Finding cute hairstyles for curly-haired women is a challenge at the best of times. And once midlife hits, finding curly hairstyles for women over 50 is even more difficult. That’s because as hormones change, the effects of menopause can make every day a bad hair day!
Hairstylist and curly hair specialist Lynn Johnsen Draddy (@privatecurldetective) has some advice for us on managing and styling curly hair plus real-life examples of her work with a fabulous group of midlife women 40, and 50+.
Deborah Boland: Lynn, what’s the biggest mistake you see women over 40 and 50 making when it comes to styling their curly hair?
Lynn Draddy: One of the biggest mistakes women make when it comes to managing their curly hair is trying to fix it. Curly hair doesn’t need to be fixed, it needs to be embraced. Women try fixing it by using heat to blow dry or flat iron it straight. This causes a cycle of dehydrating the hair and creating more frizz. Curls should be embraced by properly hydrating them with only water-soluble products.
DB: How does curly hair change as we get older?
LD: Age and menopause can affect the hair and curly hair in particular. Hair often gets drier, and many women experience hair loss. As hair loses pigment and fades to grey, curls don’t want to clump together like they used to. In curly or highly textured hair, the white hairs get looser, and in wavy or less textured hair, the white hair becomes curlier or textured. Thyroid issues can become an issue too. Finding lots of hair on your brush or gobs of hair in the shower? If you’re experiencing unusual hair loss, this is something you should look into.
DB: Wow! For curly-haired women over 40 and 50, this sounds like a recipe for frizz. Any tips on how to avoid that?
LD: It is possible to get curl without frizz! Curly hair is dehydrated and needs more water before adding water-soluble leave-in products like Deva Curl, Mop Top, or my favorite, Innersense Organic Beauty.
One tip is to use a spray bottle in the shower to add water to each section before adding product. Water is a primary part of hydration!
On wash day, after cleansing and conditioning, apply two leave-in products; a filler/moisturizer (cream or foam) to help eliminate frizz, and a gel to seal the moisture in. Foam is a great filler on fine or wavy hair because it encourages curl and cream is a great filler for curlier or higher porosity hair because it helps eliminate frizz while adding moisture. As for gel, it’s always a go-to sealer. Stay away from heavy kinds of butter or oils! Again Innersense products are my number one choice!!!
Sleeping at night in a silk or satin cap or scarf or on a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce frizz as can pulling long hair into a ‘pineapple’, a loose ponytail holder on the top of the head.
DB: Any recommendations on the best hairstyles for curly hair women – long or short?
LD: Long hair and short hair can be worn at any age, and both can look good depending on the individual’s hair type, facial features, and body type.
Fine or thin hair should be kept shorter to enhance volume and shape. Since many midlife ladies have thinning hair, curly short hairstyles for women are quite popular.
Coarse or thick curly hair can be long and looks luxurious on the right person. For optimal curl, it should have a 2 1/2 times rotation to reveal its true beauty. At the end of the day, the most important thing is healthy hair.
DB: Is there anything women with curly hair should keep in mind when it comes to coloring their hair?
LD: They need to be mindful of textured hair being drier and more porous. Semi- or demi-permanent color can be a better choice for blending grey. For total grey coverage, permanent color is needed.
When highlighting the curls, they should be hand painted on the individual curls to create a natural movement.
DB: What about styling curly hair? Any advice?
LD: Curly-haired women should only use water-soluble products on their hair. This includes shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in products. For those with super tangly hair, use a wet brush or large tooth comb to comb the conditioner through when you’re in the shower. Start at the ends and work up.
There are several ways to dry curly hair. You can let it air dry or use a hooded dryer or a diffuser. Remember to only use medium to cool air settings. Hot air will burn your curls. And never use a comb or brush on dry hair.
DB: You obviously know your stuff when it comes to curly hair. Any advice to readers who are searching for a curl specialist but who don’t live in your area?
LD: Be sure that whoever you choose cuts your hair dry and in its natural curl pattern, where it lives. Typically curls only need to be cut about every 12 weeks. This can be longer for more textured hair and sooner for less textured hair.
Finally, more and more women are choosing to go gray these days. Short curly hairstyles for women, like this one, can look very attractive if you leave a natural touch of gray.
DB: Great tips Lynn! Thanks so much. For more from Lynn, check out her Instagram feed (@privatecurldetective) and Facebook page (For Your Curls Only).
Photos: Red Angle Photography