Losing your hair can play with your emotions, but finding the right products can help you look your best and restore your confidence.Here’s what to look for:
Shampoos: Don’t be afraid of losing hair every time you wash. Check a salon or cosmetic store for products designed to strengthen the hair shaft. Be wary of volumizing shampoos. They can dry hair out, which leads to breakage, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD. She's a dermatologist and clinical instructor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. Avoid products with harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.
If you search online for "natural hair loss treatments," a long list of tonics, creams, and supplements appears.
But do they work? Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist for Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif., spends a lot of time steering patients away from products recommended by their friends and family members. Most of those products are costly and have little to no benefit.
"Most natural hair treatments are bunk," Mirmirani says.
Though few natural treatments have been well-studied...
Dry shampoo: These products come as a powder that you sprinkle or spritz on the hair, then comb through. They add bulk to the hair shaft, which can make it look fuller. Use them every 3 or 4 days.
Conditioner: A dry hair shaft breaks more easily. Conditioner adds moisture, so use one designed for your hair type every time you wash. Avoid products with sulfates and volumizing conditioners, which can be drying.
Camouflaging options: Hide thinning hair by making your scalp color match your roots. Products such as scalp lotions, sprays, hair fibers, powder cakes, and hair crayons all provide a temporary solution. Scalp tattooing, a process by which tiny dots that look like hair follicles are tattooed to the scalp, is gaining appeal.
Leave-in products: “Keep hair as natural as possible without excess heat, chemicals, or mechanical breakage,” Badreshia-Bansal says. “The general rule is that chemical, mechanical, or heat injury will not be good for thinning hair.”
Gels, mousses, hair sprays, and pomades that make the hair stiff: Avoid those that promise extra hold. Don't wait for gel or hair spray to dry before combing, or the hair will harden and be more likely to break. Leave-in conditioners or heat treatments are OK.
Hair pieces: If you’re reluctant to wear a wig and your hair loss is in one spot, a hair piece can help. They're often made from animal hair and can be attached using a clip, tape, or glue. A stylist can cut and style your hair to blend well with the addition.