Ever wonder why the older you get, the harder it seems to grow your hair past shoulder-length? Here’s the latest research on why that is and what you can do to get growing.
Countless 30+ women have begged, pleaded, and wondered what kind of voodoo magic Julianna Moore and Kerry Washington are up to and finally, given up. Listen up beauties, if you’re one that has shared the same lament: “Why—really, why?—won’t my hair grow any faster? And is it just me, or does it seem to get slower each year?”
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is sporting insanely long locks. But keep in mind two things. One, natural, mid-back hair growth is not as common as Hollywood would have you think. While there’s no statistic measuring the overall population’s varying hair lengths, consider one Los Angeles hair expert’s very educated guess. “Oh please, it’s so rare! So many women have extensions. It’s very, very unusual to see naturally long hair. I’d roughly estimate it’s not even 10 percent of women.”
Second, the hair’s anagen phase — the growth stage that is crucial to achieving great lengths — is, like everything else in the world of beauty, seemingly wasted on the young. As people grow older, the period of anagen shortens. For example, the hair of someone with a five-year anagen can grow to a length of 60 centimeters before it enters the shedding phase. If their anagen period drops to three years as they age, their hair will then grow only to shoulder length before it falls out or is brushed out.
Biologically, researchers are finding that hair simply changes with aging. Sebum (oil) production overall, specifically on the scalp, decreases rapidly starting at age 45. When hair becomes less able to keep itself hydrated, it can become coarser-looking and more susceptible to breakage.
At some point, hair basically just kind of gives up in protest. The actual diameter of individual hair strands lessens, which simply means your hair may look skimpier—hardly adding to the illusion of long, cascading locks.
Then again, the difference between you and some of the red carpet’s finest could simply be a change in your regimen. Heat styling addicts take note: Step away from the hair dryer and flat iron.
The less you damage strands with high temps (heat weakens cuticles), the more you encourage the growth of long hair—healthier tresses more easily withstand breakage. Additionally, with a slew of new heat protectant lines now on the market—which contain conditioning agents meant to mimic the natural lubrication strands lose with age—even flat iron junkies have no excuse to not pre-treat hair before turning up the heat. Any kind of nourishing base will help protect your hair, and do a deep conditioning once every 10 days. You would do a mask for your face, so why not your hair? Think of it as applying moisturizer or primer before you apply your makeup. It should be that basic.
And curly girls take note, too, because your hair is even more susceptible to damage. Make sure to incorporate hyper-moisturizing conditioning products into your daily routine, and consider taking biotin, which may help fortify strands.
Of course, at the end of the day, it might be unavoidable. You may have done all you can, yet it still stands that nothing is happening past your shoulders. While extensions may start to look enticing, it’s not a decision to make lightly. Besides the ongoing cost and maintenance, they tend to exacerbate the problem because they pull on the scalp and can cause thinning and breakage.
An even simpler, cheaper and infinitely cooler solution? You can still create the illusion of length with a great cut and the right texture. An all-one-length, blunt and straight style will appear longest, as opposed to layers, which chop up the silhouette and draw the eye up.
And if you happen to be blessed with the ultra long hair you grew out in your youth, don’t forget to take a closer look. While we could care less about those old-fashioned notions that say women of a certain age should wear shorter styles , there’s no denying that when you’re dealing with majorly frayed ends thanks to years of abuse and an increased frizz factor—yes, hair also gets frizzier with age—it may mean you’d be better off with a chic, “long” bob. It’s better to rock a style that looks healthy, rather than just long.
Come see us, we’ll help you either work on getting your hair to a healthier state, or with a fabulous new look. Our service menu here.
And save right now on our June promotion: Buy Signature Spa Facial, receive 1 free service. Choose: Shampoo Service, Cut w/ Style, or Color Service. Must be Full-Priced Signature Spa Facial. Color Service value not to exceed $25. No Substitutions. May not be combined w/ other offers. Expires 6/30/14.