woman washing hair
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Shampoo You!

Washing your thinning hair won't necessarily send more of it down the drain. Some shampoos can even strengthen it. Avoid products with harsh detergents, like sodium lauryl sulfate,which can cause breakage. When you suds up, don't rub shampoo into the hair itself. Instead, gently massage it into your scalp and let it slide down through your locks.

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hair spray
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Try Some Makeup

You use makeup on your face, so why not on your scalp? Try a tinted hair spray or a colored powder made specifically to disguise hair loss. These come with an applicator like the kind you use to apply eye shadow. Choose a shade that matches your roots. Apply the product lightly -- tap the excess off the brush and dab it gently onto your scalp.

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young woman running
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Take a Powder

Running late? Save time by using a dry shampoo. Made with talc or cornstarch, they can give thinning locks a boost by soaking up excess oil. You'll find them in powders or sprays -- just apply, let sit, then comb through the hair. It's OK to use them every 3 or 4 days, but don't skip the shampoo entirely.

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disco wig
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Go Under Cover

A wig offers you different hairdo every day. Wig shops are easy to find, and they offer something for many budgets. Not into wigs? Opt for a hat or scarf. You can even find baseball caps with ponytails attached. Don't worry that wearing them will lead to more hair loss; that's a myth. Wearing hats all day can cause friction and make hair frizzy.

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hair coloring
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Color Me Lighter

When dyeing thin hair, choose a shade that's close to your natural color. The less contrast between your hair and scalp, the better. Avoid bleaching -- the dramatic color change requires more chemicals, which can make hair break. If you color at home, follow instructions to the letter. If you can afford salon color, a pro who's more skilled at using the products could be well worth the cost.

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combing conditioner into hair
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Get Into Condition

Hair -- whether it's thick or thin -- needs moisture to bounce and shine. If yours needs a boost, try conditioner. You might think it'll weigh down your locks, but dry tresses will absorb the product. Conditioner can make your hair more manageable, add shine, and protect it from breakage.

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layered haircut
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Switch Up Your Style

A layered cut can add bounce and fullness. Sweep thinning hair into an updo, or add clip-ons hairpieces for a look that's more subtle than a full wig. Avoid tight styles such as cornrows, ponytails, or pigtails. They can cause breakage and pull out hair at the root, causing scarring that prevents regrowth.

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woman in hair salon
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Don't Be a Tease

Teasing seems like an easy way to give your locks a boost, but it can damage your hair and cause split ends and fly-aways. Save it for special occasions, and get it done at a salon to help prevent breakage. Combs designed to sit on the crown of your head and push hair up can give you a lift without the damage.

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hair extensions
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To Extend or Not to Extend?

Regular extensions won't hurt your hair, but they're designed to add length, not thickness. And because most are placed on the sides of the head, they can't add fullness at the top. Some companies and salons offer products designed for thinning hair, but they may be pricey.

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woman using flat iron
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Tools of the Trade

It's OK to use a round brush, hot rollers, blow driers, and curling -- or straightening irons. Just choose a cool setting and don't overdo it. Use a heat-protectant spray or gel. When your tresses are dry, stop. If you use gel or spray, comb your hair first, before it dries, or the strands will harden and get brittle.

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woman with perm
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A Permanent Solution?

A permanent can add volume and make it seem like you have more hair than you do. If hair is already breaking, though, a perm may not be the best option -- it can damage hair. If you must perm, a salon perm, where timing and chemicals can be carefully controlled by a pro, is a better bet than home perming.

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doctor talking
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Seek Professional Help

If you're losing hair, visit your doctor. She can help pinpoint the cause -- whether it's a health condition, medications, stress, or other lifestyle issues -- and suggest treatments.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 7/17/2018 Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on July 17, 2018

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1)            Brand X Pictures
2)            Boris Kaulin / iStock / 360
3)            Casarsa / iStock / 360
4)            iconogenic / iStock / 360
5)            Milan Markovic / iStock / 360
6)            Pixland
7)            Gregory Daniels / iStock / 360
8)            Dean Bertoncelj / iStock / 360
9)            Donna Coleman / E+
10)          Roy Hsu / Photolibrary
11)          AMe Photo
12)          Blend Images

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "How to Stop Damaging Your Hair?"
Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, clinical instructor, University of California San Francisco.
Dave Lemke, Kings Head Hair Salon, Milwaukee, WI.
Draelos, Zoe D. International Journal of Trichology, Jan-Jun 2010.
Micro Point Solutions by Cyberhair.
David Suzuki Foundation.
Shabo Cosmetics.
Jalan Woodward, Baton Rouge, LA.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on July 17, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.