Robin Wright Credits: Keystone
Thinning hair got you down? Learn why hair thins as we age, and discover three cuts that can boost volume and confidence.
If a drain snake has become your number one shower accessory, you may be dealing with the onset of thinning hair. “Hair thinning affects about 40 percent of women over the age of 40,” says Dr. Jeff Donovan, a Toronto dermatologist and hair transplant specialist. While a number of factors play into hair loss—thyroid disorders, iron deficiencies, etc.—fluctuating hormone levels are typically the root of the problem.
As estrogen levels decrease, explains Dr. Donovan, so too does the “production of hair oils, which leads to changes in lustre, thickness and shine.” All hair follicles become thinner over time, but only microscopically so. (Luckily for us, only dermatologists ever look that closely.) So while you should definitely speak to a doctor if your hair is suddenly thinning out, a flattering new haircut may be all the help you need.
1. The lob
"The 'lob,' or long bob, is definitely the look of the season," says Kristjan Hayden, creative director of Aveda Canada, and women with thinning hair should have no problem partaking of the trend. The key to achieving the look, explains Hayden, is to ask for a lob that is all one length, cut straight across at the collarbone. “When you layer hair, you are removing fullness,” says Hayden, “but if layers are a must, keep them very long.” To avoid scraggly ends, keep the perimeter of the hair as “solid and blunt” as possible.
2. The modern pixie
The pixie is back, baby! And women with thinning hair are perfect candidates for this daring ’do. Blunt cuts are optimal for longer hair, but women who sport shorter styles should maximize volume with layers. “Layers help to create the illusion of fullness because you are seeing a lot of ends and texture,” says Hayden. His rule of thumb for cutting thinning hair: the shorter the chop, the thicker the hair looks.
3. The transitional fringe
It may seem counterintuitive, but a well-cut fringe helps to “camouflage sparse areas along the hairline,” says Hayden. A heavy fringe demands thick locks, he adds, but “a side-swept or transitional bang can make hair look fuller.” A transitional bang is typically parted to the side and covers part of the forehead before transitioning into a sweep. Plus, a flattering fringe is a great way to add visual interest to an otherwise blunt haircut.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
Photo courtesy of Davina Choy Credits: Photo courtesy of Davina Choy
Is the anti-aging ingredient retinol worth all the hype? You better believe it!
One of the most potent anti-agers on the market was discovered by accident. Twenty-five years ago, dermatologists noticed that retinol, an acne treatment, also reduced fine lines, refined large pores and reversed sun damage. But there was a catch: The vitamin-A derivative also irritated skin, causing dryness and redness. As a result, many women were reluctant to add it to their skin-care regimens.
Today, however, retinol comes in a variety of formulations and strengths, so you can get the benefits without the irritation, says Dr. Paul Cohen, a dermatologist at Rosedale Dermatology Centre in Toronto. "The industry has come a long way," he says. Here's how you can take advantage of modern retinol.
Retinoid: A vitamin-A derivative available only by prescription.
Retinol: An over-the-counter derivative of vitamin A, found in concentrations of up to one percent.
Microencapsulation: This delayed-release delivery can help prevent skin irritation.
"Skin has its own natural renewal process, but as we age, skin renews itself less often," explains Dr. Cohen. "This results in the early signs of aging," including fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Vitamin A, either in an over-the-counter retinol or a a prescription retinoid, works by "stimulating cell turnover to help skin repair itself," says Dr. Cohen. The result: diminished fine lines and wrinkles, a more even skin tone and a finer texture.
Finding your formulation
Retinol is available in cream, gel and serum form. Whichever you choose, consider the overall strength of the product. For over-the-counter retinol, one percent is the highest strength allowed by Health Canada, but stronger isn't always better. "You don't necessarily have to go to that one-percent level in order to reach the results you want," says Kirk Brierley of RoC Skincare. If you're concerned about sensitivity, consider a lower strength that will deliver retinol to the skin in a more gentle manner. You can also try microencapsulated retinol, which is gradually released into the skin.
The perfect application
The best time to apply retinol will depend on the product. Serums should be applied immediately after cleansing, and creams after serum. Dr. Cohen recommends using a pea-size amount of retinol every other night to start, and eventually upping application to every night. "If your face gets red and itchy, or if it peels or burns, skip retinol for a day or two," he says. You can also apply a layer of moisturizer before your retinol; it will act as a barrier, keeping skin hydrated and reducing the risk of irritation. Finally, despite what you may have heard, retinol won't sensitize your skin to sun exposure. UV rays do, however, destabilize retinol, rendering it ineffective. So as long as you wear sunscreen every day (which you should in any case), retinol is your anti-aging friend.
Retinol, along with peptides and civitamin C, helps promote tissue regeneration around the delicate eye area.
This rich cream smooths lines and wrinkles while providing serious moisture.
Time-released technology gradually delivers retinol to the skin, minimizing fine lines and discolouration with less irritation.
Formulated with fast-working sustained-action retinol and moisture-rich hyaluronic acid, this serum is quickly absorbed.
Containing vitamins C and E and slow-release microencapsulated retinol, this serum encourages skin renewal.
A combination of retinol and Nia-114 (a form of vitamin B3) strengthens the skin's moisture barrier while combating fine lines and brightening skin tone.
Ryan Brook Credits: Ryan Brook