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Middle-aged hair goes through a crisis too.

19 May

Not that I’m having a mid-life crisis or anything…

Jo Abi dark red hair

We spend our twenties experimenting with our hair. We try different colours, different styles and different cuts. Our hair is probably the craziest and most ‘done’ it will ever be. Then we enter our thirties and it becomes tamer. If we’ve gotten married and had kids we’ll normally cut it, or put it in a ponytail more often than we’d like.

Then, after thirty-five, if we aren’t struggling to hide greys, we’re struggling to hide thinning. Yep, it happens. It’s one of those middle-aged hair stages nobody tells us about.

So many of my friends and I are dealing with thinning hair. I didn’t notice that my hair was thinning until my brother pointed it out, in a really sensitive way.

“What’s that?!? You’re, like, bald there now.”

Thanks bro.

Thirty-seven minutes later and I’m still examining it in my bathroom mirror. He’s right. My hair has thinned around the temple on both sides.

I might have sworn a few times. What to do, what to do.

Hair clip-ins aren’t going to do much for the hair around my temples and when I speak to my friends about their middle-aged hair loss they are experiencing it and noticing it up top as well. Many have started dying it in different colours in an attempt to disguise it. My hairdresser says the best colours for making hair look fuller are highlights to contrast with your natural block colour. It’s not enough to hide the greys. She also says cutting a fringe and making the overall length shorter helps.

Fibrology ad

I’m more gentle with my hair as well. I don’t tease it as much and I don’t ever ever brush it when it is wet. In fact, I hardly ever brush it. Just a finger comb. I’ve also stocked up on L’Oreal Fibralogy shampoo, conditioner and serum and I’ve given some to my sister and my best friend, who are also suffering from minor yet noticeable-to-them hair loss. And I’m taking a hair, skin and nail vitamin, just in case. When it comes to my hair, I feel a multi-pronged attack is best.

I can pin point the times that I lost hair and they are after each pregnancy (three) and then after I turned 36. I’m 39 now so I am trying to keep the hair I have and make what’s left look as full as possible. It’s so great that there are so many tricks I can use to do this. That leaves me free to concentrate on the remainder of my early-onset midlife crisis.

I remember my mum at this age, and how she dreaded turning 40. I’d always planned to do it more happily, and I’m trying, I really am. I thought I would age gracefully and accept the corresponding changes to my appearance, but I’m finding that I’m not. I don’t want to look younger, it’s not about that. I want to look like the healthiest, best version of 40 as I can.

I’m not 40 yet, by the way. Another 256 days to go.

So I’ve reduced the amount of beautifying I do because it was expensive and time-consuming and mostly completely ineffective. Now I save my money for the services I know will work. I do less to my hair but what I do is more effective. I do a lot of grooming at home while watching Real Housewives (of whichever franchise is on at the time). I don’t wax anymore because life is too short for such incredible pain but I am considering having my underarms lasered. And maybe my eyebrows and upper lip. Although I love plucking my own eyebrows. I really enjoy it. Is that strange?

I exercise but not for as long as I used to and with more toning work and less cardio. I have to nurture my joints, after all.

Sleep is a priority for me now and if I don’t have anything on I’ll go to be just minutes after the kids do. I’ve just remembered another hair trick I use. I sleep with my hair in a high ponytail so when I take it out the next day it is nice and full.

I’m trying to age well and if I’m eighty per cent successful, with good hair, I’ll be really really happy.

How are you tweaking your beauty routines as you get older? Is there something you used to do when you were younger that you would never do now?

Why this beauty routine is best done upside down.

26 Apr

Some beauty routines are best kept behind closed doors.

Jo hair selfie

Here’s a rundown of how I dry my hair. Try not to laugh too hard.

Step 1: After getting out of the shower, towel dry hair and immediately apply a volumising product to the roots.

Step 2: Apply the latest in a serious of products I have found that promises to make my hair full, think and healthy, avoiding the roots where the first product resides in a slightly sticky mess.

Step 3: Flip my hair upside down and use a hairdryer to dry it like this until it is almost fully dry or just before all the blood that has rushed to my hair causes dizziness.

Step 4: Flip my hair right side up and then proceed to blow dry it section by section with an enormous round brush.

Step 5: Tease the hell out of it, at the roots.

Step 6: Lightly comb it all down to give the illusion of natural thickness.

Step 7: Finish with half a can of salon-quality hairspray. Hope a bird doesn’t fly into your head or it will bounce right off, or never escape.

A bit ridiculous, right? But this is what takes to make my hair look thick and healthy.

I was born with lovely, long, chestnut hair that bore a slight wave. It looked great, when I was five, however the older I got, the more it began to adhere to the sides of my face. Thus the early onset of constant teasing at the roots, and hairspray, and all that other stuff. There was my unfortunate reliance on heated rollers in my early twenties, my attempt to give it more fullness by cutting it quite short in my mid  twenties and then my giving up on styling it and wearing it in a ponytail in my late twenties. My thirties haven’t been much better.

There was also that day that my stepson walked in on me blow drying my hair, while naked, because my towel had fallen off. EVERYTHING was hanging down and gravity is not kind. Not on any of my body parts and particularly not on my hair. We have never spoken of this.

And we will never speak of this.

So I jumped, leaped, catapulted at the chance to try the new L’Oreal Elvive Fibralogy Thickening shampoo, conditioner and serum. Could this be the magical elixir I have been searching for my entire life, closely followed by the one that allows me to eat as many biscuits as I want without gaining weight? Could this be the key to fuller, thicker, healthier hair that I can just dry upright like a normal person and not lather in mountains of products that are mostly incredibly disappointing?

For the next four weeks I’ll be using nothing but L’Oreal Elvive Fibralogy on my hair and I’ll going to let you know exactly how it goes. I really really really hope it works. I do love my L’Oreal products. They haven’t let me down before.

I’ll keep you posted on the results.

In the meantime why don’t you join the Fibralogy Circle and try the products out for yourself? All you need to do is head to, enter your details and you’ll receive an exclusive discount.


I’ll have her hair please!

Fibralogy is available at all leading retail outlets for RRP $5.95 for shampoo and conditioner and $9.95 for double serum. What incredible prices!

I’m also delighted to offer MY FIRST GIVEAWAY here at How would you like the chance to win a L’Oreal Paris Gift Pack valued at $150? All you need to do is tell me about the unique challenges your hair presents you with in the comments section below. We all have our hair struggles but we don’t have to go through it alone!

In the comments section below, tell me all about your unique hair challenges and you could win the prize pack!

Learn to take a compliment

11 Aug

I’ve never been good at taking compliments. Just this morning I arrived at work and my work colleague said, “Gosh, your hair looks good.” My response, “No it doesn’t.” How about, “Thanks”? Why can’t I take a compliment?

Even when I agree that my hair does look good or my top is nice and floaty I sometimes say thanks and then think to myself…They don’t really mean it. They are just being nice.

Is it that in Australia we are raised to be humble? We’ll do anything to avoid seeming up ourselves and if a celebrity appears too big for their boots we’re happy to rip them to shreds too just to remind them that they aren’t all that. Why, why, why?

When I look back at photos of myself from six years ago I think I looked pretty decent but even then I always thought I was too wrinkly, too fat, too…whatever. I wish my inner voice was my best friend, not a mean girl. Maybe then I’d be able to take a compliment and allow myself to feel okay. Why is the bad stuff easier to believe?

My friend said she liked my eye makeup the other day and I brushed her off. “It’s just a quick job,” I said. In truth, I’d spent twenty minutes following instructions trying to get it right. Why didn’t I take the credit?

And a young friend who has asked me to help her get a job recently commented that I motivate her because I’ve done so well. “No I haven’t,” is my immediate response.

My default setting is clearly set to negative and even the thought of basking in any sort of flattery leaves me feeling a little queasy. What if they think I’m up myself? What if they think I love myself?

Life would be way more fun if we ran our personal lives like those of sporting heroes. If I’m having a good hair day I’d like to be able to shake up some champagne and let the roses be thrown at me, figuratively speaking. I’ve lost a couple of kilos? Yes, yes I have. It took constant and consistent chocolate-depravation but aren’t I amazing? I’ve achieve a lot in my career. Yes, it was hard, but I got there, thanks, thanks heaps.

Compliment = thank you = feeling of satisfaction or achievement. We are allowed to feel good about ourselves!

The case of the missing eyebrow

5 Aug

The enviable eyebrows of Megan Fox


I’ve been a DIY woman for a while now. I colour my own hair, wax my own legs, paint my own nails and whiten my own teeth. Being a busy mother of three this has been convenient and budget-friendly.

Recently I have started to resent how much time I spend at home waiting for the colour to work, trying to quickly wax while my little girl has her nap, waiting for my nails to dry before I can clean the kitchen and not being able to speak while my teeth become pearly white. Before I had children I loved getting things done at hairdressers and beauticians. My hairdresser and beautician became very good friends. It was social. We spend hours chatting and grooming. It was a highlight. I decided to get back out there, get it all done in one day and free myself of all of this at home.

I have been walking past a beautician for years now and was happy to walk in this time. I had an appointment for an eyebrow waxing. I’ve always plucked them myself.

I sat waiting patiently for my appointment and a beautiful and well-groomed older woman came out to greet me. Oh my gosh I want to look like her.

She led me into an office where the mood music was playing and the incense was burning. Just for an eyebrow wax!

She sat me down on a very comfortable chair and asked me about her day as she prepped the wax, the kind that doesn’t need a strip. She applied it to the top of one brow and ripped it off. It hurt a lot less than when I did it at home to myself. I always had a slight moment of hesitation.

She went to the next eyebrow, applied the wax and ripped it off. She starred at it, excused herself and walked out of the office.

I sat waiting for her to come back in, thinking of what I was going to eat for lunch. She came back in wearing glasses. Hang on, she wasn’t wearing those before.

She examined her work, applied oil to sooth my brows, ushered me to the register, took my money and I left.

When I got in the car and flicked the mirror down I saw that half of my right eyebrow was missing.




A woman feels her sexiest at 28?

25 Jul

A study of British woman has found that women feel their sexiest at the age of 28. Yes, I know, British women! But it’s probably about right. We probably look our best (but don’t realise it) in our early twenties and then later in the decade have the confidence to actually feel sexy.

This, however, wasn’t the case for me.

In my early twenties I was fat. I’m talking huge! I was only big for a couple of years but because your early twenties is spent going out and having fun, there is way too much photographic evidence of my stress-eating than I’d like. I got a really demanding job and to cope with the pressure I ate everything in sight!

Now, I have been asked to be on a TV commercial for a weight loss company that helped me lose weight and they wanted ‘before’ photos. I am going to bravely post one…


I was the fattest I’ve even been at this, my sister’s wedding and funnily enough a few years later I was the thinnest I’ve ever been at my other sister’s wedding. Where are those pics? So my early twenties were spent stressed, working crazy hours and EATING!

Then, when I was 28 I was heavily pregnant with my first child so feeling sexy wasn’t on my radar then either. I was flat out getting out of a chair, lugging myself around and trying to reach my feet to put on shoes. Not sexy at all!

It’s taken all this time for me to really embrace the feeling of being sexy. I am 36. And I have to say it has a lot to do with being fit and happy and being in a great relationship. The great relationship is key for me. Because we’ve been together for 14 years we know each other really well. All that early awkwardness and insecurity is completely gone. That’s when a woman feels sexy…when she feels happy and secure, not when she is a certain age.

So hats off to the British. Enjoy your youth. I can tell you from Australia that feeling sexy can happen at any age!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

I look good for my age….!

21 Jun

I look good, for my age. I was informed of this fact by a too-beautiful-to-be-real Gen Y-er who works in my office. I know it was meant as a compliment but all I heard was, “You look alright, for an old lady.”

I’d always intended to age gracefully but the older I get, the more I feel like kicking and screaming as I move towards forty. I know, thirty-six isn’t that old (it’s not twenty-six is it?) and I know I should be grateful that I have my health (I am). It’s just that I feel like I left high school yesterday, fell asleep and woke up twenty years later. Where did the time go?

My face is holding up okay and I don’t have grey hair yet but I know it’s just a matter of time. For the first time I’m considering a little cosmetic intervention. I have a friend who dabbles and she looks amazing, completely natural, except the fact I know how old she is and she looks years younger.

At a previous workplace a colleague celebrated her twenty-ninth birthday, then her thirtieth and then she forgot she’d confessed her real age and tried to celebrate her twenty-ninth again. I’ve never been this bad. I’ve always happily admitted my age to those who ask and you know what? Plenty of people do ask. Isn’t it rude to ask a woman her age? Especially one with three child restraints in her car, bags under her eyes and some high-powered night cream in her bathroom cupboard.

I look good, for my age and I’m happy about this. I just wish time wasn’t going by so quickly.

A whiter, brigher smile

16 Feb


I am sitting here with a tooth-whitening tray in my mouth and I want to hurl. I’ve wanted to whiten my teeth for the longest time. A close-up, unfortunate, recent shot of my friend and I in a helicopter inspired me to order a tooth whitening kit online and it tastes like watermelon…and dishwashing liquid.

How do people do this? I want to gag. I can’t swallow properly. The tray has to be in for another twenty minutes and every night for the next two weeks? Help.

It’s way to expensive to have this done at the dentist and he’s usually distracted by my plaque build-up and fillings to get around to suggesting I whiten my teeth. Plus it’s more convenient this way. But disgusting, and gross.

I really hope it works. I hate my teeth. Short of veneers, this is the fastest way to improve them. Apparently having whiter teeth helps you to look younger. Although I don’t want them to be visible from space. I have noticed some people choose not to whiten their teeth. They have probably seen some very white, too straight teeth as I have.

It’s a constant balancing act. We all want to look naturally beautiful. We don’t want to look like we’ve tried too hard. The no-makeup look, hair that looks like our natural colour, teeth that are white but not too white. We want to be well dressed but comfortable, wear heels that look amazing at the same time as being able to walk. We get fake nails with french polish, a tan that isn’t too orange and I don’t know about you but I avoid mirrors first thing in the morning. I could easily pass for an unkempt homeless person when I first roll out of bed (no offense to the homeless who I wish I could help – each and every one of them). But really – my hair doesn’t even look sexy and full in the morning, my skin looks rested but I really need a bit of makeup and my choice of nightwear is at best comfortable and at worst…in need of some repairs.

I have noticed that I always pay attention to people who look like they feel like they look good. Read that again slowly…I am always interested in the happy, confident people, not the overly groomed, clearly uncomfortable. It comes down to how you want the world to see you. I would much prefer to look happy and confident than groomed.

I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make. How do you wrap up issues like appearance, youth and beauty? How do you conclude anything at all when every day for the rest of our lives we’ll be trying to improve something? You know that saying ‘life is about the journey, not the destination’? Perhaps this is true when it comes to our appearance. I do love getting my hair done and I couldn’t stop staring at myself when I got my first spray tan. I looked so…healthy.

I’m having in okay day today. I wouldn’t mind washing my hair and redoing my makeup but I am so tired. I look like I have a roof over my head and that’s always a plus. And even if I did spend some unnecessary time grooming instead of playing with my kids it’s not like they care. If my husband comes home and I’ll all done up he’ll probably think I’m cheating on him. He still doesn’t understand why I get all dressed up to go shopping. Because I bump into everyone when I am shopping. It’s the most socially active day of my week!

We all look okay and if you feel like you look a little crappy than usual today, plaster on a smile, even if it is slightly yellow. You can always fix it later.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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