When Thin Isn't In: Advice for Women with Thinning Hair continued...
Ditch the stiff, maximum-hold hairsprays — they can fracture the hair shaft when you brush them out. "The new ‘flexible’ versions are less likely to cause breakage," says Dr. Draelos. We like Pantene Pro-V Classic Hairspray Flexible Hold ($4, drugstores) and Jonathan Finish Control High Shine Flexible Hairspray ($30, Sephora).
Avoid too-tight ponytails, teasing, or other styles that put excess tension on hair — you’ll just promote breakage, says Dr. Friedman. Disguise sparse areas with CRC Concealing Color ($28.50, qvc.com). For a fast, temporary fix, stipple the cream on with a brush to "blend" your scalp into your hair.
Keep in mind that dye or perming solutions penetrate thinner hair more rapidly, says Dr. Draelos. To avoid excess damage when touching up color at home, she recommends applying the dye just to the roots, and combing it through to the ends for only the last five minutes.
Antiaging Products for Your Hair
Like the ideal bathing suit or pair of jeans, the perfect shampoo gets tougher to find as you age. Volumizing formulas often skimp on the conditioning that drier hair desperately needs, while heavier, more moisturizing shampoos can leave fine locks limp. But new products targeted specifically at more mature hair claim to nourish without sacrificing volume, thanks to a mix of mild cleansers and lightweight moisturizers.
To find out if they work any better than the regular stuff, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute put five of the newest ones to the test with women between ages 40 and 60. The results: Our volunteers were impressed with the category as a whole, but L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Age Densiforce Shampoo ($20, us.lorealprofessionnel.com) and Masque ($30) earned top honors. Testers reported that the duo left their hair soft and delivered on the moisture-plus-body promise. "My hair looked great — shiny, manageable, and better than usual," said one woman. "The price is high, but this combo is worth the money." A budget-friendlier option, which ranked a close second: Dove Pro-Age Shampoo and Conditioner ($6 each, drugstores).
Make the (Right) Cut: Tips for Younger-Looking Hairstyles
The Magic Length
You don’t have to automatically resign yourself to a supershort crop. Instead, consider a length anywhere between your collarbone and chin. "Hair that hits within those three inches is most flattering," says hairstylist Gretchen Monahan.
Avoid a choppy, overly layered cut if hair is thinning — you’ll just play up the problem. "Often women get lots of layers because they hear this adds volume, but layers won’t help if the hair is simply not there," she says. Instead, opt for a cut with long layers and subtle graduation, rather than shorter layers throughout.
If your face seems more angular these days, soften the edges by wearing gentle waves or curls around your face. If a fuller, round face is the issue, do the opposite — a sleek, straight look is an easy way to instantly counteract heaviness.
"Side-swept bangs give you a fun, youthful vibe," Monahan says. "Plus, they instantly create fullness toward the front of your head, where women tend to lose hair." Go for thicker bangs (wispy is aging — it just looks like hair is thinning), but keep the ends soft and fringy; blunt’s too harsh.