It’s a common fact of life that us ladies have it harder when it comes to hair, especially as we get older. If you’re a man, showering and getting a cut is as hard as it gets. And if it turns out you’re balding, you just shave your head and that’s that. You won’t have to worry about shampoo ever again!
On the other hand, we look at our bathroom shelves and they’re a mess — shampoos, conditioners, serums, masks and oils and we’re still not fully happy. And that’s because we want our hair to be exactly what we imagine it can be — supple, long and shiny.
Looking at fierce ladies such as Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep, it seems like nothing’s impossible. Hair doesn’t have to grow old with us.
But the question is: are we on the right track with all the products or should we change it up a bit? Here’s the scoop on age defying hair.
Stop torturing your hair
When you’re 20, a pony tail is often enough. But at 40, you probably feel the need for control. You have to know exactly what your hair will look like and that usually involves a good measure of heavy styling.
Would you be surprised to learn that styling is one of the worst things you can do to your hair? Probably not. But keep in mind: if it’s silky locks you’re looking for, getting a perm will kill the mere thought of it.
This is partially because heat damage is bad for hair, and mainly because the follicle function diminishes with age, which means you don’t have too good a material to work with in the first place.
Feed it protein!
To make your hair look better, omega-3 works best. Fatty acids in salmon, flax seeds and dark green leafy vegetables should be on your menu, because they’re a good source of protein, vitamins A and C, which the follicles use to produce sebum, which in turn keeps your hair moisturized.
Don’t skip the eggs, poultry or beans either, as they are a good sources of protein too.
Eating enough as opposed to starving yourself is not only good for your health, it’s also good for your hair, which gets the benefits of a natural conditioner without the actual silicone-heavy product.
Nature’s path leading to the supermarket
As it turns out, conditioner and hair masks aren’t necessarily good for your hair.
Silicone, a common ingredient in conditioners, is responsible for keeping moisture away and weighing your locks down, and that’s just one of the problems. If you’re worried about your products, you might consider not using products at all. Try switching to a natural routine and see how that works. The rule of thumb is using only ingredients that you can safely eat.
And the winner ingredient is definitely coconut oil. The hype about it is spawning all over the internet and not without reason. It turns out that coconut oil is actually a keeper. In fact, people are actually considering replacing all of their beauty products with it. The results are surprising to say the least.
In the world of hair, coconut oil is successfully used as a nighttime mask or conditioner and it works well with damaged hair. It’s even used to minimize damage from bleaching!
Stop the invisible damage
One of the main causes of lifeless hair as we get old (plus other nasty problems, like a bad complexion) is inflammation.
“I believe that inflammation is negative for the hair follicle, that it can accelerate stress shedding and compromise growth,” Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist in New York told the NY Times. This is not the first time we’ve heard about inflammation, but it’s definitely the first time the focus is on the hair.
With that in mind, a healthy diet that includes pomegranates, avocado, pumpkin, mint, turmeric and rosemary could help, although the story is much longer than that and it involves stress, lack of exercise, chronic infections and many more.
In the end, it seems that we can never get away from the whole healthy lifestyle thing. There’s no miracle cure for bad hair and we should know that at our age. Everything is connected, so let’s just start with the little things – better food, more natural cosmetics and a bit of exercising on the side.
In the end, life isn’t all about the hair. But good hair is sure fun to have.
Gwen Lewis is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California. She currently works with Fair & Flawless as well as other beauty and health websites. In her free time she loves to do crafts and hike.