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by Sonsoles Gonzalez
February 21, 2019
I‘m not young anymore, and I don’t look young. But I don’t want to be young again. I like how I look. Even if my face is not as full and my waist is not as small, I feel great and I’ve learned how to look my very best. Over the years, I’ve figured out what make-up looks best on me, what jeans are most flattering. I have my look under control…except for one thing: my uncooperative hair.
My hair used to be so easy to manage. It was long, thick, and naturally shiny with just the right amount of body. Sometimes I would blow-dry it, other times I just let it dry naturally. I experimented with all kinds of hairstyles, spent endless hours in chlorine-saturated pools, and even permed it at one point. No matter what I did to my hair, it always looked good. It was so resilient. I didn’t pay that much attention to what shampoo or conditioner I used. Every brand seemed to work just fine.
And then, my 40’s came around. And those first gray hairs showed up. More and more each day, until I found myself needing to color every four weeks. Then, the dryness started, and my bouncy tresses turned into electrified flyaways. I realized that just like my skin and my body, my hair was aging as well. And the hair routine that had worked for me for so many years simply stopped working.
After trying a lot of new products (a lot!), I turned to my friend Isabel, a biologist and chemist who had worked in the beauty industry for many years, to see if she could offer me any insight. And this is what I learned:
Yes, with age you will have less hair and your hair will grow thinner. “It’s perfectly normal to lose about 50-100 hairs per day, no matter your age” she explained. “But during menopause, the level of key hormones drops causing our hair to grow more slowly. In addition, hair follicles also get smaller with age, so the hair that’s actually growing comes out much thinner than earlier in life”.
Yes, your hair will become dry and brittle with age. When I was young, excess oil was a problem. I remember how quickly my hair got dirty. I would get the occasional breakout and that shiny T-zone. Well, it turns out that all that production of oil is actually good for your hair follicle and your hair because every shiny, strong strand is naturally coated with sebum. “But the drop in hormones during menopause also causes your oil glands to produce less oil, leaving your hair much drier and less elastic, making it more brittle”. And to make things worse, she explained, the constant coloring, straightening, and heating, weakens your already-compromised hair so it is prone to breaking.
Isabel then gave me these five tips for making the best of aging hair:
Take a hair supplement loaded with biotin and vitamins. There is evidence that biotin can support healthy hair growth.
Clear your scalp regularly to rid it of product residue, dead skin, and excess oils. A healthy, clean scalp is literally the foundation for healthy hair growth.
Choose sulfate-free products whenever possible, and try a deep-nourishing treatment with natural oils at least once a week to help maintain optimal oil balance on the hair and scalp.
Don’t abuse bleaching and coloring, and ALWAYS use a heat protector when using a flat iron.
Eat healthy. After all, you (and your hair) are what you eat.
After a few more months of unsuccessfully trying to find products that would address all these changes in my aging hair (why is it that when it comes to beauty and aging, the focus tends to be only on our skin?), I decided to create my own line of products, Better Not Younger. Inspired by Isabel’s insights and tips, all our products are designed to give women 40+ their best hair by focusing on hair, scalp and inner health.
What’s the best hair advice you’ve ever gotten?