Wondering why your hair doesn’t look as shiny as it did in your 30s? It’s because of a number of factors, not just ageing.
At midlife, it’s common for women to have to deal with hair dullness but hormonal fluctuations, typical of menopause, are not the only ones to blame. At this time, our strands can become brittle and lose their elasticity, making them harder to style due to several reasons like smoking, pollution, overexposure to the sun, poor diet or chemical treatments such as colouring, straightening, perms and frequent washing with harsh shampoos that strip the hair of natural oils.
Also, your hair’s texture alters naturally every five to seven years, so the only remedy is to simply go with the flow and adjust your haircare regimen accordingly.
The truth is, dull hair requires special care to make it look and feel healthy and smooth after 50. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get its shine back.
Here are some simple steps that will help you to keep it shiny, no matter what your age. Once you understand what to do and what not to do, you’ll be well on your way to much brighter locks.
How do I make my hair shiny at 50?
The main reason your hair can look dull and lifeless after a certain age is because of its structure. When the outer layer of the hair strands becomes damaged or dry, it gets rough, uneven and stops reflecting light.
Helping dull hair shine again comes down to taking a “less is more” approach. This means adding moisture, avoiding heat damage, and removing buildup.
“The first step is to try washing your hair not too often, better if every third day“, says Eric Del Monaco, official hair artist and colourist for L’Oréal Paris. “Over-washing can strip away essential oils from the scalp, causing it to become dry and irritated, resulting in dull-looking hair.”
It’s also important to limit chemical treatments (the American Academy of Dermatology recommends trying to stretch the time between touch-ups to at least 8 weeks) and hair styling tools as heat can damage and dry out hair. If you can’t live without them, make sure to apply a heat protectant spray first before blow-drying and try to keep the setting on medium, not high.
Nourish, nourish, nourish
Aside from nourishing conditioners and masks, a simple remedy for age-related dullness is adding hair serum or oil, such as argan oil, to your haircare routine.
Extracted from the core of the argan tree, this popular beauty elixir is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, found in everything from masks to gels, that’s brimming with potential benefits.
With its high content of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E, the benefits of argan oil naturally help to increase hair’s elasticity and consistently restore shine to dull, lifeless hair while preventing breakage.
Avoid product buildup and overuse
Hair products that haven’t fully washed out of your hair can clog the pores in your scalp, preventing the oil your scalp produces from penetrating your hair.
According to experts at HairStory: “Loading your hair with too many styling products and failing to thoroughly cleanse them can cause your strands to lose their shine“, they say. “Using a scalp brush and a gentle, detergent-free cleanser can help you remove any product residue and make sure you’re starting with a clean slate“.
It’s better to avoid using dulling hair products like mousse and aerosol sprays as they have too much alcohol which dries out the hair and adds a matte finish. Instead, update your routine by sticking with a light volumizing spray (at the roots only).
Brush your hair more regularly
Regularly brushing your hair helps keeps the cuticle sealed, and draws your natural oils from the scalp downward, which allows your hair to better reflect light. Ideally, you should brush it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. This is a healthy way to distribute your scalp’s natural oils through your hair — but only if you do it gently.
Brushes with boar bristles are often recommended as they have the ability to close the hair cuticle and create more shine.
Get regular trims every six weeks
Getting your hair cut regularly is essential to maintaining the health and shine of your hair. Hair that is damaged, split or brittle will not only get a matte look but can even break. Trimming those split ends will both make your hair feel healthier and look shinier.
Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase
The right deep conditioner, mask, and co-wash are important for maintaining natural hair, but just like wrapping your curls in a silk or satin turban or putting on a bonnet before bed, switching to a pillowcase made out of one of these fabrics can also help protect your hair texture.
A silk or satin pillowcase has a soft, slinky finish that’s gentler on the hair, resulting in fewer tangles and less frizz when you wake up. It also helps with moisture retention, whereas cotton can draw out the necessary oils that moisturise the hair.
Watch your diet
Gorgeous hair is a byproduct of hair follicles that are well-nourished. In other words, you can build beautiful hair from the inside out with the right diet.
Staying hydrated and consuming plenty of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and protein at midlife is a must. You could look at cutting out junk food, increasing foods rich in B Vitamins, eating oily fish, and omega 3-rich food such as eggs, leafy greens, whole grains and lean protein.