As if it’s not enough that I am constantly scanning my face for those little signs of wear and tear, now the beauty industry is telling me that my hair is making me look old.
Anti-aging hair care products have flooded the market in the last few years. A few weeks ago WWD reported that Ken Paves (BFF of Jessica Simpson and QVC regular), Redken, and Zoto were all entering this market. Frederic Fekkai, L’Oreal, and Dove, already have products in this category. The prices range from $6 for drugstore options to $95 for fancier potions.
Signs of aging hair include the obvious--graying--as well as dryness, thinning, and dullness. Graying can start in your 20s (!!) although with the recent trend of young ingenues going gray, perhaps this is no longer a stigma. The other symptoms can start anytime, depending on your diet, health, and how frequently you torture your locks with heat treatments.
Every hair on your head is a strand of protein. Each strand falls out every four to five years and is replaced. These strands get smaller and more mousy looking the older you get.
The basic premise for most anti-aging hair products is that they give your hair moisture without compromising volume. (Usually volumizing products can cause dryness and moisturizing products can be heavy and cause limpness.) After a quick scan of some of the anti-aging offerings, I’ve discovered that companies really like to use trademarked pseudo-scientific sounding ingredients like “Intra-Cylane” or very posh “natural” additives (caviar, truffle oil).
I spoke to Misty Miller, a hairdresser with 20 years of experience in the industry, and NYC dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Hale to get their take on these products.
“Basically I think it’s a marketing ploy,” Misty said. “Dull, dry, lifeless hair is also common if one is on meds, vegetarian, or stressed. And hormones are a huge factor as well. Hair comes from the inside out.... so whatever is going on inside shows up in the hair.” Her recommendation is to use a good moisturizing product and see a dermatologist if you have concerns about change in texture or hair quality.
Dr. Hale sort of agreed: “I do think the most important things to do are keep your hair healthy with frequent trims to remove split ends, and eating a balanced diet, which should contain Biotin to strengthen hair.” Biotin is found in nuts, as well as eggs, sweet potatoes, tuna, bananas, nonfat milk, and yogurt. Dr. Hale also recommended using SPF hair products or a hat if your hair is thinning.
So hair can age just like your other body parts, but do you need specialized products? Probably not.
After a summer of blonde highlights, sun, chlorine, and salt water I’m just looking for a good hair mask, never mind the equivalent of hair Botox.