Eva knows a thing or two about hair color. At age 11 in Detroit, Michigan where she grew up, she was already coloring the roots of her model mother’s red hair. Today she has built “a beauty empire” including two New York City salons (think uptown/downtown), a radio show, TV appearances, and an award-winning beauty book. She is also the “color ambassador” for L’Oreal Professional, and she travels the globe training colorists in the company’s elite academies. (She has even trained hairdressers in India who as their country modernizes are moving beyond henna.) She has a talent and affection for connecting with women-- and iconoclastic views about beauty and aging. Here's what she has to say:
“Beauty doesn’t go away. It changes and shifts. Whatever your age, achieving beauty is within the grasp of every woman. It’s a learned skill just like the right diet and exercise,” says Eva. "You just need the right professionals." She continues: "There’s nothing wrong with looking different (than when you were young).” The problem is that some “women give up on themselves. Life chips away at our faces—not the years--but life. How we process sadness and change has the power to affect how we move through the world. "
But back to hair. Our "ambassador of color" doesn’t see the world thru rose-colored glasses. And, she doesn't mince words: “Gray hair is aging. Every woman looks 10 to 15 years older. You have to be emotionally and psychologically ready to accept gray. Gray is a cool toned color. If you go gray, you need to add more warmth to your makeup." Or, you will look washed out. ( On Wednesday at Second Lives Club, Eva is going to talk about makeup. We're here to help in every way.)
Even if youthink you are ready to go gray, don’t expect our youth-obsessed culture to support your decision. In commenting on our previous post, Big Little Wolf at Daily Plate of Crazy said: “The reality is - if you don't have a 'regular' job (i.e., even reasonably secure employment relationships), going gray is not a good idea. If you're on the dating market as a woman of a certain age, once again, going gray is not a good idea. I realize this will depend on individual circumstances, but for most of us who are relatively 'ordinary' looking women with ordinary bodies (interpret that as non-spectacular and sufficiently distracting from hair of any color) - silver or gray hair will age us, and appearing 'older' is still problematic when you're on the market - professionally or personally."
We couldn't agree more. And so does The Silver Bunny who relates a real-life experience in her comment: “Same thing when you're a teacher ! At the end of the first lesson of the year with new students, my young but grey-haired colleague asked : 'Any questions ?' and one of the students said :"Yes, ever heard of hair dye?" True story !!"
You can’t get a much wider spectrum than a Bunny and a Wolf. And then, of course, there is Katie Couric (a fox?), who last Wednesday during her show on women's obsession with hair, interviewed Anne Kreamer, an attractive gray-haired woman who at age 49 decided to stop coloring her hair and wrote about it in her book, Going Gray. Katie complimented Anne on her hair (and makeup) but admitted at 55 she wasn' t ready to go gray herself, to take one for the team, if you will.
Despite Katie's reluctance to crash the gray ceiling, things may be beginning to change. I was surprised and encouraged when I googled “women with gray hair” for this post and saw what came up: The banner of women of varying ages (above top)! They are evidence of what Eva says: “Beauty doesn’t fade.”
Are you ready to go gray? Will you? Or, won’t you? Forget your hairdresser; only you know for sure. And, I know what I am going to do, (and you may want to do the same, Carolyn Dorset, another who wrote on our site that her hair is beginning to change color, and she's not sure what to do this fall.) The best way to go gray this fall is to buy a beautiful sweater in a silvery hue.
Tuesday : Eva will help Caryl—and you--determine what is the best color at this stage of life. This one is for you, Judith Ross who commented on our last post: “My formerly bright red hair (it was the color of a new penny when I was a girl -- I have the saved lock to prove it!) is now fading, with white at the temples. I adore my hairdresser but she doesn't think I should color it." Stay tuned.
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