If you haven’t changed your hairstyle since “Seinfeld” dominated prime time, perhaps it’s time you hit the hair salon.
“The right cut and color can erase five years from your appearance,” says NYC-based colorist Sharon Dorram, who sees her A-list clientele — which has included Christie Brinkley, Kate Winslet and Linda Evangelista — out of her Upper East Side salon, Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger.
One of the most common mistakes she sees? Middle-aged women stuck in a hair rut, wearing the same style they’ve sported since their late 20s. “As you get older, both your hair and your face get thinner, so you need to adjust your style,” Dorram says.
Whether it’s adding more layers or losing a few inches, the main goal is preserving bounce and movement. Adjusting your color is also key. “When hair ages, it loses shine and dimension, especially if you are coloring it a lot at home,” Dorram says, adding that many women, especially brunettes, start doing it themselves to cover a few grays. But it’s hard to go it alone without overlapping the color, so the tone gradually gets darker and darker without them even realizing it. “It ends up looking really dull and opaque, and the severe contrast can be very unflattering,” says Dorram.
Another slippery hair slope: “Blonditis,” a common affliction in New York, especially on the Upper East Side. “It starts with a few highlights around the face . . . but then women just want more and more.” The result: Pale, bleached-out strands that look — and feel — like straw. “The color becomes too light, too uniform, and it’s so damaged that it doesn’t reflect any light.”
Of course, when it comes to nailing a truly youthful look, variables like hair texture, face shape and lifestyle also come into play. To this end, The Post asked four women — ages 43 to 57 — to sit down for the hair equivalent of a lunchtime lift. Is it better than Botox? You decide.
Andrea Greeven Douzet, 50, Upper East Side
Douzet recently started working for a startup company that makes high-end dog food — a radical change from her former post in the luxury-magazine business. “The work environment is much more relaxed and definitely younger,” says the mom of two. “So I wanted a style that felt a bit more edgy and cool.”
“Andrea’s color was too red, and her hair was very long and heavy,” says Dorram, who brightened up the color with a mix of highlights and lowlights and soft, strawberry-blond highlights near Douzet’s face. To break up the “curtain” of thick hair, stylist Temur Dzidziguri cut layers throughout, then added bangs to balance out Douzet’s long face. “I’ve [gotten] more likes and comments on social media than ever before!” says Douzet of her radical transformation.
Laura Brown, 57, Valley Stream, NY
Brown, a mother of three grown children who works in the hospital-ity industry, recently got a weave in order to make her hair thicker. “My hair is relaxed, and I get it blow-dried and wrapped once a week,” she says. Although she has dyed her hair for years in order to cover up grays, she has never tried to change the color. “I’m not one to experiment,” she says.
To soften up Brown’s color, Dorram lifted her base color by two or three shades, then warmed up her complexion with sandy highlights. Stylist Michael David added more extensions to boost the volume, then cut layers throughout to make the cut less stiff. Brown was sold. “I feel bold! And the color is much softer and more flattering — I can’t wait to show my husband.”
Valerie Clark, 43, Upper West Side
Clark, a tech exec, has sported the same Rapunzel-like waves for 20 years. “Long hair always made me feel sexy — it was like my security blanket,” she says. But after a recent divorce, the mom of two is ready to show off a head-turning new style. “I just started dating, so I figured it was time for a new look.”
A classic case of blonditis, Clark’s bleached-out hair “really brought out the redness in her skin,” says Dorram, who immediately added more dimension with dark lowlights. She then punched up the brightness with baby-blond highlights around the face. For the cut, stylist Jennifer Nast lopped off nearly 10 inches, giving Clark a gently tapered bob (slightly longer in the front, shorter in the back) with layers at the crown for volume and soft, side-sweeping bangs. Clark, who plays in a rock band on weekends and has her first gig in seven months on Feb. 4, was thrilled with the transformation. “It definitely looks more polished, but it’s still sassy. I love it!”
Kathleen Mooney, 47, Oradell, NJ
Like Clark, Mooney recently went through a divorce and was looking to “leave her past [and her old hairstyle] behind.” Says the HR rep: “I’ve been coloring my hair for a while on my own. I wasn’t sure if I was using the right color, but I was very nervous to try anything too different.
Mooney’s pre-makeover hair, which Dorram calls a “muddy, reddish brown,” is a perfect example of what often happens with boxed hair color. “It was very one-dimensional and severe,” says Dorram. “It did nothing for her complexion.” To remedy that, Dorram punched up the red with “layers and layers of color,” which boosted the vibrancy and shine. Then, to add oomph to Mooney’s fine, limp hair, Dzidziguri added a Halo extension — a hair piece that literally slides right over the crown (the same kind Kelly Ripa reportedly uses). Mooney practically danced out of the salon. “I am very happy! The color really brightens up my face!”