Hair care tips for the over 50s - shine, colour and thickness solutions

Whether you want to keep your hair a natural and healthy silver or hide the grey with hair dye, Liz Coggins advises on how to make (or fake) more shine, colour and thickness for your hair
Smiling mature woman with grey hairHow to make (or fake) more shine, colour and thickness for your hair

It’s an undisputed fact that as we age our hair, which was once our crowning glory, becomes thinner and weaker.

Though we exercise and eat healthily to keep those lumps and bumps at bay and indulge ourselves in skincare regimes to stave off those ever increasing wrinkles, we do very little to combat the problem of ageing hair.

As we age the growth cycle of our hair changes. The rate of growth slows down as the hair follicles start to rest. We experience colour loss and hair will not appear as thick as it once was. To combat this we tend to use more chemical treatments such as colourants and perms and styling aids such as heated rollers, tongs and hair dryers for blow waving with the result that hair becomes weaker unless it is kept in tip top condition.

Healthy hair always looks good whatever your age. So to prevent the signs of ageing - and encourage healthier and faster hair growth - shampoo regularly and use a conditioner to give it shine.

If your hair is fine only use the conditioner on the ends and avoid heavy conditioners which will weigh the hair down and give you lank locks. Fine hair also benefits from using a volumiser product applied before styling.

Give yourself a regular scalp massage. Apply your conditioner or a treatment hair masque first and then gently knead your skull - its also a wonderful stress relieving treatment.

What causes grey hair?

Greying hair, like wrinkles, is a product of age. Hair becomes grey due to a lack of melanin and can appear dull as it lacks reflectivity. For those who want to banish the grey, the world of hair dyes is a minefield.

Choosing hair dye for grey hair

Chose a colour that is too dark and you’ll end up looking like a middle aged member of The Addams Family or too blonde and you’ll feel like an over-the-hill Barbie Doll.

According to celebrity hairdresser Charles Worthington, grey hair can be resilient to colour because of its coarse texture. “If you have a few grey hairs stick to a semi-permanent colour no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour for a natural finish. If you have finer hair carefully placed highlights will give the impression of volume.”

He adds that “Permanent colour is the only way to completely cover grey hair.” Charles Worthington also stresses that it is important to consider the time and lifestyle committing when you colour your hair. Full colour will need touching up every four to eight weeks while highlights can last up to three months with hand painting, or low lighting techniques.

Hairstyles for the over 50s

Keeping the same hairstyle is one of the biggest age giveaways. However, skilful styling to frame the face or give added length can hide a myriad of sins and make the best of your features.

According to Charles Worthington if your hair is fine, a bob or blunt cut is the best  style as it gives the illusion of more volume rather than wispy layers. “When it comes to long hair as you age the rules have changed and you don’t need to chop off your tresses once you hit 40.”

As an older woman with shoulder length hair, with, dare I say it, a chestnut base colour and multi highlights and lowlights in blonde, red and a sophisticated purple, I'm glad for that piece of advice. Hair extensions here I come!

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter for more fascinating health features.


  • Balding man

    Preventing hair loss

    Although most of us want our hair to be our crowning glory, its condition can also act as an indicator of our general health and wellbeing, particularly as we get older

    Read on

  • Blusher

    Beauty cover ups

    T-zone troubles? Dark circles? Bags? Don't worry, make-up artist and beauty journalist, Liz Coggins has it covered

    Read on

  • Caring for ageing hands

    Wave goodbye to dry, haggard hands

    Our hands are often the first place to show the signs of ageing so is there anything we can do to hold back the ravages of time?

    Read on

  • Washing face

    Skincare tips: fresh-faced beauty

    Beauty buzz words and pseudo science can add up to a whole lot of confusion for even the most ardent beauty buff, so make-up artist and beauty journalist, Liz Coggins is here to help us clean up our act

    Read on

  • Teeth

    Brace yourself: tooth straightening speeds up

    Jonathan Margolis reports on a new tooth-straightening system that cuts both time and cost

    Read on

  • $name

  • keith hibberts

    Posted: Thursday 03 November 2011

    Don't forget us men as regards hair and skin and also regards when shaving what a bore..but keep up the good work


Type your comment here

 characters remaining.

Saga Magazine

£3 for 3 issues

For more fascinating stories and insightful articles, why not try Saga Magazine for just £3 for 3 issues.

Saga health e-newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest health news by signing up to our fortnightly health e-newsletter.

Saga Dating

The over 50s dating website from Saga

  • Create your dating profile in less than 5 minutes
  • Our unique two-way matching process will help you find your perfect partner
  • Protected by the Online Dating Association

Champneys spa breaks

3 nights for 2 or 20% discount

Exclusive Saga offer - treat yourself to rest, relaxation and rejuvenation with a break at a Champneys resort.