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With aging comes a plethora of different issues, from physical aches and pains to sagging skin in places you didn’t even know were possible. While you’re stretching every morning and adjusting skin care routines to include every anti-aging product you can find, there’s another area that’s aging and you probably don’t realize it — your hair!
Graying tresses probably come to mind when most people think of aging hair, but the loss of natural melanin in the hair isn’t the only thing that happens over time. Loss of density resulting in finer hair and resistance to products or hair color as a result of natural melanin loss are two other signs of aging hair, explained Yasmine Young, owner of Maryland's Diaspora Salon.
On top of regular aging hair symptoms, if you have curly hair, you’re also faced with the additional need for regular moisture and hydration. “A lot of the time when you think about curly hair, you’re not really thinking about water or hydration,” said Shawn Harvey, Philadelphia-based curl stylist and co-owner of Curls, Kinks and Coils Curl Studio.
Tips for taking care of aging curly hair
Harvey and Young emphasized the importance of making sure your hair is hydrated, and part of that is making sure you’re using products that won’t promote build-up and will properly cleanse your tresses.
“You want to look for products that are water-soluble that tend to rinse away almost immediately when water is introduced,” Harvey said. She and Young recommend looking for products that are free of sulfates, silicones and phthalates — ingredients that can cause products to sit on top of the skin and repel water, leaving you with a dry and dehydrated scalp.
Young also recommends her customers stay away from heavier oils like shea butter and coconut oils. “These are products that will sit on your hair, your skin [and] your scalp, and they create a barrier that is resistant to water,” she said. If you want to use a hair oil, look for lighter ones like jojoba, tamanu or essential oils like rosemary, tea tree or lemongrass. These oils have a smaller molecular weight which allows them to penetrate the hair follicles to provide hydration, Young added.
Finally, both Harvey and Young drew a similar comparison when it comes to choosing the right products for your locks: Treat your hair the same way you would treat your skin. “Just like the skin on your face, you wouldn’t necessarily slather coconut oil or shea butter all over your face because then you may get a breakout. It’s the same thing with your hair,” Young said.
Best products for aging curly hair, according to hairstylists
Both Harvey and Young recommend this gentle clarifying shampoo. "Sometimes, as you’re using styling products, they can tend to build up on the hair and cause residue that will sit on top of the hair shaft, sit on top of the scalp and repel water. The Un-Do Goo pretty much gets all of that stuff off your hair," Young says.
She describes it as a very gentle exfoliator that provides a perfect foundation for your hair products to actually work.
Harvey recommends Olaplex's new bond-repairing moisture mask for curly tresses. It focuses on moisturizing and smoothing your hair while adding body and shine.
Young is a fan of this shampoo and its matching conditioner from AG Hair's Curl Fresh line. "It’s amazing. We absolutely love that shampoo and conditioner," she gushed.
Harvey likes to use products that specifically promote hydration, and Innersense Organic Beauty is one of the lines she uses most often. She specifically called out this styling gel, adding that she's a frequent user of it.
Young is a fan of this mousse from AG Cloud, noting that the price tag is well worth it. "The botanical ingredients inside are great. It’s no icky stuff," she said.
Harvey likes this mousse from The Doux. It's made with natural humectants and silk protein to resist humidity and strengthen the hair, leaving you with soft and luxurious-looking locks.
Young offered this mousse as a budget-friendly drugstore option. "That's a great one as well. It's very light," she said.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 11 best hair products to make curls last for days
- Dealing with frizz? Stylists can't stop raving about the products for curly hair
- Struggling with dandruff? We asked experts for easy fixes
- TikTok loves this hack for hair growth — and it actually works
- Hairstylists love these 9 tools for salon-worthy curls