When you have no time to deal with resurgent grays, Color Wow Root Cover Up ($35; ulta.com) will help you hide them. Comes in four water-resistant shades. In your 60s? Three quarters of you are fighting gray growth, making this miracle powder a must-have.
Summer can wreak havoc on aging strands, so everyone (even the fine haired) needs extra TLC. The best way to prevent seasonal damage? A daily drop of leave-in conditioner. For fine to normal hair, try Nioxin Rejuvenating Elixir ($15; nioxin.com); for dry, thick or coarse hair, try Alterna Caviar CC Cream ($25; sephora.com).
And Oribe Thick Dry Finishing Spray ($37;oribe.com) is like dry shampoo on steroids, inflating limp hair instantly. In your 40s? Stock up. During this decade, most of us see up to a 20 percent decrease in hair’s density.
Using skin-care ingredients such as retinol, copper peptides and alpha lipoic acid, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Root Resilience Anti-Aging Scalp Serum ($54; qvc.com) maximizes the condition of the scalp and of the follicles from which hair grows. The premise...and the promise? Healthier scalp skin will promote stronger, shinier strands.
Celebrity stylist Sarah Potempa has created another hair tool we didn’t know we needed but now can’t live without. The 7.5-inch Jet-Setter cordless rechargeable mini flatiron ($99; joyus.com) is a must-have for anyone who gets ready at the gym, travels often or just likes to touch up her hair on humid days.
Hairspray has come a long way from the Aqua Net ’80s, but this new formula, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray ($24; livingproof.com), may be one of the most versatile incarnations we’ve seen. This supersoft spray can be used to set a style without stickiness and boost volume in damp hair while blow-drying. Even hard-core hairspray-phobes may find themselves spritzing with abandon.
Beauty testers in our 2013 Big Beauty Try-On who battle frizz, have coarse hair or like to blow their textured tresses stick-straight liked this smoothing-styler, Color Wow Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac ($18; ulta.com). “Controlled my frizz and seemed to make my highlights pop,” said one. “Love this product. Made my hair shiny and -manageable—and gave it vibrancy it hasn’t had in a long time,” said another.
Described by the company as fabric softener for the hair, Oribe Soft Dry Conditioner Spray ($35; oribe.com) helps absorb oil like a dry shampoo but leaves hair shinier and softer than most powder cleansers. Testers were hooked. “I have used many products on my hair, but this was among the best. It was so easy to apply and made a difference immediately. My hair was fluffy and felt more manageable and soft,” one summed up.
Women with fine hair that’s dry or damaged struggle to find the right conditioner. They want something that strengthens and smooths but isn’t so packed with moisturizing ingredients that it leaves locks limp. As a result, our fine-haired testers went bananas for Dove Intensive Repair Conditioner ($6; soap.com), which helps repair hair but is unusually light. “My hair is extremely fine with a bit of wave. It typically has no body and frizzes on the ends. I used this and put no other products in my hair. And when I dried it...wow!” exclaimed one tester. “My hair was shiny and full and looked very healthy. I haven’t had hair like this since my twenties.”
Score beachy yet -polished strands with Aloxxi Texturizing Spray ($20; aloxxi.com), a salt-free spritz-and-go-styler. “When I used this, my husband asked if I’d been to the salon,” said one tester. “It was incredibly easy to use,” said another. One pointed out that unlike actual salt water, this left her hair soft: “I was surprised at how airy and light my hair felt."
Nioxin Bodifying Foam With Pro-Thick ($16; nioxin.com) volumizing mousse provides the extra oomph we loved in the ’80s, sans the stiffness we didn’t. The secret? A blend of flexible polymers (three decades ago, polymers were rigid) and light conditioners. To the testers’ happy surprise, this mousse boosted their hair’s body—and its mobility. “This made my hair feel soft and swingy, and it added long-lasting volume. It’s a vast improvement over other thickening products, which left my hair feeling sticky,” said one. Another said it was as if “the mousse goosed my hair follicles; my hair was much fuller.” And several curly-haired testers said the foam was especially good at holding and plumping their spirals—without “a gel-like crunch.”
Who doesn’t love gleaming hair? Pantene Advanced + Keratin Repair Keragloss Oil Mist ($14; pantene.com), a shine-enhancing styler delivers that—and more. Thanks to a mix of oils, a spritz will boost hair’s moisture and prevent breakage. Testers of all hair types were pleased. “I loved that this had a superfine mist so the application was really light. Fine-haired types needn’t worry about overdoing it,” explained one.
You needn’t have curly hair to benefit from the strand-strengthening and moisturizing ingredients in this Ouidad Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask ($40; ouidad.com). Most testers saw an immediate improvement—and were surprised that the rich formula hydrated yet did not weigh down their hair. A few comments: “Fantastic detangler”; “My hair has never felt softer”; and “Smells heavenly.”
In your 30s it’s time to start hydrating your hair, if for no reason other than to establish good habits before your dryness issues start. Try L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Power Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner ($5 each; drugstore.com).
Dryness is the most common complaint for women in their 50s, so it follows that most pros recommend hydrating at every turn: a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a once-a-week deep mask and a leave-in conditioner if your hair is really parched. Some to try: Living Proof Restore Shampoo, Conditioner and Mask Treatment ($28, $28 and $42, respectively; livingproof.com).
A good moisturizing shampoo, conditioner and weekly deep conditioning mask should be in your lineup. But now aim for products that provide weightless moisture so your thinner, more fragile locks won’t fall flat. One we like: Pantene Aqua Light Shampoo, Conditioner ($4 each; drugstore.com).