There’s only so much you can do with hair products. “All of us are more about instant gratification,” says celebrity stylist Nunzio Saviano. “You do all the things you’re supposed to do on the outside, but you’re not taking care of the root of the problem—and the root of the problem is taking care of the scalp and hair follicles.” The older you get, the more you lose the small veins in your scalp, meaning your hair follicles aren’t getting the nutrients they need, he says. One easy way to get the blood flowing—and make your hair lush again—is by giving your hair that classic 100 strokes a day. Sure, it might smooth your hair, but best of all, it stimulates your scalp.
Those plastic-knobbed brushes might be cheap, but they’re not doing your hair any favors. The plastic can easily snag hair, damaging tresses. Instead, buy a boar bristle brush, which will stimulate the scalp without harming your hair, recommends New York City-based TV hair stylist Laura Burns. “They kind of glide through the hair and don’t pull it,” she says.
The texture of your hair might change as you get older for the same reason that you’ve been noticing your skin is losing its glow: Your skin stops secreting as much oil, says dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD. She recommends cutting back on how often you wash your hair—stick to about two or three times a week—and using a gentler shampoo when you do suds up. A sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner will keep your scalp and hair from drying out too much in the shower, she says.
A ponytail is a lifesaver on a bad hair day, but making it your daily style could contribute to the thinning that already happens naturally with age. “When a ponytail is really tight, it’s a lot of pressure on the follicle,” says Saviano. “Day after day, the follicle just gives in, and you lose that hair.” Resist pulling your hair back unless you really need to, and during activities like a workout, try to keep the ponytail loose so you aren’t putting so much stress on your roots.
“Dry shampoo is probably one of the worst products you can use because it just clogs the pores,” says Saviano. Using it once or twice a week is fine, he adds, but using it day after day will interfere with healthy oils your hair needs to retain its youthful luster. For a better anti-aging hair care routine, make sure you’re washing your hair a couple of times a week; shampooing your roots helps stimulate the scalp, says Saviano.
Pomades and mousses may have worked wonders when your hair was younger and thicker, but if it’s thinning now, those heavy products are no longer the right choice. “Be gentle: Don’t use a product that is too sticky—nothing you put in and then have to really pull to work the brush through your hair,” says Burns.Using products that stiffen your hair is just one of the hairstyle mistakes that age your face —and you should avoid them. Swap out mousse and root boost for lighter products, like a gentle volumizer or a hair tonic, she suggests.