By Adriana Ermter
IF WE HAD OUR WAY, getting ready in the morning would be just like a hair commercial: Every strand would behave beautifully, frizz wouldn’t exist and strangers would stop us on the street to ask about our special secret to shine. But in reality, how we feel about our hair isn’t that easy or straightforward. “Its normal to get bored by your hair, especially if you’ve had the same cut for a while,” says Jeni Thomas, a senior scientist with Pantene. “The key to keeping your look fresh, weather you’re 20 or 60, is as simple as tweaking your routine and style to play up your hair’s best assets.”
What You Can Expect: This is the glory decade, when hair is at its thickest and healthiest and seems to never stop growing. “The intense scalp-oil production that kicks in during the teenage years is still going strong, so you don’t need to work as hard to keep hair looking good,” says Thomas. She recommends washing it regularly, through because hair can look oily.
Stylish solutions: Excess sebum helps protect the scalp and nourishes hair follicles, but it doesn’t always, make its way to the tips, and primping can take a toll. “When hair has been damaged through flat irons and aggressive styling, the ends of the hair may feel opposite to the roots: dry and brittle,” says Thomas. It’s key to protect your locks from heat styling shampoos and conditioners that are gentle on your hair.
Best Way to Wear It: If you like it long, loose locks this is the time to go for it, says Daniel Naumovski, a stylist and the co-owner of Toronto’s Taz hair Co. Avoid severe styles like a tightly pulled back ponytail, unless you want to project an older, professional vibe.
What You Can Expect: This is the superwoman decade, when careers, marriage and babies take over, reducing mirror time with your hair. It’s no surprise then that the hair takes a hit, receding at the temples and shedding. “This has to do with the hormonal swings that go along with pregnancy,” explains Thomas. You may also notice flaking, irritation and redness at the scalp, cautions Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist in Toronto.
Stylish Solution: Topical treatments are recommended if you suffer from irritation. For more persistent issues like scalp psoriasis, make an appointment with a dermatologist. “Treatment may include prescription medicated shampoos and topical steroids,” says Kellett.
Best Way to Wear It: If you’ve ever dreamed of bangs, now is a great time to see how they complement your face, says Naumovski, who also recommends consulting with your stylist to create a haircut to optimize your hairs texture. Ask for flirty side-swept bangs that soften your features and hide those new lines you may see on your forehead.
What You Can Expect: Yes, this is when wiry and coarse grey hairs pop up overnight and no, we don’t like it. “Woman start coloring their hair more frequently,” says Naumovski. “It’s not just for fashion: it’s for maintenance.” As a result, hair can become over processed and “more prone to breakage,” warns Thomas. Woman with sensitive scalps may not be able to tolerate additional chemical treatments and may” experience irritant contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis,” says Kellett.
Stylish Solutions: Before adding color, Kellett advises asking your colorist “to perform a patch test of the hair dye on your skin.” This will help ensure that there are no adverse reactions. Protect your scalp while maintaining the quality and longevity of your hair color by using shampoos and conditioners and styling products designed for color treated hair, adds Thomas.
Best way to Wear It: Skip the soccer moms cut and aim for shoulder length with body- inducing longer layers. “There are no more rules,” says Naumovski. “You don’t have to chop your hair into a pixie cut and let the grey grow in or start highlighting your hair blond – unless you want to”
What You Can Expect: For most woman, this means hair is around 50-percent grey. “Your hairs biological pigmentation process slows and eventually stops, explains Thomas. “As well, your hair no longer benefits from the protective effects of melanin, so it may be more prone to UV damage, which has a weakening effect.” Hair will also be noticeably thinner in texture, says Kellett.
Stylish Solutions: Naumovski recommends talking to your colorist about the different types of hair coloring treatments available for maximum coverage, and getting a fresh haircut. “Seventy to eighty percent of my clients in this age group cut there hair shorter,” says Naumovski. “It makes their hair look thicker.” Topical formulations such as minoxidil can help reduce the appearance of thinning hair, saysKellett.
Best Way to Wear It: You don’t have to go all G.I. Jane, but this is a great time to try a shorter style, like a bob. And if you simply can’t part with long locks, keep it polished with a smooth part and ends. For special occasions, avoid tightly pulled–back updos, which can add years to your look.
The 60s & Beyond
What You Can Expect: Your scalp isn’t producing as much sebum, so hair looks and feels drier, says Thomas. For some woman, hair loss continues, adds Kellett.
Stylish Solutions: To combat dryness, Thomas recommends using hydrating hair-care products, whileKellett suggests consulting a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatments should scalp lesions appear. “We used to think that roller sets and a blue rinse were the only hairstyle for woman in their 60s” says Naumovski. “Now these woman are confident, funky and more willing to take chances with there hair then when they were younger.”
Best Way to Wear It: Anything goes, but avoid mistakes like teasing or over styling. And of you wear it short; opt for volumizing layers with soft feminine appeal. Whatever your style, make sure you have it trimmed every six weeks. And if you still have bangs, keep them a little shorter so they don’t draw any attention to fine lines around your eyes.