When you’re over 40, you might begin to notice (like I did!), that you’re hair is less lustrous, breaks more easily, or is more brittle in general.
In my case, it seemed to thin slightly as well- which is something I never expected would happen to my long, thick hair- but it has.
With natural aging processes, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices, changes often occur in our health and bodies that can all contribute to weakening hair.
But regardless, it is possible to maintain beautiful and vibrant locks — even as you get older.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the strategies and solutions you can use to keep your hair strong and healthy as you enter your 40s and beyond.
The Best Hair Care Tips for Women Over 40
1. Use a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for aging hair
Specialized shampoos and conditioners can make a difference in the health of your hair. Look for products that are specifically formulated with vitamins to help strengthen thinner, more brittle strands.
By using shampoos and conditioners designed with quality ingredients for aging hair, you’ll be taking that extra step to keep your locks looking lusciously healthy as the years’ progress.
2. Avoid using excessive heat when drying and styling your hair
Excessive heat styling can be damaging to your hair, resulting in dryness and brittleness. To protect the condition of your locks use towel drying methods and air drying.
Wrap-drying with a microfiber towel will dry the hair faster while absorbing the right amount of moisture so that your hair remains strong, hydrated, and tangle-free.
Additionally, you should avoid brushing wet hair as this can lead to breakage even further down the line.
Instead, consider gently detangling it while damp using a wide-toothed comb and then leave it to naturally dry – this will create easy waves instead of risking heat damage from the overuse of hot tools.
3. If you do use heated styling tools
It’s no secret that hair dryers and irons can be damaging to our hair. Too much heat—even from the best hair products out there—can lead to breakage, split ends, and aging of the hair follicles.
For those who must blow-dry their locks regularly, certain technological advances in modern hair dryers provide a better balance between heat and protective measures.
Ceramic coating helps protect the cuticle layer of the shaft while variable temperature settings allow people to find a level of heat that works for them.
Professional grade models are usually equipped with additional features like multiple speed settings and a nozzle size selector, giving you control over the intensity and direction of airflow.
Investing in the right quality appliance is an important factor when trying to keep your mane looking healthy even when exposed to regular hot air.
4. Choose products that are safe
Many shampoo and styling products contain sulfates, alcohol, phthalates, parabens, and other ingredients that are potentially dangerous and can strip away necessary moisture from your scalp, leading to dryness and irritation.
It is therefore best to opt for products that are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, and alcohol-free when possible– these types of products won’t dry out the skin on your scalp, absorb harmful chemicals, or cause any damage to the natural oils needed to keep it healthy.
These gentle formulations are excellent choices for keeping your scalp safe and free from irritation while still offering everything else your body needs in a hair care product!
5. Wash your hair as frequently as you deem necessary
There is a huge amount of controversy as to whether washing frequently is better or worse for your hair. Finding an answer to this conundrum, however, is not as clear-cut as it seems.
One reputable peer-reviewed study found that washing hair more frequently resulted in better hair health, improved growth, and less flaking, dryness, dandruff, and itchy scalps but non-rigorous searches will tell us washing hair less is better for the health of our locks.
It all comes down to a few factors – hair type (long, short, or curly hair) if you use hair color or have gray hair, your age (ex. pre-menopause, menopause), ethnicity, condition of the scalp (dry, normal, oily), and lifestyle (active or sedate).
If you have oily hair or find that your scalp tends to get sweaty, dirty, or greasy quickly then it is probably best to opt for more frequent washes.
However, if you have colored or gray hair, dry or brittle hair, or you are getting older and producing fewer natural oils, then you may want to reduce the amount of time in between washes to keep your locks looking vibrant and full of life.
Although scientific consensus seems to opt for frequent washes for optimal hair health, experiment with wash frequencies, and track the outcomes that work best for you.
6. Incorporate a weekly deep conditioning treatment
A weekly deep conditioning treatment is the perfect addition to any beauty routine in order to obtain deeply nourished and hydrated hair.
These treatments can vary from store-bought conditioners, masks, or oil treatments depending on your hair needs.
Usually, oil treatments are the easiest to incorporate into any schedule.
Simply rub oil (such as coconut oil) into the ends of your hair and leave it for approximately 10 minutes (up to 20 or 30 if you want) before shampooing it out.
This will provide intense nourishment and hydration while also adding lots of shine!
I seriously LOVE coconut oil, and it smells so nice.
7. Trim your ends on a regular basis
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to caring for your hair since split ends can make styling difficult and detract from its overall health.
Trimming your ends helps you keep the length while removing damaged hair. This is especially true if you color or use heat-styling tools on a regular basis as these treatments can put a strain on your strands.
When it comes to regular trims, experts recommend going in every 6-8 weeks for the best outcome, depending on how quickly your hair grows.
8. Shield your hair from the sun when outdoors
Protecting your hair from the sun’s rays is also important if you want to maintain its healthiness, shine, and color.
Wearing hats or scarves while outdoors can be an easy way of shielding your crowning glory from damaging UV light.
Not all fabrics are equally effective at blocking harmful UV rays, however, so look for specialized materials like linen, cotton, and straw for maximum sun protection for your locks.
And did we mention they can help coax unruly hair into fun, polished, and sophisticated looks; perfect for looking like it took a lot of effort when it really didn’t!
What You Eat Matters
Eating the right proteins, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are key to maintaining good hair health as you age.
9. Protein-Rich Foods
Eating protein-rich foods is essential when it comes to keeping your hair healthy. Protein helps promote cell growth which leads to stronger, healthier hair.
Some great sources of protein include:
- lean meats such as chicken or turkey breast;
- fish such as salmon and tuna;
- dairy products like yogurt or cheese;
- nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes;
- eggs; and tofu or tempeh;
- protein powder
Incorporating these foods into your diet will help ensure that your body is getting enough essential amino acids that it needs in order to produce healthy hair cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids should also be part of your hair care routine as you mature in life.
Omega-3s have been proven to reduce inflammation of cells and therefore help keep our scalp healthy, which can in turn promote healthy hair growth.
You can find omega-3s in foods such as:
- and chia seeds.
To get your daily dose of this essential fatty acid you might also talk to your doctor or dietician about taking an omega-3 supplement.
By adding more protein-rich foods, vitamins, and fats into your diet – you’ll be well on your way toward having beautiful tresses no matter what stage of life you’re in!
11. The Best Vitamins For Your Hair
Hair health can be affected by age, as strand growth decreases and thinning is more common with advancing years. To keep hair looking full and healthy, vitamins are important for maintenance.
This is especially beneficial for maintaining the production of red blood cells, which are essential for providing nutrients to the scalp. Some vitamin B-12 food sources include meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, certain fortified breakfast cereals, and vitamin supplements.
Vitamin A helps to maintain sebum production, a natural oil that the scalp produces to keep it moisturized.
Vitamin A-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, mango, fish oils, milk, and eggs.
Vitamin E can help protect from environmental damage like UV radiation that can lead to hair loss.
Some vitamin E-rich foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, beet greens, collard greens, spinach, pumpkin, and red bell peppers.
Vitamin C promotes collagen production in the scalp – a vital component for maintaining healthy skin cells and preventing dryness or damage from occurring in the first place.
It’s also an antioxidant which means it helps protect against free radical damage caused by environmental pollutants that can weaken our strands over time.
Foods like citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), kiwi fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, kale & spinach are all high in Vitamin C so make sure you’re getting plenty of them in your diet!
What is Keratin?
In a very simplified nutshell, keratin is a vital protein that, in one process of many, helps keep hair looking vibrant and resilient as we age.
Its presence in the stratum corneum makes it the principal component of strong, healthy hair follicles.
It not only strengthens hair, but it also moisturizes and gives it structure, giving us the style and shape that many strive for.
Over time, our body’s production of keratin decreases, making our hair weak, brittle, and visibly aged; however, nourishing our bodies with vitamin-rich foods that contain keratin can be beneficial for our hair, skin, and nail health.
Vegetables such as kale, onions, garlic, broccoli, and leeks are natural sources of keratin. Fish, milk, yogurt, and liver are also considered to be good sources of keratin.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is another vitamin we hear about, often referred to as Vitamin H or the “beauty vitamin”.
The human body needs biotin for a variety of processes, and it helps to rejuvenate both skin and hair.
It can help fight signs of aging by strengthening dry hair, increasing its elasticity, and reducing the appearance of split ends.
While there are many, almost miraculous claims about biotin and its hair-boosting qualities, there are few scientific results to back these claims. The best way we can have biotin work for us is to simply get enough vitamins into our diets for optimal health and nutrition.
Biotin is found in eggs, salmon, avocados, sweet potatoes, nuts, and seeds – all of which are packed with other necessary vitamins and minerals too!
Pulling your hair back regularly into tight buns and ponytails can also cause damage to your hair because it pulls on the follicles and can weaken them over time.
If you notice a lot of broken hair strands around your forehead, temples, or along your scalp when you take out a bun or ponytail, try to avoid that hairstyle.
Instead, opt for loose styles that won’t pull too much on the hair.
Adding accessories such as headbands or barrettes that are wide and comfortable may also help with this issue, as they don’t put too much strain on your mane!
- Taking the time to find the right ingredients in your hair care products,
- finding a wash frequency regimen that works for your specific needs,
- adding a deep conditioning treatment,
- trimming your ends often,
- eating vitamin, protein, healthy fat and mineral-rich foods, and
- protecting your hair from the sun can help ensure that you have healthy luscious locks for years to come.