Mia Babes is part owner of Mia Wagner Salon in New York City. Her business partner is Gary Wagner, hence the name of the salon. Mia had a successful career at Frederic Fekkai salon that spanned over a twenty year period. That is where she met Gary and they left to create a salon to provide the highest level of customer service. They pride themselves on creating customized looks that fit their client’s lifestyles. A wide range of services are available from haircuts, conditioning treatments, color, facials, dermaplaning, waxing and eyelash extensions.
I was curious to speak with Mia about the best ways for women over 50 to care for their hair. My hair has definitely changed over the last few years as I have gotten more gray. It does not seem to have the volume it used to have and does not hold the curl as well. I believe many women experience thinning hair due to possible hormonal and thyroid issues. Also, gray hair usually has a different texture than hair with color. Mia confirmed that these changes do indeed take place and explained that every seven years, our hair changes, sheds and replaces itself.
The hair can often look dry and brittle and moisturizing and conditioning becomes very important. There are techniques and highlighting that can make the hair look fuller. I was curious about the age old question of hair length. Mia said that she always looks at a client standing up to determine the best hair length for their body and size. She also looks at her client’s profile and individual features. Hair length should be in proportion to the body. Many women over 50 like some length around the neck. She does not advise going too short or too light. Mia also takes into account the face shape and using layers to add fullness along with the client’s lifestyle.
With the pandemic and hair salons closed during lock down, Mia said many women decided to let their hair go gray. We talked about how beautiful shades of gray can be and with a stylish haircut, it can be striking. Gray hair is generally very porous and dehydrated. Weekly intensive conditioners and masks become an important part of a woman’s beauty routine. When you apply conditioner, it is best to comb it through the hair (with a wide tooth comb) after applying to evenly distribute it. This was a helpful tip for me because I am notorious for just blobbing it on. It is a self- care treat to get a salon quality hair conditioner and treatment from time to time.
Mia is not a fan of using oil on the hair as she says it weighs the hair down. She recommends a gentle shampoo and conditioner and as much as possible to dry the hair naturally. Exfoliating and massaging the scalp is helpful to the health of the hair. A mix of apple cider and water in a spray bottle, misted on the scalp and massaged in is also a good detoxifier. Clear gloss also works very nicely to enhance the color and shine of gray hair. It is possible to enhance the look of gray hair rather than changing it.
In terms of nutrition, healthy fats in diet such as salmon and sardines, olive oil, eggs, avocados, nuts, dark chocolate and nut butter. Fresh fruits and vegetables along with sufficient amounts of water are also essential. The hair just like the skin is an outward manifestation of our overall health. It is not just about external care and treatments. Mia mentioned a supplement called Nutrafol which is available for men and women. It improves hair growth and adds thickness and strength.
Stress can be a catalyst for hair changes, so it is important that we address stress levels and utilize techniques and practices that cause relaxation. More and more people find mediation, fun hobbies and exercise to be helpful.
One accessory Mia recommends is head bands. I discovered them too many years ago and have a collection of soft head bands and wraps. They can cover up a multitude of “sins” and are a lovely addition to our clothes and sense of fashion. Plus, they are much better and healthier than wearing wigs. Hair clips can also come in handy!
Short hair should generally be cut every six weeks, shoulder length, up to ten weeks and long hair, every three months. These are just general guidelines – the main thing is to maintain the health of our scalp/hair and the shape of our haircut.
I felt inspired after I spoke with Mia to administer more care to my hair on a consistent basis. As we get older, things do change (including hair) and we can take pleasure in ramping up our self- care routines and learning the best way to treat our changing selves.
To reach Mia:
Tel: 212 651 0312