Does Hair Length Affect Balding?

Losing your hair may cause you to scour the internet in search for what the problem may be. There are so many theories out there that it’s hard to figure out which ones are true and which ones aren’t. If you’ve heard that hair length affects balding, you may be wondering if this is really true. So, does hair length affect balding?

No, Hair Length Does Not Matter

Male pattern hair loss is caused by the hair follicle gradually shrinking, becoming smaller and finer over time. This process eventually ends up as a loss of those hair follicles. This process happens underneath the skin of your scalp, meaning anything outside of that skin has no effect on balding. The part of the hair that is visible is considered dead protein and has no biochemical activity going on inside of it. Therefore, no matter the length of your hair, there’s no way for it to affect the process going on under the skin. Men who are prone to male pattern hair loss will those their hair in the same time span no matter if their hair is long or short.

Different lengths of hair may make it appear as though someone has more hair loss than may appear with a different hairstyle. For example, when someone has grown out their hair to a longer length, they may notice finer strands of hair that weren’t noticeably fine when they had it cut short. Generally, the longer the hair grows out, the more apparent the thinning becomes, especially when it’s wet.

Length of Hair May Cause Loss Due to Pulling

There is one instance in which long hair may contribute to hair loss, but it is not the type of permanent hair loss indicative of male pattern baldness. When hair is pulled too tight in braids or another type of pulled back hairstyle, some of it may get pulled out. However, this hair eventually grows back, so it is not a form of balding.

Making a change to the length of your hair will not slow or stop balding in any way. It’s best if you fight hair loss with scientifically proven methods if you want to see significant results.

Hair shedding is a part of every day life, yes it clogs up your shower drain, and yes, it means you have to vacuum every other day or your carpet turns into a hairy rug… But the fact is, hair loss is totally normal.

On average we lose around 80 strands a day, if you begin to shed significantly more than that or you notice they aren’t growing back, well, that’s when things start to get a bit hairy (soz, couldn’t help it).

The thing is, when it comes to hair loss there are so many potential triggers, which means it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact reason why your strands are falling out, and henceforth, how to remedy the situation.

We spoke to hair loss expert, Anabel Kingsley, a leading Trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in London, to help break down the possible reasons why you’re losing hair.

First things first, Anabel explained that hair loss is a very common problem for women – much more so that people realise. “Research shows that at least 1 in 3 women will suffer from hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime”. So if you are losing strands, it’s important not to freak out, your mane will recover. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know…

Firstly, there are different types of hair loss, genetic and reactive…


There’s a chance you’re genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume. “In these instances, certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones – and this sensitivity causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle.” Explains Anabel.


This means your hair loss is the result of a trigger. “Excessive daily hair shedding (which is know as telogen effluvium) is not reliant on having a genetic predisposition, it occurs as the result of an internal imbalance or upset, such as a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting or an illness” says Anabel.


7 most common triggers of hair loss…

1. Hormonal imbalance

A hormonal imbalance can lead to multitude of annoying AF health and beauty issues, from adult acne to weight gain. If your hormones are out of whack the effects will radiate throughout the whole body (and of course, that includes your hair).

“Hormones play a huge role in regulating the hair growth cycle” explains Anabel. “Oestrogens (female hormones) are ‘hair friendly’ and help to keep hairs in their growth phase for the optimal length of time. Androgens (male hormones) are not very hair friendly, and can shorten the hair growth cycle.”

“An excess of androgens (which could be caused by an endocrine disorder, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can cause hair loss. The extent of this is often down to genes – If you have a genetic predisposition to follicle sensitivity, a hormonal imbalance can affect your hair more than it would someone who does not have a predisposition.”

2. Stress

It’s no myth that excess stress can literally make your hair fall out. How does this happen? Well, it can raise androgen (male hormone) levels, which in turn can causes hair loss. “Stress may also trigger scalp problems, such as dandruff, disrupt eating habits and mess with the digestive system – all of which can have a negative impact on hair” says Anabel.

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3. Iron deficiency/anemia

“One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is an iron deficiency. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein”, without it, your strands will suffer.

4. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

“The thyroid gland helps to regulate the body’s metabolism by controlling the production of proteins and tissue use of oxygen. Any thyroid imbalance can therefore affect hair follicles”, Anabel explains. Also, if hypothyroidism is left untreated it may result in anaemia, which – as we’ve just discussed – is another condition that can impact the hair (or lack of it).

5. Vitamin B12 deficiency

A lack of vitamin B12 can leave you feeling tired and low on energy, sound familiar? Well, the fun doesn’t stop there, it can also take it’s toll on your hair…

“Vitamin B12 deficiency often causes hair loss as it can affect the health of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues” says Anabel. “It’s most common in vegans as you can primarily only obtain B12 through animal proteins.”


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6. Dramatic weight loss

A steep drop on the scales can impact your tresses, “6-12 weeks after dramatic weight loss, whether it be intentional or unintentional, hair commonly comes out in excess” says Anabel.

While our hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically it is non-essential”

“While our hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically it is non-essential; we could survive without it with no detriment to our physical health. This means that any nutritional deficiency often first shows up in our hair.” Yet another reason to avoid crash dieting and instead try to adopt a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

7. Age

If you’re going through or about to enter the menopause, changes in your body may also have an effect on your hair. “Hair loss becomes more prevalent leading up to and after the menopause” reveals Anabel. That being said, “it’s important to realise that our hair ages, and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It’s a totally normal part of the ageing process.”

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And here’s what you can do to fix it:

Ok, so now you know what triggering the hair loss, here’s how to deal with it…

Recognise the problem

Hair loss doesn’t happen fast, our strands grow in cycles, which means it can take up to 3 months for hair to fall out after a trigger has caused it. “If you notice excessive daily hair shedding for longer than 3 months, see a trichologist or your GP, there could be an underlying factor that needs to be addressed”, Anabel advises. “Very importantly, try not to panic. Telogen effluvium (excessive shedding) is almost always self-eliminating and hair will start to grow back as usual once any internal imbalance is put right”.

Change up your diet

1) Get More Protein

“Hair is made of protein, making adequate daily intake of protein rich foods essential. Include at least a palm sized portion of protein at breakfast and lunch (approx. 120g in weight).” Anabel recommends.

2) Complex carbohydrates are essential

“They provide our hair with the energy it needs to grow. Snack on a healthy carbohydrates (i.e. fresh fruit, crudité or whole wheat crackers) if longer than four hours is left between meals; as energy available to hair cells drops after this amount of time.”

That being said, Anabel explained that if you are losing your hair because of something other than diet, like stress or an illness, changing what you eat will not remedy it.

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Take a supplement

“Being non-essential tissue, the hair’s nutritional requirements are unique – and supplementation can be very helpful in boosting levels of vitamins and minerals available to your follicles. But, they must be taken alongside a healthy diet for full benefit.”

Anabel recommends looking out for the following ingredients: Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and the essential amino acids, L-Lysine and L-Methionine.

Get smart about styling

Yes, that messy topknot may look cool, but it could being placing stress on your strands. “Avoid hairstyles that place traction on the hair and hair follicles” Anabel says. She also recommends avoiding heavy styling creams and serums, as they can add unnecessary weight to the hair.

DON’T freak out

Losing your hair can leave you feeling stressed, but Anabel explains that it’s incredibly important to realise how common female hair loss is – and that if you are experiencing it, you are not alone and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

“One product alone will not remedy hair loss – you must also look at your general health, your diet, as well as optimise the health of your scalp and the condition of growing hairs. Above all, although it is very difficult, be patient and do not despair. Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, it takes at least 6 weeks to see an improvement.”

For more information about hair loss contact your GP or you can book in for a consultation a the Philip Kingsley Trichological clinic.

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Best treatments for fragile hair:

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector OLAPLEX £32.00

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Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme Philip Kingsley £26.40

This pre-shampoo hair treatment gives exceptionally processed and damaged hair an instant boost of health.

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo Philip Kingsley £24.50

This helps clear up any irritations on the scalp, soothing itches or inflammation and minimising flakes.

PhytoLium Strengthening Shampoo Phyto £15.00

This shampoo helps strengthen weakened hair follicles and prevent snapping and breakage from everyday styling.

Getty Images Related Story Related Story Victoria Jowett Digital Beauty Director Vic is the Digital Beauty Director here at

The ultimate hair growth methodology

Follow this guide to make your hair grow faster and thicker. These instructions also show you how to generate new hair follicles (hair follicle neogenesis).

  • Dilate blood vessels in scalp and increase blood flow to the hair

    Your hair receives the building blocks it needs to generate new hair keratin via the bloodstream. We’re going to dilate the blood vessels in your scalp, causing a rich supply of blood to flow to your hair, intensely nourishing it, all day, every day.

    • Minoxidil
    • Nitric oxide gel
    • Arginine
    • Niacin
    • Dermaroller
    • Panax Ginseng
    • Retinol
    • Taurine
    • Detumescence
  • Flood scalp with hair growth nutrients via the bloodstream

    Next I’ll show you how to enrich your blood with a special combination of super healthy nutrients that will go to work healing your scalp and intenslely nourishing your hair.

    • Cysteine
    • Lysine
    • Taurine
    • Biotin
    • MSM
  • Increase scalp PGE2

    • Castor oil
  • Increase growth factors in scalp

    • IGF-1
    • FGF-9
    • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Apply growth stimulators to scalp

    • Sandalore
    • Adenosine
    • Samumed sm04554
    • Redensyl
    • Bimatoprost
    • Retinol
    • Copper peptides
    • Caffeine
    • Taurine
    • PTD-DBM + Valproic acid
    • Rosemary
    • MSM
    • Vitamin D
    • Azelaic Acid
    • Melatonin
  • Reduce hair growth blockers

    • Reduce scalp PGD2
    • Block/reduce scalp CXXC5
    • Block SFRP1 with Way 316-606
  • Reduce scalp inflammation

    • JAK inhibitors
    • Ramatroban
    • Peppermint oil
    • Retinol
  • Reduce andgrogen receptors in the scalp

    • RU58841
    • EGCG
    • CB 03 01
    • Reduce scalp sensitivity to DHT
  • Heal fibrosis in the scalp and begin generating new follicles

    • Generate new hair follicles
    • Hair follicle neogenesis
    • Dermaroller for hair loss
    • FGF9 for hair loss
  • Reduce scalp DHT

    • Remove scalp DHT
    • Best topical DHT blockers
    • Capixyl
    • Best DHT blocker supplements
    • Spirolactone
    • Soy isoflavones
    • Minoxidil
    • Ketoconazole shampoo
    • Anti DHT shampoo
    • Pumpkin seed oil
    • Topical saw palmetto
  • Change hormonal balance for hair growth and longevity

    • Soy isoflavones + capsaicin + green tea
    • GLA
    • Equol for hair loss
    • How to reduce cortisol
    • Power poses
  • Nutrients for hair growth

    • Increase L Reuteri gut bacteria
    • The key amino acids for hair growth
      • Cysteine
      • Lysine
      • Taurine
    • Biotin
    • MSM
    • Vitamin D
    • Green drinks
    • Food for hair growth
    • Branch chain amino acids
    • Organic green drinks

If you’re a guy with thinning hair and dandruff, you’ve got a lot of company. Men often have both.

Thinning hair and dandruff don’t share the same cause. Thinning hair is about your hair. Dandruff is about the skin on your scalp.

The way some guys treat hair loss can make their dandruff worse, says New York dermatologist Michele Green, MD.

Everyone sheds some hair, and men often notice it in the shower. Seeing their hair float toward the drain makes some men quit washing their hair, Green says. That’s a mistake, especially if you’re prone to dandruff.

“They feel like they lose more hair when they wash, so they stop, and that’s not that healthy. In fact, it’s just the opposite,” she says. “If you have dandruff, you should be washing your hair every day or every other day.”

Washing your hair makes little difference in the amount of hair you lose, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. If you avoid washing your hair for a few days, you’ll see more hair in the shower when you finally do reach for the shampoo.

It’s as if your hair loss is making up for lost time. “It falls out a bit if you wash every day and a lot if you wash every 3-4 days, because it accumulates on the days you don’t wash,” Benabio says.

The bottom line: Skipping the shampoo doesn’t help your dandruff, and it doesn’t slow hair loss. So you might as well lather up.

What’s the story?

Possibly the most recognisable name in the shampoo aisle, Head & Shoulders has been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Launched in 1961 amidst the chignons and beehives of the day, Head & Shoulders has outlived many a hairstyle and remains the world’s number one selling shampoo, shifting a gigantic 29 million units a year. It came about after Proctor & Gamble scientists spent ten years looking for the magic ingredient to solve the problem of dandruff. The answer – zinc pyrithione – is still the key component in their range of anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners today.

I never knew you had dandruff.

An original bottle of Head & Shoulders

I don’t. But over 50% of the population have some sort of scalp problem so it’s no wonder Head & Shoulders sells as well as it does. Over the years, the brand has tried to disassociate it with the more medicinal shampoo it once may have been. Plenty of advertising campaigns have worked hard to remove the stigma attached to the shampoo being synonymous with having snowy shoulders. Efforts to make the brand cool may not have worked but as they make the world’s best selling shampoo I doubt very much Proctor & Gamble care.

So is it any good?

I’d be inclined to say yes. I’m a newcomer to Head & Shoulders and will admit that my views were stuck in a time where I’m sure it would crop up in a playground insult. Daft as it may sound I was expecting it to smell a bit, well, medicinal, but it doesn’t, and it gives a nice wash and clean feeling. I have cropped hair so can hardly go around making grand claims about hair care (unless it’s hair wax, a field in which I consider myself a national expert) but I was impressed. What do you reckon?

Bosley Blog

Can Certain Hair Products Cause Hair Loss?

Depending on the types of hair products and their ingredients, some can cause temporary hair loss. The chemicals in products that perm and dye your hair are harsh and can cause your hair to weaken, be damaged or fall out, especially if they are not being used correctly. If you are considering dying or perming your hair, it is best to go to a professional who will be able to ensure your hair’s health throughout the procedure.

Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are less likely to cause hair loss unless they have strong chemicals in them. You could protect your hair by switching to products that use natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals. More natural versions of hair dyes are also widely available and contain fewer chemicals and harsh products that may lead to temporary hair damage and hair loss. You may also consider washing your hair fewer days per week to let your hair rest and restore itself. Overwashing your hair tend to strip your hair of the essential oils and minerals that keep the hair healthy. If your hair follicles become weak, the hair becomes more prone to thinning.

If you notice that your hair loss has increased or that you have patches of hair missing, you may be experiencing more severe hair loss. If you think you may be experiencing hair loss, Bosley suggests that you seek your physician. Once you find out if your hair loss is temporary of permanent, you can seek the appropriate treatment. If your hair loss is hereditary or permanent in nature, Bosley suggests that you set up a free consultation to speak to a Bosley Professional in order to learn more about your specific hair loss and the solutions available to you

Let’s face it: Hair is precious. You might think you have plenty—until you’ve just finished putting on hair product and you see a bunch of strands in the sink. You can’t help but jump to conclusions. Is the product to blame?

We’re talking about you, putty. You too, wax, pomade and “forming cream.” But before you scrap your favorite styling product, read this. The culprit might be a chemical ingredient, but it could also be the way you handle your hair—and you need to know how much hair shedding is normal.

Culprit 1: Products that Dry You Out

Take a look at what you’re using daily. Your shampoo may contain a harsh ingredient like polyethylene glycol, which can stress your hair and make it brittle. Ingredients in your styling product can do the same thing.

Alcohol can especially dry your hair out, says Albert Julian, a master barber based in NYC. This leaves it weak and susceptible to breakage.

Pro tips: look for styling products that say “alcohol-free” on the label, and are water-based. Water-based products wash out the most easily, so you don’t have to shampoo more than you would anyway. Or if you want to be uber-gentle, style with a leave-in conditioner—Julian likes the spray from Bed Head for Men.

But even if your hair suffers a bit of damage, guys who favor close haircuts get a pass.

“Yes, the ends can dry out or become brittle,” says Julian. “But guys who wear their hair shorter, they clip that damage right off.”

Culprit 2: Salon-Level Damage

Harsh chemicals and treatments can destroy hair, like severe dye or chemical hair relaxers.

“Chemical straighteners are notorious,” says Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. “They actually break apart the bonds on the outer layer of the hair that maintain curls. As those bonds are broken, the hair becomes straighter, but weaker.”

Okay, most guys aren’t running out to the salon to have their hair straightened. But plenty of men have gone for a dye job. What if fighting the gray means saying goodbye to your mane?

Dyes can weaken the hair strand with chemical agents, and often contain paraphenylendiamine, which can cause scalp irritation known as contact dermatitis. This allergic reaction has been linked to hair thinning as well.

The key here: Go to a professional—salon dye will be more permanent than what you’d try at home, meaning you can do it less often. (Also, a stylist will be better at keeping it off your scalp.) Use a deep conditioner before you go, and a couple days after.

Culprit 3: Harmful Techniques

Even if your hair isn’t chemically damaged, you’re still going to lose some every day. The upside here? It might be within the range of what’s expected.

“It’s normal for both men and women to lose hair on a daily basis,” says Zeichner. “The estimated number is somewhere between 100 and 200 hairs.”

And keep in mind that how you’re styling plays a role. If you’re using a brush, or blow-drying at home, you’re tugging on more strands. Plus, you’ll see the biggest difference if you haven’t washed your hair in a while.

“The amount of hair you see on your hands could also be a function of how often you’re washing your hair,” says Zeichner. “If it’s been a while since you did a thorough rinse, you may see more hair coming out.”

So try to keep things in perspective. But if you’re noticing more shedding over time, talk to your doctor. Of course, you knew that already, because when it comes to hair loss, men are programmed to be on high alert.

“Women tend to be better at coming into the office for skin care issues, but men come in much earlier than women do for hair loss,” says Zeichner. “When it comes to men, oftentimes it only takes a very subtle change.”

If your hair seems thinner than before, it could be from a number of causes – but you might want to check the ingredient panels on your hair products and look for these.

Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS): This surfactant is used as an industrial detergent and in a more-diluted form, helps shampoo have a big bubbly lather. But it’s also a well-known irritant and according to Dorin, “strips hair of essential oils, breaks down protein essential for hair health, and halts growth.”

Sodium chloride: There may be table salt in your shampoo! Well at least we know it’s not toxic, but when added as a thickener in products containing SLS, it can cause a dry, itchy scalp and can cause hair loss.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG): Also known as polyethylene or polyoxyethelyne, this shampoo thickener strips hair of moisture.

Quaternium-15, formaldehyde, parabens like methylparaben and propylparaben: These are often included to make a product last longer, but some of them are known for their effect on hormonal balance and may encourage hair loss.

Not that manufacturers are adding things intended to irritate, but nonetheless, there are synthetic ingredients that can cause scalp inflammation and allergic reactions, which can exacerbate hair loss and make thin hair dry, brittle and lifeless, says Dorin.
Diethanolamine (DEA) & triethanolamine (TEA) These can harm your hair’s natural keratin and for some people, can irritate the scalp.
Fragrances and artificial colors: We’ve been talking about the problems of synthetic fragrance and color for years. Dorin says to look on labels for “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a color or number.
Propylene glycol: Otherwise known as car antifreeze – used to keep hair products from freezing during shipping and storage.

Most hair products have some type of alcohol. Fatty alcohols can actually help condition dry hair – WebMD advises remembering the ones that start with “c” and “s” as those are good for dry hair: Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol. Avoid other alcohols that are in high concentration (listed in the top four ingredients), as they can dehydrate your hair.

Lanolin, petroleum and mineral oil: Yeah, no petroleum in my hair, thanks! But aside from just being unsavory, Dorin says that these ingredients can weigh down thin hair and prevent natural oils from being absorbed. (And that said, I know people who swear by lanolin for their thicker and/or curly hair, so that’s a different story.)

Who knew it was all so complicated? Well actually, we did. Which is why we have a million stories on shampoo alternatives, including homemade formulas and no shampoo at all. See related stories below.

Does conditioner make your hair fall out? When we shampoo and condition our hair, it seems we lose clumps of it in our drain and in our hands. But do conditioners cause hair to fall out or is this hair fall a normal amount of daily hair loss?

The Facts: Does Conditioner Make Your Hair Fall Out

It is a myth that regular drugstore conditioners cause hair to fall out. In fact, although it can seem that shampoo and conditioner causes hair fall, regularly cleansing and conditioning hair can actually promote healthier hair. Regularly cleansing and gently exfoliating the scalp helps promote the ideal environment for healthy hair growth. And following with a gentle conditioner can help by providing much-needed moisture for healthier looking and protected hair. So if you ask the question, does daily conditioning cause hair loss, most likely the answer is no.

How to Prevent Damage from Conditioner

Although most ordinary drugstore conditioners will at worst simply not moisturize hair thoroughly, to protect and nourish hair, it is important to choose a gentle conditioner with ingredients of natural origins, with natural oils such as Argan Oil and Hazelnut Oil. Avoid conditioners with SLS or SLES, which are chemicals added to many mass-market conditioners to improve lather but which have been shown to cause skin irritation or worse.

After you choose the right conditioner with the best ingredients, it’s important to handle wet hair gently to avoid damage. Start by gently massaging a gentle shampoo into the scalp and hair. Massage thoroughly but not so vigorously that you cause further damage. Follow with a gentle, deep moisturizing conditioner and apply it liberally from the roots to the ends of hair.

How to Choose and Use Conditioner for Every Hair Type

Use more conditioner if your hair type is coarse or thick, and use less if your hair is fine or curly but thin. If you wonder how long to leave conditioner in, the key is not to overdo it. Start with a small amount of conditioner and if you find your hair does not feel limp or weighed down when its dry, next time you can use more. The right conditioner for your hair type helps promote healthy hair growth and makes hair soft by nourishing and creating the ideal environment for optimal hair growth.

Post-shower, dry hair gently with a soft towel or a 100% cotton t-shirt. Do not brush hair when it is wet. If you cannot resist the temptation to de-tangle your wet hair, lightly comb through with a wide-toothed comb. Minimize damage by giving the blow-dryer and flat iron a break now and then too.

For the best way to grow strong hair from the roots that resists breakage and shedding, start from within. Take a complete hair growth supplement that nourishes follicles and promotes thicker, fuller, healthier looking hair with vitamins and minerals.

Does conditioning cause damage to hair? Not if you choose a conditioner with the right ingredients and handle hair with care.

Foamers and thickeners. Dr. Dorin says that sodium laurel sulfate, or SLS – the chemical that produces all that nice, bubbly lather – “strips hair of essential oils, breaks down protein essential for hair health, and halts growth. Sodium chloride (better known as table salt) is used as a thickener in products containing SLS, but it can cause dry, itchy scalp and encourage hair loss. Polyethylene glycol (also known as PEG, polyethylene or polyoxyethelyne) is another thickener that strips hair of moisture. If you’re undergoing salon keratin treatments, these ingredients undo the benefits.”

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Preservatives: Johnson & Johnson’s “No More Tears” baby shampoo (don’t laugh – a lot of older babes with sensitive eyes still love it) recently removed Quaternium-15 (a formaldehyde-releasing preservative) from its ingredients without diminishing the product’s appeal. According to Dr. Dorin, “Formaldehyde and parabens such as methylparaben and propylparaben are often included to prolong shelf life. The latter can affect hormonal balance and encourage hair loss.”

Irritants. Ingredients that cause scalp inflammation and allergic reactions can exacerbate hair loss and make thin hair dry, brittle and lifeless. Dr. Dorin says, “Products containing diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) destroy hair’s keratin and cause scalp irritation. Fragrances and artificial colors (they appear on the label as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color or number) are used for aesthetic reasons, but they may be irritants. And propylene glycol, most commonly used as antifreeze in cars (!!), is often added to keep shampoos and conditioners from freezing during shipping and storage.” Who knew?

Alcohol. Almost all hair-care products contain some form of alcohol. Used in high concentrations, it dehydrates your hair. Dr. Dorin’s advice: “Avoid products listing alcohol as one of the first four ingredients. The closer to the top of the ingredient list, the higher the percentage in the product.”

Greasers. Steer clear of ” lanolin, petroleum and mineral oil,” counsels Dr. Dorin. “They weigh down thin hair, preventing natural oils from being absorbed.”

The bottom line? If you have thinning hair, choose shampoos and conditioners labeled “healthy choice.” It’s unlikely you’ll find products that eliminate every undesirable ingredient, so target the additives that concern you the most. Try Nature’s Gate Biotin Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner (, Living Proof Restore Shampoo and Conditioner ( or Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner (

For more beauty & style tips for women 50-plus, check out Lois Joy Johnson’s The Wardrobe Wakeup: Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age.

Photo: ia_64/iStockphoto

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Also of Interest

  • 3 Makeovers For Your New ‘Old’ Hair
  • Anti-anxiety Drugs and 9 Other Meds That Might Cause Memory Loss
  • Get free assistance with tax-return preparation from Tax-Aide
  • Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being

See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more

The 6 Best Shampoos And Conditioners For Hair Loss

If you’re dealing with premature hair loss, you know how frustrating it can be to treat. What can be equally as frustrating is trying to find hair products that will actually help remedy thinning or breaking locks. To help you navigate the confusing world of hair loss, I reached out to Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner and used his recommendations to find the best shampoo and conditioner for hair loss.

Before deciding on the best shampoo for thinning hair, you’ll want to figure out what the underlying cause is. According to Dr. Zeichner, the most common causes of hair loss are chronic tension on the hair follicles, breakage from chemical process treatments — which include perms, relaxers, or hair dye — and severe dandruff or scalp psoriasis. Chronic medial conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, are also a common reason for hair loss, so if you’re unsure of the cause, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other possible conditions.

Dr. Zeichner recommends choosing a shampoo and conditioner that matches the issue you’re experiencing. If you have thinning or shedding hair, he says to opt for strengthening products made with keratin or to choose one infused with vitamins and antioxidants, as these can all strengthen strands and create a better environment for your hair follicles to function.

If you have flakiness or dryness, Dr. Zeichner notes that it’s a good idea to use anti-dandruff shampoos, rather than hydrating products, because they’re specifically made to treat inflammation and yeast on the scalp — two underlying causes of dandruff. One ingredient to look for in these options is Zinc Pyrithione. “It’s very important to choose the appropriate type of shampoo for your hair type,” he says. “The wrong one may not get to the root of your scalp issue.”

By picking one of the options below, you’ll be able to wash your hair knowing that your shampoo and conditioner is helping — not hurting — your strands.

1. OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Shampoo And Conditioner Set

Best for: Severe breakage and thinning hair.

Key features: Dr. Zeichner recommends the Keratin Oil Shampoo and Conditioner by OGX for thinning or fine hair that needs the extra strength. This budget-friendly option uses keratin proteins mixed with argan oil to nourish, condition, and strengthen strands, and it’s only $16 for the set. The smoothing formula can also increase elasticity for less breakage and split ends.

What fans say: Multiple users said it made their hair feel stronger and healthier. One person said, “My hair actually feels fuller and I really do think it’s rescuing my hair from breakage.”

2. DermaChange Thick & Full Hair Growth Shampoo And Conditioner Set

Best for: Thin, fine, or shedding hair, as well as color-treated hair.

Key features: The Thick & full Hair Growth Set by DermaChange is a go-to option for hair loss and thinning strands — it’s chock-full of vitamins and oils that promote hair regrowth and prevent hair loss by hydrating, strengthening, and thickening strands with natural ingredients. It’s also made with a gentle, sulfate-free formula, so it’s a safe choice for color-treated hair and sensitive scalps.

What fans say: This option has over 1,000 mostly-positive customer reviews, and multiple users said it successfully filled in patchy bald spots on their scalp and thickened thinning strands.

3. Ducray Kelual DS Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Best for: Dandruff.

Key features: Ducray’s Kelual Anti-Dandruff shampoo is the best choice for hair loss from severe dandruff or scalp issues. Dr. Zeichner specifically recommended the Ducray brand for soothing inflammation and itchiness on the scalp caused by seborrheic dermatitis. At $28 for a 3.3-ounce bottle, this is a pricier option, but people say the heavy-duty formula really works for severe dandruff.

What fans say: One user, who has an 11-year-old daughter with severe dandruff, said ” I tried multiple OTC shampoos, home remedies, and two prescription scalp treatments. Nothing worked. I really panicked when I noticed a bald spot on her head! A friend suggested Ducray. After two or three shampoos, my daughter’s head was almost clear. I could not believe it. After several weeks of using this shampoo three or four times a week, the chunky flakes are completely gone and her scalp is no longer itchy and red.”

4. Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Best for: Dandruff.

Key features: This classic anti-dandruff shampoo by Nizoral uses ketoconazol, an anti-fungal medication, as its main ingredient to treat flaking, scaling, itching, or inflammation caused by seborrheic dermatitis, and is still gentle enough to be used on fine or thinning hair. It’s meant to be used just twice a week in between regular shampoos to manage dandruff.

What fans say: This products comes highly-recommended by users, with a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and over 2,800 reviews. People rave at how effective it is at treating their scalp and getting rid of flakes. One user simply said, “It works. Period.”

5. Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-Dandruff 2-In-1 Shampoo & Conditioner

Best for: Dandruff.

Key features: The Dove Dermacare anti-dandruff 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner is a solid option for dandruff management that’s also super affordable. For $15, you’ll get not one, but two bottles. Its active ingredient is pyrithione zinc, an anti-fungal ingredient commonly used to treat psoriasis that Dr. Zeichner recommendeds for dandruff. The formula is effective in treating scalp dryness and flakes because of it, and it has a refreshing mint scent.

6. Maple Holistic’s Sage Shampoo and Tea Tree Conditioner Set For Colored Hair

Best for: Color-treated hair, thin hair, or dandruff caused by yeast on the scalp.

Key features: This sage shampoo and tea tree conditioner set by Maple Holistics is full of good-for-you nutrients. The shampoo is made with Argan oil, green tea, and jojoba oil, and includes anti-fungal ingredients that are effective at soothing inflammation and fighting dandruff caused by yeast. The conditioner is infused with keratin and vitamin b5 for repairing, moisturizing, and strengthening strands, as recommended by Dr. Zeichner. This option is also sulfate- and paraben-free, making it a great option for color-treated and fine hair.

What fans say: With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and over 500 customer reviews, people love this herbal shampoo and conditioner set. One user said, “I bought this set because my scalp became dry and itchy in the winter months. I get my hair colored so I wanted something natural that wouldn’t strip the color from my hair. Within just a few uses, I had immediate relief and no dandruff. I highly recommend this product.”

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

This post was originally published on 8/25/2018. It was updated on 07/1/2019.

There are two strong reasons why we would expect African hair texture to be genetic. Firstly, the texture is universal in Africans, while nearly absent from other ethnic groups. Secondly, it is consistently passed down to the children in each new generation.

Despite this, I could not find any identified gene shown to be responsible. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a gene isn’t involved! Scientists have just not found it yet. However, we may be able to pull clues from rare occurrences of non-Africans with a similar coarse hair texture.

You may think that coiled hair is unique to those of African ancestry, but it is not. It is, however, quite rare in other races. So rare, in fact, that when it is seen in Caucasians and Asians it is called a syndrome. Woolly Hair Syndrome.

Described in much the same way as African hair, woolly hair is characterized by dry, tightly spiraled fibers. You may be wondering if it initially arose from the mixing of different racial gene pools. That is not thought to be the case.

Since Woolly Hair Syndrome is so infrequent there is little reliable information about it. The actual causative gene or genes have not been singled out yet. However, the syndrome does run strongly in families.

When the exact gene causing a syndrome is not known, scientists look at how the trait is passed along in families. It appears that most cases of Woolly Hair are inherited dominantly. This means only a single copy of the “woolly” version of the gene is needed, passed down from either the father or the mother.

It may be possible that the gene responsible for Woolly Hair in non-Africans contributes to the coarse texture of African hair as well. If this were the case, the “non-woolly” version of the gene is virtually exclusive to Caucasians and Asians. This would explain the silky hair common among these ethnicities.

Likewise, the “woolly” version is nearly exclusive to Africans. Its high prevalence could be explained by the fact that most Africans are carrying two copies of the dominant gene. This would assure that the coarse hair texture is maintained in the population.

Whether the gene responsible for Woolly Hair in Caucasians causes the similar hair texture seen in Africans is hotly debated. Differences have been noted. For example, the curls of Africans tend to lie as separate ringlets, while the curls of woolly-haired Caucasians tend to merge.

This model also raises questions regarding the hair texture of children of mixed race. Using this model we might expect kids with one African gene and one Caucasian gene to have the dominant African hair texture. This does not always appear to be the case. An “intermediate” texture is often seen.

As time passes, genetics will certainly bring to light the reason behind many of our ethnic differences. When that day comes, there may then be a more definitive answer to your question.

By Anne Tecklenburg Strehlow, Stanford University

How to make your hair thicker

  • Exercise = happiness
    For some of us the idea of a regular workout sends us running for the hills (well, not actually running), but it’s so important that we all get some time in each week to push ourselves physically, and that doesn’t mean hours on the treadmill (thankfully!). Find a fun, regular form of exercise, either on your own, with a group of friends or with complete strangers! All exercise, from yoga to dancing and even rock climbing, can help alleviate all sorts of physical and mental problems like anxiety and stress. So explore your options and find something you really love.
  • Sleep more!
    Ensuring you sleep eight hours a night is imperative to your overall mental and physical health. Top tip: try to not look at a screen up to one hour before you go to bed, as the blue light will stimulate your mind and affect your body clock. You could also try a blue light filter app like Twilight to help your eyes and mind wind down for the evening.
  • How to make your hair thicker: Naturally

    Boost your nutrition. We know, we hear it all the time, but a balanced diet and regular exercise really is the ultimate way to look after your body and mind, with the ability to treat a whole load of issues, from weight problems to skin concerns and yes, lacklustre hair! Be your own personal trainer for your hair and put together a nutrition plan for your locks with a good balance of healthy (and the occasional not so healthy!) dishes.

    Foods that are high in protein, omega 3, fatty acids, iron zinc, and biotin are going to be your saviors here. Check out our top five superfoods that will help make your hair thicker, healthier and stronger:

    • Salmon
      This oily fish contains ultra-high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which promote healthy, beautiful hair. We love it baked in foil with lemon and pepper and served with baby spinach (another hair-loving powerhouse) for a fuss-free meal.
    • Sweet potato
      Packed with beta-carotene, this is not your ordinary, frumpy potato. A great source of vitamin A, sweet potatoes help to prevent a dry scalp and, dare we say it, dandruff. Upgrade your boring weeknight jacket potato with one of these beauties and top with a crumble of feta and sliced chilli. Perfect.
    • Eggs
      These babies are rich in protein and biotin, which makes them perfect, pocket-sized solutions to how to get hair thicker. Protein is key for maintaining hair’s strength, while biotin is a major factor in the product of that all-important keratin. Perfect for breakfast, lunch AND dinner, eggs are super easy to add to your diet. Up for something new? Try them in a Shakshuka!
    • Carrots
      Another member of the beta-carotene brat pack, the much-overlooked carrot helps to condition the scalp and balance its natural oils to give super shiny results. The easiest way to get these babies in? Swap out that bag of crisps for carrot sticks and hummus. Because really, who doesn’t love hummus?
    • Spinach
      We’ve all heard the term ‘Eat your greens!’ but did you know that doing so would answer the question of how to make your hair thicker? This superfood is loaded with vitamins B,C and E, as well as iron, potassium, calcium and omega-3, all of which are great for our hair. Add baby spinach to salads for a hair boost!
    • Avocados
      Okay, okay, we know; avocados are everywhere but listen up! Not only are these insta-friendly guys absolutely delicious and full of good fats, avocados are chock full of vitamin B and E, which help repair a damaged scalp and help speed up the healthy hair growth process. Avo on toast for brunch? We thought so.
    • Oats and nuts
      A handful of these are a great source of minerals and vitamins like B, D and E, resulting in the sleek, shiny locks we crave. Try making up a batch of breakfast bars packed with oats, nuts and fruit for a healthy hair champion on the go.
    • Dark chocolate
      We couldn’t not mention this one! Dark chocolate contains copper, zinc and iron which all boost the cell renewal process and increase oxygen and blood flow to the scalp resulting in, you guessed it, healthier hair. So go on, treat yourself. We won’t tell.

    After washing:

    You’re doing so much work in the treatment regime, you’re eating well and exercising like an Olympian but did you know that you may actually be undoing all the hard work by handling your hair incorrectly? Do you want to know how to make your hair thicker? From brushing to drying, follow these top natural tips below to help:

    • Towel Drying:
      Ok so you may like it rough (cheeky!), but our hair certainly doesn’t when it comes to towel drying. We know it can be tempting to furiously scrub the towel all over our head when we’re fresh out the shower and in a rush. But wait! This is actually so damaging for the hair as it can break the anchoring of the hair follicle. A big no-no. Instead, gently wrap it up in a towel turban to absorb the water without causing any damage.
    • Brushing:
      Here’s another one we always seem to get carried away with. Being over enthusiastic with the hairbrush can end up damaging your precious locks. Be gentle and opt for a boar bristle brush instead, which will help stimulate the scalp and distribute natural oils through your hair while detangling.
    • Avoid using heated styling appliances
      Sometimes we really can’t avoid them, but constant use of straighteners, curling irons and hairdryers can be disastrous for your hair. As well as scorching and burning the hair, using heated tools can stretch and pull your hair out from the root, i.e. weak, brittle and not so happy hair. Give your lengths a heat-free holiday and let it air dry naturally with these easy tips:

    • An oldie but a goodie. Plait your hair while it’s wet, leave it to dry and let it loose to reveal beachy curls Blake Lively would be proud of.
    • Alternatively, for an update on the look, try tightly twisting random sections while wet and secure with pins. When it’s dry, release and run through with your fingers for totally laid back twisted tresses.
    • Get fuss-free style is with a headband. Pop a circular elastic headband around your head and tuck small sections around it until all your hair is wrapped around the band. Let it air dry naturally, take the band off and voila! Relaxed movement and waves with zero heat (or effort)!

    For those times when you really need the sleekness only a hair straightener can bring, make sure you generously spritz your hair all over with a heat protecting spray.

    Style your hair with some TLC: We agree, there’s nothing chic-er than a sleek high pony, but tying your hair band too tight can actually lead to the hair shaft falling out. Switch up your harsh elastics with fabric or plastic hair ties to minimise breakage and keep your hair looking and feeling healthier. Bye bye Croydon Facelift.

    At home remedies

    Did you know that your cupboards and fridge at home are actually a treasure chest of beauty? Many ingredients just sitting in our cupboards can, in fact, be used to create at-home hair treatments to make your hair thicker naturally! Try using the following ingredient suggestions to create your very own hair natural treatment masks:

    • Eggs:
      These natural shots of protein are perfect for a hair treatment. Mix up with yogurt and apply all over the hair to provide it with multi-tasking nutrients. Just make sure to thoroughly wash it away with cool water. Scrambled egg hair? Not such a good look.
    • Oranges:
      Put that NutriBullet to use by blending up some fresh oranges to create a scrumptious, Vitamin C rich smoothie for your hair.
    • Olive Oil/Coconut Oil/Castor Oil:
      The three musketeers of hair oils, these kitchen cupboard wonders have been used as natural conditioners for years. As an added bonus, they can be used to banish frizz and flyaways too!
    • Avocado Again!:
      Rich in Vitamin E, this is best left on damp hair and wrapped in a towel or shower cap for a good half an hour before washing off for the ultimate natural hydration treatment.
    • Aloe Vera:
      Extremely soothing for irritated, angry scalps, the gel from Aloe Vera can be directly applied in the same way as you use conditioner. Plus, it smells amazing.

    Natural remedies are a low-cost alternative, but for the best results we recommend using hair care products that include some of these natural ingredients, such as Nanogen’s range, which include ingredients such as aloe, chamomile, vitamin B and green tea!

    How to make your hair thicker: Instantly

    So thickness and volume is only for lucky long-haired gals, right? Wrong! Going for the chop can be the quickest way to make your hair look thicker. Don’t believe us? Check out these short-haired babes for some 2018 inspo for your next salon appointment. Go on, be brave!

    Androgynous Pixie:
    This asymmetrical pixie cut is ideal for transforming lifeless hair into something special. The longer lengths in the front maintains femininity, while the short back and sides make an androgynous statement. Style it any way you want; messy and textured or smooth and sleek. Either way, be prepared for thicker looking hair.

    Bold Crop:
    We love this one for ladies that want to make a statement! Perfect for straight or curly locks, the Bold Crop combines playfulness and sophistication and is uber low maintenance. Ask for it short and tapered at the back and and bold on top for the ultimate style statement.

    Layered Sophistication:
    Classic and timeless styles are key for 2018 hair. A layered lob is possibly the easiest cut to style (win!) and is guaranteed to suit anyone. Loved by an army of celebs like Emma Stone and Chrissy Teigen, a lob is a failsafe way to make your hair look ten times thicker. Be sure to get it slightly longer at the front to maintain the chic look. The only question is: to fringe or not to fringe?

    When rocking short hair, remember to keep it natural or use a styling product that adds lift at the roots, like Nanogen’s Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray. For extra oomph, use it alongside the Nanogen Thickening Hair Treatment Shampoo and Conditioner for the best hair of your life…you can thank us later!

    Random rouge hair that’s thick and black growing on arms or other parts of body? Find out why and what you can do about it

    Have you ever woken up, feeling refreshed and ready to face your day when you suddenly spot a surprise something in the mirror? Do you have that single strand of rogue hair, sometimes thick and coarse, growing apparently randomly from unusual areas of your body, such as the cheek, chin, or elbow?

    You’re not alone in facing this problem, and don’t worry – it’s completely harmless, if only aesthetically displeasing to some. Read on to find out what causes this random growth spurts of hair and what you can do about them.

    Why do these strange hair grow from random spots?

    Every single hair strand on your body is produced by a hair follicle, which grows in different phases. There is a growth (anagen) phase, a cessation (catagen) phase where the blood supply is cut off from the follicle and the hair stops actively growing, and lastly, a rest (telogen) phase, where the hair strand eventually becomes brittle and drops off. Once the hair has dropped off, the hair follicle is stimulated to begin the growth phase again and the cycle repeats itself.


    We all know that our skin is covered in hair follicles from head to toe, but different body areas have different “instructions” on the sort of hair to grow. You would expect thick and long strands of hair growing out of your scalp, but not your face or hand, for example. However, our body occasionally gets things mixed up too!

    The hair strands on your face, arms, back, etc. are naturally programmed to grow much thinner and finer, and to stop growing at a certain length short enough for the strand to look almost invisible on your skin. However, sometimes one of these hair follicles misses the memo and continues to stay in the growth phase for a much longer time, pumping in more nutrients and cells to produce that long, thick and dark hair strand that seemingly pops out of nowhere. As previously mentioned, the appearance of these rogue hairs is harmless and benign, but if you should experience rapid growth of denser patches of hair on unusual areas of the body, do seek medical advice from a doctor!

    This miscommunication within your body could have been caused by a wide variety of factors, such as medications, genetics, pregnancy, menopause, or simply hormonal fluctuations. Whatever it is, they’re generally hard to prevent, but you can take your own steps to remove them if they should prove unsightly!

    How do I get rid of these rogue hairs?

    The easiest and fastest way of removing rogue hairs is tweezing, which is self-explanatory and an inexpensive method of hair removal. Whether it’s on your cheek, chin, arm, elbow, or leg, tweezing is probably the method that most of us would instinctively turn to in order to remove that rogue hair strand. Don’t worry, tweezing is not going to make your hair grow out thicker and darker. If you find a rogue hair strand there again, it’s simply because the hair follicle is stubbornly rebellious, rather than your tweezing producing a regrowth of it.

    With every other part of your body, simply shaving the rogue hair is yet another simple and pain-free option of removing it. Just like tweezing, there is no evidence to show that your hair will grow back coarser or darker from shaving. However, the downside of shaving is that it could give you a stubble. A single stubble on your arm or elbow would probably not bother most people, but if the rogue hair happens to be on your face, chin or jaw, you may want to reconsider pulling out your razor and go for the tweezers instead.


    There are a few scenarios in which you might want to consider seeking a professional hair removal service rather than doing it yourself. Firstly, if your hair growth occurs in patches rather than a single strand, and tweezing is too tedious an option to think about. Secondly, if your hair growth occurs in an area that you cannot see or reach yourself, you might need someone else’s help to pluck out the offending rouge strand(s). Whichever the case, there is generally little difference between waxing and threading, and it’s simply up to your own preference! Take note that if you are using chemical exfoliants on your skin, or both topical and oral types of isotretinoin preparations, you may want to avoid both waxing and threading as there will be a higher chance of skin irritation.


    If your rogue hair just won’t give up in popping back every now and again, and you want a clean break from it, other options you can consider are electrolysis and laser hair removal. With electrolysis, a needle is inserted into the single rogue hair follicle and it is treated with a combination of heat and chemicals that kills the hair follicle. Alternatively, IPL treatments can also be used on an isolated strand or patch of rogue hairs. The downside to both these options is that they can be pretty costly, and require multiple sessions to achieve the optimal result.

    Whichever method you prefer to remove that rogue strand of hair, or if you prefer to embrace that stubbornly persistent follicle as part of your life, just be assured that these rogue strands of hair are not only completely harmless, but also occur more frequently than you’d expect in both women and men. You’re not alone in this!

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