The process of aging can be a cruel mistress; everything about you suddenly beginning to change, slow down. You look in the mirror and hardly recognize yourself, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Moving into your forties can be fun and exciting, especially when it comes to haircare. Yes, it takes some learning and some implementing changes, but once you get the hang of it, your hair will have never looked better. Here are nine tips to keep your locks in tip-top shape in your forties.
You may notice your hair becoming drier, more brittle and even lacking volume. As we age, our hair does too. The follicles produce less sebum and the texture of our hair becomes drier. A simple way to combat this is to keep hair moisturized. Using hydrating products that have ingredients like aloe vera, natural oils or essential oils can bring a fresh breath of life back into dry, dull hair. However, be sure to avoid damaging ingredients such as alcohols, mineral oils and parabens. If you’re not seeing as drastic results as you’d like, you may want to consider either an at-home or salon deep conditioning treatment once or twice a month, which can help hair lock in moisture, feel silky smooth and appear glossier.
2. Pay attention to your scalp
As we touched on before, your scalp is a huge player, and might just be the MVP, in your hair game. Not only is it home to your hair follicles, which control hair growth, but it can also become a refuge to environmental pollutants that cling to and block your scalp, preventing growth and staggering damage. If you’re noticing buildup on your scalp, adding in scalp cleaner, like New Dawn from Better Not Younger, into your routine can be a real life-saver.
Along with that, collagen also plays a role in scalp and hair care. Our bodies use collagen to fight off free radicals from those environmental pollutants, and protect from buildup. However, as we age, our bodies produce less collagen naturally. Adding collagen supplements or powders to your daily routine helps your body to fight these things and protect your hair from unnecessary damage.
4. Wash the worry away
It may seem like a no-brainer, but what goes onto your head is just as important as what goes inside your body. Choosing clarifying shampoos and conditioners with natural ingredients can help prevent buildup and keeping hair silky smooth, especially if you have hard water. And if that’s the case, installing a shower filter can change your hair drastically.
5. Now stop washing
Take what I just said, and now slow it down a bit. Washing your hair everyday strips away the natural oils your scalp produces to keep your locks healthy. Of course, your hairs natural texture will dictate how often you should be washing. If your hair and skin tend to be on the oily side, try washing every 2-3 days. On the other hand, if your hair and skin is on the drier side, washing once a week should be sufficient. Remember you’ll want to ease your hair into this transition, so regardless of your hair type, start with every other day and go from there.
6. UV is key
We all know to use heat protection when styling our hair, but a form of protection we often forget about when it comes to our hair is UV. The sun can cause irreparable damage to your luscious locks by damaging the cuticles and preventing your hair from being able to protect itself. But adding a hair sunscreen spray or a leave-in conditioner with UV protection can keep your hair from becoming dried out and frizzy from broken cuticles.
7. Style away
Speaking of heat damage, it’s important to realize what you’re doing when you use heat to style your hair. Blow dryers, curling irons and straighteners put an extreme amount of heat on your locks. Which seems ok until you realize all that heat actually damages your hairs protein structure causing breakage, frizz, dryness and other adverse reactions. To prevent this, you can use a heat protection styling cream before using heat. Alternatively, try allowing your hair to air dry when possible, and use heatless styling methods such as headband tricks, wave sprays, scrunching or a keratin treatment to reduce frequency of heat styling.
One of the most overlooked tactics for having – and keeping – good hair is what you eat. Foods high in omega-3, such as fatty fish, flax and chia seeds and some nuts help to open cuticles and promote new growth. Getting enough protein is also important for maintaining hair health and promote growth as protein is what makes up your hair. Working more berries into your diet can also help protect the scalp by using the antioxidants and vitamin C to protect follicles and build collagen.
9. Embrace the gray
Going gray can be intimidating, sure, but once you let it happen, it can be more liberating than you may think. Not to mention the time and money saved on coloring appointments at the salon. Learning to take care of your grays is also easier than it seems. Finally, gray hair is also totally having a moment, especially with younger people wanting to dye their hair icy-gray shades.
Morgan is a writer and content creator with a degree in Biology from Clemson University. She is an outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about health and wellness, currently living in the mountains of Colorado.