If your hair has lost a little thickness and vibrancy over the years, don’t worry. Try these editor-approved tricks to add volume, boost shine, restore color and strengthen fine hair at any age. Many of these hair care tricks and expert advice for aging hair are adapted from an article in Woman’s Day magazine. To see the original article, pick up the December/January issue on newsstands now.
1. Add Volume
Dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco says, “In our late 30s and 40s, individual hairs start to grow in finer.” Luckily, there are short- and long-term fixes to help add volume and thickness to aging hair.
Work a root-lifting spray or cream into your hair roots before blow-drying, or even better, air-drying your hair. (See our warnings about heat-styling below!) Or add a volumizing fiber product like Toppik™ Hair Building Fibers, which contain keratin proteins that cling to individual hairs, adding natural-looking thickness.
Hairstylists swear by Viviscal supplements to promote existing hair growth* from within. They report seeing results in their clients after just a few months of taking the supplement. Viviscal nourishes hair follicles with B vitamins like biotin and niacin, plus iron, vitamin C and the proprietary marine complex AminoMar™ to help support the growth of thicker hair* in 3-6 months. Remember that with all hair supplements, consistency is key. Try to take the full dose every day, and avoid skipping days or doses as that can delay your results.
Another hairstylist-recommended solution? The right haircut, of course! Stylist Matt Fugate tells his clients, “If you have straight hair, a blunt cut makes it look thicker. For curls, adding layers helps them stay bouncy and full.”
2. Boost Shine & Softness
As you age, production of oil glands on your scalp may slow down. That’s why aging hair may feel drier and look less glossy.
Work a drop of hair oil or shine-enhancing serum into your palms, then run it through damp hair beginning at the ends, as these are usually driest. Avoid your roots as adding oil at the scalp could make hair look greasy. You can do this on dry hair too on days when you’re not shampooing.
Dr. Fusco recommends applying a deep-conditioning coconut oil mask to hair once a week to boost shine. Warm a scoop of coconut oil between your hands and spread it on the bottom half of dry hair. Leave the oil on your hair for at least one hour, and then shampoo out with a mild shampoo. “Coconut oil not only conditions, but has also been shown to decrease hair’s protein loss,” Fusco says.
For hair that gets even drier in the winter, try these other DIY moisturizing masks to soothe winter hair woes.
3. Restore Radiant Color
You see those pesky grays reappear between colorings, and your natural hair color fades over time.
Use a temporary root touch-up spray or powder to cover gray hairs.
Let’s face it, everyone’s aging hair will eventually go gray. But using permanent hair color helps minimize the time between return trips to the salon. And if you’re dyeing your hair at home, choose an at-home dye that is specifically designed to cover grays.
Colorist Sharon Dorram says, “Brunettes should use a shade darker than their natural color — rich tones cover grays better — and blondes should steer toward a hue that’s more ashy than golden, which helps grays blend in seamlessly.”
Or avoid the repeated colorist visits altogether and allow your hair to go gray naturally. See these 10 good things that will happen if you let your hair go gray. To enhance your silver locks, shampoo hair once a week with a purple shampoo. This type of shampoo will help increase shine and prevent brassy tones. You can find a good purple shampoo at most salons.
4. Strengthen Your Hair
Because aging hair grows in finer over time, strands can be more fragile and more prone to breakage while styling or brushing. This could lead to damaged-looking hair, split ends and less volume overall.
Go to your stylist every 6-8 weeks for regular trims. This will help remove those frayed, split ends, and will keep your hair looking its healthiest and thickest. For an even quicker, more temporary fix for split ends, apply a styling cream formulated for breakage to your ends daily.
You can also strengthen aging hair strands with a fortifying serum such as Viviscal Densifying Elixir. It’s formulated to add lightweight volume and strengthen strands with keratin, biotin and zinc. Apply the leave-in elixir to damp or dry hair daily and style as usual.
You must know this by now but one of the biggest culprits behind damaged, breaking hair is heat! Cut back on your use of blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons. If you must use them, try a lower temperature setting.
For extra damage prevention, avoid brushing or combing wet hair, which is when it’s extra fragile and prone to breaking. Avoid bleaching your hair, which can actually make strands more porous and inhibit their ability to retain moisture, making them extra susceptible to breakage. Trichologist Dr. Philip Kingsley reports, “Bleaching raises your hairs’ outer cuticle, allowing the bleaching agent to fully penetrate. However, repeated bleaching can permanently raise the cuticle scales and allow rapid and continuous loss of moisture.” Yikes!