As we age, the production of melanin, keratin, and sebum slows down. As if menopause was not enough to worry about, now we have to deal with hair that is much thinner, weaker, and dryer. Luckily, similar to how we treat our skin, there are ways to protect and prevent hair damage as we get older.
- Melanin gives hair and skin their color (loss of melanin produces grey/white hair)
- Keratin is a protein that gives hair its strength (hair is more thin and brittle with less keratin production)
- Sebum is the natural oil our skin produces (dry and coarse hair have less sebum)
Haircare is one area I will not skimp on. Buy the best products you can. Most of my accessories and tools I have owned for years and some for decades. Their craftsmanship is superior and are especially gentle on your hair. They are worth the slight increased investment.
If your hair is more than a few inches long, you will experience knots in your hair. Mine quickly becomes a tangled mess after a restless night’s sleep. So that I do not scare my husband with my Medusa locks, combing out my knots is one of my first missions in the morning. First finger-comb through your hair. Next, use a wide-tooth comb to remove any remaining knots from your hair gently. Start from the bottom of the strand and move up toward the scalp working with a gentle hand. If your hair is wet, follow the same tips as above, yet use a brush formulated for damp hair.
The Right Way to Shampoo Hair
Detangle and comb out your hair before shampooing. Taking the time to detangle helps you avoid breakage and nourishes your scalp. Use lukewarm water to shampoo your scalp. Exposing your hair to super-high temperatures can leave it looking dry and lifeless. Concentrate your shampoo at the roots and really work it into your scalp to remove any build-up. Massage it in for a couple of minutes to boost blood flow to your scalp and stimulate hair growth. This is when I “silently” sing myself happy birthday a few times so that I know I’m dedicating enough time to wash my hair thoroughly. I am in my birthday suit, so it just seemed like the appropriate song.
How to Properly Condition Hair
This is a tip I learned from my stylist, lightly squeeze, and towel dry your hair before applying your conditioner. This helps to coat the strands of your hair more substantially with the conditioner. Apply the conditioner from the mid-length to the end of the strands. If you condition the roots, it will weigh your hair down, making it look greasy. Let the conditioner sit on your ends for two minutes (time for another song) and then brush your hair with a detangling brush. Use the steps mentioned above for detangling your hair. Finally, rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
The Best Hair Towel
I was introduced to Lisse Luxe Hair Towel by Aquis on a trip with several girlfriends. I was so intrigued that a few girlfriends actually traveled with a hair towel, I bought one online before our trip was even over. It quickly and gently dries sopping wet hair to the perfect damp stage. The towel minimizes frizz and prevents hair damage caused by rubbing and wringing with traditional towels and requires less blow-drying. This towel is smaller than a bath towel and more substantial than a hand towel, so it is the ideal size to wrap your hair comfortably till you are ready to blow dry.
All in One Hair Prep
I have found the holy grail when it comes to a hair product that pretty much turns water into wine – Davines Women’s OI All In One Milk . This formula adds shine, softness, and silkiness. It helps to detangle really stubborn hair. It controls frizz with excellent conditioners that give the hair body without weighing it down. It moisturizes hair while also providing heat protection from blow-drying. The milk also provides a longer-lasting hairstyle, whether I am creating bone straight or beachy curls.
Hair Styling Tools
Choose hair styling tools that will help your hair to retain its natural moisture, reduce frizz, and enhance shine like the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer. These styling tools are tried and tested and have been my favorite for years. I personally can not recommend the all-in-one brush dryers which dry and straighten/curl your hair at the same time. They have not worked for me. In their defense, my hair is more complicated to blow dry as I have fine, thin hair that is prone to the frizzies. I know many friends in the beauty industry that love them.
For those of us that tie their hair back, it is vital to select hair ties that help to stop tangling and consequently prevents hair breakage when you remove them. Choose ones that are silk or coiled plastic for less damage and also minimizes the dreaded ponytail bump that hair ties can create.
Sun Protection for Hair
Just like your skin, your hair and scalp can burn from the sun. Yes, even your hair. The sun weakens your hair’s protein structure, de-moisturizes it, and reduces elasticity, so your hair breaks more easily. In the summer months, when your hair turns a little lighter, that is actually sun damage on the hair strands. There is such a thing as sunscreen for your hair and scalp (crazy as it sounds, it will be commonplace within a few years). The most common method of protection is either a hat or umbrella that provides a broad spectrum. A newer and more flexible alternative is to choose an SPF rated finishing spray for the hair. Similar to your skin, it should be reapplied every two hours.
The Best Foods for Healthy Hair
It is true, we are what we eat. Nourishing your hair from the root and throughout its growth cycle will produce healthier hair. When choosing the following foods, try to select organic options.
- Salmon – grows hair and keeps it shiny and full
- Greek Yogurt – gives your hair strength
- Spinach, Kale and Sweet Potatoes – adds moisture to hair to keep it from being thin and brittle
- Shellfish, Eggs, Oysters & Chicken – prevents hair loss
- Cinnamon – increases blood flow and circulation to the hair follicle