January 10, 2014
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am 47 and not yet gray, but I want to develop a strategy for when I do start going gray. And how old is too old to keep dyeing your hair?
Dear V.M.: Let's tackle the age question first. You're never too old to dye your hair. A woman who has been coloring her hair for 30 or 40 years certainly doesn't need to stop caring about hiding the gray at any point in her long (and glam) life. I know I will hear from women who love their gray and think it's foolish or worse to cover it. (When I wrote a while back that staying gray makes you look 10 years older, many readers disagreed — in really harsh terms. Hey, whatever suits you.) As for a coloring strategy? Highlights lighter than your natural color will help the grays blend in, but when that camouflage is no longer effective, ask around for recommendations on a good colorist and go for the whole head treatment. Once you start, though, you're going to have to stick with it, and that will mean a trip to the salon to color your roots as often as every three weeks. This gets expensive unless you DIY, which is messy and not all that easy.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What do you think about this trend of giving a couple money via a website to pay for some luxury on their honeymoon instead of a gift? What if that is what they want, and you really oppose it?
— A Traditionalist
Dear Traditionalist: Couples whose online registry asks wedding guests to pay for a honeymoon hotel upgrade, breakfast in bed or renting snorkeling equipment are really just asking for money as a wedding gift. When you click on that $30 for "taxi ride to the airport," you're actually just giving them $30 to spend any way they choose. Granted, the whole transaction feels a little crass, but clearly they don't want a crockpot or a bathroom scale for a wedding gift. Isn't it better to give the newlyweds what they want instead of what YOU want to give them? Weddings and honeymoons are ever more astronomically expensive extravaganzas, so now I just cave and give cash. You're opposed to it? So am I, but I got over it, and you will too.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I know you've written about TV anchors wearing sleeveless dresses to show off their well-toned arms — no matter what the weather — while their male counterparts are in business-appropriate coats and ties. But I find it startling that female broadcast talent wear dresses that look as if they are headed for the nightclub. What gives?
— Kathy P.
Dear Kathy: Whether we like it or not — put me in the not category — the wardrobe trend for TV news (and weather!) women is anything goes. And that includes wearing outfits more suitable for an after-work drink with friends. On a recent CNN broadcast, commentator S.E. Cupp was wearing a black dress cut so low that, truly, you could see the top half of her breasts. It was hard to pay attention to what she was saying, that's for sure. With news shows veering increasingly toward entertainment, expect to see more, not less, female anatomy. I'm not optimistic, but here's hoping that broadcasters' style makes a U-turn to more work-appropriate attire and that women in broadcast who showcase their "assets" wake up to the fact that they're not on "Dancing With the Stars." That is, if they want to be taken seriously.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Love your curls! What is your favorite curly hair product and curly hair styling tip?
— Curly in K'zoo
Dear Curly: Every one of us curly girls is different, so what might be a miracle product for me could be a total bust for you. (Every curly head I know has a carload of products that sounded good but didn't work.) The bible on this topic is "Curly Girl: The Handbook" (devachansalon.com). For the latest edition, both me and my sister Claire eagerly volunteered to write (unpaid) stories of our own curly miscues. My curl guru is the book creator, Lorraine Massey, and I primarily use the DevaCurl products that she created and sells on her website. What works best for me is no shampoo. Yup, you read that right. I haven't shampooed for 10 years. Curly hair by its very nature is dry, so why use what is essentially detergent that dries out your hair even more (think haystack)? Instead, I use lather-free DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser, followed by a huge dollop of leave-in One Condition mixed with a tiny bit of moisturizing Styling Cream. Whatever products you decide on, here's my style tip: The less you mess with the curls (no combs or brushes; finger comb only), the better off you will be.
Leslie A. responds to my suggestion that a permanent Sharpie can cover small nicks and scratches on shoes and purses. "For bigger damage, I use fabric paint. Craft stores sell small bottles in many colors, which can be mixed to match shoe colors. I use a toothpick to dab small amounts where needed. As it dries, I smooth it by covering the spot with plastic wrap and tapping it flat as needed."
"I shop a lot online, and my gripe is about package deliveries. Since when is it that doorbells are NOT rung when something is delivered? Packages are just dropped at the door and left. How is one to know that a delivery is made. Are we expected to be mind readers? I have gone out to get my morning paper, to find packages that have been sitting out all night. I am at home all day. I am not deaf. What is so hard about pressing a doorbell? I just do not understand. Who will be responsible if the merchandise is stolen?"
Dear T.L.G.: Who will be responsible if somebody swipes the package because nobody rang the bell? You already know the answer: Y-O-U!
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