By Morgan Allman
Getting older can really be a drag. Wait a second, let’s try that again. Getting older can be a blast, especially when you figure out the learning curve of taking care of your skin and hair. That’s better. But in all seriousness, aging doesn’t have to be a dreadful process. In fact, our 40s and beyond can be some of our best years. Yes, I’m talking about hair, and yes, this includes you too.
Even if you think your hair has taken a turn for the worst and there no possible way to bring it back from its dried up, lifeless state, I’m here to assure you that is not the case. You, too, can have beautiful, flowing locks throughout your middle age, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it’s not as hard as it seems. Here are six quick tips to having your softest, shiniest hair in your 40s, 50s, and beyond.
- Cut and color sensibly
Let’s start off by saying yes, you should be getting your hair trimmed every two to three months. This works to keep any split ends and potentially points of breakage at bay, while also keeping your hair springy and light. It’s perfectly alright to be super selective with who you allow to touch your hair when it comes to coloring. Paying a steeper price may well be worth knowing they are using quality products that won’t leave you with over-dyed or over-bleached hair full of damage and vulnerability. There’s actually a whole science behind hair coloring, which we won’t go into, but if you’re interested, ThoughtCo. explains it in beautiful detail.
- Wash warily
While washing your hair is important, not washing might be more so. Shampooing your hair too frequently can lead to a lack of natural oils, or sebum, which is what helps your hair grow and stay hydrated. Ideally, you should aim to wash your hair every two to three days, skipping as many days as you feel comfortable. If you have thinner hair that tends to get “greasy” quickly, consider using dry shampoo or wearing your hair up, or covering it with a hat or headscarf to help you space out washes. Our hair is also somewhat adaptable. So, while skipping a day between shampoos now may seem drastic, in a few months, you may not even be able to notice. Washing your hair in a milder temperature water can also help to leave your hair shinier as hot water will also strip moisture.
- Shampoo wisely
Though you may think your shampoo is doing its job, the ingredients found in your shampoo could actually be doing you a big disservice. Often times, there are things like phosphates, sulfates, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), salts, alcohols, and synthetics which are extremely detrimental to your hair. Avoid these, and instead aim for shampoos that are natural with nut and seed oils, herbal fragrances, and hydrating. You’ll likely notice fewer suds when washing, but rest assured this is a good thing. The suds are what pull the dirt and oil out of your hair, but they also strip your hair of vital nutrients, so just scrub a little longer to make sure you’re getting all the unwanted stuff while leaving the good stuff.
- Condition carefully
Naturally after you shampoo, you go on to condition your hair. The same rules go for these ingredients as well, and even more so when you’re looking at deep conditioning treatments. Conditioner works to lock in moisture and nourish your hair, leaving it softer. It also coats and protects the hair shaft making it less susceptible to frizz and damage. If soft, shiny locks is your goal, this is an absolutely vital step that cannot be skipped. Even if I don’t wash my hair that day, I will typically put a bit of conditioner in my ends towards the end of my shower to replenish any moisture that was lost from the hot water.
Just like hot water in the shower, the heat from styling tools can also pull moisture out of your hair. To prevent damage from heat styling products there are two things you can do. The first is reducing the frequency of how often you use flat irons, curling wands, and other heat styling tools on your hair. Instead, try heat-free styling such as sleeping in braids or hair wraps. The second thing you can do to help reduce damage is use a heat protectant styling spray, like the No Remorse spray from Better Not Younger. Apply this directly to your hair before you allow any heat anywhere near your head. These not only help to create a barrier between your hair and the heat, but also works to volumize and add extra hydration to your strands. Talk about a win.
Lastly, your diet plays a major role in the health of your hair. There are a few key nutrients you’ll want to incorporate into your diet, whether it be naturally from foods or adding supplements to your routine. Protein and keratin are the base of your strands, so getting enough of these are huge for hair growth and strength. Vitamin A helps with shine as it assists the body in sebum production, while vitamin C assists with collagen production to keep your strands super soft. Antioxidants, found in many fruits and also vitamin E, work to protect against free radicals that buildup on the follicle and cause slowed growth and frizz. There are, of course, others that can help too, but these are some of the most important players to get that silky look you crave.