Monday, 11 April 2011

9 Easy Steps for Covering Grays, Creating Volume, and Fattening Thinning Hair

Gain some weight.
Sad fact: Men aren't the only ones who face thinning hair as they age. In addition to scanning the labels of styling products for words like "thickening" and "volumizing," you can also look to certain supplements to help bulk up strands. Try taking 1,000 micrograms of biotin, a type of B vitamin, and 500 milligrams of niacin a day, which will help strengthen weak hair. Using Women's Rogaine Topical Solution twice daily, which uses minoxidil to stimulate the follicle and encourage hair growth, can slow down hair loss. (That's right, it's not just for men!)

Crank up the volume.
The easiest way to keep hair from looking thin and limp is by befriending a great texturizer. Two that work instantly are Living Proof No Frizz Restyling Spray and Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. "The Living Proof No Frizz Restyling Spray comes out wet, but once you hit it with a blow-dryer, it dries really fast and adds a lot of volume for all hair types," says hairstylist Tommy Buckett of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray can also be applied all over to thicken hair without any tacky or powdery residue. "It's perfect for refreshing a blowout after a day or two," Buckett says.

Cover gray roots.
Besides the lines on your face, the dead giveaway of your age is gray hair. So if the Betty White roots have started creeping in, stay away from knife-sharp parts and slicked-back styles like ponytails; they put roots on full display. Thicker textures and wavy styles make grays harder to detect. Spritz hair with a volumizing spray (we like Redken Workforce Volumizing Spray), let it part naturally, and allow strands to fall softly around your face. For light, temporary coverage when you've got a lot to hide, a quick fix is the ColorMark, which comes in a tube that resembles a lip gloss (so it's simple to paint on the gray areas) and will last until your next shampoo. For longer-lasting coverage, try a permanent color kit, like Clairol Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up. It comes with a slanted brush to apply the dye to roots, and works in ten minutes.

Make it shine.
Nothing says young and unprocessed like a head full of shiny hair. But the secret to getting it may seem like an oxymoron: "The best way to add shine is by styling with heat, which can be damaging if you don't do it correctly," says hairstylist Mark Townsend of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City. Always apply a heat-protecting spray (try Tresemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray) If you use a blow-dryer, add the nozzle attachment and aim it down the hair shaft—this helps the cuticle lie flat. Finish by running a flatiron over strands to seal the cuticle and give hair a glassy surface. If you have curls, wrap them around the barrel of a curling iron the same width as your spirals.

Get bright, beautiful color.
While your hair color loses some of its luster with every wash, you can extend its vibrancy with the correct shampoo. According to cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer, shampoos and conditioners usually have a pH of around 7, which causes the hair cuticle to lift up, leaving color susceptible to fading from exposure to water, so look for a shampoo that keeps its pH between 4.5 and 6, such as Nexxus Dualiste Dual-Benefit Shampoo, Oribe Hair Care Shampoo for Beautiful Color, and Sojourn Colour Preserve Shampoo.

Get a flattering cut.
While a blunt cut may have geometric appeal, it can also look dated and drag down your face. Ask your stylist for more youthful-looking, face-framing layers, which are universally flattering and help direct the eyes higher up toward your cheekbones. When styling, just don't curl the ends under—"it's too pageboy," says hairstylist Garren of the Garren New York salon.

Be a tease.
If the word "tease" brings back images of the tunnel bangs you wore in junior high, block them out. Teasing is the fastest way to make it look like you've got more hair than you really do. Gently back-comb hair at the roots for volume at the crown. Add width by teasing the underlayers of the lower half of your head, smoothing the top layers over them with a paddle brush. (Try using the Sonia Kashuk Small Hair Brush.)

Stay strong.
Dyes, chemical straighteners, styling tools, and hairbrushes—everything we use to make our hair look good is actually causing the harm that eventually leaves strands looking dull and dry. Time for some damage control: Try to wash hair every other day (rather than daily), and use shampoos with words like "anti-breakage," "strengthening," "restorative," or "renewal" on their labels; they're full of ingredients like quaternium or cetrimonium chloride that "create a layer around the hair shaft, helping to thicken the hair and seal split ends," says cosmetic chemist Joe Cincotta. Let hair air-dry as much as possible, and always apply a heat-protecting product to your hair before heat-styling. Once a week, take the time to do a deep-conditioning treatment (we like Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Fortifying Deep Conditioner 3 Minute Masque). "The ingredients aren't that different from those in your daily conditioner, but because they are much more concentrated, they leave behind a smoothing film that won't wash off for days," Cincotta says.

Better bang theory.
Yes, bangs can make you look younger; the trick is to find the right shape and cut that shaves off years without making you look like the world's tallest preschooler. Consider your face shape: Long, thin faces can handle thicker, blunt-cut bangs. Rounder, fuller faces need a slightly longer, choppier style. (You can achieve this by having your stylist cut into the ends with scissors.) Side-swept bangs that fall below the brows accentuate cheekbones and minimize large foreheads—and can be flattering on just about anybody.

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