Before and after long hair makeover

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Cathleen Medwick, 57, writer
Why she grew it long: "I liked contradicting the general wisdom that women over 50 shouldn't wear their hair long. And though I'm kind of a loner, it was fun to be part of the sisterhood of long-haired older women. Plus, I got very dramatic reactions. Before, I could never count on being recognized the second time someone met me, but with hair to my waist, I could. I think it made me look a little wild—which is good for someone who feels as repressed as I do. I was never great with my hair—I can't even find my part, for heaven's sake—and I hated taking time to have it cut. One day, as I walked past a salon, I thought, I don't ever have to go in there anymore! And I stopped cutting my hair."

How she characterized her relationship with her hair: "It left me alone, and I left it alone."

What she was afraid of: "The domino effect—I'll have to keep my hair in shape, and why shouldn't I wear some makeup, and howzabout a nicer wardrobe, and before you know it...all maintenance, all the time!"

What made her decide to cut it: "I started to feel constrained by the length, as if it were running away with me. It got knotted up more, caught in my backpack. And I was, of course, curious about what a great stylist might do."

How she felt after losing a foot off the length: "As if a weight were lifted off my head. This shorter cut is much more feminine and less severe. Finally, I think my hair and I had simply outgrown each other."

What Kevin did: After slicing off about 12 inches, Kevin gave Cathleen subtle layers in the back to add fullness, and a few layers around her face to soften the look. Then licorice lowlights were added to warm up her fair complexion.