Having spent more than four decades experimenting and playing with your hair, by now you have a good idea of what you like. Just be careful not to get your locks too set in their ways because there are plenty more styles, colors and cuts to try -- not to mention, our hair can change at this stage in our lives.
"Hair for women in their 40s is evolving rapidly due to stress caused by over-processing and blow-drying," says James Vides, stylist at the Sally Hershberger Salon in NYC. Hormones and our bodies natural aging process also comes into play. For some women, a baby in their 30s means hair changes in their 40s. Hair can now become thicker, thinner, straighter or curlier.
Women in their 40s can be afraid of losing their sex appeal according to celebrity stylist Mark Garrison from the Mark Garrison Salon in New York. Because we're pulled in so many directions between work, family and social calendars, we can get into a rut with our hair. Styles can become boring and hair can become unhealthy adding years to our looks.
To counteract this, Garrison suggests finding a stylist who knows how to give you a personalized style to flatter your bone structure. The right cut will create an instant face lift -- and instant sex appeal.
Straight strands call for a layered cut. When styling, use a round brush and volume spray for a smooth look. "When cutting hair for my clients in their 40s, they all want volume so layers are very important to add movement and texture," says Viddes.
Other tips to turn back the hands of time? Lose the over-processed look. It's time to get hair healthy with a rich, youthful color. For some women those pesky grays are in full force so seek out a trusted colorist. "If you're a brunette, cover the roots, but don't go too dark because it could wash you out," recommends Vides. Adding some lighter bits around the face will give you a glow. If you're blonde, go for highlights, he says because greys will blend better. Whatever you do, stay away from stripy highlights -- they are too harsh.
Hollywood Hair Icons
Celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Julia Roberts prove that being 40 can indeed be fabulous. We love Bullock's and Roberts' long, shiny locks as much as Blanchett's short, boy-cropped 'do. Versatility and keeping a fresh style are key at this age.
Your No-Fail Plan
The main problem many women face in their 40s is thinning hair. While there are many treatment options on the market today, consult with your doctor first. Finding the cause -- which can range from a vitamin deficiency to a thyroid issue to hormones -- is the first step to reclaiming your hair.
Hair breakage and damage from over-abuse is another major issue. The best rehab for those damaged ends is to use a deep moisturizing conditioner or repair masque weekly. In between treatments, use moisturizing shampoos and as always, cover up in the sun.
Want more ways to restore your damaged locks? Check out these tips.