Hair care for women over 40 has never been more in demand, in large part due to the renowned ladies who have gone grey (and made it a cultural phenomena, no less). It’s a good time to look at how you can maintain the thickness and texture of your strands through ageing, drastic hormonal changes, times of high stress, and beyond because science is progressing and the beauty industry is realising it needs to adapt to the needs of ageing hair. Three specialists who specialise in hair care for women over 40 explain what happens to hair as it ages and what you can do to make it more resilient for lengths that are fuller, softer, and shinier.
What happens to the scalp and hair as we age?
It’s inevitable that hair will gradually start to change with time. According to Debra Lin, Ph.D., a hair science expert and chief scientific officer for the hair care company Better Not Younger, “there’s increased shedding and slower hair growth, more frizz and dryness, less volume, and loss of pigmentation in the hair strands resulting in more grey and white hairs.” In addition to the impacts of ageing, the menopause transition, which normally occurs between the ages of 40 and 55, has an influence on many women.
“The hormonal changes brought on by menopause might affect sebum production, which may increase scalp dryness and hair brittleness, as well as a potential rise in DHT (dihydrotestosterone) sensitivity, which may be connected to hair thinning and hair loss when oestrogen levels decline,” notes Lin. The originator of Root Cause Scalp Analysis, Bridgitte Hill, a licenced trichologist, warns that even a small fluctuation in hormone levels can result in persistent and serious alterations to the scalp.
According to Hill, “As we age and neglect proper scalp care or maintenance, our ageing scalps result in failing hair follicles.” Just like the skin on our faces, the skin on our scalps goes through similar changes.
How can growth and strength be maximised?
It’s crucial to approach hair health holistically, taking into account correct nutritional nutrition, scalp care, and strand protection. At any age, but particularly as you become older, developing scalp awareness and attending to your scalp’s primary needs—cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing—are crucial. Hill claims that “the hair is an outgrowth of the scalp.” The scalp’s microbiota and skin barrier will operate better and reduce the likelihood of unfavourable scalp disorders and hair loss the more stable you can keep them. Give yourself a gently scalp massage with your fingertips or a brush, such as Manta’s Healthy Hair Brush, to remove congestion (such as accumulation of natural oils and styling products), and wash your hair completely with a mild shampoo as necessary.
Gaby Longsworth, Ph.D., hair scientist, licenced hair practitioner, and creator of the natural hair site Absolutely Everything Curly, advises against using sulfate-containing shampoos since they can “cause and aggravate frizz, dryness, and yellowing of grey hair.”
Applying a gentle supercharged scalp serum, such as Tonucia Natural Filler Concentrated Youth elixirs by René Furterer or Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Hair Fall, thereafter can help revitalise the scalp. A mild, moisturising leave-in treatment can help repair and smooth the cuticle while providing your strands with more hydration and protection. But keep in mind that less is more: Lin advises “being nice to your hair and scalp and don’t overkill on product.” “Lightly applying product to hair or spreading it over your hands before applying it might lessen the likelihood that it will weigh hair down and enable reapplication as necessary.
Small amounts of product go a long way! There are numerous advantages to transitioning and concentrating on strengthening what you already have if you haven’t started embracing your natural grey yet. Going more natural can help you maintain length and thickness while maintaining a healthy scalp because chemical dyes make hair more fragile and prone to breaking. Last but not least, dietary supplements and/or a balanced diet can help provide the energy, vital vitamins and minerals, and building blocks for healthy hair. The most frequently cited foods associated with thicker and longer hair include those high in iron, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, and omega-3. Longsworth advises taking a daily multivitamin and collagen supplements to fill up nutritional shortages; the latter is especially important to think about because your body is creating 50% less collagen.
What styling technique gives aged hair the most lift and volume?
According to Longsworth, because grey hairs have greater room at the cuticles, conditioner molecules will penetrate more swiftly and thoroughly. She advises ladies with finer or thinning hair to avoid or use less heavy conditioners and leave-in treatments as a result. She continues, highlighting that thin hair types are better off surrendering definition for volume. “Too much product buildup will weigh the hair down and cause it to stick to the scalp, making the hair appear even thinner. Not all volumizing products are created equal when it comes to generating lift and volume, especially for longer lengths.
According to Lin, products that generate volume by roughing up the hair cuticle and drying out the hair may make hair more brittle because ageing hair is frequently dry, thin, and brittle. Instead, look for products that are lightweight, won’t make hair feel like straw, and are made for the kind and texture of your hair. With volumizing elements like biotin, thickening treatments like Better Not Younger’s Lift Me Up spray or R+Co’s Bleu Magnifier Thickening Spray quickly assist give hair volume.
Of course, using heat styling tools can also aid in adding volume, but proceed with caution. “The heat can stress hair strands and cause damage, especially when applied directly to damp hair,” warns Lin. To protect hair from heat while softening and conditioning strands, Lin suggests gently towel drying or using a blow dryer at low heat with a heat protectant spray.