PC–Sixty and Me
Managing hair loss? An expert describes the simplest way to maintain a strong, healthy, and shiny mane as you age.
When someone turned 40, it used to be expected that they cut their long hair short. And since I’m 60, I legally ought to have completed the task decades ago. Although my hair is shorter than it once was, it is still below my shoulders, and I have no plans to cut it short because I like to wear it up.
I admit that it is thinner now than it was when I was younger. But exactly how do you get thinner? Not that I can see a tonne of additional hair in the brush. Glenn Lyons, clinical director of the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in London, is my go-to mane expert.
Two factors typically come into play when discussing natural ageing as opposed to specific issues with hair loss, he claims. One is that as you get older, the anagen, or growing, phase tends to shorten, preventing hair from having the opportunity to grow as long as it once could. As a result, hair may feel thinner throughout the lengths. The second is that each follicle’s diameter decreases, which results in a thinner hair shaft.
I discover that brushing up on my knowledge of, well, brushing, is the first haircare rule I need to change. According to this, anything with dense bristles, where each tuft is arranged in a different length, can cause hair to stretch as it is pulled over them; this tugging causes unnecessary stress.
While I completely agree that these types of brushes are helpful when you’re heat styling—we even have as-kind-as-possible versions at Philip Kingsley—look for those with single prongs when you’re just brushing to refresh hair during the day or before bed, advises Lyons. In this manner, the hair can more easily sink to the brush’s cushion and float through. Top picks include the Philip Kingsley Vented Paddle Brush ($25) and the Vented Grooming Brush ($20).
Rule two is to reconsider your conditioner and shampoo. After all, you wouldn’t use teen-targeted skincare in your forties. Hair is the same. Therefore, search for shampoos and conditioners that contain plumping agents.
Densifique Kérastase My hair feels fuller and even, dare I say it, a little bit younger after using the Bain Densité shampoo, which contains hyaluronic acid, gluco-peptides, and ceramides to strengthen and promote elasticity. It’s very alluring to skip conditioner if you want more volume, but in the long run, supple hair is always going to be healthier. The product Fondant Densité (£31.15) in the same price range provides oomph without the inherent wilt of heavy conditioners.
Older people’s hair is more prone to dryness and tends to be coarser because their scalps produce less sebum. Although it’s not specifically for grey hair, sources close to me say that Kevin Murphy’s Blonde is good. With its blend of nourishing seed oils, Angel (£25) provides a taming touch of heavenly softness.
Last but not least, try to avoid heat styling as much as possible and turn to products that protect, add lift, and add volume. The end result is that I no longer use a naked (no-product) blow-dry and instead reserve my use of the hairdryer and tongs for special occasions. Hair guru Larry King has introduced My Nanna’s Mousse in homage to his grandmother’s blow-drys after hearing that mousse is making a comeback. He’s got it down. The bounce-back factor, if you will. You see, Nanna is the wisest.
Envying Jennifer Connelly’s authentic, unaffected beauty as an older woman in Top Gun: Maverick. Oh, and your tousled hair is the best you’ve ever had (IMHO).
Hyaluron Body Gel by Susanne Kaufmann (Liberty London, £48.50). Beautiful when kept on ice for a special holiday treat but not something to indulge in every day.
Avoiding mascaras with large, robust brushes. For smooth separation and a refined appearance, give me a slimmer wand. For many years, I’ve used Max Factor Masterpiece High Definition Mascara (£11.99, Boots).