In Part’s 1 and 2 of The Hair Loss journey, I covered the emotional side of hair loss and how the first thing any sufferer should do upon realising they are suffering from hair loss is to visit their GP (sympathetic or not) and demand a specific list of tests to rule out (or in) medical causes and how this is never a waste of doctors’ time as if they do discover an undiagnosed nasty, this can prevent all kinds of serious health issues developing as well as arrest any hair loss resulting from it.
In part 3, I am going to address the interim; i.e. what does a hair loss sufferer do whilst they are waiting for any medical treatment to take effect, or for that hair loss cure to come along, if medical reasons have been ruled out.
Doubtless for example, you will be terrified of washing your hair too often for fear of shedding more, but my advice is don’t stop washing your hair as lank or greasy hair looks even thinner, and it is seldom the washing which is causing the shedding, it just seems like it because wet hairs in the shower or basin are the most visible. However even normal hair sheds 100-150 hairs per day. It is the fact too many follicles are going into the resting phase when you don’t want them to that is usually the problem, which makes it seem that normal hair shedding is far worse than usual (though of course with Alopecia or cancer treatment, sufferers will genuinely experience excessive shedding). Washing every other day using gentle PH balance shampoo was about right for me. Always blow dry and style using a de-tangle comb to minimise hair breakage, but on a low setting to avoid heat damage as blow drying also makes hair look thicker. Try going multi-tonal as this adds an illusion of thickness and can be surprisingly flattering. But use non-permanent colours as permanent dyes can also damage hair, whereas gentle colours can actually make your hair look more luxuriant and healthy. Experiment with partings, fringes and lengths. Mid-length turned out to work best for me as it gave the hair a little life and bounce whereas too long or too short and it looked thinner. Ditch any thought of using eyebrow pencils (my first desperate resort) and buy a purpose-designed hair loss cosmetic such as Nanogen in a colour which matches your natural hair. These are microfibers which cling to your natural hair, making it look a great deal more luxuriant and which will withstand wind and rain using locking mist, until you choose to shampoo out, dry hair and re-apply. Supplement with a thickening shampoo such as Nanothik, which will coat every strand of hair in with a transparent layer of silicon, giving strength, weight and volume to thin or flyaway hair. I found both of these products to be fantastic bridging products during the early stages of my hair loss, when I needed to do something, but my hair loss was not bad enough to consider more drastic measures.
Probably there are a number of similar products on the market, but Nano products are the ones I tried and can therefore recommend, though they were only available via the internet when I used them and not in any High Street chemist.
If you must use a hair vitamin as well, Florasine (for boosting iron levels and thus ferritin production in women) has the best internet reviews and at only £15.99 or so a month is not as bank-breaking as some of the more expensive ones with more mixed reviews. But always consult your doctor before taking. For men, Rogaine (also available in most chemists) is currently the best reviewed on the internet, though please do not expect it to do more than possibly slow or stabilise your hair loss.
Sadly in my own case, my hair loss went somewhat beyond the early stages before stabilising, and when I had lost 60% or so of my natural hair, I felt that Nanogen and Nanothik were no longer enough to keep me looking good and started Googling other cosmetic solutions. That is when I came across Aspiration and their unique volumisers, manufactured from real human hair and designed to blend in with your natural hair, allowing clients to live a completely normal life (well, apart from avoiding saunas and needing to allow a little more time to wash and dry than usual), though I did have one last go at solving my hair loss with a laser comb (unsuccessfully in my case, though some sufferers apparently have encouraging results with them).
Whilst not a cheap solution, I can honestly say I have never looked back. Almost overnight after my first volumiser fitting, I saw a complete return to my former confidence and started feeling feminine and attractive again, and more importantly, started behaving as if I were feminine and attractive again, which soon made a significant and positive difference in my personal life!
Ultimately my hair loss nightmare also taught me that whether man or woman, and age regardless, you don’t need to accept hair loss and learn to put up with it. There ARE natural-looking solutions which can give you your life back. Nor should anyone ever see solving their hair loss problem as ‘vanity’, but an important restorer of confidence. And confidence can move mountains, so self-investment is never a waste of money or self-indulgent if the boosted confidence it brings suddenly enables you to achieve several times as much and even feel like giving back to society rather than withdrawing from it. I know if I hadn’t exhaustively researched and tried all the options before finding the right one for me I would be living a much lesser life by now. In fact I dread to think of how my life would be by now.
And while I don’t want this piece to sound too much like an advertising feature as it really is my genuine hair loss journey and all the things I learned, I do thank goodness that I found a hair loss salon at the end of that journey which not only uses the very latest undetectable products, but prides itself on its customer-centred ethics as well. From my first (free) consultation, I felt I was in the hands of people who both understood and cared what it was like to suffer hair loss, with the consultants using the products themselves, so ideally placed to discuss them and their own experiences of hair loss. I have since learned that not all salons are in the same league of either product quality or customer service and hair replacement can be a cut-throat industry.
But even if you are one of the lucky ones and your hair is growing back or you find that bridging products are enough to keep your hair looking natural and acceptably voluminous, I hope I have helped you along your own journey and also given you comfort that hair loss need not be the end of the world and that quality options that give you your life back are out there, even for severe hair loss. And some customers have total hair loss requiring full systems, yet can enjoy the same cosmetic results as those with more localised hair loss.