When it comes to the latest and greatest in anti-aging trends, most of us tend to think in terms of our skincare. But while we’re hyper-focused on wrinkles and under-eye circles, we may not notice that it’s our hairstyles aging us. The good news is, you can combat the signs of aging hair and take years off your face with the right color. We’re giving you the lowdown on aging hair, including the best hair colors to look your youngest, and tips for coloring it ahead!
The signs of aging look different on your hair than they do on your skin. Straight hair can suddenly turn curly and vice versa (read more in our blog about why your hair changes texture and what to do about it), your hair gets weaker, duller, and loses its volume. And let’s not forget the silver streaks that start to appear. The following are the most common signs of aging hair:
Some simple, low maintenance color adjustments can make a huge difference when it comes to combating the signs of aging hair. The right hair color can flatter your face in such a way that it makes you look younger. But choosing the right hair color depends on your complexion. Most people fall into one of three categories: warm, cool, and neutral.
Photographers: Saty and Pratha / balayage and style: Mélanie Guille
This is a great option for dark hair and cool-toned brunettes. Adding caramel highlights can help to warm and soften facial features; and the balayage technique ensures your highlights grow out without a demarcation line. These things all lead to a more youthful appearance. Use a color shampoo and color conditioner for brown hair to avoid brassiness and keep your color looking rich.
If you have lighter hair that's looking a bit ashy, consider something fruity like strawberry blonde. Adding warmth to blonde shades in the auburn range gives cooler skin tone and complexion a glowy, youthful radiance. But reds are notorious for fading so see your stylist for a gloss treatment every six weeks (or so) to keep your color bright.
Photo by @baderbeauty
Bronde is a color technique that fuses brown and blonde for an almost chocolate brown. This is the perfect option for warm brunettes and blondes to add brightness and contrast to their hair color. One dimensional hair color can wash out your face, aging you. Ask your stylist for a subtle gradation from the roots.
Rose gold has been having a huge moment over the past few years, showing up on both young and mature people. But this hair color only works on those with an adventurous spirit. And what better way to look younger, than to feel it! The best part about this hue for light blondes is that you don't even need a trip to the salon. Replace your regular shampoo with a red shampoo every time you want to go pink. Keep using it until you’ve reached your desired shade of rose gold. Then use it once or twice a week to maintain your color.
A darker base with warmer highlights suits any complexion. Get this color look by starting with a base that’s close to your natural hair color. Ask your colorist to use a combination of foil and balayage highlights a couple of shades lighter than your base to achieve a bright, natural color. Swap out your regular shampoo with a shampoo for silver hair once a week to avoid brassiness.
photo by Cassell Ferere
Aging hair is weaker and less resilient, so it doesn't bounce back as easily from damage. If you’re already working with damaged hair, overly coloring it will eventually result in breakage. Add a vegan conditioner into your hair care routine for a few weeks until your hair is a little stronger. Check out our previous post How to Rehydrate Your Hair After Bleaching for more ideas to strengthen your strands. When you do decide to go lighter (and you think your hair can take it) bleach it in stages so it’s less harsh.
Every time you wash your hair, you strip it of its color and moisture. You lose shine as you get older, and overwashing only makes it worse. Skip a day or two more than you normally would between showers and use dry shampoo on your off days.
If you have aging hair, you should aim to enhance and enrich your natural color and subtly conceal grays. If you introduce a completely new color, your natural shade will fight it until it oxidizes and turns brassy orange. Another thing that can make hair color look unnatural is a dark hairline. The fine hair there grabs onto the color and tends to get dark faster so your stylist should go a shade or two lighter there for a more natural look.
Hair that's too dark doesn't reflect light. It can look opaque and age you, zapping life and color from your face. Very dark, one-dimensional hair will put a spotlight on your grays and regrowth. Ask your colorist for a single process with highlights to bring your natural hair color a shade or two lighter. This will add dimension, disguise the grays, and still flatter every complexion.
Our skin gets more sallow with age and a few highlights a shade or two lighter around your face can refresh your complexion, but going too light can be just as aging as going too dark. It's important to maintain a contrast between your hair color and your skin tone. The darkest part should be where your roots are, and the ends should be lighter. Natural hair color is never one singular color.
The point of adding highlights is to produce a natural, lived-in color mimicking the pattern that would show up naturally if it was lightened by the sun. If the highlights get too white or icy, it can be very aging. Try to stay away from choppy, obvious highlights.
If you’re thinking of making a bold hair color move at-home, like going from black hair to blonde hair or vice versa, think again. Aging strands are fragile and extreme colors usually require extra bleach before depositing color and that can be really damaging on the hair.
You’ve likely been prepping your skin for the signs of aging since before you actually needed to, but have you been neglecting your hair? Take care of your strands as you enter your more mature years the same way you would your skin. Drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet, and use anti-aging hair products. And take years off your face by switching up your hair color to one that makes you look younger. You’ll be rocking a youthful glow and gorgeous new head of hair in no time!
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
cover photo by @melanieguille_