Female hair loss and thinning hair affects 1 in 3 women – so why aren’t we talking about it more? Listen up, ladies. If you’re noticing clumps of hair in your hands when you shampoo or standing in front of the mirror thinking “Why is my hair so flat? Why is my scalp so visible?” – you’re not alone.
It’s normal to lose 80-100 strands of hair per day – but what if you’re losing more? Personally, I’ve lost varying degrees of my hair for different reasons. Postpartum hormones? Check. Anemia? Check. Serious illness and chemo drugs? Check and check.
It has thinned in both density on my scalp and density of the strands. It has fallen out entirely leaving me with an impressive wig collection. It has grown back and has fallen out, again. In fact, over the last 39 years, I’ve experienced eight of the nine causes of hair loss listed below!
So when I tell you I’ve tried a lot of products, remedies, and diets – I mean it. Regardless of whether you’re just looking to plump up your current volume or delay wigs for as long as possible, you’re sure to find something on this list to help you feel more confident when you look in the mirror!
Let’s start with a list of the 9 most common causes of female hair loss:
Post-partum Hair Loss – Your hormone levels are cray, and as they level out that luscious thick hair you had will likely thin back to (or even a little bit past) its normal pre-preg volume. If it’s been longer than a year and you’re still having problems, check with your doctor to rule out some of the conditions below like Vitamin B deficiency, iron deficiency, or a thyroid issue.
Iron-Deficient Anemia – This is the most common nutritional deficiency for women in the United States! And left untreated, major hair loss is on the horizon.
Vitamin B Deficiency – Another deficiency in diet that can cause premature thinning or graying of hair – Vitamins B1, B6, B7 and B12 are all crucial for a healthy scalp & hair.
Telogen Effluvium – Loss or extreme thinning of the hair after an extremely stressful event (physical/emotional trauma, serious illness, etc.).
Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism – Under- or over-active thyroid glands can cause thinning hair or loss. Getting it under control will usually a
Autoimmune Diseases – Lupus, diabetes, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s and more can all cause hair loss (and often accompany other causes of hair loss like medications, anemia, weight loss, etc.)
Dramatic Weight Loss – This is technically lumped into the Telogen Effluvium category above, but I wanted to mention it separately in case you recently underwent a major weigh loss effort (usually in a short time span) and noticed your hair starting to fall out as well.
Medications – Womp, womp. One of the ore frustrating side effects of many necessary medications (often used to treat the conditions above) is hair loss. Sometimes the loss will last for as long as you have to take the medication, and sometimes hair will grow back on its own even if you continue taking it. Not knowing is the hardest part! But as long as the items below are not contraindicated, there is no harm in supporting your body and giving it some tools to work with!
Vitamins & Supplements to Stop Female Hair Loss & Encourage Regrowth
Obviously, if you’re deficient in iron or B vitamins or if you have a thyroid problem, the solution is to correct the imbalance. If your hair is thinning for another of the above reasons, it can be hard to stop the loss or start regrowth. But don’t worry – I’ve got a list of products I’ve found over the years that will help you get through the varying stages of female hair loss while you wait for it to grow back!
Vital Proteins Collagen – This flavorless collagen powder can be dissolved in any warm liquid (coffee, tea, soup) and helps get more protein into your diet while supporting healthy skin. There are lots of collagen options on the market today – but this one is super easy on the GI system and has the best “flavorless” option that I’ve found.
Vital Proteins Beauty Boost – If you’d rather take capsules (or prefer a plant-based option), these also give your hair & nails and extra boost. I started noticing a difference after about 4 weeks of taking them.
Pumpkin Seed Oil – Pumpkin seed oil has been used to help people who struggle with increased frequency in urination at night that wakes them up and disturbs their sleep. However, a quick Google search and a scan of user reviews shows that people who were taking it also noticed an unexpected thickening and regrowth of their hair! Note: the gels are a tad large, so if you have trouble swallowing them just puncture one end and squeeze the oil into your mouth or onto your salad – it has a nutty flavor.
Vitamin B Complex – If you’re losing hair due to a deficiency in B1, B6, B7 or B12, a B Complex is an easy fix! The boost in mood and energy you’l get is an added bonus. This is my favorite brand, which also has biotin in it – their supplements are thoughtfully researched and carefully manufactured…not to mention they work. Under my doctor’s supervision, their Thyroid Support brought my TSH from 5 down to 1.4 in 6 weeks!
Iron Supplements – If your problem is Iron Deficient Anemia, you need to get those numbers up ASAP. I’ve had iron IVs (which are expensive) and tried some supplements that were rough on the tummy. Ferrofood from Standard Process is by bar my favorite. Not only did they not upset my stomach, but 2 capsules a day got my numbers back up in just a couple weeks and halted the hair loss.
Products to Thicken Hair and Cover Up Hair Loss
Now that we’ve covered what to put in your body, let’s chat about what to put on your body. You will notice the absence of a popular MLM brand of hair care products on this list – that’s because I didn’t try it. There were too many reviews and YouTube videos of women whose hair issues were only made worse by using it, so I opted for products that 1) were recommended by my doctor, 2) were recommended by my stylist, or 3) had glowing reviews & amazing anecdotal evidence online.
When styling my hair, I use the products in this order to add volume to my otherwise limp and thinning (for the second time) hair:
A volumizing or protein-rich shampoo & conditioner: There are a LOT out there so be sure to read the reviews first. OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo & Conditioner is a good wallet-friendly option (not Celiac-friendly as it contains wheat protein), and RedKen Cerafill Retaliate is good if your hair loss is more advanced. There are so many choices when it comes to thickening & boosting shampoos – a quick Google search should yield one that will work for your budget & level of hair loss.
Aveda Volumizing Tonic: Not only is my hair falling out, but the strands are actually thinner, too – double-whammy. This spray plumps up the individual shafts of hair and helps to increase the overall volume of my hair. Great if you have fine hair that could use a little help!
Dry shampoo: After I’ve dried & styled my hair, I hit it with some dry shampoo. A good product adds volume, absorbs oils that make hair clump and look “thin” again, and – if tinted – masks grays without giving hair a chalky white look.
BoostnBlend Concealer Fibers: Going one step further, these brown cotton fibers stick to thin hair and make it fuller. Since they are tinted, they also help conceal your scalp if it’s starting to show due to thinning or loss. Juts sprinkle them onto the affect area and massage lightly with your fingertips.
Caboki Hair Loss Concealer Fibers – For those with considerable loss and thinning to cover, Caboki is a stronger version of BoostnBlend. It operates the same way but with a thicker application and stronger hold. I prefer to apply this one with a make-up brush for more control.
Ultimately, it’s going to take time to see regrowth after hair loss – and some loss can’t be stopped once it starts, you just have to wait it out. But these products will help you feel more confident in the meantime!