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Tips for Gorgeous Hair as You Age

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Your hair goes through phases just like you. Learn how to keep it looking healthy, no matter what your age or stage of life.

Hair Care for Every Stage of Your Life

Hair care in your 20s: Your locks are lush, long, rich with natural oils – you’ve got it made. Your hair is likely at its healthiest, but all those colorings, blowouts, sun exposure, smoothing treatments, straightening and curling irons that twentysomethings love can be damaging. So can yo-yo or fad diets: Your hair needs sufficient nutrients just like the rest of your body. Watch for a widening part or a thinning ponytail, which may indicate the first signs of hair loss – the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that roughly 5 percent of women under 30 are affected. Minoxidil in women's topical medication is available over the counter and works by reactivating inactive hair folicles to promote hair regrowth.

Hair care in your 30s: Stress from balancing a career and family can take a toll on your hair. Where typically about 90 percent of hair grows while 10 percent rests, stress can drop the growth to 60 percent, according to Peter Panagotacos, M.D., author of The Complete Book of Hair Loss Answers. Try to find calming ways to manage stress such as meditating, practicing yoga, gardening, or reading a book. Also as you age, hair follicles shrink due to hormonal shifts and hereditary factors, and your strands start growing in thinner and more fragile. Gentler style options, such as natural waves, can combat breakage. Thickening scalp treatments can stimulate circulation in the follicles, helping hair grow. Hair feeling too thin? Your doctor may want to check if you’re iron deficient. Eating more iron-rich foods like spinach and red meat may help.

Hair care in your baby-making stage: Thanks to those prenatal vitamins boosting your hair and body with nutrients, your hair has never looked so good! Pregnancy hair is thicker and fuller, with elevated hormones in full force. You’re rockin’ a beautiful belly and a fabulous mane. Your doctor may advise you to skip highlights, perms, relaxers and dye – the harsh chemicals could be absorbed through your scalp and passed on to your growing baby.

Hair care in your postpartum phase: A few months after delivery, many new moms experience excessive shedding as hair switches from a growth to a resting stage. Relax, it’s temporary – and due to your falling estrogen levels. Your hair should return to its normal fullness by your baby’s first birthday. Dermatologists suggest using volumizing shampoos – often they contain protein that coats the hair and makes it appear fuller. When you shampoo, try gently massaging your scalp for five minutes to increase circulation. Strategic hair styling and parting can also mask limp locks. A piece-y cut amped up with layers makes hair look fuller. Skip the blow dryer and avoid pigtails, braids, rollers and weaves. Scale back on styling gels, sprays and mousses that cause buildup – opt instead for products that repair hair. Don’t tease hair or add extensions – both cause breakage. Instead, dry shampoo sprayed at the roots can give hair the fluff factor. Eat more fruits and vegetables – the flavanoids and antioxidants may protect follicles and help hair grow.

Hair are in your 40s and 50s: As your body transitions to menopause – or you’ve already stopped menstruating, you lack the hormones estrogen and androgen, which can lead to scalp hair loss. According to the North American Menopause Society, half of all women have thinning hair by age 50. Over-the-counter Minoxidil works by reactivating inactive hair follicles to promote hair regrowth, but be patient – it could take three to four months to see results. If you want to cover gray hair, keep in mind that dye can damage hair. It’s safest to stay within three color shades of your natural color – and it’s better to go darker than lighter.

Did you know it can actually benefit your hair to skip a day of shampooing? Find out why!
(And if you're looking to re-energize your routine with a brand new 'do?, try one of these no-fuss ideas.)

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