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Aging's effects on hair & nails

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Younger-looking hair & nails

As we get older, hair can get gray, thin and lifeless, while nails can go thin and brittle. Follow these tips to keep your hair and nails look their best, no matter what your age.

Mature woman with young skin

Battling the gray

Gray hair is probably the most obvious sign of aging. Hair color is caused by pigment called melanin that is produced in your hair follicles. As we age, the follicles begin to produce less melanin. In many women, gray hair starts to appear in the 30s, but this isn't always the case. Some women (and men) begin to gray in their teens, while other fortunate souls have a headful of colored hair well into their 60s or 70s. Gray hair often first appears at the temples and hairline at the forehead, then extends to the top of the head. You might hear about vitamins and minerals that can slow down graying, but they really don't work. The tendency toward gray hair is genetic, and you can't stop it. Fortunately, though, you can cover it up.

Store-bought hair dyes are usually effective at coloring gray hair for six to eight weeks, while salon hair color may do the trick for a little longer. If you don't mind your gray hair, flaunt it. Many women look beautiful with all-over gray.

Check out these tips for coloring your hair at home >>

Thinning out

Your hair might not just be getting gray: It might be getting a whole lot thinner, too. Men aren't the only ones who deal with hair loss. With aging, the rate of hair growth slows, and some hair follicles stop producing new hair completely. Therefore, when a hair falls out naturally, it may not be replaced. The results? Hair becomes less dense all over the head; in some women, the scalp becomes visible.

Hair extensions can add volume to your hair as well as length. Many older women nowadays turn to extensions to give their hair density a boost, rather than covering up with a wig.

The right haircut can help make thin hair appear thicker, too. Look for a stylist with experience dealing with thinning hair. By adding texture to the crown or leaving full, sideswept bangs, you can disguise the appearance of thinning hair.

Look at these hot hairstyles for women in their prime >>

Brittle nails

Your nails also change as you age, right along with your hair. Fingernails tend to grow more slowly and become weak, dull and brittle. Though you can't stop the problem altogether, you can take some measures to help your nails stay strong.

Check out these tips to get healthy, beautiful nails >>

Toenails can be problematic as we age, becoming hard, thick and prone to being ingrown. Get regular pedicures to keep your nails in tip-top shape.

If you notice drastic changes in your nails such as pits or ridges, talk to your doctor. These problems can be caused by vitamin deficiencies and other health issues.

DIYBeauty how-to

How to make a quick homemade hair mask

Is your hair dry and lifeless? Wander over to the kitchen and concoct a remedy.

More ways to look younger

Tips for youthful hands
Anti-aging skin care tips
Is your hair making you look old?

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