The best way to think of the way hair grows is to picture a garden. How well it grows is completely a result of what is happening “underground.”
“Like a garden, a normal hair cycle should lead to a product, which is the hair,” says Wendy Roberts, MD, a dermatologist at a private practice in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “Growth cycles are important because when they go awry, that is one of the reasons we have hair loss."
And things that interfere with the cycle like medication, illness, infection, or chemicals, have the potential to stop hair from being formed properly.
"It’s a very dynamic place and anything that can get the cycle off can cause hair loss,” Roberts says. Although hair loss may seem like a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose, or have thinning, hair. Most women notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.
Thinning Hair Causes and Solutions
Typically, each time a normal hair follicle is shed, it is replaced by hair that is equal in size. But in women with female-pattern hair loss, the new hair is finer and thinner - a more miniaturised version of itself, Rogers says. The hair follicles are shrinking and there are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
One other way to thin hair is self-inflicted - hairstyles like cornrows or too-tight braids can cause hair loss called traction alopecia. All of the things women do to manipulate their hair dyes, chemical treatments, bad brushes, blow dryers, and flat irons -- can result in damage and breakage, Roberts says. This includes brushing too much and towel drying aggressively when the hair is wet.
Luckily, for most of these issues, the hair grows back or the loss can be reversed with medical treatments. But it is important to see a dermatologist if there seems to be something wrong, because the sooner treatment is started, the better the chances are for improving your growing season. Treatments such as as micro needling has been shown to reactivate the growing stage of the hair follicles and significantly improve hair thickness and growth.
So what do I do about it?
The scalp produces fewer hairs as we age, and the strands themselves get thinner. But just because your hair is thinner doesn’t mean it has to look the part. Here’s the upside of having to cover up all those grays: color swells your hair’s cuticle, making it bigger in diameter and lending extra volume.
Your healthy color plan: touch up roots just once a month and highlights every two to three to avoid weakening the hair by over-processing it, and aim a few shades lighter than your natural color to make visible patches of scalp or a too-wide part less noticeable.
Also consider more lasting solutions like micro needling, minoxidil serums, hair transplants, and laser therapy which are good long-term options.
It’s only on your scalp for a few minutes, but the shampoo you use can really make a difference. Choose a volumising shampoo without sulfates and detergents that are harsh on hair. They are also not necessary for a cleansed scalp. This type of formula strikes the perfect balance: It removes excess oils that make hair look limp, but is gentle enough to support a healthy shine.
Likewise, those precious minutes before your hair dries post-shower are the prime time to add volume. Lift roots by working a volumizing mousse or spray into hair near the root. We recommend Kerastase densifique range which creates lasting volume that never feels stiff or sticky whilst stimulating the scalp and nourishing the hair follicles.
No matter which you prefer, make sure it’s the only product you’re putting on your hair post-shower—too many products, even volumising ones, will weigh down your hair.
Pull out all the stops
The prep is important, but if you expect your hair to look more lively than cooked spaghetti, you need to take your blowout seriously, too. And it’s going to take some elbow grease. Using a round brush, pull sections of hair up and in the opposite direction of the way it naturally falls—all the hair that rests on the right side of your head should be pulled toward the left, and vice versa. While you’re at it, protect your hair from damage by using a natural-bristle round brush. “Metal brushes put too much heat directly on strands, which is especially tough on fine, delicate hair,” he adds. We like BaByliss 2777U Big Hair 42mm Hot Air Styler Brush whose natural boar bristles are swirled to grip hair for a more effective root lift.
Coming at just-dried with another hot tool can overwork your hair’s texture. Instead, further pump up hair by letting it cool on bendy rollers.
Roll hair away from your face in sections, concentrating on hair from your forehead to your crown, and let set for at least 10 minutes before removing. We love long bendy rollers available from amazon for under £5!
Master a disguise
Creating maximum root lift is a start, but if your scalp is peeking through or your part is wider than usual, you’ll need to turn to hair fibers to fill in the gaps,. We like TOPPIK hair building fibers. The tiny, pigmented cellulose fibers bond to your hair for a thickening effect, while the colour, which should be similar to your own, camouflages visible scalp. We like the formula and it is available in a full palette of colours so you can find your match. This is good for both women and men.
Ladies, there is also a few more options for thicker looking hair.
MiSkin weft is a weft of hair extensions, which can be placed just below the hair parting. It can last a few weeks and add thickness, colour as well as a bit of length. Lace partings are another option for those who have a pronounced thinning hair parting. It is recommended that these are chosen by an expert and cut and colour matched to your hairstyle.