Sad truth, friends. Like your skin, your hair shows signs of aging. And it’s not just grey hair that’s a giveaway of an aging scalp. Your hair loses elasticity and your scalp produces less oil so tresses are more brittle and dry. Frizziness, lacklustre colour, coarseness, thinning and of course, grey hairs are also signs of the unfortunate aging process. So how do you help turn back time? Here are our tips and favourite products for a more youthful-looking head of hair based on which sign of aging you’re worried about.
First, make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet. You need a combination of protein, iron, zinc, healthy fats (like those in avocado or coconut), fatty acids (from fish or vegan options like flax seeds), plus vitamins B and C. There are also hair-specific supplements like Viviscal, that help improve the quality of hair and promise to make hair grow faster.
Treat your hair to a weekly moisturizing treat like a mask or hot oil treatment. You can even revive dry locks by saturating dry hair with coconut oil, letting it sit for 20 minutes then washing and conditioning as usual.
Try: L’Oréal Re-Nutrition Deep Moisture Mask, $7.99, well.ca
If dryness is untreated, your locks can become brittle and prone to breakage, which leads to split ends and thinner looking hair. Restore your hair’s strength with a system meant for aging hair. Kérastase’s Age Premium line promises to not only add structure and strength to weakened hair but to also add body, volume and bounce.
Try: Kérastase Age Premium Mousse Substantive, $45, kerastase.ca
Dry and brittle hair can become frizzy. The main cause of frizziness is a damaged cuticle. This means that the outer layer of your hair doesn’t lay flat so individual hairs look less shiny and smooth. But even well-moisturized tresses can start to look unruly as you age. Changes in hormones can change hair’s texture, turning formerly straight hair curly or making haphazard waves out of pretty ringlets. And when you lose hair due to hormones, stress or breakage, the regrowth process can be frustrating, leaving short baby hairs that stick out all over. Smooth out wild hair with a serum to condition and fight frizz. One made of natural oils will both nourish dry hair and smooth your hair’s cuticle.
Try: John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment and Defrizzer, $22.50, freshfaced.ca
Your hair just isn’t as shiny as it used to be and your colour looks less vivid. Lack of oils and less pigment being produced are the culprits for lacklustre locks. While you’ll need to dye your hair to increase the pigment, you can fake the look of depth colour by adding shine. A shine spray may temporarily do the trick day-to-day but a repairing treatment or shampoo can help give long-term benefits. Alterna’s Instant Recovery Shampoo contains proteins that help to reconstruct the hair’s protective cuticle so each individual strand looks shinier and less frizzy.
Try: Alterna Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Shampoo, $37, sephora.com
Unfortunately, beyond getting hair permanently relaxed (with a Japanese straightening or keratin treatment), there isn’t a perfect fix for hair that’s become coarser over the years. And chemical treatments are definitely not recommended for aging hair that’s already damaged. Grey hair specifically, is more coarse and harder to manage so you may find that as you age, your grey hair (or coloured grey hair) becomes more unruly. If, however, your hair is coarse due to dryness, you might be able to bring back some of that softness. Either way, you’re looking at styling products and leave-in treatments that promise to hydrate and smooth strands for a softer, shinier look.
Try: Alterna Caviar Repair RX re-Texturizing Protein Cream, $40, sephora.com
Hair gets thinner for many reasons. You may lose hair during hormonal changes (after having a baby, during menopause), because of stress or because it’s in your genes. Individual strands can naturally become thinner as we age and some follicles may stop producing hair, which of course, leads to less hair and an even thinner look overall. If you are worried about seriously thinning hair or even bald patches, consider a system like Nioxin. The products target and treat different types of thinning hair. You can find the system that’s right for you by answering a few questions on the Nioxin site. Or for a little bit of a volume boost, try a styling product like a volumizing hair spray.
Try: Nioxin Volumizing Reflectives Niospray Extra Hold, $25.19, canadabeautysupply.com
As we get older, most of us will get more and more grey hair. If you’re not already colouring your grey hair, you may choose to. Look for a demi- or permanent hair colour that says “100 per cent grey coverage” on the box. You may also choose to use a root touch-up product between regular colour treatments to cut back on damage and to prevent further dehydration of those already aging tresses. Clairol’s new Age Defy hair colour promises to not only combat grey hairs that are often resistant to being dyed — sometimes even a permanent 100 per cent grey coverage colour won’t dye your most stubborn greys — but it also promises to improve frizz, breakage, dryness, coarseness, lacklustre shine and unruly hair. Many of these benefits come from the accompanying conditioner but some come from a pre-treatment that softens coarse hair and preps it to be coloured. However, this isn’t the product to try if you don’t have grey hair, as all hair colour is somewhat damaging, but if you do colour your hair and are looking for a good, deep conditioner to tackle those signs of aging — this one is worth your time.
Try: Clairol Expert Collection Age Defy Permanent Hair Colour, $12.99, londondrugs.com