Every time I wash my hair and clumps of strands fall out, I admit I get a little worried. Is this a sign my hair is thinning? Knowing that a certain amount of daily hair fall happens to most people, I emailed with a few hair experts to find out if I should be concerned. These pros — haircare veteran Karrie Fonte (former AVP of Global Education for éprouvage), celebrity hairstylist Jeanie Syfu, and VP of Global Education at DS Laboratories Brian Hendricks — not only let me in on how to tell if your hair is thinning, but also steps you can take to treat it and make it appear thicker in the meantime.
Before learning signs of hair thinning, it’s important to understand what average hair fall looks like, and what may cause hair loss in the first place. According to Hendricks, people will lose, on average, about 100 to 125 hairs per day. And if you've skipped a shampoo or two? It may appear as though you've lost significantly more hair, but Hendricks explains that this is just hair that was clinging to other strands that finally washed loose. So don't fret if it looks like you've lost way too much after you haven't been shampooing as often— that increased amount shouldn’t trigger alarm bells.
If you're still worried that you shed more than you should though, there are many reasons excess hair fall could be happening. Your genetics and hormones play a big role in how your hair count changes over time, says Hendricks. But that's not all. He adds that reasons for hair loss in women can also be attributed to diet, medications, illness, and even stress. Just keep in mind that it's totally common for hair to change as you become older, and thinning hair isn’t the end of the world. If you even prefer having less to take care of, embrace it! But if your goal is to amp up your volume, there are also plenty of things you can do about it. If you think one of these factors could be contributing to your hair fall, here is how to tell if your hair is thinning — and seven ways to remedy thinning hair.
How To Know If Your Hair Is Thinning
If you experience greater than normal hair fall, one sign to look for is concentrated hair loss that makes thin or bald patches noticeable, says Fonte. If you notice concentrated hair loss, that could be the first indicator that helps you tell if your hair is thinning.
Another sign that could signify hair loss, according to Fonte, has to do with the way hair sheds. If you rake your fingers through your hair and come away with clumps of hair rather than a few individual strands, your hair may be thinning.
A Smaller Ponytail
Does your ponytail feel thinner than it used to? Or does it take more turns of your hair tie to secure your ponytail than it did before (and the band hasn't stretched out)? Fonte suggests this is another way to tell if you're experiencing hair loss.
A Visible Scalp
According to both Fonte and Hendricks, women typically experience hair loss on the top of their heads, near their parts. If you can see your scalp through your hair, especially in this area, it may be because your hair is thinning.
Hendricks explains that people can often feel hair loss before they see it. Because it's easy to "lose a large amount of hair before even noticing," Hendricks suggests monitoring how heavy your hair feels as you comb it. If you start to notice that your hair feels lighter than it did before, it may be a sign that something’s amiss.
7 Ways To Boost Volume If You Have Thinning Hair
Now that you know how to tell if your hair is thinning, here are some tips and tricks to help make your mane look thicker and healthier.
Use A Scalp Serum Or Hair Oil
Fonte recommends using a scalp serum to help encourage the ideal environment to promote the appearance of less hair fall and more hair growth.
Bumble and bumble stylist Reanne Mistretta agrees and says that different types of oils are known to make a significant improvement in hair thickness by preventing breakage. “Adding an oil to your routine, like Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, can help moisturize hair strands and keep them healthy,” says Mistretta.
Sport A Shorter Style
Syfu explains that long hair is often more weighed down and so brings more attention to thinning. She therefore suggests opting for a shoulder-length cut to give the illusion of thicker hair.
Stop Heat Styling As Often
Because heat styling puts extra stress on thinning hair, Syfu says to give the hot tools a break so you won't accidentally exacerbate breakage and hair loss. When you do reach for your curling iron, make sure that you always use a heat protectant to prevent frying your hair and making the situation worse.
Eat A Balanced Diet And Consider Supplements
According to stylist at Bumble and bumble Erickson Arrunategui, if you are struggling with thinning hair and it’s mostly stress-related or due to a hormone change, you can use vitamins such as biotin to help with hair growth and also strengthen your existing hair. Studies have shown that biotin helps promote healthy hair growth and is a great option if you want thicker hair. Other vitamins you can take include vitamin A and vitamin D, where studies show that a deficiency in both is linked to hair loss.
Hendricks explains diet and hair loss could be tied. To counter this potential source, Syfu recommends staying hydrated, making sure to get your omega fatty acids and greens, and also taking a multi-vitamin or biotin supplement.
Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Another thing that puts stress on locks is tight styles, says Syfu. Slicked-back ponytails and top-knots can also make breakage and hair loss worse if you're not careful. Instead, opt for looser braids, buns, and ponytails to give your strands some rest, she recommends.
Switch To A Scalp-Stimulating Shampoo
You’ll want to use shampoo and conditioners that stimulate healthy hair growth and protect hair from damage that could lead to hair thinning out. Arrunategui recommends something like the Bumble and bumble Full Potential Shampoo, which exfoliates the scalp and gets rid of buildup, and Full Potential Conditioner, which nourishes strands and helps prevent future breakage.
Hendricks agrees and also recommends finding a stimulating shampoo and conditioner in addition to a topical treatment such as a scalp serum to keep both your scalp and hair in peak condition.
Try Fiber Concealers
If you want something to conceal thin areas while you wait for other treatments to take effect, Hendricks recommends trying hair fibers. These will help give the appearance of full and thick hair in areas that may be a little sparse.
Additional reporting by Audrey Noble.
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