Believe it or not, hair ages too. As years race by there are subtle physiological changes and by the time you hit your forties and fifties you may find you have a completely different head of hair. So what are the rules of youthful hair? Follow our expert guide to stronger, bouncier, and more vibrant hair, whatever your age…
DO – SCRUTINIZE YOUR PRODUCTS
With fewer oil glands producing sebum as we age, particularly after menopause, hair also suffers. It gets drier as the scalp produces about 40 percent less oil. The solution? Scrutinize your hair products and adopt a moisture-rich shampoo and conditioning routine to maintain the luster and shine.
Try: We love the indulgent Leonor Greyl hair products such as Crème Aux Fleurs (£18.50), which is a cream shampoo for very dry hair and sensitive scalps, containing plant-based conditioners and proteins like algae and chamomile.
DO – GO SULFATE-FREE
The bitter irony is that over-use of smoothing hair products loaded with silicone can dull hair over time. Additionally, sulfates in shampoo can strip away hair’s natural oils.
Try: Take a break and go sulfate-free, particularly if you color or chemical-treat your hair says Jamie Stevens of London’s Jamie Stevens Hair. “Sulfates give shampoos a thick, bubbly lather and silicones can make hair look and feel smooth and shiny. However, sulfates and silicones can create a barrier on the hair making it harder for conditioning treatments as well as color, perms, relaxers, or keratin blow-dries, to work or last as long. They can also make your hair feel limp or heavy in the long run and sulfates can be irritating to the scalp.”
DON’T OVER-DO THE DYE
Our skin tone changes both seasonally and as we get older so it’s important that hair color softens and complements your skin tone. “Overdoing block, permanent color when you’re older can make hair look wig-like so don’t stay too dark—it can really age you. Opt for lighter strands to give your face a softer frame,” says Karine Jackson, UK organic color expert.
Try: “A seasonal, in-salon assessment with a color expert to see what tones will suit you for the next few months,” says Karine.
DON’T – MISS OUT A WEEKLY MASK
“If you love the gym or spa, pop a mask on your hair massaging it from roots to ends when you’re in the steam room and wrap it up in a towel to help the cuticles open up for a greater moisture hit,” says Ken Picton, UK’s Wales & South West and British Colour Technician of the year.
Try: Ken recommends the Kerastase Age Premium range for the boost of collagen and antioxidant ingredients or Kerastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Masque ($65) as a nourishing treatment thanks to four precious oils.
DO – GIVE OILS A CHANCE
High shine gloss and a bouncy thickness lend hair a generally healthy appearance but too much silicone can dull hair over time. Natural oils can be one way to help achieve this. “There’s been an explosion of hair oils since we realized the incredible benefits they have for repairing and softening hair. Anyone can use one—if you’re prone to greasy hair just keep it at the ends and away from the roots,” says Ken.
DO – GIVE GREY HAIR ADDED LUSTER
Hair that’s grey has not only lost its pigment—as follicles have stopped producing color-giving melanin – but it loses moisture too. This dryness changes hair texture, which is why it appears wiry, and coarser. So upping luster with daily conditioning treatments is really important.
Try: Phytolisse Serum, (£22.50) to create a luminous shine with apricot oils; the added sunscreen is ideal for grey hair which has no melanin to protect it from sun damage. Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Jet Set (£20) is a convenient trio that helps to boost the appearance and glossiness of graying hair.
DON’T – SCRIMP ON BODY-BOOSTING HAIR PRODUCTS
In your forties, hair strands start shrinking in diameter, usually caused by hormonal changes, which affects its overall volume. Invest in a salon-approved and scientifically endorsed hair-care range that specifically treats thinning hair.
Try: Alterna Caviar Clinical Daily Detoxifying Shampoo ($32), which is formulated with red clover extract to detoxify the scalp so that essential vitamins and minerals are delivered. Follow with Alterna Caviar Clinical Daily Root & Scalp Stimulator ($36), a leave-in treatment that helps stimulate the scalp with energizing vitamins and minerals.
DO – TAKE CONTROL OF ROOTS MANOEUVRE
You can prolong the time in between coloring sessions by using an at-home temporary root cover-up—there are some impressive options available that instantly conceal grey and will quick fix a bad hair day.
Try Color Wow Root Cover Up ($34.50) , which looks like a make-up palette and is brushed onto dry hair with an applicator brush that looks and feels like an eye-shadow brush. Results are impressively long lasting and natural. You can also try Alterna Stylist 2 Minute Touch-Up ($24, for UK stockist tel: 01925 578000), a mineral-based, gel-formula color that washes out in one shampoo.
DON’T – FORGET YOUR DIET
Like skin, healthy hair starts from the inside, so check your diet because the right nutrients make all the difference. Studies have shown foods rich in B complex vitamins can help improve hair health and slow down the appearance of grey.
Try: Oily fish, animal liver, millet, buckwheat, dark green vegetables such as kale, and almonds. Or try a food supplement such as Viviscal (£49.95 for 1 month supply), which taps into the power of B-vitamins as well as a patented marine complex, or Nourkrin (£50.95 for 1 month supply), which also helps to support and balance health and regular hair growth through a combination of targeted natural minerals.
DO – INDULGE IN DIY MASSAGE
We often forget about the scalp and concentrate on our face to keep a youthful appearance. “Often when hair feels dull and straw-like it’s because the scalp is tight and congested with product build up,” explains Paolo Lai the Hair Whisperer at Neville Hair and Beauty in London. We need to apply the same care to the scalp as we do for skin. Healthy hair needs a healthy scalp!
Try: A daily DIY massage, created by Paulo. “Start by brushing the hair with a soft paddle brush to remove excess product build-up. Mix one teaspoon each of almond oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil as a base. Add three drops each of lavender and rosemary oil, and two drops of peppermint. This oil mix can help soothe, stimulate and activate blood flow on the scalp. Start massaging the scalp with fingers in a rotating movement from the hairline to the nape, so you cover the whole head. Regular deep massage will improve the health of the scalp and hair growth.”
DON’T – ABANDON YOUR HAIR AFTER 40
It’s a cliché that hair needs to be short when you get older—hair only looks too long when it’s not taken care of. Keep a fresh and modern appearance by working with hair’s natural texture and avoiding too much flat ironing, which can make tresses look flat and worn out.
Try: “Keeping a heavier feel on the sides to give it a stronger silhouette. Too much shaping and layering around the face can be quite old-fashioned. You can still have something shorter but if you disconnect it, it gives a younger look. In terms of the finished style, it works best if you just keep to having the body and volume on the crown area. Still create movement everywhere else but with a smoother finish. Leave behind the hair spray and maybe apply a light soft wax through the ends for separation for a more current look,” advises Tom Greenhouse, Senior Stylist at Daniel Galvin Jr.