It’s no secret that our body and our skin breaks down as we age. We keep our shelves stocked with anti-aging skincare products for that very reason. But what of our aging locks? What can we do to slow the effects of thinning and breakage that occurs in our hair as we get older?
The good news is that there are many things you can do to reverse damage to your hair before it gets brittle and thin.
Don’t Overwash Hair
One rule of thumb is to wash your hair less, as this strips your hair of natural oils that we need. According to Pantene Pro-V Hair Scientist Dr. Rolanda Johnson Wilkerson, the hair needs these oils in order to maintain its suppleness. Since the production of oils slows as we age, we need to curb our hair cleaning.
Try a Dry or Sulfate-free Shampoo
Many experts also recommend trying out a dry wash shampoo, or a sulfate free shampoo, as an alternative to regular shampoos that can strip the oils from your strands. You don’t have to avoid regular shampoo completely, but when you do, take care to use a product that gives your washed hair added moisture, like a leave-in conditioner or a hair mask.
Use a Product with Keratin
Proteins in our hair also take a hit as we age. Proteins like keratin, which makes up 80 percent of our hair, protects and strengthens our mane, explains Dr. Wilkerson. Levels of keratin diminish due to excessive hairstyling, chemical treatments and environmental factors, she says. Once that keratin is lost then the damage is there, (and) once the damage happens, we can continue to lose keratin. So it’s a vicious cycle unless we use products that can help prevent this.
Use a hair thickening product
Hair thinning is another tell-tale sign of age. Hair growth slows down as we get older. As well, years of damage can contribute to breakage at the roots, rendering them unable to make more hair follicles. Thankfully, there are thickening products that can increase the diameter of hair fibres. Dr. Wilkerson says that even if there are fewer fibres, you can give the illusion that hair is thick by making the individual hair shafts thicker. She uses the analogy of a dense forest that has only a few, thick trees. The same goes for our hair, she explains. Fewer but thicker hair on our head can appear just as lush and full and supple as someone with youthful, younger looking hair as well.
Although it is inevitable you will get older, it doesn’t mean your hair has to look your age. Here are some products you can try:
To prevent keratin loss, try:
Advanced Keratin Repair Conditioner by Pantene, $11.99, at local drug stores.
To help thinning hair, try:
Pantene Age Defy Shampoo by Pantene, $12.99, at local drug stores.
To combat loss of oils, try:
L’Oreal Paris Expertise EverPure Volume Shampoo, $10, at local drug stores.
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Mask, $36 at www.sephora.com.
Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo, $17 at www.well.ca.