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How To Have Fabulous Hair After 40

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I had been wearing my hair in a perpetual pony tail for about 5 years and thought it was about time for a change. Looking in my bathroom drawer you could find elastics in every shape, texture and colour. My hair was lacking its own style.

But it can be a bit tricky finding a new cut that suits my lifestyle (which is about 2 minutes of spraying something and running out the door). Having a good 30 years or so of bad haircuts behind me, I have an idea of what I don't like and some elements of what I do like. But how do I put this all together into a modern shape for my lifestyle and age.

Taylor Smits, Master Stylist and Creative Director at Aveda Tonic gave me this advice, "Over 40 it depends what makes people feel confident. Your hair loses luster as you age, so regardless if you have short or long hair, maintenance and good products are key to sporting a nice new hair style."

He also shared with me that women like change in the fall and a fresh feeling with a new hairstyle. I explained to Taylor that I had been in the same hair style for some time with the same colour. I confided my fear that I am turning into one of those women who have the same style they wore in their 20s and now nearing middle age still with the same locks. I felt that this could be dating me.

"Bobs are really coming back" says Taylor, "anything with lots of layers, fringes are also coming back and the look is more tailored hair (not as beachy loose waves as previous years)."

Taylor and I had a meeting of the minds and we discussed taking my shoulder length hair and transforming it into a shorter bob, with layers of colour in the back (my hair had previously been blonde highlights). The layer of colour would give my hair some depth.

I took a deep breath and said "let's make this magic happen". I was in Taylor's chair for a few hours, between the cut and colour. I didn't feel too nervous, I was ready for a change. Taylor shared with me that lots of women will come in and want dramatic changes to their hair when they are experiencing change in the own lives, "they want a reflection of this change with their hair."

While we were chatting Taylor provided some great tips for keeping hair looking current and styled nicely:

• Common mistakes women can make is likely to not have enough product or too much in the hair - Taylor says to layer small amounts of product in the hair to avoid overdoing it

• Hair shouldn't be washed more than every second day, if you must shower daily, try to rinse only as this will prevent your scalp from being stripped of its natural oils, which can cause over production of the sebaceous glands and give you greasy hair

• Paddle brush is the best styling tool for everyone and can break down unwanted growth patterns in the hair (cowlicks)

• Use a prep or leave-in product before styling/blow drying to protect the hair from heat damage

• Every 6 - 8 weeks have a haircut/trim, this will get rid of damaged hair and split ends. Even if you are growing your hair long, don't wait too long in between appointments or else your stylist may end up having to take off more hair than you want to part with

• Silk pillow cases will protect the hair's cuticle from getting roughed up while you sleep, keep it feeling softer, and make your styles last longer between shampooing

Taylor said the top hair colours for the fall are: plum chocolates and cherry cola brunettes for darker hair, lighter ginger coppers for redheads, butter and wheat blondes, and the 'ombre' colour trend which has been so popular the past year is still around, but there is more richness to the colour now from the roots to the ends.

Fall shapes are shorter but there's always room for long hair. Michelle Williams, Ann Hathaway and Charlize Theron are all sporting shorter locks.

When my visit with Taylor was finished I looked in the mirror and was amazed how a different colour and cut could give my face so much freshness. I felt more of my true self and confidence, I was no longer hiding behind pony tails and long shapeless hair. I held my head high.

The finishing touch was getting my eyebrows done. Erin Currie, Salon Manager at Aveda Tonic said that when women get a new colour then having new makeup and eyebrow colour can make a world of difference. I agreed, for the longest time my eyebrows had been invisible in photos. The shaping and colouring only took a few minutes but made a world of difference, they brought so much definition to my face.

I am so glad that I took the leap of faith to find a fresh new cut and find a style that would suit me at my age and that I would feel my best self in. Now when I look in the mirror I am so pleased to see the reflection shining back at me.