I’m 54. I’m not young anymore, and I don’t look young. But I like how I look. Even if my face is not as full and my waist is not as small, I know how to look my very best. Over the years, I’ve figured out what makeup to use, what jeans to wear. I have my look under control… except for one thing: my uncooperative aging hair.
My hair used to be so easy. I always wore it long, it was shiny, it had the right amount of body. Sometimes I would blow-dry it, other times I just let it dry naturally. I tried all kinds of haircuts, spent endless hours in the chlorine-saturated pool, even permed it at some point. The truth is, no matter what I did to my hair, it always looked good. It was so resilient. I didn’t pay that much attention to what shampoo or conditioner I used, most seemed to work just fine.
The Aging Hair Issue
And then, the 40’s came around. Those first gray hairs showed up. More and more each day, until I found myself needing to color every four weeks. Then, the dryness started, and my bouncy tresses turned into electrifying fly aways. I realized that just like my skin and my body, my hair was aging as well. And the hair routine I had, simply stopped working.
After much trial and error of new products, I decided to talk to my friend Isabel, a biologist and chemist who had worked in the beauty industry for many years. And this is what I learned: Yes, with age you will have less hair and your hair will grow thinner.
“It’s perfectly normal to lose about 60-100 hairs every day, no matter your age” she explained. “But with menopause, hormonal changes can affect hair growth. That’s why, while you might see less hair on your head, you see some more on your chin” (truth is, I’ve noticed I’m growing a beard!). “And, hair follicles also get smaller with age, so the hair that’s actually growing, comes out much thinner than earlier in life”.
As Your Hair Ages, Your Hair Care Routine Needs to Change
Yes, your aging hair will become dry and brittle. When you’re young, there’s oil everywhere! I remember how quickly my hair got dirty, I would get the occasional breakout and that shiny T-zone. Well, it turns out that all that production of oil is actually good for your hair follicle and your hair, because every strand is naturally coated. “But as you get older,oil glands shrink and they don’t produce as much oil, leaving your hair much drier and less elastic, making it more brittle”. And to make things worse, she explained, the constant coloring, straightening and heating, makes your hair even more stiff and prone to breaking. While I have yet to find the right products for my aging hair -- why is it that when it comes to beauty and aging, the focus tends to be only on our skin? my friend Isabel gave me a few tips:
Take a hair supplement loaded with biotin and vitamins.
Clear your scalp of buildup and residues. Try products with charcoal designed to detox the scalp, and add a scalp nutrient at night.
Choose sulfate-free products whenever possible, and try deep-nourishing treatments with natural oils at least once a week.
Don’t abuse bleaching and coloring, and ALWAYS use a heat protector when using a flat iron.
Eat healthy. After all, you (and your hair) are what you eat.
I have been listening to my aging hair and giving it what it really needs. Will you?