Cutting hair short beyond 40 – why you don’t have to

Cutting Hair Short Beyond 40 – why you don’t have to 

Hair and how you wear it impacts your confidence in huge ways. How many times have you heard someone say “women need to cut their hair shorter after the age of 40”?  What are your thoughts about that statement?

There are women that are able to wear waist length long hair in their 60s and look great.  In day to day reality this doesn’t work for most women over the age of 40 for many reasons.


The bottom line is that our hair changes as we reach our 40s.  It may have a tendency to become drier, thinner and more brittle.  Grey strands begin to overtake your natural colour and hair loss may be occurring due to hormonal fluctuations.

There is no way that you would want to look 16 from behind and 60 when you turn around.  But truly at the age of 60 you probably wouldn’t care about what anyone thinks anyway!

Long hair that is dry, brittle, straggly, over processed and out of condition is difficult to manage. You are more likely to wear it up in a banana clip or pony tail on a day to day basis.  Length can also drag your features downwards and age you in the most uncomplimentary way especially with a thin face.


Facial Features

If  your hair is full, thick, and healthy looking, then hair just sitting on the shoulders or even longer can look fabulous.  Women with fuller looking faces tend to suit a longer length due to the fact that the longer it is, the more it will pull the features downwards which isn’t great news for a thin face.


If your face is long and thin and you wish to soften your lines and wrinkles, then choosing to keep long length could be aging you more than you realize.

Shoulder length hair can look good on many women over 40, particularly when soft layers are added to flatter, frame and soften the features of the face.

A chic bob can look lovely on women with oval or heart shaped faces due to their slim jawlines.  Soft layers allow the bob to move naturally, and bobs can be styled in different ways too.

Have you noticed that some older actresses such as Meryl Streep, and Catherine Deneuve love to tuck their hair behind their ear sometimes?  This is a great way to draw the eye upwards, show off a fabulous pair of earrings, cheekbones and looks stylish at the same time.

But what about grey hair?

Pardon the pun, but this too is a “grey” area.  Some women can carry it off magnificently, and many can’t.

Due to the hair becoming more dry and coarse, a short funky, pixie hair style can look great. Think of Dame Judi Dench. Equally a great bob can wonderfully too.  Women who choose to wear their silver hair long, or waist length will have to spend a fair bit of time in maintaining condition to keep it looking good. If you end up pinning it back in a ponytail most of the time, why have it long in the first place?


Avoiding the Time Warp

Styles tend to go around in cycles, whether that is clothes, hair or make up.  I have found one of the mistakes I could fall into easily is going back to a style I had in the 80s due to my naturally curly hair!  Not a good look for now.

Stay chic, stay current, stay stylish.  Condition your hair regularly, and use good quality products.   If it is dead and thin on the ends, then have a few inches cut off. It will look much healthier straight away.

Go to a stylist who works with “older” women’s hair.  Have a consultation and discuss what you have in mind.  Listen to the suggestions the stylists make.  They will take into account your lifestyle, the shape of your face, and the condition of your hair.

Styles in your 40s should look and be:

  • Easy to manage
  • Chic
  • Flatter your features
  • Fashionable
  • Natural
  • Compliment your bone structure
  • Work with your skin tone

There are women with bold, quirky personalities such as Helena Bonham Carter, and Vivienne Westwood, who choose styles to suit who they are.


A woman in her 40s generally knows who she is and is more likely to do what she damn well wants.  The great thing is, that is her prerogative. Why fit in, if you want to stand out?

What about colour?

There are so many wonderful colours and hues to choose from.  Make sure your stylist takes your skin tone into consideration.  You don’t have to be short and boring, use colours that reflect your personality and who you are too.


Ladies over 40, you are just getting started!  Those old rules no longer apply to the degree that they once did.  You can wear your hair longer with the right cut, style, products and maintenance.

There is no need to give in to the belief that because you have hit your 40s you have to opt for the chop to avoid the “mutton dressed as lamb”look.

Cutting your hair is more dependant on the condition of and  willingness to spend time styling it. It is also about the lifestyle you live, and what is going on in your life on a personal level.

The long thick, healthy and lustrous look is  challenging for many women with thin, fine hair, but extensions can come to the rescue; another blog entirely.

Ask for a fresh style, rather than a young style.  There is a big difference between the two.

If you enjoyed this blog, then you may enjoy our other blogs and the Image Makeover blog on the site too.










eye health

Yes I had an Eye Lift

Yes I had an Eye Lift

Five years ago I decided to have an eye lift (medically suggested).   Since then  and consequently I have received various responses to this decision varying from:

* “Why would you do that to yourself”?

* “Natural is better”

* “Anyone who has plastic surgery is vain”

* “Good for you, how much did it cost?”

* “It looks fabulous”

Attitude and Judgement

None of the above comments both  positive or negative would have swayed the decision to have the eye lift (blepharoplasty)  procedure. Based on the experience, I wanted to share some information about the attitudes of other people and your own approach to cosmetic procedures.

We all know that middle age brings about significant change, both physically, mentally and emotionally.  The glow of youth fades and is replaced with new lines and wrinkles making themselves at home on the  face.  For some women (and men) this can be very upsetting.

The Ageing Process

Collagen is lost particularly during the menopause and the skin may begin to sag in certain places.   Jowls may appear around your lower face and your jaw line may not be as defined as in your 20s. Eye lids start to sag and droop and you may start to think about an eye lift.

All of the above are a normal part of the ageing process.  How you choose to approach these changes is a matter of personal choice.

There are those who are perfectly happy in their own skin and embrace each year as a life lived well. And there those who struggle with the reflection in the mirror.

Is it really necessary  to judge women (and men)  who decide to have cosmetic surgery to preserve their beauty as much as possible?


eye lift

In the many years I spent living in Dubai, a very affluent country where cosmetic surgery procedures are common.  The cosmetic surgery clinics are full of eager women (and men) undergoing various procedures ranging from botox, fillers, implants, Thermage, eye lifts, eyebrow lifts and more.  Some look absolutely fantastic, whereas others look clearly overdone.

There are some celebrities who have undergone multiple facelifts (Sharon Osbourne) and some who have the occasional nip and tuck here and there.   There are those who like to “fix” any areas they are not happy with.  A famous quote  by Dolly Parton on this subject  “If I see something sagging, bagging or dragging, I’m gonna have it nipped, tucked, and sucked”.


eye lift


Even when money has not been a barrier to cosmetic surgery there are still celebrities who get it very wrong.


According to the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) 51,000 Britons opted for cosmetic surgery in 2015. Women account for 91% of these numbers and the number of men undergoing procedures has doubled, most noteworthy indeed.

In my case my eye lift was carried out for medical reasons at an eye hospital with the added benefit of it looking cosmetically great.  To say that I was thrilled with the procedure would be an understatement. Therefore, it  has been one of the best things decisions I have made.  This is something that I have heard from most people who have also undergone this procedure.


Was it painful? no

Was there bruising? yes for a few days

Did it make a difference? yes it certainly did and I would do it again

The bottom line is that the decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure is purely personal.

It is important that you consider carefully what you are about to do. There is a possibility   that you may not have the expected outcome you are looking for, particularly if you have unrealistic expectations.

Bear in mind that cosmetic surgery is still a medical procedure and will always have an element of risk,  particularly if you are having a general anaesthetic.  Many procedures can be carried out these days with “twilight” sedation which was the case with my own operation.

Do it for you not for someone else

Make sure you are making this decision to please yourself, not to please another.  I have worked with many women who have undergone breast augmentation to please their partner, only to find they did not like their new breasts.

Having a new pair of breasts, or a butt implant is not going to give you long term happiness  if you don’t know how to create happiness within yourself first.

Research fully

Research your surgeon  and the procedure fully.  Ensure that he/she has carried out your required procedure several times and ask to see photographs or speak to previous patients if possible. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions that you need to.  The more information you have the more informed you will be as to what to expect.

Your cosmetic surgeon should reassure you and allay any fears you may have.  Ensure you have all your questions to hand and as result you are far more likely to have the outcome and experience you want.

There are lotions and potions, and there are cosmetic procedures, do your due diligence if you choose to go down the cosmetic surgery route and exercise caution to make sure you are doing it for the “right” reasons, not for the wrong ones.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, please feel free to peruse the other blogs on the site.

Have a great day.

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

eye health

Shift Your Middle Age Muffin Top

Middle Age and Weight Redistribution

Many things happen during middle age, and one of them is the redistribution of fat around the body.  Women may find that excess weight is sitting around the middle and adding to the very uncomfortable muffin top spillage over the top of jeans.

There are many reasons for this which we shall explore in this blog.  The fact is that fat held around the middle of the body is particularly detrimental to health and is a sign that the metabolism is not working as efficiently as it once did.

Illnesses and fat stored around the middle

Fat around the middle is known to increase the risk of many illnesses such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease high blood pressure and more.  It is also a fact that as people get older they may become less active and muscle mass begins to be lost.

Diet alone will not address this problem, it needs a multi level approach.

Your body is laying weight around the middle for a number of reasons:

1. Long term stress

2. Unhealthy lifestyle

3. Poor nutrition

4. Lack of exercise

5. Excessive alcohol consumption

6 Thyroid and adrenal issues


During periods of stress your body is pumping out adrenaline and cortisol due to the flight or fight response.   In caveman times this was necessary to respond to threats.  However the types of stress experienced today is completely different in comparison to that time.

Perhaps you are stressed at work, home, or while driving through traffic or another type of stress. Your body will respond accordingly.  Due to the release of these hormones and the fact that your body is not doing anything physical in response to the perceived threat, it will then  lay down fat deposits.

Cortisol and appetite

Once the perceived threat is over it is common for the cortisol levels to remain high and your appetite increases — not great if you are trying to control and manage your weight.

Raised cortisol affects wellbeing and moods, causing feelings of tension, anxiety and a feeling of irritability.

Many people who are stressed have a tendency to eat the wrong types of foods as a means of comforting themselves.  Sugary snacks, chocolate, crisps, wrong types of carbohydrates and fried fatty food is going to complicate matters even further. All that extra weight is likely to end up around the middle.



There are also those that eat less and lose their appetites in periods of stress.

In periods of prolonged stress the body is unable to keep up, the adrenals cease to work efficiently and energy levels drop significantly.  Your body is in stress overload.

The key is in staying tuned into your mind and body and not allowing stress to impact your life to the degree that your health begins to suffer.

Your body needs to know that there are no longer any perceived threats to allow it to begin to let go of the excess roll of fat that sits around the middle.

Menopause is also a time of stress for some women as they deal with hormonal fluctuations, mood swings, less energy, and all of the changes that menopause brings.  This is particularly challenging for  women in  corporate jobs trying to function productively while her body processes all of these changes mentioned above.

Men also do not escape the effects of hormonal changes in midlife and they begin to produce less and less testosterone. Men in middle age lose muscle mass if they are not exercising regularly and less muscle mass means less calories expenditure.

Another gland that impacts weight control is the thyroid gland in the neck.  The thyroid is responsible for metabolism and body temperature.  When there are high levels of cortisol as a result of stress the function of the thyroid may reduce.



What you can do

It is imperative to take control of eating habits and behaviour.  It is necessary to find a way of addressing comfort eating, or eating the wrong food groups for the wrong reasons.

Seven tips to take control of your weight

1. No more dieting, diets do not work

2. Let go of sugar and refined carbohydrates

3. Make sure you have a little protein at each meal

4. Let go of your morning coffee and caffeine drinks

5. Address your stress levels

6 Eliminate or reduce alcohol

7. Consider supplementation

8. Exercise regularly

Instead of leaving huge gaps in-between meals, eat little and often to keep the metabolism burning.  Don’t skip breakfast, your body has been fasting all night.

Caffeine is a stimulant

Be careful with caffeine.   It is a stimulant that causes your body to start the release of cortisol and eventually may mess up the way your body responds to the release of insulin.  Caffeine is also very addictive.

Alcohol is your enemy



Alcohol is also a stimulant which interferes with the absorption of nutrients and your sleep patterns.   It also causes your body to dehydrate which is stressful for the body.  Remember that the liver is a very busy organ.  When you drink alcohol you are overloading it and it may not be able to do its job efficiently or well.



This is a personal choice, but I have seen the many benefits of supplementation with my clients.  Study the benefits of chromium, magnesium, zinc, rhodiola rosea, and many other wonderful supplements.  Speak to your local health shop regarding recommendations and make an informed choice to take them or not.



Exercise consistently and choose exercise that you know you will enjoy.  This is important to stay motivated to continue.  Choosing weight bearing exercise is going to help to increase your muscle mass which is ideal particularly for the midlife years.

Shopping List

You will find a free downloadable shopping list on the flourish beyond 40 website.  Avoid food that is labeled “diet or low fat”.  Avoid all artificial sweeteners.  Eat organic where possible.  Include more beans and pulses into your diet.  Drink plenty water each day to help flush the body of toxins.

If you enjoy spices in your food then enjoy including them in your cooking.  Include nuts, seeds and avocados.

There is a plethora of wonderful books and information that you can access to support your weight goals.

Now that you know the factors that are adding to weight gain around the middle, you can take proactive action to make changes to your health, wellness and lifestyle.  The good  news is that you are likely to let go of weight around the middle once you address the factors that are causing it.

Being able to manage stress levels and noticing when stress levels become too high is going to help you stay in control of your weight.  Make sure you use effective stress management techniques and strategies to support your goals of healthy weight  management.

If you enjoyed reading this blog you may enjoy reading the other blogs on the site.

Have a great stress free day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40



Image Makeover

“A strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success”

– Joyce Brothers

It is interesting to note that sometimes, when women decide to change their image, they sometimes bounce against resistance from loved ones.  This can come from the fact that they are loved by family, friends and partners just as they are.  However, the most important thing is how they feel about themselves.  It is better to make changes that you want and that you are comfortable making, rather than to make them to please someone else.

Image Makeover

As a woman approaches midlife and beyond it is quite common for her to feel a little confused and lost regarding a sense of style that meets who she is at the age that she is.  The styles that were popular a few years ago may not be looking as chic now as they once did.

I know in my own case that I found I could no longer get away with wearing certain fabrics well, and that the type of fabric cut and colour made a huge difference as to how I looked and felt in my clothes. My daughter has benefited from this significantly, and does most of her shopping from my past wardrobe mistakes!

There is no need to start wearing twin sets and pearls, or frumpy clothes just because you have moved into middle age.  Women have more stylish choices and options than ever before; and it is possible to look classy, elegant, stylish and sexy all at the same time and do it well.

Some would say that there are “rules” to follow when you are a certain age in terms of the clothes you choose to wear, or how you wear your hair.  There are many women who still wear long hair beautifully, and many women who wear short spiky hairstyles really well too.

How do you feel when you see a middle aged women dressed similarly to her teenage daughter, perhaps in a midriff bra top and mini skirt skimming her bottom?  The image that you project out to the world is a reflection of your personality.  What is it that you are portraying in your choice of clothing?  How do you perceive yourself?

In these years of great change, it may be necessary to have a makeover with a makeup consultant.  Your skin changes with age and so does your skin tone.  Wearing the same colours and style as you wore in your twenties is not going to enhance your looks at all.

It may be necessary for you to invest in an image consultant who will work with you and your wardrobe to show you the best ways of highlighting your best features and downplaying those you are not particularly happy with.

Maybe you have found a hair style that you really want to try.

The bottom line is that when you feel good about yourself it shows in your confidence and the way you walk, talk and communicate with others.

Maybe it is time for to assess your own self-image at this time in your life and to start to implement changes that lift your confidence levels.

A few years ago I went to an Image Consultant who “did my colours”.  I was stunned at what a difference this made to my own confidence levels.  Certain colours can make you look fresh and energised, whilst others can be very draining. It also makes shopping very easy as you know which colours to look for and which to avoid.  The same applies to style.  A good personal shopper will lead you towards clothes that will look great on you.

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make, it will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you”– Robin Sharma

Even your underwear choices may come under some scrutiny in the middle years and beyond.  You may find that you veer towards underwear that is not so visible under your clothes and smooths out any bumps, rather than having visible panty lines.  It is all a matter of personal choice and preference.


Cosmetic surgery is big business these days and more women are opting to go down this path at a certain age.  I have seen some excellent work done on ladies and I have also seen horrendous work.  If this an option that you are considering, please make sure you thoroughly research your chosen cosmetic surgeon or Doctor.  Ensure that they have plenty of experience in the procedure that you want to have and make sure that you are realistic about the results that you expect. Cosmetic surgery does not solve your personal problems in any way, and in many cases does not help relationships as some may think.  Ask yourself if you want these changes for you or to please someone else.

If you have enjoyed this Image Makeover Blog and would like to know more, why not head over to the Flourish Beyond 40 shop and peruse our programmes that may help you, or purchase the Image Makeover Module.

Have a wonderful day.


Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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Supercharge Your Confidence

“Confidence is courage at ease” – Daniel Maher

There is no doubt that confidence may occasionally take a dip as a woman reaches mid-life and beyond.  Changes are taking place on many levels, physically, mentally and emotionally, and it is a time for adjustment.  Many women feel that their self-esteem is not as high as it was and for many this can be a time of uncertainty and insecurity.


Many of my clients mention that they no longer like looking in the mirror and seeing the march of time appearing on their faces.  Or to watch and witness changes within their body.

One of the most common statements that I hear is a feeling of loss.  As a woman leaves the child bearing years behind and finally says goodbye to having more children, this can cause feelings of loss and sadness.

However, the mid-life years and beyond are also a wonderful time to shake up your life a little and get back on track doing the things you used to love doing before children or responsibilities of home, family or work took priority.

This time in your life is all about more:

  • Freedom
  • Time to do what makes you happy
  • Rediscovering your hobbies and interests
  • Developing yourself
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Saying “yes” to yourself and “no” to others
  • Discernment about how you spend your time and who you spend it with

This time in your life is less to do with:

  • Caring what others think
  • Believing that you do not matter
  • Negative self-talk
  • Wasting time doing what you dislike
  • Self-criticism
  • Comparing yourself with others
  • People-pleasing
  • Focusing on your perceived flaws

It is an exciting time of change, possibility, and adventure!

What about that trip you have always wanted to go on?

What about the books you want to read?

What about the language you have always wanted to learn?

What about the course you wanted to attend?

Yes, you may feel that your house is quiet after children fly the nest to pastures new.  Some women report feeling “redundant” with no family to take care of any longer at home.  If you view this time as an amazing opportunity for you to start doing allthe things you have put off for so long and rebuilding a part of your life that fits who you are now.  How does that feel for you?

Self-confidence is tied to both the physical and emotional elements of who you are.  There are changes taking place on a physical and emotional level, such as hair changes, skin changes, hormone fluctuations, lack of libido in some cases, mood changes, forgetfulness, lack of energy, and insomnia for some.  It is no wonder that your confidence levels are lower than usual if you are finding it difficult to relate to the person looking back at you in the mirror.

We have some amazing role models for midlife and beyond:

  • Helen Mirren
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Diane Keaton
  • Meryl Streep
  • Halle Berry

And many more. Some say that 40 is the new 30!

There are so many ways to boost confidence levels.  From the best in skin care regimens and products, to very discreet cosmetic surgery that is not obvious. Fabulous choices of exercise, or even machines that report doing it for you!

One of the best things to work with first and foremost is your mindset. Aging is an inevitable part of life, unavoidable and guaranteed.  The way you handle it and deal with it is entirely your choice.

Instead of focusing on perceived flaws, why not focus on all of the parts that you do like and accentuate those.

Are you comparing yourself with models in the media or in films?  Remember that there is a lot of airbrushing and retouching that goes on in photographs and movies.  The picture you see may not necessarily be true.

It is sad that for some women it all becomes too much and they “give up” on themselves and cease to care about their self-care or in taking care of their health needs.  Ladies: you are worth it; you are beautiful in your own unique and special way.


When was the last time you had a manicure or pedicure?

When was the last time you bought lovely matching underwear?

Are your legs and armpits smooth today?

Are you removing facial hair or leaving it a few days late?

When did you last visit the dentist?

When was the last time you restyled your hair?

The answers to these questions may nudge you into making some changes that may lift your confidence levels and encourage you to take more care of yourself.

On a scale of 1 being very little and 10 being highly confident, which number are you?

Here are 10 tips to help move you towards better confidence today:

  1. Stand tall, be aware of your posture and slouching
  2. Stay on top of your personal grooming
  3. Schedule your grooming appointments months in advance
  4. List your achievements in life and acknowledge them
  5. Accept compliments with a sincere thank you
  6. Be aware of your own negative self-talk and self-criticism and stop
  7. Start to say “yes” to what you do want and “no” to what you don’t
  8. Know your weaknesses and resolve to become more competent in those areas
  9. Set small goals and achieve them, then begin to set bigger ones
  10. Choose not sit in your problem. Find solutions and support

If you have enjoyed this Blog and would like to learn more about how the Flourish Beyond 40 Programme or Supercharge Your Confidence Module can help you, just head over to the shop and peruse the many options available for you.

Have a wonderful day.


Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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