Every woman over 50 complains about thinning hair, but it's still taboo talk. We'll discuss our gastric bypass procedures, breast lifts, vagina makeovers and stints in rehab before we admit to skinny hair. I'm not including serious hair loss like hereditary female-pattern baldness, alopecia or medical related issues here, just everyday wimpy, my-hair-isn't-what-it-used-to-be hair. Magazines often address "fine hair," but never in an age-related way because it's not "sexy." Here are five solutions that are and celebs with the looks that work:
Go shorter. Stop substituting length for quality. Long stringy hair does not make you look youthful or healthy, just stuck in a rut. How short depends on your style, attitude and guts. Annette Bening, Diane Keaton, Ellen Barkin, Kris Jenner, Halle Berry, Lisa Rinna, Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda have made shorter choppy cuts in one form or another their signature and never looked back. Scared? Try on a wig or go shorter by degrees over several months.
Layer and loosen up. Perfectly coiffed hair reveals your scalp more than tousled hair. When hair is layered and fattened up with a styling mist it moves and camouflages. How much layering depends on your hair texture and the overall look you want. A choppy bob with long layers at the ends and breezy side-swept bangs - like Diane Keaton or Helen Mirren - looks soft, feminine and classic. All-over, irregular-length layers with a piece-y look (like Lisa Rinna, Annette Bening or Jane Fonda) is edgier.
Upgrade your technology. An old blowdryer, like an ancient cell phone or computer, seriously dates you. Your dryer may still work, but it may be frying your hair to a dry, damaged state. Toss it for a new ionic dryer with infrared or tourmaline technology. These shorten drying time since negative ions evaporate water molecules faster and infrared waves dry hair from the inside out. No scorching or frizz! Splurge. Cheaper models are frankly not the same and burn-out quickly. You'll get the bonus of super lightweight, multiple heat and power settings for total control, a cold-shot button, a nozzle attachment and a quiet motor. Try: Solano 3300 XtraLite Dryer ($159, ulta.com) or Bio Ionic Whisper Lite Pro-Dryer ($114, the beautyplace.com).
Make the blowout a quickie. The faster you dry and style the better. Spray freshly washed hair with a light volumizing mist for lift at the roots and texture. Bend at the waist and use your fingers as a rake to ruffle sections or layers while moving the dryer around. Don't aim for perfection, just get your hair 75 to 80 percent dry, 100 percent dry if your cut is short and choppy like Bening's or Berry's. Use a round brush to finish heat styling medium-length layers. Try: Living Proof Full Root Lifting Hairspray ($26, livingproof.com) and Garnier Fructis Fall Straight Strand Saver Anti-Breakage Spray ($5.90, garnierusa.com).
Eat better! Healthy eating is sensual and social and you'll see improved hair in six months. You need three inches of new growth at a rate of 1/2 inch a month to see a difference and bangs show results first. Be sure you're getting a balance of protein, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Hair supplements with biotin, amino acids, B vitamins and marine protein are great as an addition, not a substitute, for a good diet. Try: Viviscal Extra Strength for Women ($49.99, viviscal.com) and Sprayology Hair + Nail Tonic ($29, sprayology.com).
For more beauty & style tips for women 50+ read my book The Wardrobe Wakeup, Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age by Lois Joy Johnson ($16.29, amazon.com).
Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
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