Clients often focus on their skin, but aging hair is also responsible for making them look older. A thick, lustrous head of hair can have the same youthful effect as a face free from lines and wrinkles. Thanks to a growing number of anti-aging haircare products, spas today and their clients are well positioned to reap the rewards of offering hair treatments that restore a more youthful look. “As hair ages, it becomes drier and breaks more easily,” says Doris Day, M.D., dermatologist at Day Dermatology and Aesthetics (New York City). “There is also less overall density of hair, so it starts to lose its thickness.”
At any age, healthy hair starts at the root and with a healthy scalp. “Think about it this way,” says stylist Julien Farel and owner of Julien Farel Salon (New York City). “Grass does not grow in sand. Likewise, healthy hair doesn’t grow from a barren scalp.” Farel has introduced quick hair and scalp services, such as the JF Express Restore Treatment ($20, 15 minutes), to fight the signs of aging in locks at his innovative Anti-Aging Hair Bar and, due to an overwhelmingly positive response, is opening the Julien Farel Anti-Aging Salon & Spa (New York City) next month. The new 10,000-square-foot-space will serve as a state-of-the-art beauty and fitness destination to help spa-goers maintain youthful locks and more.
Ishi Ishikawa, co-owner of Salon Ishi (New York City), agrees that the best way to prevent signs of aging in hair is to take care of the scalp with a professional’s touch. “Massage the shampoo into the scalp with your fingertips to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles. This helps to deliver more nutrients that the scalp needs for healthy hair growth,” he says. Takako Ishikawa, co-owner of Salon Ishi, says stylists should look out for the signs of an unhealthy scalp—dull, reddish color, excess oil, and flaking—to provide the correct treatment options to improve circulation. Rene Furterer’s Tonucia line, used at Salon Ishi, contains lavender and orange pure essential oils to stimulate microcirculation in the scalp and encourage healthy hair growth.
Because styling tools and products can literally make or break strong strands, stock your spa’s shelves with styling products, shampoos, and conditioners that contain powerful anti-aging ingredients. Commonly found in the latest skincare offerings, these actives pack the same punch for the hair. “Look for gels, glosses, and styling balms that have ingredients like hyaluronic acid, panthenol, hydrolyzed rice protein, or vitamins B, C, and E. These ingredients will help keep the hair hydrated and looking shiny and healthy,” says Farel. Hyaluronic acid is particularly hydrating according to Day. “It holds 1,000 times its weight in water and acts as a penetrative carrier, enabling active ingredients to effectively absorb into the scalp and hair,” she says. “It improves elasticity, making hair more manageable and the scalp supple.
It’s also important to teach clients how to use products properly so hair isn’t overworked or depleted. “Take days off from styling to let hair breathe,” says Farel. He recommends clients use a styling balm before any hot tools to protect locks from excessive heat. Jenny Balding, Redken For Men consultant, agrees and says hair should be treated like a silk scarf to help maintain youthfulness and results from in-spa treatments. She says to warn clients of unnecessary detangling and to give hair a rest from their typical routines. “Don’t use hot tools on the hair for too long at one time, as the heat can be damaging on already fragile ends,” Balding says. Farel suggests limiting the use of heavy topical products that weigh down hair and avoid sources of direct heat for a healthy scalp. “Eating a balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients also helps give hair a boost,” he says. “Protein is the building block of hair. If you don’t get enough protein, hair tends to weaken.”
Because more people are noticing the signs of aging in their hair, there is great potential for new hair-treatment clients. “Forty-six percent of women globally are concerned with thinning hair, yet only a quarter of them act on it,” says Marianne Knutson, vice president of global marketing at Aveda. “This significant gap in treatment inspired Aveda to enter the anti-thinning hair category to provide high-performing botanical-derived solutions and capitalize on a considerable growth opportunity.” Based on Ayurveda and its ancient healing properties, Aveda created the Invati three-product regimen to treat signs of aging, such as thinning, loss of volume and density, and dry scalp.
Grey strands are a telltale sign of mature locks and also change the overall texture of the hair. Says Tippi Shorter, Aveda global artistic director for textured hair, “As it ages, hair can become dry, brittle, and coarse from increased grey.” The vast array of colors in the ammonia-free and natural formulas now available provides a popular remedy and ensures return visits. “Red hair colors fade the fastest, while browns and blacks tend to stay vibrant longer,” says Farel. “It’s also important to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to maintain the color,” says Farel.
Takako Ishikawa recommends steering clients to the shade closest to their natural color to avoid the damage that results from more drastic changes and harsher chemicals. “You don’t want the color to look too flat or heavy like shoe polish,” she says. Clients who don’t have grey just yet can still benefit from a color treatment. Shorter says a clear gloss or shine treatment in the spa boosts sheen, so hair instantly looks younger. “One sign of healthy hair is super-shiny hair,” she says. “Hair tends to dull with age.”
Hair may not develop wrinkles, but it ages all the same. Keep clients’ manes shiny, bouncy, and full of life by sharing your professional expertise. Subtly, please, as Takako Ishikawa says, “Looking natural is one secret to looking younger.”