How to make the most of your sparser locks
As many as 74 per cent of women say they’re affected by thinning hair and a worrying eight million women suffer from hair loss in the UK alone.
Unfortunately, this is something we’re prone to as we get older. Creative director for London’s Aveda Institute, 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.
So what can we do about it? Read on to find out what causes thinning hair and how you can get the most out of your locks.
What causes thinning hair?
Causes of hair loss can be complex, and according to top trichologist Phillip 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, so rule out any medical issues first by doing a blood test.
However, Kingsley notes that low iron levels, which are also one of the primary causes of hair loss (particularly in women of child-bearing age), aren’t always picked up during blood tests. This is because Ferritin, which helps to produce hair cell proteins isn’t always measured.
Also, 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.
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 having 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 that your follicles are feeling a little under the weather. 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.
Haircuts for thinning hair
The hair equivalent of JLo’s behind can be yours for the taking with some bootilicious barnet tweaks. Super-stylist 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 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 whilst 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 will add invisible volume by using mini crimpers underneath the hair for runway-ready width whilst Charles Worthington advocates the use of donuts (of the hair padding variety) to add weight to your bun.