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Menopause. Any time I’ve heard the word spoken in the past, it’s sent a little shiver of dread down my spine—likely due to the overwhelmingly negative way it’s usually portrayed as a miserable stage of life that marks women past their prime. Not exactly stuff that makes you look forward to aging.

That’s why I was utterly refreshed to hear such positive takes on rite of passage at QVC’s Q50 Summit—an event that brought together 50 incredible women over 50 who are celebrating their age rather than hiding from it—especially while speaking with Maria McCool, the 58-year-old founder and CEO of hair-care company Calista.

“I do feel [that] there’s good things about [menopause], to be honest,” McCool says. “Not having to have PMS every month was a very, very happy moment for me. I used to kid around because still in my late 40s, I was breaking out and [wondering], ‘when is this going to stop?’ It did, and now I’m always grateful that my skin looks so good.” No more PMSing or hormone-induced breakouts? Sounds like two pros on the menopause pros/cons list to me.

McCool also filled me in on the different ways menopause can affect your hair—from menopause hair thinning to losing volume—and gave me her best tips (and product recs) on how to keep those effects from falling into the menopause cons column.

Hair loss

Noticed more hair collecting at your shower drain? Menopause could be the reason why. About 40 percent of women experience menopause hair thinning or loss. McCool noticed some thinning at her temples after her pregnancies and during menopause (thank you, hormones), making it hard for her to style her bangs the way she was used to due to the drastic change of her hairline.

Using years of experience as a hair stylist and product developer, McCool saw what was escaping other hair-care brands—that hair care starts with your scalp. That’s why she developed the Jousse line, which focuses on exfoliating and treating the scalp, while also promoting hair growth and strength. “It’s literally skin care for the hair,” she says, and it works for anyone looking to show their scalp some extra love, not just those going through menopause. She also recommends using styling tools designed to protect hair from burns or damage (like any from the Calista line), so as not to further harm your hair.

Dry hair

McCool says when she was young, she pretty much ignored SPF as a step in her skin-care routine. But as she’s gotten older and her skin has gotten drier, now she won’t leave the house without a layer of sunscreen (and a good moisturizer, of course). The same principle applies to hair as you get older, she says. While your hair might have been buoyant and soft without special treatment when you were younger, after menopause you may notice it become drier and harder to manage.

Luckily, there are products and practices that can help. McCool recommends using the Jousse hair mask after washing your hair to deeply moisturize it. Then, finish with some styling cream and texturizing foam to lock in hydration and protect your hair. Oh, and you should always be sleeping on a silk pillowcase.

Lack of volume

If you’ve noticed your hair has been looking a little limp ever since you hit menopause, you’re not alone, McCool says. Lack of volume is also a common trait of hair during menopause, thanks to the aforementioned thinning. Enter: Calista’s Embellish line, which was made to infuse hair with body, bounce, and volume that lasts.

The texturizing definer uses a fibrous formula to help thicken hair and create volume, McCool says. Just make sure to read the directions—you’ve got to clap to activate the product (yes, really). If you like to achieve volume through heat styling, this detailer brush will allow you to grab every layer and flyaway with ease, leaving you with hair styled just the way you like it. Finish off with the Flex spray (a non-aerosol hairspray) and your ‘do will hold all day.

Some might not exactly consider these changes pros of menopause, but if you look on the bright side like McCool, consider this: Now you have an excuse to try out all the new hair products your heart desires—and who doesn’t want an excuse to upgrade their beauty routine?

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