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Rapunzel had beautiful, long hair that was magical. As long as she stayed in the tower, it served a purpose. But let’s face it – it had to be time consuming to shampoo, condition and comb the tangles out, not to mention blow dry and style.

I know a lot of teenage and twenty-something women with long beautiful locks and plenty of older women with great-looking longer styles. Unfortunately, I also see many middle-age women with longer hair that is dry, lackluster and shapeless. Some women seem to have long hair just for the sake of having long hair. Perhaps they’re afraid of how they would look with shorter hair, or they think that their long hair is more feminine. Long hair is great as long as it’s healthy, maintained, and flattering to the person wearing it. But when it ceases to meet those criteria, it’s time for a new do.

As people age, their hair usually loses some of its vibrancy. It gets dryer, and dry hair often looks frizzy and dull. This doesn’t mean long hair is out of the question. It just requires a little more time. Using a quality shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for your hair type becomes more important as you get older. Styling methods, like blow drying, curling and flat ironing make hair look healthier, too. Color can add shine and depth. And regular cuts are essential – not to take off length, but to keep the style in shape.

If you don’t have the time to spend making your long hair look great, a mid-length or shorter style may be for you. You don’t have to give up femininity. There are plenty of cuts, even short styles, that look soft, sassy or sexy. If you’re afraid of going shorter, talk to your stylist. Keeping the length but shaping up the style around the face or with layers can do wonders for tired-looking hair.

For those living in a tower without stairs or an elevator, keep your long hair. Otherwise, make sure your hair has you looking your best.