There’s a few things they don’t tell you about getting older.
Like coffee after about 3:00 in the afternoon is probably a bad idea if you want a good night’s sleep.
Like you need to become more keenly aware of when you’re satisfied, at which point you should stop eating. Because you can’t eat the same as you did when you were younger and expect to weigh the same.
Like you need to apply something rich and oily to your skin every day if you don’t want to look like a lizard.
Like you can say whatever the f*ck you want. Well, almost.
And that you start shedding hair like a collie.
The first four came as no great shock. It made sense to me that aging would affect your sleep, skin, and metabolism, and as for the language, well, I’m still judiciously working up my nerve on that one. But the hair loss thing took me by complete surprise – nobody talks about that one.
I’ve always had hair that would rival Chewbacca. Stylists’ arms would go numb as they cut, colored, and styled my voluminous hair. I couldn’t wear a ponytail for an entire day because its massive weight would give me a headache. I had a hard time finding hats that fit because of my thick hair, which was almost an entity unto itself.
Then one morning about a year ago as I was getting out of the shower, I squeegeed my hair back as per usual and noticed that my resulting lock of hair felt only a fraction as thick as it used to be.
Impossible! How long had this been going on without me noticing?
I started digging into the Google machine and discovered that it’s a very common complaint, even in people as early as their 30’s. I’m sure it has something to do with the changing environment, the quality of food available these days, and many other mysterious factors beyond my control and skill set. But there’s a lot that can be done.
And so what did I do? I did it all. Everything. Because sometimes overreacting is the correct reaction. Because hair takes time to grow from a little baby root-ling. And because I’m unwilling to go through years of trial and error, waiting to discover what does and doesn’t work while slowly but steadily going bald. I read ads and product reviews, poured over blogs, watched a lot of videos, and came up with multiple strategies to attack the problem at the root, so to speak.
So here’s my arsenal – take your pick:
- First, I quit coloring my hair. The chemicals had been upsetting my scalp for quite some time, and I tried many gentler color alternatives all with no improvement. (You can check out my blog on how I transitioned to natural hair without looking like a skunk, if you’re interested.) I wish I’d done it long before, because, as it turns out, silver hair suits me.
- I added Biotin to my daily supplements because, why not?
- I switched to a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for treatment of scalp and thinning hair. I tried several, some ridiculously pricey, and finally settled on Aveda Invati. Is there something out there that’s better? I wish I knew, but I trust the brand and it does a nice job of cleansing and conditioning my hair without leaving it tangled, forcing me to tug too much to comb out afterward.
- I handle my hair like a newborn baby. I quit giving my hair a rigorous towel-drying after shampooing, opting instead for blotting with a microfiber towel. I brush it out gently, wet or dry, starting at the ends and working my way up rather than tugging from the roots.
- I let my hair air dry at least half-way or more before finishing with minimal blow drying, so less heat is applied and less tugging is needed.
- I style with a concoction of products to protect, thicken, and volumize my hair. Again, I tried a number of products at every price point, and the ones I’m most pleased with are a triad of Aveda Brilliant for heat protection, Aveda Volumizing Tonic sprayed at the roots on only the crown and sides of my head, and Aveda Thickening Tonic sprayed liberally through the length of my hair. The difference in appearance is magic. (These are my affiliate links – you receive savings and I get a few pennies for shampoo money.)
- I bought one of those infrared gizmo’s – not the baseball cap, but the full-blown pricey football helmet that is used every other day (in the early hours of the morning, before my husband sees me looking like I made halfback on the squad). Does it work? It’s showing real promise! It takes a long time for new baby hairs to appear and become long enough to notice. But I feel less like Pigpen from Charlie Brown with falling hair swirling around me like a cloud of dust, and I’m starting to see quite a few shorter hairs that have presumably just recently sprouted.
- I very recently started using a serum which I apply to my scalp morning and night. There are a lot of them out there, so I read reviews and picked one – Tricho Folliboost – which I apply morning and night. It hasn’t been long enough to tell with any certainty whether it’s really working, but it smells nice and has a really nice volumizing effect.
- I got a silk pillowcase, because it’s supposed to be less tugging and drying for both hair and skin, which is a bonus. And who doesn’t love silk?
And is it all working? Well, from the time I noticed that my hair was thinning until now, I will say that 1) for sure it hasn’t gotten any worse, 2) it’s grown in length like a motha’, and 3) it looks thicker, thanks at least partly to the volumizing and thickening products. And isn’t hair all about appearance, after all?
And just a final note, I had a friend over whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of months, and she asked me if I’d gotten hair extensions because my hair had grown so much. So something, or everything, must be working.
If you’ve got similar concerns, I hope you find something here that’s helpful to you. And if you’ve found something better, please share in the comments and I’ll do that too!