About 65% of my clients are above the age of 50. To help us age more gracefully and gently than the generation before us, let’s start with our hairstyles.

I don’t think this means embrace an older age. “Old lady” haircuts and hair color make us look like “old ladies.”

I believe that we should look like we feel or want to feel. That does not mean that your hair needs to be spiked, shaved or fuchsia. There is a very fine line in trying too hard to stay young and looking a bit ridiculous.

Many striking, beautiful, older women have great haircuts and color. It’s not rocket science, but it does require some effort. The short, over the ears, no-style, salt-and-pepper or white “old lady” ’do’s are DON’T’S!

Instead of looking old or older, why not have a cut and/or color that can take years off how you look?

The basic rules, as I consistently write about, are:

1. Your cut should bring focus to the eyes and cheeks, not the jaw or chin.

2. Your color should be lighter around the face to soften the wrinkles.

Both of of these can be achieved with the proper style. It doesn’t have to be high maintenance. However, you must be willing to use products and a tiny bit of effort. 

Our hair is lightening as “nature’s blonde,” better known as gray, begins rearing its ugly head. That starkness can be softened easily, without that dreaded line of new growth and without being a slave to your hair. 

All over, one-color, no-dimension color is not the answer either. That’s what inevitably happens when you color you own hair. That just makes it more obvious.

The gray can be softened to look like a natural color with shine and dimension that just wears off with time. You won’t have to have the salon on speed dial to cover the roots. 

As far as the cut, the upside-down triangle shape that I constantly dwell on is the most youthful-shaped cut for everyone. It draws the eye up and brings focus to the place we all want the focus to be.

It doesn’t have to be short. It can be a layered bob (bottom layers are a must). Many newer versions of the 1980s shag are extremely flattering on all ages. Texture and products can make a boring haircut come to life.

Layers are also very flattering and helpful in achieving volume with a little bit of effort.

The stylist should take the time to consult with you before doing anything. Your lifestyle and routine are of utmost importance when tailoring a style that suits you.

Instructions should be given while styling so you can recreate it at home with no problem.

I tell all my clients three very important things: I cannot read your mind, therefore you must tell me if something bothers you. I can’t fix it if I don’t know. And come back if it doesn’t work for you. I’ll show you again. There is nothing good about having a style that you can’t do yourself.

Remember those things and make an appointment for a new, more youthful look. It will be your least expensive and easiest 10 pounds lost and 10 years gained.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton. styleitsalon.com