What Fabulous Hair Looks Like at Every Age

Four women, ages 34 to 67, show off the best hair of their life—and dish on the top three hair products they can't live without

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Ellen Nguyen, 34, Senior Art Director of Global Branding at Smashbox Cosmetics

On her defining tress trait “I’ve never not had bangs. I got them cut when I was five and have had them ever since. Without bangs, I don’t look like myself.”

 

On her hair hurdle “My hair is thick and gets puffy unless I use leave-in conditioner.”

 

On her mane mistake “In junior high, I got a perm because my older sister had one. My hair was short at the time, so it shrank up, and I looked like an Oompa Loompa.”

 

On her bad-hair-day antidote “When my hair’s listless and just hanging there, I put it up in a high ballerina bun. I’m so glad this look is in style.”

 

On her desert-island must-have “My T3 Veloce dryer; my hair has some wave, and if I don’t blow-dry the front, my bangs won’t lie flat.”

Ari Michelson

Ellen's Mane Must-Have 1

Bumble and Bumble leave in conditioner ($24; bumbleandbumble.com)

Bryan McCay

Ellen's Mane Must-Have 2

T3 Veloce Dryer ($99; sephora.com)

Bryan McCay

Ellen's Mane Must-Have 3

Bumble and Bumble seaweed shampoo and conditioner( $21 and up; bumbleandbumble.com)

Bryan McCay

Esi Eggleston Bracy, 42, Vice President and General Manager of Global Cosmetics at Procter & Gamble

On being a style chameleon “What has changed most about my looks over the years has been my hair. It’s been brown, blonde, long—and nearly shaved off. I’ve had my current look, blonde with tiny twists, for about three and a half years.”

 

On mane maintenance “I get my hair done once a month; my stylist trims it, colors it and twists it, which takes up to three hours. But my daily routine is simple. I just wrap a scarf around my hair before I sleep, then take it off and fluff in the morning.”

 

On her hair mantra “Work your hair; don’t let it work you. This is why I’ve settled on a style that’s so easy to do. My life is crazy busy.” On sudsing up “African-American girls are taught not to shampoo every day. Once a week is the maximum. I still adhere to this.”

 

On a scary-hair-day solution “I pray. Then I rewet my hair a bit and scrunch in a little of Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme.”

Ari Michelson

Esi's Mane Must-Have 1

Pantene Truly Relaxed intense Moisturizing Shampoo ($5; drugstores)

Bryan McCay

Esi's Mane Must-Have 2

Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme ($32; missjessies.com)

Bryan McCay

Esi's Mane Must-Have 3

 

3 Pantene truly Relaxed moisturizing Conditioner ($5; drugstores)

Bryan McCay

Gillean McLeod, 57, Fashion Stylist and Designer

On why she doesn’t dye “In my forties, my hair started to become whiter and whiter—and better and better. I actually can’t believe how lucky I am. The silvery color is so much chicer than the strawberry blonde I had all through my twenties and thirties.”

 

On her simple regimen “I really don’t do that much day to day. I try to avoid shampoos with sulfates, and since I swim a lot, I use a special swimmer’s shampoo afterward to get rid of the chlorine. I also use coconut oil as a post-swim treatment: I put in about a tablespoon, slick my hair back into a ponytail and rinse the oil out a couple of hours later.”

 

On keeping up with a short length “I’m actually not that good about getting my hair cut. I do it only about every two to three months. So I’ve opted for a style that grows in well.”

 

On frizz fighting “My hair does have a little natural wave and can get fuzzy when it’s humid, so I carry argan oil with me and just tame it with a few drops as needed. I get the oil at a health food store; my hairstylist introduced me to it.”

Ari Michelson

Gillean's Mane Must-Have 1

Mason Pearson Pocket Brush ($88; beauty.com)

Bryan McCay

Gillean's Mane Must-Have 2

365 Coconut Oil ($10; Whole Foods stores)

Bryan McCay

Gillean's Mane Must-Have 3

Argan Oil, such as John Masters ($38; johnmasters.com)

Sandra Lucas, 67, Actress

On finally taming her tresses “My hair has always been the boss of me. When I was younger, I struggled to style it—it was just so thick, and there was so much of it. But I went through a tough time emotionally about five years ago and lost hair. The happy result of that very unhappy time is that my hair became more manageable.”

 

On her aversion to shampoo “I loathe washing my hair. It looks best with its own oils built up in it. So I shampoo it just once a week or so. In between, I freshen up by spritzing in dry shampoo.”

 

On her multitonal hue “I stopped coloring my hair about 20 years ago when this white streak at the front started growing in. Surprisingly, that is the only place the white ever showed up; the rest of my hair eventually turned a dark gray. Now I also have a golden-blonde streak that runs through the front, thanks to a yellow-tinted oil I applied to my hair and left on overnight. It stained the white, and my colorist says I’ll just have to grow it out. Let that be a lesson to anyone with silver hair: Avoid yellow products!”

 

On when her hair looks best “When I wake up in the morning and it’s all tousled. I run my fingers through it—and often that’s all the styling I’ll do. The truth is, I’ve been blessed with good hair. Thanks, Mom; thanks, Dad.”

Ari Michelson

Sandra's Mane Must-Have 1

 Enjoy hydrating Shampoo and Contitioner ($20 and up; enjoyhaircare.com for salons)

Bryan McCay

Sandra's Mane Must-Have 2

Redken Shine Flash Glistening Mist ($18; redken.com for salons)

Bryan McCay

Sandra's Mane Must-Have 3

Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo ($8; drugstores)

 

Next: What Gorgeous Skin Looks Like at Every Age

 

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Bryan McCay

First Published Tue, 2013-04-09 16:58

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