Sexy, Healthy Hair in Your 40s

Tips and products that will help you make the most of your mane
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What is Going On?

Your moods are not the only thing to go a bit wacko during perimenopause. "Hormonal changes after 40, especially the decline of estrogen, can cause your hair to become dryer, coarser and a lot less shiny," says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, PhD, a New York City dermatologist and scientist. At this point, you may also see some thinning, as hair growth slows down and the diameter of each strand shrinks somewhat, says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a Vallejo, California, dermatologist who specializes in hair loss. Then (as if all of this weren’t enough already), heavy perimenopausal periods may cause some women to become anemic, further accelerating shedding, and gray hairs are almost guaranteed to make an appearance-if they haven’t yet.

What You Can Do About Lack of Luster

Keeping hair on the long side (at least chin length) will give it some weight, preventing that dreaded stiff, dull look we associate with "old" hair, says Vinette Aquino, a stylist at the New York Blow Dry Bar. And longer hair usually looks shinier than short hair. To boost sheen even more, use a leave-in conditioner, says celeb stylist Ted Gibson; it will coat each strand, making it smoother and more light- reflective. We like this oldie but goodie: Infusium 23 Frizzologie Leave-In Treatment ($8; drugstores), which works well on all hair types.
Photo: Todd Huffman

What You Can Do About Lack of Luster

Gibson also suggests taking 30 minutes once a month to deep condition your hair at home. Try Bumble and bumble’s new Quenching Masque ($36; Finally, for more serious smoothing and shine-boosting, consider a Brazilian keratin treatment, a salon procedure ($250 and up); results last four to six months. "It works wonderfully on colored or damaged hair to seal in moisture and make it gleam," says Piet Sinthuchai, a stylist at New York City’s Vartali Salon.
Photo: Todd Huffman

What You Can Do About Limp Locks

"Adding a few layers will help boost volume and aid in disguising thinning," Sinthuchai says. Proper blow-drying can also add fullness. "Always flip your hair over when you blow it out," Aquino suggests. This encourages the strands to lift off the scalp, as opposed to lying flat against it. "Then, once your hair is dry, put in some large Velcro rollers for 10 minutes-maybe while you apply your makeup-to give your hair extra height." There are also several innovative new products that can help you feign fullness. Our favorites are Living Proof Full Thickening Cream ($24;, to coat and fatten up each strand without leaving it stiff, and Fekkai’s newly revamped Full Blown Volume Shampoo and Conditioner (both $23; Styling pros swear that when you use this cleansing duo in tandem, your hair will appear up to 1,000 strands thicker instantly. Stray Grays Rule number one: Don’t pluck hairs that have gone gray. If your hair is thinning already, why make matters worse? "Have your stylist mix up an ounce of color and paint just the gray spots so you maintain your overall natural tone," suggests Kevin Mancuso, a New York City stylist and the creative director for Nexxus Haircare: "It will look better and cause less damage." Because gray hair can be resistant to color, Jason Backe, a colorist at the Ted Gibson Salon, in New York City, recommends you switch to a product specifically designed to deposit more dye per strand; look for demi-permanent or permanent on the label. "Temporary or semi-permanent color just won’t cut it," Backe says. *For sexy, healthy hair advice in your fifties, click here*
Photo: Todd Huffman

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