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The long and the short of it? Chopping off your hair adds years – Daily Mail

By Marion Mcgilvary For The Daily Mail


Oh Dawn French, what have you done? Where’s the glossy bob we all know and love?
So you are going grey — aren’t we all? Why do so many women think that turning white means they have to chop their hair off and do the Annie Lennox crop?
Admittedly, Annie looks fabulous, but most of us just can’t pull it off without looking drab. I tried it while I was still dyeing my hair blonde and I just looked like a turnip. Fat cheeks just don’t yell chic on me.
Instead, I decided to let it all hang down my back from now on. I know it’s supposed to be a big no-no for older women to have long hair. Mutton dressed as lamb is a common description, but that depends on very outdated perceptions of how we are supposed to age.
Marion McGilvary (pictured), who hasn’t snipped her hair in nearly two years, says there is no rule that says ‘thou shalt have short hair at 60’
These days, surely we can do what we jolly well like — there’s no rule that says ‘thou shalt have short hair at 60’.
Last week was the first time I’ve been to a hairdresser since the Christmas before the pandemic. I haven’t had it snipped, blow-dried, tonged, straightened or highlighted in nearly two years.
Some days, I confess, I didn’t even brush it. I stuck it in a scrunchie and forgot about it. Ok, there were a few deep moisturising treatments.
But I have had no time for all those other unguents and goos so beloved of hairdressers. To be honest, I didn’t even wash it that often. Never more than once a week. And yet, here it is, below my bra strap for the first time since I was 20 and looking better than it has in years (possibly, ever).
It may look like a product of laziness, but my hair is the result of a carefully cultivated plan to grow it out.
I’ve always seen hair as a bit of a plaything. You can’t miraculously get rid of your cankles or minimise your bust when it starts spilling out of your bra, but you can change your hair. I’ve had it every colour known to Clairol, most recently rinsed pink.
Strangely though — and difficult to believe for some people — I’ve been longing to have white hair since I was in my 20s. I’ve always loved that startlingly silver hair that older women have.
Dawn French has embraced her natural hair colour and chopped her glossy bob. Pictured right: Dawn, before. Pictured left: Dawn, after
My grandmother was white by the time she was 35 and I got my first grey hairs when I was 17. So dyeing it was an inevitability.
But about five years ago, I began to notice that the colour I so expensively added just faded faster than a summer tan.
I’m going to go natural, I told my hairdresser. You’ll hate it, she said. But I didn’t. I loved it. And the relief of not having to sit and have burning battery acid painted on to my head every four weeks was delicious. ‘You’re going to cut it, aren’t you?’ asked a friend, last year. Nope, I said. ‘But it will age you so, Marion. It’s so unflattering to have long grey hair.’ ‘I don’t care,’ I said, and it’s true, I don’t.
Who am I tending my hair for if not myself? I am old. Not ancient but, yes, I am not a young girl any more, not even middle-aged, whatever that is these days. So, at 63, who gives a toss of the Timotei what other people think?
I feel the happiest I’ve ever been, like I’ve grown into the person I always wanted to be.
Left to its own devices, my hair curls. So I wash it, comb it, leave it to dry and for one day it looks lovely. The next day, I look like I’ve been sleeping rough under a hedgerow.
Marion (pictured) said having long hair makes her feel young and carefree, although you may think it makes her look old or vain 
If I brush it, it waves around my head in a blaze of static before falling into a style I call ‘woman who keeps hens’. This is no insult to the many glamorous women I know who keep hens, but I’m more Hans Christian Andersen than yummy earth mummy.
For the majority of last year, I wore it in two fat pigtails, a dishevelled bun, or Frida Kahlo- meets-Heidi, plaited around my head. None of these said sexy 60-something. But oh the joy of not having to bother faffing around with it.
So yes, you may think it makes me look old or vain, but it makes me feel young and carefree.
I love the freedom of it, the fact that if I want to I can put it up and still manage to look elegant and ‘finished’ or let it ripple like Rapunzel all around me.
None of us need to go quietly into the night looking like the principal boy in a panto. We can still be bold and blowsy. Dawn was famous for embracing her curves, so why not her gorgeous glossy fringed crop?
For me, it’s a bonus to be able to put that fear of being judged aside. To my mind, I look fine just the way I am… and half my age from the back!
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group


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