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Top Hair Problems for Men and Women … Solved!

Easy ways to improve the health, shine and overall look of your locks


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(Left to right) Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner
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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:

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(Left to right) Taye Diggs, Michael Keaton, Rashida Jones and Claire Danes
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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.

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spinner image Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil; Viviscal Exfoliating Scalp Scrub; HAIRtamin Scalp Serum
(Left to right) Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil; Viviscal Exfoliating Scalp Scrub; HAIRtamin Scalp Serum
Amazon; Walgreens; Ulta Beauty

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.

spinner image L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Shampoo; Nexxus Unbreakable Care for Fine & Thinning Hair Thickening Shampoo; Pantene Illuminating Color Care Conditioner with Biotin
(Left to right) L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Shampoo; Nexxus Unbreakable Care for Fine & Thinning Hair Thickening Shampoo; Pantene Illuminating Color Care Conditioner with Biotin
Amazon; Target; CVS

3. Revise your shampoo and conditioner strategy

Still stuck on the same old duos? Many moisturizing shampoos and conditioners leave dry, thin hair overloaded while volumizing ones lack the necessary moisture and shine. Level up! Hair care is tracking skin care with lightweight formulas that combine high-tech with botanicals. To rev up gleam, smooth frizz and get an instantly healthier finish, try L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner ($9 each, amazon.com) with argan oil. For thinning hair look for body-building ingredients such as the vitamin biotin, caffeine or protein boosters like keratin and peptides … in addition to emollients and humectants. Good options include Nexxus Unbreakable Care for Fine & Thinning Hair Thickening Shampoo ($16 each, target.com) and Pantene Illuminating Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner with Biotin  ($9 each, cvs.com). Try to cut down on dry shampoo usage. While they do help freshen and stretch a blow-dry, consistent use also adds stubborn residue to the scalp.

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spinner image Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier; Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum; LolaVie Glossing Detangler
(Left to right) Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier; Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum; LolaVie Glossing Detangler
Amazon; Ulta Beauty; LolaVie

4. Practice damage control with detanglers and leave-ins

Let’s be realistic: Despite the dangers, grownup women do continue to use heat to style hair. Two preventative measures can minimize the damage. One way is to choose lower heat settings and reduce frequency of hot tool usage; the second is to follow in-shower shampoo and conditioner with a protective styler like Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier ($34, amazon.com)Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum ($30, ulta.com) and LolaVie Glossing Detangler ($26, lolavie.com). To clarify here, the lines have blurred and most detanglers, leave-in conditioners and heat protectors multitask and shield heat, add hydration and make a post-shampoo or swim comb-through easy.

spinner image Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer; Vegamour GRO Hair Foam for Thinning Hair; Toppik Hair Building Fibers
(Left to right) Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer; Vegamour GRO Hair Foam for Thinning Hair; Toppik Hair Building Fibers
Amazon; Sephora; Amazon

5. Try hair regrowth formulas … or style in thickness

Causes for thinning and hair loss range from genetic to medical conditions, stress, hormonal changes and a poor diet. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis, but realize over-the-counter regrowth products — like the FDA-approved ingredient minoxidil and trendy serums with biotin or proprietary extracts — take months to show results and don’t work for everyone. If you’re ready to give them a try, take the fake-it-till-you-make-it route with foams that lift and inflate hair like Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer ($26, amazon.com) and Vegamour GRO Hair Foam for Thinning Hair ($58, sephora.com). And for extra camouflage at the part try Toppik Hair Building Fibers ($25, amazon.com) which are made of keratin and come in a range of hair colors. They’re especially useful for medium-to-dark hair where hair/scalp contrast is most obvious. Guys, this one’s for you too!

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