Sophia Says: Hair, the "Vital Accessory"

Thank you for your patience! At long last, Sophia Says is back: a series of posts where I share my favorite bits of wisdom from Sophia Loren's timeless style guide Women & Beauty. Heretofore, we have looked primarily at Loren's belief in the mind-body connection of beauty, and specifically how your attitude and personality can shape your look. Now we shift to a more specific topic --haircare. But even when it comes to addressing a particular external feature, Loren considers it essential to consider who you as a person.

[Your hair] can be a beauty accessory that helps you play whatever role your life demands with greater effectiveness and ease. I have always been impressed as an actress by how the accessories of a part --the costume, makeup and hairdo-- can help to create the essence of a character. Even though you may not be an actress, you should be aware of how your most important natural accessory can affect not only your look but your spirit and even, to some degree, your approach to life. 

The internal-external beauty connection:
A lot of attention is always given to the practical aspects of hair care. But I really think the most important asset about your hair is using it to express yourself and fulfill an image of what you want to be.

Defying the "rules" of hairstyling:
First of all, I believe that many of the “rules” of hairstyling are limiting...many “experts” say that once a woman is in her thirties she should cut her hair, as long hair pulls the face down and makes it look older. This is another old-fashioned idea; some older women have beautiful hair that should never be cut. Today there is room for every kind of look; however, some hairstyling advice hasn't caught up with the times.

And when it comes to styling tips and tricks, Sophia's advice is to take the common sense approach (note: paraphrasing except when indicated):
  • Simple styles work best with strong facial features --don't try to balance out your features with elaborate styles. Make your face the focus.
  • Work with the type of hair you have when choosing a style, for as Sophia says, "In my opinion, nature knows what it is doing when it matches your face with your hair."
  • Also take into account your lifestyle! For example, a busy mom running after the kids all day should avoid an elaborate look requiring a lot of product.
  • Ditch the notion you have to wear a fancier style for evening: again, keep it simple.
  • When it comes to hairstylists, be practical about what can you can afford and a good stylist should always be able to quote you a price before working on your hair.
  • Resist the impulse to make a drastic change when faced with a crisis. Sometimes hair therapy works but more often you'll regret it.
  • Wondering if a new color will suit you? Put down that box of dye and get thee to a wig store! Try on the color to see what it does for your eye color/skin tone.
  • The only thing special about salon shampoo is the way the stylist uses it: lather it fully and take particular care with the hair close to the scalp.
  • Hair very dry? Get out the olive oil, Bella! Sophia advises combing the oil through your hair and going out in the sun for a few hours then washing it out thoroughly. If you're staying out of the sun, warm the oil before applying. But careful!!! You just want it warmed up a little --NOT hot-- as you might burn your skin.
A final thought: 
Whatever your personality and your fantasy, when you think about hair, first learn all the facts and then let your dreams and imagination come into play. After all, your hair is one of the most versatile accessories you have...and it is the only accessory you have all the time.


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