Get Stronger, Silkier, Younger-Looking Hair!

Is your hair becoming a little grumpy with the passing years? Fight back against dryness, dullness, and dowdiness with this collection of expert tips.

4 Tricks to Take Hair from Thin to Thick

What worked for you stylewise at 20 — a certain Flashdance-era sweatshirt perhaps? — wouldn't fit your life now, and the same is true for your hair. "The products and styles that did the trick when you were younger may not get the same results today," says stylist Nunzio Saviano of New York's Nunzio Saviano Salon.

That's because your hair is actually changing. "Almost everyone will eventually experience dryness, a slightly different texture, or hair loss," says Michelle Hanjani Galant, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. "Sometimes these shifts happen as early as your thirties." That's why you'll find plenty of new ideas here — styling advice, haircut inspiration, problem-solving products, and tips celebrity stylists use on themselves (they have off days too). After you're done with our root-to-tip guide, you may not even recognize your own hair… in the best way possible.

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Use the right shampoo and conditioner.

Look for volumizing formulas such as Fekkai Full Blown Volume Shampoo and Conditioner ($20 each, fekkai.com), which are lightweight enough to cleanse and nourish your hair without weighing it down. "These products typically contain ingredients that bond to hair to thicken it up and plump strands from the inside," says cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer. Worried that conditioner will weigh your hair down and make it look flat? Simply smooth it on from midshaft to the ends, where your hair needs nourishment and moisture most.

Steal a classic stylist move.

There's a simple trick that will take your hair to new heights — literally — and it's using rollers. "Blow-dry an inch-wide section of hair and wrap it around a large Velcro roller, pinning it in place," says stylist Nathaniel Hawkins. Repeat this process with the rest of your hair, and let it cool down as you zip through the rest of your morning routine, then take the rollers out. Don't worry; you will not look like Shirley Temple. But do run a paddle brush through your hair to soften any tight curls before heading out the door. We also like Goody Start Style Finish Self-Holding Rollers ($12, Target).

Give minoxidil a try.

If you're still not happy with the fullness of your hair, it might be time to bring in a big gun. Topical minoxidil, one of the only FDA-approved treatments for thinning hair, is an option, says Francesca J. Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. "This liquid medication, available over-the-counter, is known to extend the growth phase of your hair and encourage thicker hair to grow," she says.

Keep in mind that you need to be committed about using it — minoxidil can take up to four months of regular application to make a noticeable difference (and the results will taper off when you stop the treatment). One to try: Redken Cerafill Retaliate Hair Regrowth Treatment Minoxidil Topical Solution ($30, ulta.com).

Consider this new tool.

A hair-growing laser may sound like something straight out of Star Wars, but low-level light therapy is an FDA-cleared way to treat hair loss, and there's science to back it up. "Some research has shown an increase in hair density in people who've used these therapies," says Galant. Two options to try out in your own bathroom are the HairMax Ultima12 LaserComb ($495, Neiman Marcus) and the Apira Science iGrow Hair Growth System ($695, igrowlaser.com).

Start treating before you even step into the shower.

There are several ways to moisturize your hair, but a preshampoo oil will actually hydrate thirsty strands the most, says Hawkins. "Run it through your dry hair from roots to tips," he recommends. "The strands will absorb what they need, and then you'll wash away the rest, so there's no residue to weigh hair down." We like Leonor Greyl Huile de Leonor Greyl Pre-Shampoo Oil Treatment ($59, leonorgreyl-usa.com).

Find the right smoothing product.

"One that contains silicones or polymers can fill in the gaps of a damaged cuticle, making hair look shiny and feel more manageable," says Galant. If you're using a smoother before styling with a curling iron or blow-dryer, make sure it protects hair from heat damage (it should say so right on the label). Pureology Smooth Perfection Intense Smoothing Cream ($28, ulta.com) also keeps color from fading.

Swap your flatiron for a gentler one.

It's a frustrating paradox: One of the fastest, easiest ways to get smoother strands is with a few passes of your flatiron, but heat styling at a very high temperature can damage hair and actually bring on more frizziness. That's why stylist Ellen Lawlor suggests trying an iron that conditions with steam in place of your everyday straightening iron. It's able to smooth at a much lower temperature, so you should get similar results with no scorching. Both the Infiniti Pro by Conair Ionic Steam Flat Iron ($66, walmart.com) and the Hot Tools Cool Tools Vapor Flat Iron ($90, Ulta) are solid options.

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Get a protein boost from your shampoo and conditioner.

Look for ones that have keratin in them to strengthen hair, recommends Tippi Shorter, a global artistic director for Aveda. We like Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner ($2.50 each, drugstores). "You may find that keratin products make your hair stiff — if that's the case, use them hand in hand with an oil treatment or mask to make sure your hair is still soft and touchable," Shorter says. If you have particularly coarse hair or you chemically relax it often, Shorter recommends using the oil every time you lather up.

Style the smart way.

Hair is most brittle from midshaft to end, since that's the oldest part and has endured the most damage since your last cut, says Shorter. "If you flat-iron, do a first pass from root to midshaft only, and a second from root to tip, so the most fragile hair is exposed to the heat only once," she says.

Switch to silk or satin.

Whether it's a hair bonnet, rollers, pillowcases, or hair ties, make sure they're made out of one of these soft, hair-friendly materials. "Cotton actually absorbs moisture from your hair and will cause friction, which leads to breakage," says celebrity stylist Kim Kimble.

Lay off the heat.

Take a breather from your blow-dryer, curling iron, or straightener, Kimble suggests, and try a hairstyle that looks great without any help from a styling tool. "Twists, box braids, or buns look chic and don't require the heat" she says.

This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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