Tips to Improve Thinning Menopausal Hair
By Pauline, 'My Menopausal Skin Stories'
It’s fair to say that I had anticipated some degree of hair thinning as I approached peri-menopause. I think it’s one of the symptoms more frequently written about and there are many knowledgeable information sources out there to draw upon. (I’ve included links at the bottom of this article to some sources I’ve found helpful).
But knowing about it doesn’t make it any less alarming when it starts to happen!
When a woman starts to lose hair it is distressing, as our hair is very much linked with our femininity.
If anyone should doubt the importance of ‘great hair’ to a woman’s sense of well-being, I refer them to Fleabag’s glorious ‘Hair is Everything’ speech.
‘’Hair is everything,” she says, beginning a blistering speech. “We wish it wasn’t…but it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day’.
Excerpt from Fleabag episode, Season 2.
For menopausal women, hair loss is often just one of the symptoms they have to deal with, and the combined effects can be especially upsetting and demoralising.
Let me share my story...
I recall, vividly, when I first realised it was happening to me. To begin with, I had started to find much more hair in the plug hole after I’d washed it. I’ll admit I became quite obsessed and started to count the lost strands. How many strands constitute normal hair shedding?
Next, was on a regular visit to my hairdresser. That day, I had taken an old photograph of myself to show her the style I wanted. Her reaction, ‘Well, it’s never going to look like that again. There’s not enough of it…’ She wasn’t being deliberately unkind, it was her professional response, but it really stopped me in my tracks.
My drive to find a new, and effective, haircare routine was motivated by two considerations. First, I was desperate to nurture (and keep!) my thinning locks.
Second, my reactive menopausal skin no longer tolerated many of the beauty/skincare products I used. This was equally true of my haircare products. So I needed to find alternative solutions to improve my thinning, menopausal, hair…
Tips to improve thinning menopausal hair...
Find a great hairdresser: My No.1 tip! By this, I mean someone who understands menopausal hair issues and has the skills to address your particular concerns. Someone who makes you feel comfortable and who you trust.
It took me a long time to realise this was a winning solution. Before that, I had resigned myself to a short, ‘it will do’, style which was uninspiring. Short hair can look fabulous – but because I am unable to use products or make-up – mine was a less ‘edgy’, more ‘practical helmet’, look!
It was a house move which forced me to find a new hairdresser. The change to my hair has been gradual but, ultimately, transformational. In my case, because styling products are off the menu, I needed someone with excellent cutting skills. For you, it may be something different. My key message is to find someone who can make a transformational difference for you, too.
And I’m not alone in recognising the contribution a knowledgeable, empathetic hairdresser can make. Back in July 2021, menopause expert Dr Louise Newson posted about a training programme she was developing with salon owner Matthew Curtis. It aims to educate hairdressers about menopause and how they can best help their clients to navigate this period.
Gentle scalp massage: I’m a big believer in the benefits of massage in beauty, health and well-being. I love the idea of invigorating blood and oxygen rushing to the skin’s surface in response to gentle massage
This doesn’t have to mean a trained practitioner (although that is a treat!). I regularly massage my scalp, gently, using just the pads of my fingers. For anyone suffering from a dry scalp, it can be helpful to add a hair oil during the massage.
I recommend making scalp massage part of your regular haircare routine.
Diet and Supplements: Proper nutrition is one of the most important things to help nourish thinning menopausal hair. Without doubt, a balanced diet can help provide the key nutrients necessary for keeping our hair (and skin and nails) in great shape.
The best vitamins and nutrients for hair growth include lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, B-complex vitamins, and iron.
Recently nutritionist, Jackie Lynch, had her book, ‘The Happy Menopause’, serialised in the Daily Mail. In one of the extracts she focusses on hair, skin and nails and explains the importance of protein, in particular, for strong healthy hair.
For many years, I’ve also taken a supplement to support a healthy diet. Of course, there are a lot out there to choose from. I rate Ionicell for Women which I buy from Victoria Health.
Topical Products: As I’ve already explained, I wasn’t able to turn to topical products to enhance my hair’s appearance. So often, hair products are highly perfumed and my reactive skin rebelled against them. I also find they ‘weigh down’ my very fine hair.
Recently, however, I’ve been trying the Look Fabulous Forever Haircare range. So far, I’ve trialled the Volume Boost Shampoo and Conditioner. I haven’t tried the Root Boost Spray, yet, as I’ve learnt to introduce new products into my routine very carefully.
Initially, having read the customer reviews, I was concerned that the fragrance might not agree with me (my skin). 4 weeks in, this hasn’t been a problem. I don’t find the products have a particularly strong fragrance. If anything, they smell a bit medicinal.
The shampoo and conditioner have performed well for me. They leave my hair bouncy and shiny – giving the appearance of more volume. I would recommend giving them a try.
Here are links to information sources which I’ve found helpful:-
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