By Tracey Ho Lung
Mature hair has had enough. Aside from graying, it can become dry and brittle, or thin out and lose volume. In extreme situations, it can go through all of the above at the same time. However, there’s no need to panic. With new anti-aging solutions available, breathing life back into your hair can be as easy as shampooing and conditioning.
Hair starts to change when we’re in our 30s. And while the loss of melanin, or pigment, is the most obvious, there are other signs of aging: the hair shaft’s diameter shrinks, the strands lose elasticity, and sebum production decreases, which results in a drier scalp. Add to these other factors, such as sun damage and the overuse of chemicals or heat in styling devices, and you’ve got troubled tresses.
“People don’t usually take preventative measures until they’re in their 40s or 50s,” observes Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. But it’s not too late. According to Dr. Kellett, scientific advances are now allowing hair-repairing molecules in new products to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft, which makes them more effective. To help reinvigorate mature locks, here’s a TLC strategy of hair do’s and don’ts.
The best time to “repair” hair is when it’s wet. Go for shampoos and conditioners with protein (such as omega-3 and omega-6, which restore strength and body) and arginine (an amino acid that improves scalp circulation). And take note of a special ingredient that has been getting the most buzz in hair care: Intra-Cylane. A patented technology from Redken, Intra-Cylane features silicone molecules that form a fibrous network to expand and strengthen hair strands. Include in your regimen a weekly deep conditioner or leave-in styler to minimize friction from dryness and lessen damage.
Some hair colourants now incorporate antioxidants and low-ammonia dyes as a gentler option to make hair look younger.
“Colouring hair creates more weight in the strands, [to give it] more body and lift,” says Terry Ritcey, national education director at Redken Canada. Ritcey also recommends leaving tight updos and backcombing to the teenage set. Stress on the hair could cause breakage and, even worse, destroy roots permanently, leaving them unable to produce new follicles. If blow-drying is a must, coat hair with a heat-protectant spray to reduce damage. And wear a hat when the sun’s out. UV rays can strip colour-treated hair of shine and pigment, as just the heat can dry out strands, making them rough and brittle.
Keep in mind too that the average grow/rest/shed phase for scalp hair is two to six years. Left uncared for, aging hair that’s thinning could lead to permanent hair loss.