On the general theory that (after a certain age) female beauty and styling efforts are aimed at creating the illusion of youth, ‘streaks’ or ‘highlights’ or ‘frosting’ in hair present a puzzle. I understand simply coloring (fully) one’s hair, either a youthful color (i.e. blonde) or just to cover up gray hair. Similarly, makeup and beauty creams can be understood as, in part, an effort to hide wrinkles and other signs of aging. And both of those can actually work.
But what of these streaks/highlights (not sure what to call them – let’s just use ‘streaks’) that women have started introducing in the past 10-15 years? What do they think they’re doing? No such thing is found in nature, hence any woman with streaks is making it fully apparent that her hair’s coloring is the result of chemicals. You can’t get tricked by streaks into thinking that’s naturally youthful hair, since streaks are not natural. So it’s not possible, not even in principle, for streaks to create an illusion of youth, except perhaps at a distance/first glance (before the phoniness of the coloring becomes non-ignorable). Instead, they are a reminder of age.
Let’s say I’m trying to estimate a woman’s age, and by my estimates, from her looks, I figure she’s between X on the low end and Y on the high end. The age-range she can pull off is [X,Y]. If her coiffing/etc. are particularly good, maybe she can trick me into thinking her age is closer to X. If she is of average styling, I’ll probably guess somewhere in the middle, (X+Y)/2. But, if my a priori estimate would be that she’s between X and Y, and I see streaks in her hair, I’m instinctively going to increase my estimate and guess that she’s closer to Y years old. Because no one who was on the young end of her [X,Y] apparent age-range would have put streaks in her hair in the first place.
So basically, streaks/highlights in hair serve almost the opposite function of most other beauty aids: they make an aging woman seem objectively older than she otherwise might. They pin a woman’s age to the high end of her pull-off’able age-range. At least to me. Now obviously, I’m not the target of most such efforts, so women can say ‘we don’t care what you think’. Ok fine. Just saying.
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