Five years ago, I turned 50. It felt as though everything changed overnight. In my 20s, 30s and 40s, I charged ahead with life, first throwing myself into my career — I worked as a magazine publisher — and then, in my late 30s, meeting my husband, getting married and having children. Those busy years almost seemed like one long decade, during which I didn’t feel any different about how I looked or acted. I never stopped to think about what impact the way I was living might have down the road. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Frederic Fekkai’
This is an article that ran in the Daily Mail — one of the UK’s largest circulation newspapers. Enjoy!
Hitting 50 changed my life
Why this writer is happier, healthier, fitter and more confident than ever
By Barbara Hannah Grufferman
Last updated at 4:00 PM on 29th November 2010
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Four years ago, I turned 50. It felt as though everything changed overnight.
In my 20s, 30s and 40s, I had charged ahead with life, first throwing myself into my career — I worked as a magazine publisher — and then, in my late 30s, meeting my husband, getting married and having children.
Those busy years — spent first at work and then at home looking after my two daughters when they were young — almost seemed like one long decade, during which I didn’t feel any different about how I looked or acted.
I never stopped to think about what impact the way I was living might have down the road.
New lease of life: Barbara Hannah Grufferman is older and happier
Then, one day, I woke up and I was 50. Suddenly, I would catch myself in the mirror and start to notice my drying skin, my wrinkles, the way my hair looked. I felt aches and pains for the first time. I also began to gain weight.
It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was slow and steady. I am 5ft 7in and had always weighed around 9 st 3lb but, suddenly, I gained more than a stone. I realised this gain was part of growing older but I also knew that this didn’t have to be the case.
I decided I should look at the way I lived my life and make changes — and if along the way that helped me to lose those 15lb then so much the better.
I didn’t simply want to think, ‘I’m 50 now, that’s it, my life is over’. There’s been a lot written about how women cease to exist once they hit this age.
Despite our great consumer power, women in our 50s are often dismissed as invisible, and seen as neither young nor interesting enough. This is so wrong.
Women shouldn’t cower away because we are not as young or slim as we once were. We should embrace our age, not be afraid of it, and that includes listening to our bodies as they begin to change.
As I turned 50, I found myself asking the ‘what if’ questions: what if I get sick or have a heart attack? What if I get Alzheimer’s? What if I get cancer? Do I already have cancer without knowing it?
I looked around and people my age were having strokes, struggling with depression, developing diabetes.
It’s not that younger people didn’t have some of these health concerns, but that after 50 they seemed all too common. The more I thought about it, the more questions I had.
I began to wonder if there were tests I should be getting and asking what I could do to make sure that I lived a healthy life.
Glam: Barbara has reinvented her style and beauty regime
Like many women, I had gone a long time without doing simple things that could positively affect my health.
Many of us are part of the so-called sandwich generation — caught between looking after our children and caring for elderly parents — and I realised life had kept me busy taking care of others, yet failing to do the right things for myself.
Sleeping enough and exercising daily had come to seem like an indulgence, even as I made sure that my family was well fed and well rested.
So I embarked on a quest to discover how ordinary women could look and feel their best in their 50s and beyond.
I soon realised that what I wanted was the best information I could find. I began to contact beauty experts and financial experts.
I talked to the renowned hairdresser Frederic Fekkai, and to fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
I tracked down women’s health specialists and exercise gurus, nutritionists and make-up experts. And, after hearing their advice, I took it.
I found myself going for a gentle run with breaks for walking every day and learnt how to do push-ups and exercises to prevent osteoporosis.
I went for annual health checks. I changed the way I ate and dropped the bad habits I’d slipped into.
Where I had once spent my time dieting instead of eating, now I began to pay attention to what I ate and to eat something healthy and small every couple of hours.
I even accepted the fact that my hair, which I had spent decades straightening, was naturally wavy and looked its best that way. And I didn’t just lose the 15lb I’d gained. I dropped a trouser size and now weigh exactly 9st.
My body is toned and I feel fitter then I have at any time since I turned 30.
More importantly, I found that I didn’t only look and feel better, my health improved.
My cholesterol levels dropped and I even ran the New York marathon.
And, while turning 50 gave me a shock, now as I edge towards my mid-50s (I turn 54 next birthday) I realise I am happier than ever before.
I loved the earlier decades of my life but I rushed through them. I was more insecure then and less happy about how I looked and felt.
Nowadays, I look in the mirror and I feel confident. I am happy with who I am and with how I look.
As a generation we tend to fear ageing when we should embrace it.
But the greatest lesson I learnt on my quest for reinvention, was that the most important thing of all is to feel comfortable in your own skin, whatever age you are.
Whether you are 49, or 62, or 75, you need to decide that you are going to be the fittest, healthiest and best-looking 49, 62, or 75-year-old there is.
For too long, women have been tricked into seeing 50 as the end of the road when, instead, we should be viewing it as the start of a new life, one in which we are truly comfortable with who we are, and instead of retreating from the world, we embrace our place within it.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE AT 50…
- Sleep seven to eight hours a night.
- Floss and brush teeth several times a day.
- Eat healthy foods, low in saturated fats.
- Exercise, and keep your waist under 35 in or at less than half your height.
- Listen to your body and look for changes.
- Eat processed foods, or too much salt.
- Drink more than seven alcoholic drinks a week.
- Use a tanning booth or spend time in the sun without sunscreen or a hat.
- Keep excess weight.
- Be sedentary.
- Have unsafe sex.
- Ignore changes in your body.
- Eat more vegetables and grains.
- Eat throughout the day (every few hours).
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Drink lots of water.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes.
- Allow yourself treats. Just continue with your healthy eating plan afterwards.
EXERCISE: THE RUN/WALK PROGRAMME
Monday — Run/walk for 45 minutes or more.
Tuesday — walk as much as possible, or aerobic activity such as tennis, cycling, swimming or a gym workout, but no running.
Wednesday — run/walk for 45 minutes.
Thursday — the same as Tuesday.
Friday — the same as Tuesday.
Saturday — run/walk for 60 to 90 minutes.
Sunday — the same as Tuesday.
- When it comes to make-up, less is more.
- Have a basic five-munte beauty regime.
- Highlight three key areas — under the brows, on top of the cheekbones, and inside the corner of the eyes.
- Keep your eyeliner line very thin.
- Use only black mascara, on top lashes.
- Use a neutral eye shadow.
- Groom your eyebrows.
- Apply blusher closer to your cheekbones.
- Use lip liner to keep lip colour from spreading.
Years of blow-drying, ironing, highlighting and washing it every day had not done my hair any favours. First, I gave up the hairdryer.
Secondly, I shampooed my hair only twice a week, using just water and conditioner on the other days.
Thirdly, age is meaningless when it comes to hair length. Fourthly, don’t get stuck in a hair rut. It’s important to look modern. Finally, experiment with going grey.
FASHION FOR THE OVER-50s
- Find well-fitting, waist-defining clothes.
- Choose longer-lasting quality fabrics.
- Don’t be afraid of the High Street for basics.
- Balance the fit of your clothes. Don’t wear tight with tight or loose with loose.
- Prints can be more ageing than solid colours.
- Avoid lace.
- Consider your skirt length — middle of the knee is right for this age.
- Avoid anything ruffly, puffy or girly.
- Think cardigan before jacket.
- Keep your shoes looking good.
- Invest in a few great bags.
The Best of Everything After 50, The Expert’s Guide to Sex, Health, Money And More, by Barbara Hannah Grufferman, is published by Running Press and available from amazon.com for £6.99. For more information log on to bestofeverythingafter50.com
I remember the first time I ever “colored” my hair. It was 1969–a year filled with all kinds of rebellions–and I decided to spritz on a little Sun-In while tanning in the backyard. In a matter of hours, my blonde hair turned a vibrant shade of orange, to match the Bain de Soleil Gelee’I was using (without SPF, of course!). My mother helped to fix it with a little of her own “home coloring kit” from Clairol, and it gradually grew out. But (despite the failed first experiment) I was hooked.
Highlighting has been a part of my life since my twenties. But now that the grays are sneaking in, I asked Frederic Fekkai–a key expert on hair in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 and one of the world’s leading authorities on hair–if I now need to do something else.
Frederic explained “the progression of gray”: There are degrees of gray. We start out with a few gray hairs. More come in and we get up to 20 percent, then 30 percent, and eventually our hair is over 50 percent gray. That’s the natural progession of gray hair . . . women usually do one of the following:
- color their roots to cover the gray, usually every 3 – 4 weeks (single process)
- let their gray hair come in and apply highlights(and lowlights) through the hair to blend with the gray and natural hair color
- go with the gray all the way, with no added color
If going gray all the way is not for you, the good news is gray hair mixes extremely well with highlights, and Frederic strongly recommends using both highlights and lowlights with your gray–regardless of the natural color of your hair–instead of single process.
Most women I know, especially those who have darker hair, tend to go the “single process” route, once the gray hair starts coming in. But, think about trying this: instead of putting color on your roots every few weeks, get highlights and/or lowlights in your hair, creating beautiful contrast with your natural hair color and your gray.
Single blocks of color can age you, draining your face, and it can look dated. And, one of the best things about getting highlights (instead of single process) is you only have to get them “done” every 8 – 12 weeks, depending upon your hair and the look you’re trying to achieve.
Think about it. If you’ve already been doing single process, you may think it’s too late, or too hard, to switch over to highlights. But it isn’t. Put yourself in the hands of a good colorist, explain what you want to do, and together you’ll make it happen.
It’s modern, fresh, and it’s another way of embracing your age, instead of hiding it.
Or, you can truly embrace your gray . . . and go all the way!
Think about it . . .
Best of Everything,
When I turned 50 I had vague memories of what my hair looked like before I started using a blow-dryer. But, who could remember? For decades I had beat my naturally wavy hair into submission, making it as stick straight as possible with blow-dryers, irons, and yanking on it with a brush . . . every single day. Clearly, I had won the battle with my hair, but had lost the war. It now looked like . . . road kill.
Even more profound, I had been fighting with my identity since 1969, trying to make my hair into something it wasn’t. I was tired, grumpy, and ready for a major change. Oh boy, was I ready.
But what to do?
The two experts I consulted about hair for THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 — Frederic Fekkai and Lorraine Massey – were adamant that women must let their hair be what it was meant to be. Easier said than done, I argued . . . but after getting the right cut for my texture, and getting highlights (instead of single process), which allowed me to “work with my gray” . . . my hair is healthier, prettier, and oh-so-easy to deal with. Yay!!
What do I do now? It’s more about what I DON”T do: I haven’t used a blow-dryer, brush or comb in almost two years. Shampoo is used only once a week (conditioner and water the other times), and I simply “position” my hair, and let it air dry. Simple, easy, and I would no longer call my hair road kill. The most important thing is: I am no longer doing battle with my hair, or myself. I’ve not only accepted who I am . . . I’ve embraced it! And, it’s contagious! Read on . . .
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Joanne Goodwin, a reader of THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50, and a woman who is embracing her life after 50 with enthusiasm and joy and confidence! Joanne watched me talk about being fit and fearless after 50 on the Today Show . . . and bought my book. Like me, she spent years blow-drying her hair, but was encouraged to try my new routine. Eventually, she reached out to me by email (we are now Facebook friends, too), and recently emailed a photo of her “new look.” She is GORGEOUS!! Joanne is trying out all the advice in the book and is taking charge of her life after 50!
Brava, Joanne! And brava to all women . . . everywhere!
Best of Everything,