Is Long, Thick Hair Attainable — In Your 60s?

I know I am only 35 and much too young to dwell on this, but I have noticed that when my hair grows to my waist — and it grows fast! — I have a receding white line down the middle of my scalp.

Because my hair is curly, my husband and those around me claim they don’t see a thing. But I notice it — especially since it’s the complete opposite from the afro I had as a child.

I love my long, curly hair and have maintained it even with babies and small children. My question to you all is: is it possible to maintain 10 years down the line? How about 20 years down the line? How about when I am in the nursing home? Will I eventually cut it as I have seen so many women before me do?

I thought about this as I read this article in New Latina about how to maintain long, thick tresses. These were her tips:

1.Regular trims.
2.Deep conditioning treatments.
3.Heat styling protection.

I will stop there — I do not blow-dry my hair. If I do, it is once a year by my hairstylist. These were her other tips:

4.No chemicals.
5.Less shampoo.
6.Wide-tooth comb.
7.Thinning hair: If you’re suffering from thinning hair, I suggest you consult with a dermatologist. Sometimes thinning hair could be a result of menopause or some other hormonal reason. When I started growing my hair out after my big chop, I was using natural oils and massaging them on my scalp before every wash. I also suggest Phyto’s Phytolium Thinning Hair treatment.

Her last piece of advice was to lay low on the hair extensions. Not an issue here either. But I focused on the “thinning hair”. I don’t feel like I am in eminent danger of going bald, but I often wonder how much I will allow it to thin out before I begin massaging the scalp oils — or seeing a doctor. LOL!

Then again, here in Berkeley, I do see many gray-haired women with long, thin tresses. Some of these ladies I think are so beautiful that I could see myself gray and curly-haired like Puerto Rican author Esmeralda Santiago (see on right). But every once in a while — okay, often — I will see a gray or white-haired Marge Simpson look-a-like and it sends me to the salon. “Please do something with this hippy look,” I tell my stylist.

Do you have long hair? Do you think you will cut it? How do you see yourself wearing your hair — 10 years down the line? Twenty years down the line? Is this something only vain Latinas think about? LOL!

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

14 thoughts on “Is Long, Thick Hair Attainable — In Your 60s?

  1. Esmerelda Santiago looks great in that picture! I love her hair.

    I have a lot of hair so if it started thinning it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world. However, I am not thrilled about the gray. Salt and pepper like the photo would look nice but mine just comes in frizzy and white. It started making my hair look really dull so I have started having it highlighted.

    I will have to face reality at some point but I’m not ready at 42! (… almost 43…)

  2. I’m 50, with long thick hair. Not as long or thick as yours, though. My hair started going grey at 46 (rather abruptly, when my son was diagnosed – causal?), and then began turning with a vengeance when I hit menopause. My old lady hairs come in bright white – kind of a pretty color, actually – but wiry and kinky; they don’t play well at all with the brown strands. So it’s turning into serious hippie hair. My hairdresser gave me a sample of some oil called “young again” to grease it down, which does smooth out the old lady hairs yet doesn’t make me look young again (go figure). Usually I just pile it up on top of my head with a clamp, but lately I’ve been getting tired of dealing with it.

    I was planning to get it all cut off this week but never made the appointment. Thinking of going Rachel Maddow, but unfortunately my hairdresser has never heard of Maddow and I don’t have her cheekbones anyway.

  3. I have ALWAYS wanted a mane of naturally silver hair :) This last time when I cut my hair to pretty much shoulder length I got a lot of compliments, but it truly was shorter that I intended and I doubt I will ever cut it this short again. I prefer my hair to be about mid-back (or bra strap) length. It’s wavy, but not excessively curly. Yes, the grays are coming in wiry and odd but I’m still going to just roll with it. I’m not too worried about thinning since my mom’s has stayed pretty thick. I also never blow dry & haven’t colored my hair in 15 years. Actually, I never go to the salon for anything. I cut my own hair twice a year though I think I should do it more often so I don’t get frustrated with it being TOO long and then chop too much off!

  4. Long now- it has been on and off since my teens- because I consider it to be my only dependably good feature. :-) I’ll keep this way as long as I can get away with it, but blondes get ashy and dishwatery as the grey comes in, so I’ve been trying to color it. It’s a big pain though, so I’m may just let it go and see what happens.

    • Short, spiky, and absolutely gorgeous? Yeah, we don’t all look that good with short hair. I know my hair is right now as short as it will ever get for a long time, and it’s nowhere near as short as yours. You look marvelous. I’ll look hideous.

      If I didn’t have this double chin that never goes away no matter how skinny I could dream of getting, it might be a different story. But I’m sure not going to do much about that (except eat less and exercise more … eventually), so….

  5. My hair is a step above wavy but maybe a step below curly. I’ve grown it below my shoulders, & the longer it gets, the worse it looks. The weight of the curl pulls it flat on top. It has more life shorter & is way easier to care for. And I will dye it until my last breath! I take after my grandmother…she is 90 & I’ve never seen her gray. Now she dyes it a soft dark blonde, and since she’s hardly wrinkled on her face, she looks fantastic. My mom went gray in her early 40s & my dad says he likes it so she shouldn’t change it. Not me! I want my caramel brown color forever.

  6. I started going grey at 17, and have ALWAYS been told it makes me look old, so despite trying to be a nontoxic champion, I can’t stop coloring my hair. I’m 46 and cut it today shorter than I have in the last decade, and while it looks nice, I look more my age, which I’M NOT used to and so will be growing again!! Sadly, my hair stop growing about 3,4 inches past my neck. (Call me vain.) How do you all get it to grow??

  7. I went from waist-length hair in my teens to shoulder-length throughout my 20s, and when I hit 30, cut it really short. Right now, however, I’m growing it out back to my shoulders on the basis that (1) it’s growing even faster than normal, due to pregnancy; and (2) it will be easier to maintain a slightly longer cut, compared to my every-3-weeks trim with short hair. (Told you it grows fast.) My hair is also ridiculously thick and kept that way by having been on birth control (which, of course, mimics pregnancy)—it’s always been thick and I’ve been getting it thinned since I was maybe 12.

    My biggest headache is texture–my hair is straight from the roots to maybe 4-6″ down my head (on the sides, this is about the tops of my ears) and then waves from there. So it looks extremely strange if it’s not either very short or past my shoulders.

    Also, I hate the color. It’s dark ash blonde, although the occasional gray started coming in about the time I hit 30. But it’s such a nothing color that it drives me nuts.

  8. Vain Latina? Sign me up. My grandmother was a vain Latina, and I do look almost exactly like her (via my mom’s Irish coloring) so maybe that makes me an honorary vain Latina. Thank goddess I got her ridiculously thick hair. I didn’t get her nice dark color though, which in her later years, was salt and pepper almost exactly like this photo of (apparently silver fox) Ms. Santiago. I’m blond, and spend way too much money at this point staying that way (dark honey-ish blond), otherwise my hair is a non color, totally ash, otherwise known as mouse. And mouse does not work for me.

    I think when I get to a tipping point of majority gray (Elisa, you are clearly not alone in thinking about long term hair maintenance LOL), I’m going to start coloring it gray, or enhancing the gray, whatever they call it where gray is concerned. I have actually asked my colorist about treatments for gray, and there are things they can do to bring out the prettier gray (like I said Elisa you’re not alone :). I’ve spotted a couple of women lately, in their mid 50s maybe, with such fantabulous gray hair that I assume it’s not completely natural.

    I have recently gone a bit shorter, right above the shoulders because the right below was starting to look haggard on me. I think the right length depends entirely on a person’s face and condition of the hair and how much time you’re willing to put in fussing with it. I’m really happy with my slightly shorter hair, although there’s no way I’d go shorter at this point.

    Ah … back to my regularly scheduled life :). I do love a good hair discussion though.

  9. I have thick hair too and it’s mostly straight with some wave in it. I’ve had it short and long, but now it’s been below my shoulders long for the past 13 years. Not a gray in it so far; I’m pretty confident I’ll stay that way for awhile. My mom didn’t start getting grey hairs until her mid-40s, and my dad, at nearly 74, has, like, literally 12 white hairs. You can count them. It’s so dark brown that you’d think he goes for the Grecian Formula, but his eyebrows are sandy colored and no grey in them, either.

    My mom, 67, has just recently gone platinum with some mixed in blonde highlights. She has short hair – has had short hair for at leaset 28 years now. It looks really awesome on her – it’s a soft glowing color and it really compliments her skin. I think that would be the way I’d go, but I think I’d go for a really punky or angular cut – a real 60s Sasson bob. Mind you, I look at Vivienne Westwood and think, yeah, rock on with the bright red crazy hair. So I’ll let y’all know what I do when I get there.

    Right now, I’d love to put some color in my hair, but honestly, I don’t have the time for the upkeep. There are some awesome highlights and designs that the women at my salon do, and I’d love to let them at my hair, but, sigh, I can’t be relied on to take care of it.

  10. I’ve had pretty much the same hairstyle since the mid-90s: long (shoulder length at minimum, usually 3-5 inches past my shoulders, always long enough to accommodate a pony-tail or braid), straight, slightly layered and with bangs. It is a style that fits my hair (super-straight and thick with no ability to hold a curl or wave) and my laziness (it requires no care — I wash it, comb it, and then let it dry). I’ve yet to color my hair and have little gray to speak of at 43. There are several women in my family who were mostly dark-haired to the end of their lives, so it’s possible I may never really go gray.

    So, my plan is to keep my hair long as long as is possible. If I can’t maintain the long hair, I’ll have to go with super short — anything chin length drives me crazy b/c it’s so hard to keep out of my face and there’s no possibility of making a pony-tail.

  11. In about my mid-40’s, I noticed some thinning out of my hair. It also became even drier. Therefore, I only wash it about once a week now, twice at the absolute most and then only because I have BIG plans that would require me to do so.

  12. I have hair that’s long and thick, mostly all one length. It has some gray, but I don’t care. My grandmother still had long hair when she died at 96, and she also had some great hair styles, which I plan to take on if ever necessary. I like having it long. It looks great, and strangers often stop me on the street to give me compliments.

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