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Different parts for hair

Not only can your facial features tell you a thing or two about yourself, “your hairstyle can also reveal things about you,” Jean Haner, an expert in face reading and author of The Wisdom of Your Face, says. Here, Haner tells Cosmopolitan.com what your strands most likely are saying about you, based on her studies in 3,000-year-old face reading derived from Chinese medicine.

1. If you have red hair, chances are you’re fun.

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Other hair colors mean something in conjunction with your facial features, but red hair is the only one that stands out on its own and means something by itself. If you have red hair (and even if you dye your hair red), it usually means you’re fun-loving, hate to be bored, have a good sense of humor, and want to keep things light. They can also be fickle in relationships, because they like the infatuation stage of love. Sometimes they can even be drama queens. Conversely, they can also be shy and can be afraid of rejection. Ahem, Ariel.

2. Curly hair equals a fun-loving, warm-hearted personality. Oh, and you do things faster than other people, too.

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Women with curly hair are also generous and tend do everything, like completing tasks, faster than other people. They have a “fire personality,” whose traits include leadership, love, passion, insight, dynamism, aggression, intuition, reason, and expressiveness. They also have a hard time focusing on one thing for a long time. And, there is also a possibility that they can be drama queens.

3. Those with wavy hair that’s thick and lustrous are innovative and creative.

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They also typically have high energy, strong will power, are deeply emotional, need a deep intense connection, and their feelings can be hurt more easily than you think. Sometimes they also have a harder time talking about things and they clam up. Wavy-haired people also need regular alone time, even though they might love you. Freedom is also really important to them too (perhaps because their hair is so wild!), so being monogamous might be hard for them as well. If you have thin wavy hair, on the other hand, it means you need to conserve the energy you have, but that you’re still creative.

4. Having thick hair means you have strong willpower.

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Much like having thick eyebrows, if your hair is thick, you probably tend to have a lot of energy and you have a very strong willpower, but it can also mean you’re stubborn. Conversely, if you have thin hair, chances are you’re a delicate, meaning you’re not into extreme sports and that you like to conserve your energy more. Having thick hair could also mean you have a lower sex drive.

5. If you have straight hair that you always curl, it can mean you’re craving more fun in your life.

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Just like your body craves certain foods, curling your hair can be like satisfying a craving. The theory behind this thinking is that by curling your hair, it creates a shift in you where you’ll attract more exciting experiences because your hair becomes instantly more interesting, and you’ll also broadcast a more positive, fun message into the world.

6. If you have curly hair that all you want to do is straighten, it tends to mean your life is too chaotic and that you probably need to calm down.

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In Chinese medicine, all systems strive for balance, so there is an underlying desire in everyone to come back into balance. So, by flat-ironing your hair, you make it straight, controlling its intensity and giving yourself a sense of calmness.

7. If you have a medium-length wash-and-go style, you’re a good thinker and you value logic.

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You also tend to be impatient and easily frustrated, so this style is perfect for you because it’s no muss, no fuss. This ‘do is also very indicative of someone who values logic above anything else, so women with this hairstyle tend to be really good thinkers. They value common sense and they think that people who wallow in their own emotions should just get over what they’re dealing with. They’re goal-oriented, and some of them can be very competitive — they’re very direct and just want to get things done.

8. Women who have long hair and a wash-and-go style are more in touch with their *~fEeLiNgS~*.

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They’re also more romantic and more creative. You like to go with the flow, clearly. Think hippies.

9. If you have a super short wash-and-go hairstyle, it most likely means you don’t want to fuss over things in life, including your hair.

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It also means you’re usually less in touch with your feelings. #shorthairdontcare

10. If your hairstyle is high maintenance, you might be self-critical or a drama queen.

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If it takes you a lot of time to get ready in the morning, it can mean two things: 1. That you’re very self-critical, anxious, and you worry about details too much — aka you work long hours trying to get everything right, which means you probably get up at 5 a.m. to try to get your hair perfect too. Or 2. You can be a drama queen who likes attention, so by default you make your hairstyle stand out so you’ll get noticed.

11. Women who don’t tend to their hair and just throw it into a mumsy braid, for example, put their own needs last.

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If you throw your hair into a braid and couldn’t care less what it looks like, or skip out on haircuts and just tuck your hair behind your ears and go, you tend to put others first.

12. If you’ve chosen to shave your head bald (or if you’re going bald naturally), chances are you’re super romantic.

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Being bald is a very positive thing in Chinese face reading. Having this style by choice, or not opting for a wig if your hair thins or you go bald naturally, also means you have a huge heart, a willingness to love, and a sparkling personality. This hairstyle might also mean that you’re always be looking for the next exciting romance, since you like the early stages of love.

13. You can expect someone with an unconventional haircut to be fun.

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Women who choose to have an out-of-the-box haircut are generally more fun, compared to someone with a practical haircut, which is indicative of a person who just wants to get things done.

14. If you have a blunt cut, you’re most likely someone who’s to the point and a go-getter.

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This person also values logic, sets goals and is driven. They also want an easy-to-maintain hairstyle like a blunt cut, that doesn’t require much effort.

15. If a layered hairstyle is your go-to, you’re probably a perfectionist.

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A layered cut needs to be done just so in order to look it’s best, so if you have layers, chances are you’re a perfectionist about everything, including your hair.

16. If your hairline goes straight across, it’s the sign of a rebel who will break the rules.

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In Chinese face reading, the hairline is often referred to as the “Mother’s Influence.” So, if your mother believed in challenging the rules, chances are you’ll have a straight hairline that means you’ll be a rebel and tend to challenge the rules too. It’s also a sign that making a positive change in the world is important to them.

17. If your hairline is irregular, meaning it’s not even across your forehead, it’s a sign of a troubled adolescence.

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An uneven hairline can show that your mother (or the person in that role) didn’t have a very strong effect on you, indicating a difficult adolescence.

18. Women with a rounded hairline are typically good girls.

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If your “Mother’s Influence” was stronger, you’ll have a perfectly rounded hairline and tend to follow the rules more and be very well-mannered.

19. If you have a widow’s peak, it’s a sign of sex appeal and mysterious charm.

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This trait is basically a magnet that pulls people toward you because of your charisma. Can you say, Olivia Pope?

20. If you gravitate toward a polished, high ponytail, you’re most likely goal-oriented.

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You’re also considered to be athletic and logical. Fancy a ponytail that isn’t as polished? It’s a sign that you tend to put other’s needs first.

Follow Carly on Twitter and Instagram.

Carly Cardellino Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.

As anyone who’s gotten a really good — or bad — haircut knows, hair is so much more than just a look: It can be a reflection and reinforcement of who you are.

And sometimes your hair speaks for you, even when you don’t say a thing. Have a long, curly, blonde mane? The world’s going to see you differently than someone with a straight, ombré coif.

“It’s intensely personal, but it’s also totally public,” says Rose Weitz, a women and gender studies professor at Arizona State University, of the relationship between hair and perception. “And malleable; we can change it so easily in ways that we can’t change any other part of our body. It becomes a reflection of who that person is, and a sign of our identity.”

So what message are you sending with your hairstyle? We asked the experts to translate your tresses:

Actress Keri Russell has sported both curly and straight styles over the years.Getty Images

Straight hair can mean business

The hair pros TODAY.com spoke to agreed that generally speaking, people with curly hair aren’t taken as seriously as their straight-haired counterparts.

“Speaking in a very general way, straight hair is often thought of as more conservative and curly hair more casual,” says Angela de Joseph, a former associate beauty editor for Essence magazine, and the founding editor of Sophisticate’s Black Hairstyles and Care Guide.

Halle Berry’s fit physique might have made more people find her short hair attractive.Charles Sykes / AP

Beauty’s in the gender of the beholder

A cropped cut can be a way to show the world how strong you are. “A woman with short hair is perceived as confident — not having to hide anything,” says Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, author of “Reading People: How to Understand People and Predict Their Behavior – Anytime, Anyplace.”

But perceptions of people with short hair versus those with longer manes vary according to gender.

“I refer to the fact that men prefer long hair on women as they believe it’s ‘sexy,’” Dimitrius told TODAY, citing findings from her survey of more than 1,500 Americans that shaped the book “Put Your Best Foot Forward: Make a Great Impression by Taking Control of How Others See You.” “Short hair is perceived as only being attractive on a woman who is slender and/or physically fit.”

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Get a daily roundup of items that will make your life easier, healthier and more stylish. Blake Lively’s long locks are beautiful on the red carpet but might not fly as well in the workplace.Evan Agostini / AP

Long hair can look less professional

While a short style can come across as powerful, sporting long hair in a workplace environment may have subconscious consequences.

“Short hair in contemporary American culture is typically seen as less sexy, but more professional,” Weitz says. “Women are expected to be feminine, but are also are expected to fit in with men’s norms in the workplace, in which, more often than not, they’re working with male bosses and working with male higher-ups, so, that’s always a trade-off.”

De Joseph, whose mother was a hairdresser, expresses a similar stance. “In general, shorter hair is usually perceived as more professional and confident,” she says. “Long hair, especially if it is a hair weave, can be perceived as more youthful and sexy to some people.”

Weitz, the author of “Rapunzel’s Daughters: What Women’s Hair Tells Us About Women’s Lives,” recalls an off-the-record conversation she once had with a high-ranking woman at a major corporation: “She said you could look at the organizational chart — the tree that shows who’s of whom — and you could draw a line: Above that line, no woman’s hair touched her shoulders.”

Do blondes really have more fun? Other people may think so.Getty Images

The tone of your hair can color perceptions

“Our study revealed that blondes are viewed as actresses/sexy/full of energy but not necessarily rocket scientists,” Dimitrius says. “Brunettes are also considered sexy, but more serious. They are also viewed as mysterious.”

Weitz has come to similar conclusions: “In my research, redheads often found themselves stereotyped as fiery, and blondes as sexy but less intelligent.”

As a California resident, de Joseph has seen the upside of blonde ambition. “Blondes have always seemed to get more attention than they deserve,” she says. “When someone dyes their hair bright colors, like red, it probably says something about their confidence and need for attention.”

Dame Judi Dench, 80, is glamorous in gray.WILL OLIVER / EPA

What your shades of gray say

Many women who choose to go or stay gray project a level of security with their appearance, Weitz says, but adds that American society isn’t always receptive to that look. “By and large, it’s still an unusual choice to let hair simply, naturally go gray,” she says. “This is not a culture that venerates the elderly, and especially not a culture that supports elderly or older women. So, you have to have a certain level of confidence to choose to go gray.”

Dimitrius’ data assessment is even starker: “Women with gray hair are considered slow, not full of life, and old.”

De Joseph herself wrestles with her options. “I am having a debate with myself about covering my gray right now,” she says. “Gray hair is very attractive and in style right now. people think you are older with gray hair, even if you are prematurely gray.”

Nicole Richie has experimented with vibrant hair colors.Richard Shotwell / AP

Wild streak

Those who sport non-traditional hair colors can come across as rebellious. “Women with purple or green or blue hair are considered as those wanting to call attention to themselves, such as artists, actresses YouTube sensations,” Dimitrius says.

Adds de Joseph: “Purple and green hair are creative and youthful, but won’t go over well in a corporate environment.”

Jennifer Lawrence’s many hair transformations might have transformed her attitude.Reuters/Getty Images

Changing attitudes could be as simple as a trip to the salon

“If you want to change your identity, or you want people to see you in a particular way — whether you decide to dye your hair red, or dye it purple, or shave off half, or grow a Mohawk — it really does work,” Weitz says.

“It’s signaling that you have changed; that you’re different from who you were before; that you’re different from those around you; or that you’re the same as a particular, small group of people. It is an accepted way of proclaiming an identity.”

Julia Roberts has changed up her look quite a few times over the years, but always remains stunning.Getty Images

There are no absolute rules

Weitz, who’s focused much of her career researching women in society especially in the fields of health, sexuality and the human body, asserted that identity and cultural perception aren’t always one and the same: Attitudes depend on time, place, and “which ethnic group has power,” she says.

“There is no hair color, texture or style that has any inherent meaning,” Weitz adds. “It is not true that across time, across history and across nations, that everyone thinks blonde hair is sexy and romantic. It’s not like that at all. Our notions of appropriate color, type and style are always a reflection of a particular place and time.”

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

Here’s What A Man’s Hairstyle Says About His Personality

Alicia is a master stylist at Blue Sparrow Salon with a decade of hairstyles under her belt, too. The last two years, she has worked at a barber shop with a focus on men’s styles, so you better believe she’s speaking from experience!

The Man Bun

While the man bun has spurred passionate debate since it started popping up on men’s heads, it’s really quite a simple hairstyle. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it, and rather simply, as “a hairstyle for men in which some or all of the hair is pulled together to form a round shape at the back or on top of the head.”

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Splash News via InStyle)

“A guy with this style might have just avoided a haircut for so long that he decided to just grow it out,” says Alicia. “Now, he’s attached to his lengthy locks and wants to rock it.”

The man bun is more practical than a swishing ponytail, which can get in the way, and it adds quite a bit of character to a chiseled face.

What does a man bun say about your personality?

Typically, someone sporting a man bun is “trying to pretend to be carefree…even though their look … is perfectly contrived,” says Harlow.

The man-bun hipster understands women and at least some of the struggles they go through—like taming their locks on a daily basis.

The Buzz Cut

It doesn’t get much easier than buzzing it all off; take a look at the video below to find out what the buzzed look says about those who wear it.

All Bald

If genetics aren’t on your side when it comes to a solid hairline and a full head of hair, that’s okay! You’re not alone: Fifty-three percent of men in their forties have moderate-to-significant hair loss, according to research in the journal Dermatological Surgery. Thirty percent of men are dealing with hair loss by the age of 30.

What really matters is when you choose to officially shave off the last few wisps. Don’t be the guy who waits too long. Choose bald before it chooses you!

What does a bald head say about your personality?

“ you know who you are, and you’re not afraid to embrace it,” says Leah, whose husband has been shaving his head since his early twenties—before they were even married.

“He was always upfront about his hairstyle, or lack thereof,” she says. “It didn’t bother me, I knew it just meant he was confident. And honestly, now the haircutting budget is all mine!”

The Same Ol’ Same Ol’

It might not be something you can point to in a haircut catalog from this decade, but it’s all you and everyone around you has ever known. Call it your signature style! The Jack. The Brandon. The ____. Your hairstyle has been the same for so long, it might as well be named after you.

What does your same ol’ haircut say about your personality?

If you’ve had the same style for years and years, you’re most likely a guy who loves tradition. You’re predictable and dependable. From the same music on your radio station to the exact bang sweep you’ve always had, those around you know you’re not going to change anytime soon.

“There is no reason to shy away from what works for you,” Alicia tells us. But on that same note, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. If the new cut doesn’t feel like you, your stylist can return you to ol’ trusty in a few weeks’ time. But, hey, what if you like it?

Mr. Facial Hair

Forget the hair on your head! It’s the facial hair that really matters, right?

You’re the guy who walks into the salon and lets your hair stylist guide the trimming. Your only opinions are in relation to your facial hair. Whether it’s a fancy mustache, tailored goatee, or full beard, your facial hair is your one true love.

What does your facial hair say about your personality?

Facial hair says, “I’m a man’s man, and I know it!” You’re confident in your manliness because, well, look, you can grow so much facial hair that you can spend time styling it, changing it up, and coaxing every little hair into the perfect place.

I share this from experience. My husband is currently transitioning into his full winter look, where his goatee turns into a beard for the colder months. He claims that it’s all about practicality and efficiency. He doesn’t have to shave as often, which cuts down on his morning routine.

“Plus,” he says, “it keeps me warm, and that’s just smart. Beards are smart!” And therefore, he is smart, I presume.

The Fade

There are many types of fades: the crew cut, the flat top, even the Pauly D-esque Temple Fade. At its core, though, the fade “is a men’s haircut that relies on having the hair on the sides and back of the head tapered in length gradually until no more hair is left on the skin.”

Professional fighter Conor McGregor (via GQ)

Harlow has seen an upswing in this style, especially with the hip, 30-something crowd.

“They are loving a good skin fade with varying lengths on top,” she says, “I’ve done less and less of the old Macklemore haircut, which I’m thrilled about because that look is so out.”

Rapper Macklemore, known for his shaved, one-length sides and scissor-cut top (via Rolling Stone)

Alicia gets a lot of requests for the skin fade too. “The guy who requests a skin fade is almost always active-duty military or retired military. But he doesn’t want to ‘look military’—think high-and-tight. He thinks he doesn’t look military with this cut…but he totally does. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing —we love our servicemen, that’s for sure!”

What does the fade say about your personality?

According to our experts, the personality tip off comes from what you do on the top of your head. If you’ve got something fun going on, you’re a spunky, with-the-times kind of guy. You care what others think and want them to know that you know what’s on trend these days.

But if you opt for the more traditional, military-esque look, Alicia says you are probably more disciplined and employ frequent maintenance.

The Pompadour

Inspired by the hair of Madame de Pompadour, an 18th century artist, editor, and mistress of France’s King Louis XV, the pompadour is a style for both women and men. For men, Merriam-Webster defines the cut as “a man’s style of hairdressing in which the hair is combed into a high mound in front.”

Actor Brad Pitt (Jeff Vespa/WireImage via GQ)

Often combined with the fade nowadays, the pompadour is a perfect and trendy choice—if you aren’t afraid of spending a little extra time in front of the mirror, that is.

What does the pompadour say about your personality?

If you’re rockin’ a pomp, Alicia says you just might be “a little full of yourself.”

You love your hair gel or pomade, and rarely, if ever, are you seen without your hair fully styled. A pompadour hair style means you pay attention to detail and want to do things right the first time.

Did we hit the nail on the head (or the pomade) when linking your favorite cut with your personality?

If so, is that how you hoped to portray yourself when you chose your particular style?

As much as hairstyles tip us off to a specific personality, Harlow senses that hair choice speaks more towards your generation than your personality: “Social media has played a huge part in men caring about their appearance. When I first started … , guys would say ‘whatever you think.’ Now, they come in with pictures and a whole arsenal of Instagram knowledge.”

Appearances aren’t everything, but they’re surely noticed by your stylist—and everyone else you encounter. So choose your style wisely.

But most of all, have fun! Hairstyle trends come and go, and of all our physical characteristics, it’s the easiest to change throughout the years. If you’re ready for something fresh, call your hair stylist today and start experimenting!

What Your Hair Really Says About You

“I’m having a bad hair day!”

Source: Alexander Image/

We’ve all said it. Although people have primped themselves for millennia, hair products have sharply risen in popularity over the past decade, as have hair-based controversies: Presidential candidate John Edwards was ridiculed for spending $400 on a haircut in 2007. Ordinary citizens may spend $75 (women) or $40 (men) on every a trip to the salon or barber. What is the reason for the high interest in maintaining our tresses?

Research suggests the prime reason is that hair maintenance helps us control how we appear to age.

In a conversation, people’s eyes are directed toward the other’s heads. The hair on that head (or the lack of it) becomes one of a person’s most prominent features. There is also a great deal of mythology surrounding blondes, redheads and those brunettes, based largely on which “have more fun.” Much of this stereotyping has been applied to women but, increasingly—as the Edwards case showed—it can affect men as well.

Hair is also relatively easy to subjugate to one’s will (but only relatively). You can alter your hair in a myriad of ways, limited only by your willingness to spend time and money on the project. If all else fails, you can don a hairpiece or wig, and the job is done in an instant.

Because it is so visible, though, hair also becomes a part of a person’s identity. It helps define the persona you aim to create to impress others, whether as an intellectual, a sexual being, a rebel, or some combination of the above. Hair can also influence the way you define yourself to yourself, as an extension of your identity. During adolescence, your hair matures to its more or less final form, leaving childhood texture and even color behind. As your adult identity forms, it develops around this image.

This developmental aspect of hair is perhaps the most interesting. Unlike the features of your face and body that bear the stamp of time’s passage, your hair could theoretically remain unaltered for decades with relatively little effort. You can cover up the gray; you don’t need to give hair Botox to help it remain “young.”

The idea that our hair can define us as young or old may be at the heart of our society’s current preoccupation with not only having a “good” hair day, but a hair day in which your tresses resemble those of a much younger person. It’s possible that by manipulating the way your hair looks, you can manipulate your apparent age.

As described by University of Kent sociologist Julia Twigg and Gakashuin University’s (Japan) Shinobu Majima (2014), the reconstitution of aging thesis argues that old age underwent a shift in the late-20th century, impacted by changes in relation to work, the family, and personal identity (p. 23). So-called “normative” age patterns no longer exist, and expectations for what’s appropriate at what ages are now highly individualized. You age the way you want to now, not the way you’ve been told to—and this extends to your appearance.

Age and gender norms interact when it comes to what’s considered okay for the aging locks of women. As Twigg and Shinobu point out, “Controlled, clearly managed hair is particularly significant for older women in avoiding the status of dereliction or derangement, signaled by wild or neglected locks” (p. 25).

In other words, society says that older women have to disguise and keep in check their naturally graying hair.

Twigg and Shinobu examined a large data set of purchasing patterns from the U.K.’s Expenditures and Food Survey, which surveyed 10,000 households each year (with a 60% response rate), divided into 20-year age groups. The earliest survey was conducted in 1961 and the most recent in 2011. Participants kept an expenditure diary for a two-week period, spread out among different respondents over an entire year to average out seasonal variations. The researchers focused particularly on women 55 and older, grouping that cohort into 5-year age categories, each of which contained 100-150 participants.

Taking into account expenditures on clothing, hairdressing, and cosmetics, Twigg and Shinobu’s analysis shows 3 distinct patterns for the cohorts of women in their mid-50s and beyond. All cohorts of women were more likely to spend money on clothing across the 50 years of the study. Among the older women, those born between 1916 and 1920 were most likely to visit hairdressers throughout their lives, including their later years. There wasn’t a general rise in spending on hairdresser visits among older women—only for this group. For cosmetics, though, women are steadily spending more both on makeup and anti-aging products as they get older.

Interpreting the findings, Twigg and Shinobu point to several reasons for a peak in the spending on hair for women who came of age in the 1930s and 1940s. At that time, people were far less likely to take care of their own hairstyling but instead relied on weekly visits for shampoos and sets. As these women grew older, they remained loyal to their earlier grooming rituals, and the styles that went with them.

Hair salons, however, may be important for older women because they find it difficult to do their own hair which, like their bodies, has become a bit less flexible. Salon visits, then, allow older women to stave off “accusations of self-neglect.” They’re also places where women can socialize and receive some pampering. It feels good to have your hair washed by someone else, and definitely better than having the “bodily interventions that many older people are forced to endure as a part of declining health” (p. 29).

Putting these trends together: It’s clear that older women are becoming more conscious of their appearance and more likely to spend money on maintaining it. They’re increasingly prey to advertisers who purvey products that will allow not only their hair, but their faces and bodies, to stay youthful.

Interestingly, Trigg and Shinobu didn’t find that anything special stood out about Baby Boomers and hair, finding no evidence that “the claimed features of this generation” emerge in the way that older people spend money (p. 30). There would be much that marketers in the U.S. could learn from reading the findings described in this paper, which suggest that we may be too transfixed by the labels that we slap on different generations (such as Millennials, Gen-Y, and so on).

What do these findings mean for you as you contemplate your own appearance? First, they suggest that many people do carry over their patterns from their 20s and 30s into later adult years. The way you prepare the face and hair you present to the outside world may reflect cultural conventions prevalent in your own transition to adulthood. Second, the findings should provide you with a warning about your own vulnerability to manipulation by the media: Advertisers and manufacturers are betting heavily on the growing desire people have to remain youthful on both the outside and inside.

The next time you consider plopping down a chunk of hard-earned cash on the latest “miracle” age-reverser, pause and think about what it is you’re seeking. Your inner self-worth and value are far more likely to benefit your feelings of fulfillment than the image you project to the outside world.

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, “Fulfillment at Any Age,” to discuss today’s blog, or to ask further questions about this posting.

Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne 2015

Reference

How to Figure Out Where to Part Your Hair

Where do you part your hair? Chances are, it’s in the middle, or off to the side—the early ’00s zig-zag part isn’t exacly applicable in the present day. Switching up your part is the easiest, quickest way to make your hairstyle look brand-new, not to mention, hide roots in dire need of a shampoo (Fun fact, your hair tends to get oiliest where you part it first).

During a late-night YouTube binge, we came across hair colorist Silvia Reis’s wildly popular Ellebangs account, and after studying her nose contouring technique, we got lost in her Are You Parting Your Hair the Right Way? video. To break things down a little further, we reached out to Reis, who helped us determine whether to go with a center part, or throw our layers to the side.

VIDEO: 8 Ways to Keep Frizzy Hair Under Control

“I think it’s good to try different parts out—it’s easy to put back if you don’t like it, and you can have a lot of fun with your look without much risk,” she tells us. “Just be sure to keep in mind how it flatters your face, and how it calls attention to your features. It’s a simple thing that takes two seconds, but it can completely change your hairstyle.” Here, Reis gives us the lowdown on what to consider when going for a center, side, or off-center part.

Did you know that one of the quickest (and most dramatic) ways to change your look is to change the way you part your hair? We didn’t understand the power of parts until recently, when Vanessa Alcala, a hairstylist at Marie Robinson Salon in Manhattan, let us in on the secret. Take a look…

Here, our friend Hayley Nichols wears her everyday side part. “A lot of women part their hair on auto-pilot,” says Vanessa, “but if you’ve been doing it the same way for years, changing your part can update your whole look.” Here are her three tips:

1. Go Far Right or Far Left
Vanessa says women who part their hair on the side usually approach it too conservatively. A side part can look meh if it isn’t far enough over. Instead of combing your hair into a side part when it’s wet and then blow drying around the part you created, try blow drying your hair until it’s at least 50 percent dry – working in all directions – before creating your part. Rake and lift your hands through your hair to find a natural part that’s emphatically on the side. If you’re wondering which side is best for you, Vanessa says to try both and then choose the side that gives your hair the best volume.

2. Don’t Be Too Centered
If you’ve tried a center part before but felt it looked too severe, give it another try, but this time create your part a little to the left or right of center. As with side parts, don’t create the part until you’ve dried your hair at least halfway and then use your fingers to lift and separate the hair before letting it fall on its own, creating as natural a middle part as possible. “Don’t be too contrived about finding a middle part,” Vanessa says. “Your natural middle part is rarely ever dead center.”

3. Mess It Up
Women often make their parts too straight, says Vanessa, by creating a strongly defined part line. But letting your part to fall naturally into place, allowing it to meander and curve, it looks more modern and less flat. Put down the brush, Vanessa says: “Use your fingers to encourage your hair to fall into place organically.”

That’s it! But since hairstyles are often easier said than done, here are some additional pro tips from Vanessa…

* Choose the Right Part
Vanessa says there are a few rules for what works best: Round faces benefit from a style that elongates the face, so try a middle part. Squarer faces, or women with strong jaw lines, look great with a deep side part, which softens their angles. And anyone lucky enough to have an oval face can experiment with either part.

* Work With Product
Vanessa swears by three products when creating a pretty part: Use Oribe texturizing spray before blowdrying. It gives fine hair a slight grit, which makes it much easier to style. You can also try using a little mousse in your damp hair to help set the style you’ll create. And, finally, her favorite light hair spray holds everything in place. (Vanessa prefers to spray her fingertips and apply it to just a few sections of hair, to keep it light.)

* Gather the Best Tools
A two-inch round brush like this one is a good everyday tool for blow drying, Vanessa says. She also recommends trying a flat iron to smooth a few individual sections of hair (you don’t have to do your whole head), slightly bending the flat iron with your wrist, back and forth, as you go to create a very subtle, bedhead-y wave.

* Create a Blank Canvas
If you normally part your hair on the side but want to try a middle part, or vice versa – or if you’ve had a super straight part for years and years and want to make it more natural – you might need to encourage your hair to start over. To do this, blow dry the whole center section of your hair (the hair that frames your forehead) while pulling it up and back. Brush toward your crown without letting it fall into a part. Then blow upward on either side of your head to create volume. Now you’re ready to make a fresh part!

Whichever part you try, Vanessa recommends giving yourself a little time to get used to a new look. It sounds strange, she says, but adjusting to a new part can be even harder than adjusting to a new cut. Keep the faith, though. We have seen the light.

Thank you so much, Vanessa!

What a difference, right?! Where do you part your hair these days? Would you try these?

P.S. How to blow dry your hair like a stylist and a genius hair trick.

(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. Hair styling by Vanessa Alcala of Marie Robinson Salon. Modeling by our friend Hayley Nichols, who is the office manager for Friends Work Here, home of Cup of Jo’s office.)

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