reply

    I had a few pink extensions put in last October. I’m 57. I told my husband (who hated them) it was for breast cancer awareness, but really it was just for fun. I’m about ready to try another color. The nice thing about extensions is they can be removed easily if you tire of them/don’t like the results. I also wear crazy nail polish colors. If cancer has taught me one thing, it’s not to be afraid and don’t waste chances to have fun. You may not get another.

  12. DeNae Feb 20 at 7:53 pm Reply Reply

    Do it! As a 37-year old with dark brown brown hair with a bright purple chunk all along the front, go for it! I’ve gotten more compliments from complete strangers since I started doing this. It’s a blast.

  13. Monica Feb 20 at 8:57 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, DO IT! A friend of mine with a cute shoulder length cut just did a few bright pink and blond highlights in that same peek-a-boo fashion and it is perfect. She’s also early 30’s with dark hair, cute and trendy and artistic and it in no way looks like she’s mutton wearing lamb, as you say. Funny.

  14. roxanne Feb 21 at 2:08 pm Reply Reply

    Totally do it! I am 38 and still dress like I have interest in the fashion world around me. You can’t just give up on looking your coolest simply because some people expect you to.

  15. Olivia Feb 22 at 8:36 am Reply Reply

    Go for it. I think it really depends on personal style than age. I’m 31 and I tend to dress in lots of business casual, but that is the style I’m comfortable in. However, I keep my haircut funky, my nails painted in fun colors and my tattoos peek out now and then. I’m even planning future tats to commemorate my children’s births.
    It’s really about the younger generation of mothers just being themselves. We are a genteration of hair-dying, tattooing, body piercing people. We listened to punk, hip hop and dressed in “grunge” (please tell me I’m not the only one who wore flannels and boots?).
    As we become parents and grandparents it just makes sense that we will bring our styles with us, and that’s a good thing. It teaches our children to be comfortable and express themselves however they want to.

  16. Tasterspoon Feb 22 at 11:59 am Reply Reply

    I think the difference between looking awesome and looking desperate is whether the rest of you, besides your hair color, is well cared-for and chic. If you rock clothes that look good on you and fit you well (even if they’re quirky), and your hair has got a flattering cut – the edginess of a funky color is not so much an age issue as an attitude one.
    But if your hair gets played out and you dress sloppily or you wear trendy cheap clothes merely because they’re ‘in’ or have chewed-up blue nails or if you have a sulky, drop-out attitude, then it just seems like you’re rebelling – and 32 is too old to rebel. Or too sad.
    I do get what Jaymee is saying, sometimes you will see a person who is clearly “trying too hard” – men wearing those “cool guy” sport sunglasses on the street is my particular bugaboo – but I think it comes down to whether the whole package looks sharp and intelligent rather than merely reactive and sheeplike.
    I’ve bought two dresses from Betsey Johnson in the past year (and I am invariably the oldest person in the store – I’m 36) and I get more compliments on them than the rest of my wardrobe combined…I’m always impressed by how she makes wacky clothes (and hair) totally wearable, even on herself, who is no spring chicken – it’s because she appears to have a fun loving attitude that it’s delightful rather than off-putting.

  17. Fawn Amber Feb 22 at 1:53 pm Reply Reply

    HELL YES, go for it! As a 37-year-old with bright red streaks and black fingernail tips instead of white, I think it all boils down to whether or not you have the personality to pull that look off, and is sounds to me like you do.
    Majority rules!
    My younger friends, who are in their early 20s, love my style and ask me for advice on everything from clothes to dating to, yes, hair.
    Can’t wait to see pictures!

  18. Christi Feb 22 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    I’m in the Do It camp, too. I dyed my blonde hair pink a year and a half ago as a part of our library’s summer reading program (yes, I’m a librarian). It got a great response from just about everyone and I loved it. Who cares how old you are? Have some fun and express yourself :)
    The only thing I’d say, though, is don’t do it yourself – go to a professional! I used a box of “temporary” pink dye that was supposed to last “up to 6 weeks”. Well, nineteen months later I *still* have bits of pink in my hair. And that’s after two trips to the salon to try to get it all out!

  19. andrea Feb 22 at 3:35 pm Reply Reply

    Definitely go to Human Resources! Make a detailed list of every inappropriate remark and present it to them so it’s on record. From experience I was actually fired from a job where my supervisor was so jealous of me that she constantly made inappropriate remarks. I didn’t seek out HR. I thought I could make it work somehow and it too was a temporary position. Because I didn’t document it I had nothing when my supervisor fired me. You definitely don’t want that to be the way things end there. Good luck to you and best wishes to you!

  20. K Feb 22 at 10:30 pm Reply Reply

    This is my question! Wow! Thanks, Amalah! Thanks also to everyone else commented. I think I will indeed go for it, and I’ll send pictures when I do. I lean towards the quirky and unique side of the sartorial divide, so lavender streaks do fit my style.
    Jaymee, I appreciate the dissenting opinion, and it’s worth knowing that, for some people at least, I am indeed too old for this sort of thing. (I find myself wondering how old you yourself are, though your point is a good one regardless.) I also agree with you on professionalism, with the caveat that at 32 I am quite capable of evaluating what is appropriate for my own professional life.
    Amalah nailed it, I think, when she noted that age-appropriate style is more about attitude than actual age (within reason, because we’ve all seen those age-inappropriate mutton chops out there). Taterspoon has good advice too: the boundaries of age appropriateness are more flexible when you keep things sharp, put together and polished.
    After reading this today I thought about my very stylish, elegant and unfailingly chic 96-year-old Grandma. She says that one of the secrets to looking younger than you are is to keep up with fashion trends while adjusting them for your age, body type and personal style. Come to think of it, my Grandma should probably start a style blog.

  21. Danielle Jun 30 at 9:27 pm Reply Reply

    I just turned 36. My hair is black at the root to keep the white underneath at bay, and it is ombre’d. I dye this ombrĂ© all shades of magenta, hot pink, baby pink, lavender, purple, orange. The black around my face keeps it professional for work. I could get away with teal, i think, as long as the hair is long enough to be hidden away in a French twist or a braid (in case it bothers a boss).

    I really believe that it is people my age that paced the way for younger girls to more commonly have these intensely rainbow colored hair dos and get away with it. There was a time you could get kicked out of high school, or ordered to dye it. I definitely couldn’t have it in a workplace. But, just like tattoos and piercing, we have chipped away at the more common stigmas and people can see it as pretty and an expression of inner self.

    So, now that it’s been edged into popular norms, we’re supposed to go “normal” haired because we’re too old? Screw it. I fought for this shit. I’m gonna have My Little Pony Hair Til i die.

  22. Danielle Jul 01 at 12:04 am Reply Reply

    I also just read through the comments and think Jaymee is probably very young. We women in our thirties KNOW how old we are not. And also, how little we need to care about what others think, especially those who think we should. Take a cue from your elders. I do. And I can’t wait to be a 90 year old with a head full of lavender hair. Because we only live one damn life. And we should all do whatever the hell we want to our hair. Screw the age-ists and naysayers.

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