Once a hair concern dominated by male statistics, today nearly 40% of the country’s hair-loss sufferers are women. And for many, hair loss or thinning hair can result in a loss of self-esteem and cause depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. Why is hair loss so devastating? It’s mostly cultural. Almost every society in the world associates hair with youth, beauty, and good health. If you’re suffering from hair loss, we have the hair care tips and styling tricks to hide thinning hair and cover up bald spots. We give you everything you need to know to get your locks looking lush in no time!
Several factors can contribute to thinning hair and hair loss. The following are the most common:
The most common cause of hair loss and thinning hair is genetics. If your parents experienced it, you likely will too. Genetic hair loss occurs gradually in predictable patterns; a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
Alopecia is a condition that causes the hair to fall out in small patches. It develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Alopecia can occur on the scalp, the eyebrows, eyelashes, face, and body, regardless of hair color.
Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, birth control or menopause can cause temporary (and in some cases permanent) hair loss. These things cause a rapid rise and fall in hormone levels, causing the hair to thin and even fall out. In most cases, this will resolve itself once your body gets used to the change.
Hair loss and thinning hair can occur as a side effect of certain medications, including ones used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
Stress raises the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, triggering your natural fight or flight response. This negatively impacts your hair growth cycle by channelling your body's resources elsewhere. This disrupts your body’s nutrient absorption, disrupting hormone levels and impacting the health of your scalp.
Thinning hair and hair loss can also be a sign of a Vitamin D, B12 or protein deficiency. This is something vegetarians and vegans should pay special attention to, as protein (in the form of keratin) provides the strength and structure of hair.
Autoimmune diseases like lupus, thyroid conditions like Hashimoto thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), and Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism) are often linked to hair loss.
Overusing heat styling tools, like blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling wands can make your hair dry and more prone to breakage. This makes your hair more likely to fall out, especially if you use heat every day.
Dyeing your hair too often, especially if you’re lightening it with bleach, can also lead to hair loss. Over-processed hair will generally snap off and break, resulting in choppy, uneven layers with a lack of volume.
Brushing your hair thoroughly will stimulate your scalp, which can encourage hair growth, so brushing your thin hair is important. But remember to be gentle. If you tug and pull your hair, or hear ripping sounds as you brush, you’re applying too much pressure. This will cause breakage, leading to thinning hair and hair loss. The same is true if you brush right out of the shower, as your hair fibers are most fragile when wet.
Some people experience hair loss and thinning hair in the late fall and winter months. The reason is believed to be that in the summer months, we hang on to more hair for maximum protection from the sun. As the seasons shift to late fall and early winter, that hair sheds.
These hair care tips and styling tricks will help you disguise thinning hair and hair loss:
Going brunette is a great hair look for those with thin hair. That’s because dying your hair a darker shade is less damaging than going lighter. This is especially important for thinning hair that’s already prone to damage. Plus, dark rich shades are flattering for most complexions.
Super long haircuts don’t usually work well with fine hair, since the length weighs down already thin strands. Instead, opt for a shorter or medium length cut, with layers to create more volume. Feathered cuts work especially well on thinning hair and you can still rock your favorite updos.
A teasing comb and your favorite fine hair products are your very best friends if you’re dealing with hair loss or thinning hair. Use your comb to backcomb or tease the front of your hair for height at the crown. This create the illusion of more hair, while helping to hide any noticeable bald patches on your scalp.
If you have thinning hair, daily blow drying can be drying. To minimize damage, look for a blow-dryer with ionic technology. Work a heat protection spray and volumizing mousse into your hair, then flip your head upside down and direct the air at your roots. This will create lots of volume, disguising any hair loss.
If you have thin hair, avoid styling products with ingredients like polymers, ammonia, and detergents. These can strip the scalp and hair of their much-needed natural oils. Hair that’s already thinning can look especially stringy after using them.
Adding a fringe to any hair cut is one of the hottest hair trends for 2021 and the easiest way to hide a receding hairline. Not to mention, a new set of bangs can instantly make you look younger, taking years off your face. Ask your stylist to cut short, blunt bangs. These create a thick fringe for added volume at the crown, disguising hair loss and thinning hair. See our previous post for more tips on how to look younger!
A solid part can expose too much of your scalp making bald patches and thinning hair more noticeable. Try to let your hair fall naturally without a very obvious part. If you absolutely can’t live without a solid part, switch it up by parting it to the opposite side. Over time, hair tends to flatten out on the side it’s normally parted. Flipping it over creates lift at the roots.
As you age, the texture of your hair can change, in some cases resulting in thinning hair and hair loss. Adding some man-made texture is a quick way to disguise this. If your hair is naturally straight, spray a sea salt spray into your hair while it’s damp and let it air-dry for piecey, textured strands. Scrunch your hair with your hands creating height at your crown and disguising any problem areas. Wondering why your hair texture changes? Check out our previous post to learn more!
A well-placed updo is the best way to hide open patches on your scalp. Bald spots act similarly to cowlicks in that the hair will naturally split open where the spot is. The easiest solution is to style an updo over the spot that's balding. Try a braided ponytail, a side pony, top knot, or any hair look that hides your thinning area best.
A root covering powder is the perfect temporary fix to cover wider parts or multiple bald spots. These are spray-on powders that you match to the color of your hair. They cover any bald patches on your scalp and give the illusion of thickness at your roots.
Your diet plays a major role in the health or your hair. To keep your strands from thinning or falling out, eat lots of leafy green vegetables and up your protein intake. Avoid anything overly processed or high in sodium. Incorporating supplements like omegas, zinc, iron and Vitamins D, C, and E can also help with hair loss and thinning hair.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the signs that your hair has started to thin. If your strands are noticeably thinner and you've started to notice more of your scalp through your hairline, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with a Trichologist. This is a specialist who focuses on diseases or problems related to the hair and scalp. Together you can determine the best plan to get your locks looking lush again.
Using the right styling products is the key to nailing any hair style. But if you’ve got thinning hair or struggle with hair loss, finding the right products can be a challenge. Most products will weigh your hair down, making it look greasy and limp. Choose lightweight, volumizing hair loss products. These will make hair strands appear plumper, giving you weightless body and movement.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
Photos by @goldandglowco