As we age, our hair changes. Everything from the texture, thickness, style, and of course, color ages with us, meaning by the time you hit your early 40s, you could have a completely different hair type than what you had in your 20s.
From split ends and frizziness to dryness, thinning, and (the most obvious one) grey strands, aging hair can be confusing and frustrating. So we turned to the experts to find out their best anti-aging hair tips. Read on for what they had to say.
Take Pictures to the Salon
"Now more than ever, you can find inspiration for hairstyles for every age online. There are so many older celebrities—from Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren to younger women like Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz—that you are sure to find a style that will suit you and your lifestyle," says Adam Reed, co-founder of Percy & Reed and GHD global brand ambassador.
"The key to getting the style you want is to bring pictures to your appointment—both what you like and what you don't like. This way, you can be really clear about what you want. Don't concentrate on the technical names for things. Instead, describe your lifestyle and desired look.
Go to a good salon and listen to their advice for your hair type. Go in with an idea of a look but also with an open mind. The style you want to achieve may not work with your hair and lifestyle, but they could suggest something that will," says Reed.
Don't Be Afraid of Going Shorter
"People often worry about going shorter, feeling like they want to stay away from the 'set' look of their parents' generation. But pixie cuts, shorter bobs, and fringes can be really flattering framing the face, enhancing the bone structure and drawing attention to your best features," says Paul Percival, co-founder of Percy & Reed.
"If you invest in a good haircut, you will really see the difference. Dry shampoos are essential for shorter styles, as you don't need to wash hair as much."
Use Extensions to Give the Illusion of Thicker Hair
"Age is just a number, but various studies show that women are more concerned with their hair thinning than they are any other age-related change in their appearance," says Luke Hersheson, creative director and co-founder of Hershesons.
"In reality, women start to lose a little hair density from around the age of 20, though they might not notice it until 40 or so. Sebum production starts to take a nosedive, which results in dry and unruly hair. Essentially, with age, hair becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic, and the diameter of each individual strand can decrease until the follicle stops producing hair altogether.
Hersheson suggests extensions, which can be used to create the appearance of a fuller, thicker head of hair.
Products Are Key
"The best way to make volume last all day is by using the right products. They can make a big difference," says Percival.
"Start with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner, then apply five pumps of Percy & Reed's Volumizing No Oil Oil for Fine Hair ($21) and a golf ball size of Percy & Reed's Up, Up and Away Root Lift Mousse ($40) to towel-dried hair. When blow-drying your hair, be sure to make sure you are lifting your hair at the root as you dry each section."
If you struggle using a round brush and a hairdryer, try using a product that incorporates both brush and hairdryer in one. A spinning round brush with a dryer built-in is a great way to get instant volume. (We like Amika's Blowout Babe Interchangeable Thermal Round Hair Brush, $150.)
Hair Treatments Are Also Important
"Many women find going grey disconcerting, as the hair changes both color and texture," says Percival. "Very few people find their hair goes white, but instead, it often can change to a dirty grey, and the hair becomes coarser" creating new styling challenges, he adds.
Aging hair can still look healthy, so long as it's hydrated and glossy. "Use a hair oil regularly to smooth and control hair whilst also adding shine. Hair masks like our Totally Hydrating TLC Mask ($30) are also fantastic, as aging hair often lacks this shine, so you want to give the hair a great moisture boost."
Don't Want to Go Short? Get a Fringe Instead
"There's a myth that women 40 or older need to have short hair, which I personally think is rubbish," says Sam Burnett, owner and creative director of Hare & Bone.
"Hair length and style should always be about suitability, so instead, consult with a stylist and see what is best for your face shape, hair type, and bone structure. There are also lots of tricks that will help open up the eye sockets to help make your eyes appear bigger, to strengthen your cheekbones, and elongate your face," he says. "I would say fringes are very useful. If someone is looking for a new style or looking to update their current hairstyle, then a fringe is a really good way of making it look more youthful and modern."
Warm Up Your Color
"As we get older, our skin tends to lose some warmth, so it's good to introduce some warmer color into the hair," says Burnett. "So, for example, instead of going for an ashy blonde, go for something creamier, which is a bit softer but still really bright and illuminating. If you currently have white hair, start introducing something softer and golden in tone. It encourages the hair to look more voluminous, which is usually an issue with women over 40, as they can find their hair lacks the fullness it used to have when they were younger," says Burnett.
He continues: "Brunettes can consider going a shade lighter. [Dark hair] can wash out the skin. Brunettes should consider putting in some warm highlights or caramel tones into the hair, which will brighten everything up."
Consider a Keratin Treatment
"Grey hair—whether you dye it or leave it natural—can become coarser, so it's worth considering a keratin treatment" if you're looking for a smoother style, says Burnett.
Fake Volume With a Crimper
"By adding texture and volume, you're instantly making your hair appear fuller," says Reed. "Create hidden volume and swelling in the root area of the hair using [a hair crimper]. Choose the exact areas that need height or definition and just 'swell' those areas of hair using the crimper. The crimped hair will remain hidden but the hair will be swollen and volumized."