Expert ways to get back your va va voom volume

Expert ways to get back your va va voom volume

February 1, 2022

Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: Expert ways to get back your va va voom volume

  • Hannah Betts shares advice for minimising the effects of mid-life hair loss
  • UK-based beauty columnist reveals a selection of body blasters 
  • Buly Baume des Muses translucent lip balm is this week’s cosmetic craving 

Generally, I’m good at not turning into an envious old crone around young women.

However, when it comes to lustrous teen and twentysomethings’ hair, I do sometimes shake a craggy finger and tell them to enjoy its untrammelled glory while they can; parade it like the great, shiny show pony it is.

I used to have hair like Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children. Actually, mine was even more prolific — vast and wavy, like some fabulous furry animal. At 50, its fineness is rather less than fine — limply scalp-clinging, airborne only in its frizzy extremities.

Why does mid-life hair fall off a volume cliff? I ask trichologist Anabel Kingsley, president of her late father’s Philip Kingsley clinics, the industry oracle who grew up living and breathing hair health.

She explains: ‘Our scalp and hair follicles age, just as our skin does. So it’s rare to see someone in their mid-40s or 50s with the same quality hair they had in their early 20s.

UK-based beauty columnist Hannah Betts shares advice for minimising the effects of mid-life hair loss (file image)

‘Anything that impacts your sex hormone levels can affect your hair — and menopause is a time of major shifts. Leading up to it, levels of oestrogen [one of the two main sex hormones in women] decline and the ratio of androgens [the sex hormones more dominant in men] rises. This can cause hair loss and density changes.’

The good news is, there are things you can do to help minimise these effects. Your general health, diet, stress levels, scalp health and the condition of your hair itself all merit attention.

Having well-nourished hair is key, as even tiny deficiencies can cause hair loss long before they impact upon your overall health — hair acting as a sort of canary in the mine.

‘Eat a fresh, varied diet, rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12 and zinc,’ Anabel counsels. ‘Also, don’t cut out complex carbohydrates: they provide energy to maintain the growth of rapidly dividing hair cells.

‘Think of proteins as your hair’s building blocks, with complex carbs as the builders.’

Have a detailed blood test for your trichologist or hormone specialist to analyse. A weird shedding phase in my late 30s turned out to be an iron and vitamin D deficiency, what with my being a vegetarian vampire.

Philip Kingsley’s PK4 Soya Protein Boost (£30,, which contains all essential amino acids (proteins your body can’t make on its own), and Tricho Complex (£46), a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, keep me on the straight and narrow now.

Trinny Woodall swears by the award-winning hair supplement IoniCell For Women (£16,, while I hear good things about Hairburst Hair Vitamins for Women 35+ (£34.99, in terms of curtailing loss.

Thyroid issues may play a part in middle-age hair wimpiness. And hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be a double- edged sword.

‘Certain HRTs can help improve density, others have no impact, while some may exacerbate changes if your follicles are sensitive to testosterone,’ notes Anabel. ‘That said, you can use daily anti-androgenic scalp drops [available on prescription] to help counteract this.’

Hannah (pictured) buys Dove Pro Age Shampoo and Conditioner in bulk and L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-balancing Shampoo and Conditioner

If you use a hairdryer, the old trick of doing it upside down will provide natural lift. Michael Van Clarke’s Thicker Quicker Volumising Blowdry Spray (£19.50, will protect while providing stiffness-free oomph.

Personally — lazily — I prefer to let my hair dry naturally, making a volumising shampoo and conditioner do the work. Volumising haircare could be my Mastermind specialist subject.

Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo (from £10.50) has anti-static agents and keratin to bolster and tame wisps, while thickening plant proteins lend Hollywood bounce.

My other top posh ones are Living Proof’s Full Shampoo and Conditioner (both £16.10,, Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo and Conditioner (£18.95 and £19.96 for 250ml,, and Josh Wood Colour Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner for Fine, Fragile Hair (£15 each,

Supermarket-wise, I bulk-buy Dove Pro Age Shampoo and Conditioner (£1.50 each, and L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-balancing Shampoo and Conditioner (£4.99 each, for oily roots and parched ends.

Then, if things are looking a bit pathetic between washes, I beef up my roots with dry shampoo.

Let me know your hair- raising strategies.


Just what we need at the end of January: a light, pearlescent eye cream. From Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s hit brand, Rose Inc Eye Revival Brightening Eye Cream is full of hydrating squalane and skin-brightening niacinamide. In tests, 91 per cent of users reported an improvement in under-eye dark circles after 28 days. 



Salma Hayek, 55, (pictured) admires Biologique Recherche Serum Grand Millesime and the Anne Semonin Serum Precieux

The actress, 55, eschews SPF unless in bright sunlight and is wary of exfoliation. She admires Biologique Recherche Serum Grand Millesime and the Anne Semonin Serum Precieux. By day, she favours a little foundation and lipstick (also used as blusher), plus Sisley lip balm (£16,, and removes make-up with coconut oil.


 A cheap, washable, exfoliating sheet that can be used with soap or shower wash.

A cleanser that is soap and sulfate-free, with a quarter moisturising cream.

This classic menthol polish will wake up your winter mornings.

 Lactic acid in this zaps keratosis pilaris — those little red bumps on arms and thighs.

THIS 25 per cent urea formula softens cracked heels overnight. It’s also good for your knees and elbows.


I needed a self-gift to celebrate reaching the end of this long month and discovered it while wandering through Selfridges.

French heritage brand Buly has a little area of the ground floor that evokes old-school Parisian chic. Customers can purchase Buly Baume des Muses (£16, in-store in London or at, its best-selling, ultra-flattering translucent lip balm, in chic personalised boxes embossed by a sales assistant, then select a velvet case to go with it. The balms are then wrapped in Japanese paper.

I chose a speckled blue lid, with a gold HJB, plus a silver and gold FLO for my sister, in dove and midnight blue cases. Behold: the ultimate tasteful Valentine.

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