Thinning hair tips and tricks to combat the signs of hair loss

For most women, hair is one of the few areas where bigger is better and whilst many of us bemoan that our hair isn’t quite as lustrous as the follically-blessed Gisele’s of this world, there’s an increasingly serious side to the problem with as many as 74 per cent of women claiming to be affected by thinning hair and a worrying eight million women suffering from hair loss in the UK alone.

Model combing her hair - thinning hair
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Because we understand it can be distressing...

Thinning hair can affect up to as many as 74% of women and a worrying eight million women suffer from hair loss in the UK alone. There are a few things that you can do to help, like arm yourself with the best shampoo for hair loss, but it can be distressing.

Unfortunately, this is something we're prone to as we get older. Creative director for London’s Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa, Michael Lendon, explains: 'As we get older, the scalp becomes drier and tighter which affects blood circulation to the scalp and the growth of the hair follicles.'

What causes thinning hair?

Causes of hair loss can be complex, and according to top trichologist Anabel Kingsley at Philip Kingsley, it's often because of a combination of factors.

The most common are stress, hormonal imbalances, thyroid abnormalities, post-pregnancy, dieting and breakage due to styling/dyeing. Rule out any medical issues first by doing a blood test.

However, she notes that low iron levels aren’t always picked up during blood tests. This is one of the primary causes of hair loss (particularly in women of child-bearing age). This is because Ferritin, which helps to produce hair cell proteins isn’t always measured.

Although hormone imbalances can be tested, due to the inherent sensitivity of the hair follicles, even normal amounts of testosterone can cause thin hair in some women but not others.

thinning hair tips

Hair loss thinning
(Image credit: Rex Features)

How to tell if you have thinning hair

There are a few simple ways to tell if your hair is getting thinner, though this should always be judged over a period of weeks rather than days, as hair fall can fluctuate from day to day.

In addition to the obvious signs such as seeing more hair in your hairbrush or plug-hole, Trichologist Iain Sallis suggests that the ponytail test, i.e. your ponytail has less girth and swish than usual, is often the easiest way to notice diffuse hair loss.

Even your hair acting more ‘flyaway’ than usual can be an indication. A thinner ponytail means a rather significant reduction in hair volume; most people will need to have lost a minimum of 15% before they're even aware of it.

Thinning hair shampoo, conditioner and other products

Using a shampoo specifically targeted for hair loss daily can help improve the appearance of thinning hair by making it look thicker and adding volume where needed. It can also tackle certain issues that cause hair thinning.

Kérastase's Genesis range is designed for weak hair prone to falling. It contains a shampoo, conditioner, mask, heat protecting spray and two types of scalp treatment. The shampoo gently clarifies the scalp, which helps reinforce fibre to reduce the risk of hair-fall due to breakage. The conditioner and mask smooth the shaft, making it easier to detangle. The heat protector reduces the risk of further damage from styling. One of the scalp treatments improves the scalp's skin barrier, creating the optimal environment for growth, whilst the other slows down the shedding process and helps re-anchor the hair fibre to the root.

Taking daily hair supplements helps to promote hair growth, volume and strength. Klorane's Quinine KERTINcaps supplements are made up of a combination of keratin, vitamins, zinc and selenium. They nourish the hair bulb to encourage thickness and shine.

Thinning hair styles

Super-stylist and CEO of Hershesons salon, Luke Hersheson, suggests having some invisible layers cut in as this will instantly open up the face and help give the illusion of texture and volume.

'If you want thicker-looking hair, don’t ever have a fringe,' warns hair stylist Sam McKnight. 'A wide fringe, in particular, will simply highlight the fact that your hair is fine.'

A little teasing at the crown is always flattering and helps give the semblance of more body. Subtle, ultra-fine highlights can also give the illusion of more hair. For voluminous updos always keep a bit of cushioning at the roots and add in a subtle quiff to give the impression of height.

Many backstage hairstylists add invisible volume by using mini crimpers underneath the hair. Charles Worthington advocates the use of doughnuts (of the hair padding variety) to add weight to your bun.

Thinning hair treatment

If you are seriously concerned about your thinning hair or hair loss, speak to your GP or book in to see a trichologist. They can look into the route of your issue and give you possible options for treatment.

Ricardo Vila Nova, who is based in London, has been nicknamed the Hair Whisperer. His approach is to look into the DNA profiling of the hair. From this is able to identify hormonal, nutritional and genetic imbalances that may be affecting the hair and scalp. He then creates a tailored treatment plan, which can include light therapy, derma rolling, and vitamin infusions.

At the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic they spend two hours with you at your first appointment to find out as much as they can about you and your worries. They'll then set you on a treatment plan, give you a 60-minute bespoke hair and scalp treatment, show you how to use their recommended products, and how to style your hair healthily. You'll then have regular appointments to check progress, monitor your hair and/or scalp concerns, and renew prescriptions.

Of course, there are also at-home treatments that you can try like Natucain's MKMS24 Hair Activator, £150. Created by Oxford University trained Dr Stefanie Seyda MD, it uses uses stem cell technology to combine the growth genes in bamboo with lentils and thyme patented MKMS2 extract. The clinical trials of this two-month treatment have shown impressive results. Within 6-8 weeks, hair loss had reduced by 90%, hair growth had improved by 93% and there was visible hair growth with up to 30,000 new hairs.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.