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‘Hair Longevity’ Products Go to Great Lengths To Keep Hair Healthy as You Age

From you shampoo to your showerhead and beyond.

Fun fact: The skin on your scalp ages faster than the skin anywhere else on your body—and the effects are written all over your strands. While multi-step skin-care routines prioritize longevity by smoothing, brightening, and tightening, such a focus hasn’t extended to the hair on our head. Come 2024, though, prepare to rethink your hair-care routine with longevity in mind, thanks to the help of a slew of new product launches that aim to keep hair as healthy as possible—for as long as possible. 

The last three years of hair innovations have focused on nourishing our scalps with skin-care-infused formulas and regrowing our strands in the wake of pandemic-induced hair loss. But all of these solutions target your current hair needs instead of looking to the future. That’s about to change. “We’ve seen a lot of women going through hair thinning, especially after COVID, and just accepting it because we’re all so programmed to think that having fine or brittle hair is just a part of aging,” says Sofia Baig, a hair-care expert and the lead trichologist for Monpure, a brand that launched in 2020 and focuses on scalp health. “There are so many treatments out there [to stave off the effects of visible skin aging], but what about hair care?” 

“While you can’t stop your hair from aging, you can take certain measures to help keep it as healthy as possible.”

Debby Vellozzi, head of product development, Virtue Labs

To understand the importance of hair wellness in the context of longevity, it’s key to first understand what happens to the hair as we age and why. “The scalp ages more quickly than the skin on your body, because we’re applying products and using heat and chemicals on the hair,” says Baig. She says other factors, including genetics, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits—essentially anything connected to causing inflammation—can also impact how your hair ages. Additionally, research has shown that oxidative stress—which happens as a result of free radical damage from things like pollution, sun exposure, and hard water and keeps your cells from functioning properly—can significantly speed up the hair aging process by compromising your hair strands before they even break the surface of your scalp. 

I believe consumers these days are more interested in what is happening [to their hair] and how they fix it. Rather than just looking for something to cover up an imperfection, they want a solution.

Debby Vellozzi

All of these factors translate into tangible changes to your hair. “As we age, our hair follicles go through a process called miniaturization, in which their size decreases over time,” says Baig. “And when that happens, your hair’s not as dense, you’re losing hair as you go…and hair can become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.” And there’s also graying due to pigment loss. None of these outcomes are bad, wrong, or problematic in any way—but for folks who want to stave off or minimize these changes, a new class of options are welcome. 

“I believe consumers these days are more interested in what is happening [to their hair] and how they fix it. Rather than just looking for something to cover up an imperfection, they want a solution,” says Debby Vellozzi, head of product development at hair- and scalp-care brand Virtue Labs. The brand’s products use a patented protein, Alpha Keratin 60ku, which repairs hair damage from chronological aging, environmental factors, heat styling, and chemical processing. Its newest launch, a gray-friendly ColorKick Mask that hit the market earlier this year, provides hydration and shine to keep aging hair from looking dry and dull.   

Vellozzi says the trend she’s been seeing in preventative skin care over the last few years (hello, SPF and antioxidants) has begun to make its way into the hair-care arena. Many “people start using skin treatments at the first sign of wrinkles,” says Vellozzi, pointing to these visible changes as signposts for skin aging. By comparison, the first signs of hair aging may be dryness, frizzing, or thinning. “If we start using products that can actually make a difference in our hair and scalp health, we maintain the beauty of our hair longer,” she adds.

Photo: Stocksy / Anna Tabakova

A big ethos of the preventative hair-care movement is going skin (well, scalp) deep. Hairstylists often “recommend treatments that last four to six weeks or products that last until you wash the hair again, says Jay Small, co-founder of Arey, one of the brands leading the charge in hair longevity. “But for us [at Arey], it was about looking below the surface of the scalp and figuring out what the hair follicle needed to grow a softer hair strand, or have more color, or be thicker and fuller.” 

This line of thinking led to the brand’s first-of-its-kind “Not Today, Grey” supplement in 2020, which contains targeted vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants to help maintain pigment in the strands. T

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