Aging happens to us all, but there’s no need to fret when we see our first gray hair in the mirror. While we can’t reverse the aging process, we can make the most of it with regular visits to our favorite FS Stylist and take other steps to minimize the appearance of aging’s effects on our hair.
Read on to learn more about how aging affects your hair and how to keep your hair looking fantastic despite the aging process.
Why does our hair turn lighter as we age? Natural pigment cells found in our hair follicles produce melanin, which is a chemical that gives the hair strands their color, whether they’re brown, blonde, red or black—or somewhere in between shades. As we get older those pigment cells gradually die, leaving less melanin to color the hair and resulting in lighter, more transparent hair shafts that are gray, silver or white in color.
Gray hair is not solely caused by aging, though. While it’s mostly due to our genes (you’re likely to experience graying at about the same age as your parents and grandparents), gray hair can also be accelerated by stress, nutritional deficiencies and other factors.
Hair Thinning and Texture Changes
We also experience thinning hair and texture changes as we age. When we get older, our hair growth slows, eventually causing the overall amount of hair to decrease. Some hair follicles stop producing new hair altogether, and hair fibers can become thinner as the hair regrowth cycle becomes shortened with age. Thinning hair also tends to be more brittle, increasing the chances of breakage and damage.
If you’ve already experienced a gray hair or two, you might have noticed a change in texture with those strands. Sometimes grays can feel coarse and wiry, which helps them stand out from the rest of your hair. When the melanin-producing cells decrease, changing the hair’s color, your hair follicles also produce less sebum, which is the natural oil that helps hydrate your strands.
So, while the structure of your hair technically hasn’t changed through the graying process, your silvery locks aren’t as moisturized and may need some extra TLC.
An average person loses about 50 to 100 strands of hair per day, but as we get older, factors like hormonal changes, stress, nutrition and the regular aging process can affect—specifically, accelerate—this hair loss. Men and women experience hair loss differently, with men’s hair loss and thinning commonly beginning at the temple and crown, while women’s hair loss is more spread out across the head.
Tips for Fantastic Hair as You Age
While you’re not likely to find a fountain of youth to reverse the aging process, you can take special care to help minimize aging’s effects on your hair. Below are a few tips to keep your hair looking fantastic as you age.
· Don’t pluck the grays. As tempting as it may be, pulling them out won’t solve anything—they’ll simply grow back gray and tweezing may even accelerate the thinning of the hair strand.
· Minimize stress in your life. Stress can cause premature hair loss and speed up the graying process.
· Schedule regular visits with your FS Stylist. You may be accustomed to scheduling your salon visit on a whim, when you need a mood pick-me-up or when your roots start showing a bit too much. When you start seeing gray, though, having your salon visits already scheduled at regular intervals will cut down on your waiting time to get into the salon, and put your mind at ease.
· Embrace the gray. Instead of avoiding them or covering them up, embrace your silvery strands with the help of a professional. Your FS Stylist can help determine the best coloring techniques and shading to incorporate your natural gray hair shade with your other hair. After all, change is a fact of life—make it beautiful.
· Lead a healthy lifestyle—get plenty of exercise and eat healthy foods including lean proteins, nutrients like iron, Vitamin D and Vitamin C.
· Practice gentle hair care. When you wash your hair, remember that super-hot water can dry out your hair, so adjust the temperature a little. Towel-dry your hair gently, and be careful when combing, brushing or detangling as wet hair is more vulnerable to breakage. Minimize heat styling or cut down on your blow-drying frequency when possible.
· Make the big chop. Not only will it refresh your look and give you a confidence boost, but shorter hair can also be styled to look fuller and volumized with minimal effort. Talk to your FS Stylist about the best haircut options for your unique style and preferences.
· Use the right hair products. While you’re not likely to restore your hair’s full natural color or texture, you can add moisture and shine with shampoos, hydrating conditioners, nourishing serums and protectants, as well as increase volume and hold your styles with many other fantastic products.
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