These Before-And-After Hair Makeovers Are The Best Thing You'll See Today

When we heard that more and more women — women in the 60+ age group, to be specific — were experimenting with brightly colored hair, we were all about it. After all, as the iconic Baddie Winkle would likely argue, having the time of your life and doing whatever damn thing you want has no age limit. To show our support for this awesome movement, we scouted three bold women and teamed up with Wes Sharpton and Roxie Darling at Hairstory to give them the rainbow hair of their dreams.

But these were more than just typical makeovers: These women took the dated rulebooks about what is and isn't "appropriate" and threw them out the window. It was inspiring as hell and we all walked out of the salon feeling like we could take on the world.

Ahead, click through to meet the risk-takers, see the magical transformations, and, hopefully, be persuaded to pick up the phone and make that salon appointment. The message is simple: Whether you're 20 or 70, no look is off-limits.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Before
A librarian and social worker for most of her life, 63-year-old Carol Kushner describes herself as very conservative. So, how did she end up in a salon chair, about to dye her hair a color totally out of her comfort zone? Because her son thought it would be cool. She was hesitant, sure, but with the encouragement of her family, she was willing to take on the beauty dare.

In the past, Kushner had only played with highlights and a lighter shade of brown, so she decided to ease her way in with one of the more subdued shades on the rainbow spectrum: violet. "I thought purple would be the most accepted," she said. "I'm a social worker and I'm in people's homes, so I thought any bright color would be weird."
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Color Breakdown
Purple was also a great choice for Kushner, since she was starting from a dark base. "The saturation of the colors isn’t that far off from being a brunette," Darling explained. "They absorb the same amount of light and it's really good with her skin tone."

The plan of attack? Hand-painted highlights that would grow out nicely with her natural texture.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The After
When Kushner first arrived on makeover day, she was a bundle of jitters. "Oh my god, are you kidding me?! Of course I'm nervous!" she exclaimed.

But once she realized she was in expert hands and could picture the final result, she got on board. About seven hours later, it was time for the reveal. "I really, really like it," she said, smiling ear-to-ear. "To see the color, you really have to be in the sun or a fluorescent light, so it's really perfect."

After a week with the new hue, she says the reactions have been universally positive, save for one naysayer. "I have this one friend who's like, 'Oh I can't believe you did that, I'd never do that,'" Carol says. "She's an idiot. So, I think I have to drop her [Laughs]."

Though she admits she'll probably let the violet grow out, she's not against playing with color in the future. "I do think as you get older, you get stuck in a rut. Doing something like this really energizes you," she says. "I left Hairstory feeling like a million bucks and I'm still feeling that way. It made me want to put on a dress and high heels every day, instead of going back to my white shirt and black pants. I really did feel like it was a great lift."

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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Before
61-year-old Gerry Visco is impossible to miss. She's the director of academic administration and finance for the classics department at Columbia University and credits "three gin and tonics a day" as her best-kept beauty secret. She name-drops Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Andy Warhol in casual conversation like they're members of her family and her stories of New York in the '70s and '80s will have you wondering whether you're truly living or merely existing. (The New York Times doesn't profile just anyone, after all.)

Unsurprisingly, Visco's no stranger to daring hair. She's quick to remind us that she was one of the first people in New York City to have fuchsia hair back in the day. "They did an article about crazy-colored hair in the Soho Weekly News in the late '70s and the minute I saw it, I [knew] I had to have that color!" she says. "It was so unusual back then — people would scream at me on the streets. People found that color very upsetting, for some reason."

These days, people are much more accepting (even in the professor's lounge at Columbia), so she decided to go back to her pink hair days — with a twist.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Color Breakdown
Inspired by the colorful dress Visco arrived in for her consultation, Roxie went with a magenta-sunset color scheme. Her goal: to loosely channel the energy of a blooming flower.

"I wanted the colors to run, because I didn’t want it to look too contrived," she said. "I wanted it so that you couldn’t see where each color started and ended."
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The After
The final result was mesmerizing. Purple at the roots veers into a light pink at the ends, with a sprinkle of neon in the middle and red at the top. It's a psychedelic, rainbow-sherbet mix that fits Visco's wonderfully eccentric personality.

Fast-forward a couple of days later. Although her hair is already beginning to fade a bit due to her daily swim habit, she says that everyone loves her new look. "I got around 200 likes on Instagram, which is a lot," she says.

It's no surprise that when it comes to women dyeing their hair bold colors, Visco's motto is, "Age ain't nothin' but a number."

"I feel like if a person is able to pull it off, they should do it," she says. "I think, sometimes, with older women, they're afraid to be cool."

She lists the ladies of Advanced Style and Baddie Winkle as her inspiration, saying, "There are some women who truly do enjoy dressing up [in fun styles]. They don't think that just because they're a little older, they can't look good."

Lela Rose dress.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Before
Marie Jose, 57, was as cool, calm, and collected as it gets when she arrived for both her consultation and the big day. A couple of months prior, she had cut off the dreadlocks she'd been growing for seven years and she was ready for yet another change. This was the first time she'd dabbled in a hair color that wasn't in the blonde-brown family, but she was game.

"I'm not sure what it's going to look like, but I'm all for it," she said. As a high school teacher, she was looking forward to becoming the "cool teacher" around the halls.

She went with blue, a color that holds deep meaning to her. "My birthstone is sapphire and I love the nuances of the shade," she said. "I even have a painting that I made years ago titled The Blues, which depicts the different levels of blue that we go through — from the lightest to the most intense."
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The Color Breakdown
The shade of blue Darling settled on was vivid and multi-layered — the result of toning Jose's hair with silver, lavender, and blue.

As a final touch, Wes trimmed Jose's hair into a more tapered shape to help accentuate her cheekbones. For the final snap, he blew out her curls for a look that served up Nefertiti-meets-Grace-Jones gorgeousness.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
The After
Jose explains that when she arrived home after having her hair dyed, her daughter and grandchildren were waiting with metallic blue balloons and a box of doughnuts ready to celebrate. It's been a nonstop party ever since.

"I am having a ball with my blue hair — I love it! Everyone loves it!" she says. "People on the train, my students, my peers...I'm receiving compliments at every turn."

In fact, she says there's a woman in her 60s at her job who is also thinking about dyeing her hair. Do we have a movement on our hands? She sure hopes so.

"I think that many more women should experiment with their hair, because it breaks the taboo that, at a certain age, you [shouldn't] do certain things," she says. "Whatever the desire or change one wants, they should go for it. We have one life and we should make every day and every breath count — with a smile."

Jose says she is a woman forever changed. "My new hair allows me to continue boldly as I usually do without reservation and restrictions," she says. "I believe in doing things out-of-the-box and that was an out-of-the-box moment for me. It was a chic and memorable experience that I will cherish forever. It made my summer brighter."

Jennifer Zeuner earrings.

Peter Pilotto Embroidered Organza Dress, $3,180, available at Intermix.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
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