AARP Eye Center
Mother Nature has some nerve: Just as we peak in pluck and confidence, she blindsides us with a twist, adding pounds to our figure and taking away our hair. The extra weight is hardly a deal breaker; we simply buy better support bras and shapewear, or dial up the 'tude. But thinning hair threatens our sex appeal and self-confidence. We dread windy days. We consider starting a hat collection. Some of us may go so far as to wig it.
No need for that nuclear option, my friends. Simply follow these tips to make today your last bad hair day.
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Own the problem. What should you do when a mere annoyance — a wider part, say, or a skinnier ponytail — escalates to scalp-exposing, all-over thinning? Consider it a heads-up: "Hair loss is prevalent in women over 50," says Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York. "It affects 25 percent of women by age 49, 41 percent by age 69 and half of all women by age 79." And those statistics don't even begin to touch on female pattern baldness, which is genetic, or hair loss brought on by medical issues.
Before you spring for hair-transplant surgery (or laser combs and caps), consider giving minoxidil — the FDA-approved, over-the-counter hair-regrowth drug — a test run for six months or so. That particular treatment is not your only choice, mind you. Minoxidil now has fresh competition from new brands such as Pantene, Kerastase Densifique and Qilib.
Get a strategic haircut. The goal here is to create the illusion of density and fullness while downplaying — OK, concealing — problems. Layers (helped by products) perk up short-haired pixie and boyish cuts, while long bangs provide movement and extra width at eye level for lobs and bobs.
"Bangs will look thicker if you start them closer to the crown," says celebrity stylist Ted Gibson. "If you prefer to skip bangs, do a haphazard, zigzag part rather than a defined straight one that exposes the scalp." Sparseness or short hairs at the top of your head may be caused by chemical breakage. A layered, shaggy bob and smarter color (see last tip) can disguise the problem while you wait for your hair to grow out.