Everyone is obsessed with keeping, growing, washing, styling, shining and fluffing up their hair. Whether you’re driven by social media, racks of drugstore supplements or your very own mirror … great-looking hair is now the coolest accessory you can have at 50 and over (next to a black leather jacket). It makes sense since hair is the first thing people notice and the one that leaves a lasting impression. Don’t let dryness, damage, thinning and hair loss get in your way. Here are five practical tips for all:
1. Start with a problem-solving cut
It’s still the best shortcut to healthier, thicker-looking hair. Hanging onto long stringy strands, wimpy ponytails, combovers or a bleached-out mane only emphasizes thinning, damage and sparse spots. What’s the best cut for women? A chin to mid-neck bob. Go blunt for the illusion of thickness or try a subtly layered bob (ask for “invisible” layers) to release natural wave. Add bangs, straight or side-swept, to camouflage a receding hairline. Change your part to disguise increasingly visible scalp when your usual spot widens. For guys a buzzcut, fade, supershort cut or total shave switches the focus from hairline recession to a sexy head-shape. Add scruff, beard and/or glasses for balance or to create even more of a statement.
2. Give your scalp some TLC
Beautiful gardens don’t thrive in low-grade soil and neither does hair in a scalp clogged with residue. Scalp maintenance isn’t just about dandruff. A buildup of products, oils and dead cells can cause itchiness but also inhibits circulation and continued growth at the roots where follicles are active. Make scalp massage part of your shampoo ritual or use a separate pre-wash scrub like Viviscal Exfoliating Scalp Scrub ($20, walgreens.com). Both eliminate debris and stimulate circulation. Also helpful: Botanical-infused scalp elixirs like Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil ($9, amazon.com) and HAIRtamin Scalp Serum ($46, ulta.com) to apply daily or as needed. Look for targeted ingredients like caffeine and rosemary to reboot blood flow, saw palmetto and tea tree oil to fight inflammation and soothe.