Let’s talk about hair loss. Yes, I know it’s not the sexiest beauty topic, but it’s nonetheless something many of us will have to deal with. It can be genetic, of course, which is classed as female pattern hair loss – and is caused by an increase in male hormones in the body. Stress has an impact, too (it raises the testosterone levels in women), but what experts are increasingly seeing is diet-related hair loss.
Leading trichologist Anabel Kingsley has noted a rise in cases where women have lost hair after following a fad diet. ‘Your hair is an essential tissue,’ she explains. ‘If you don’t have enough calories, carbohydrates or fats in your diet, your hair is the first thing to suffer. Your hair cells are the second-fastest dividing cells in your body and they need energy from carbohydrates to regenerate.’
A lack of protein can also cause brittle hair, Kingsley tells me, but her biggest no-no? ‘Juice fasting is awful for your hair. You can guarantee six to 12 weeks after a juice cleanse you’ll experience hair loss.’ Kingsley also suggests doing your homework before trying veganism, because it can have a detrimental effect on the hair. Always take a vitamin B12 supplement (it’s not found in plants), get plenty of iron from leafy greens and eat quinoa and chia seeds, which have complete proteins.
‘Everyone, vegan or not, should take a vitamin D capsule supplement to promote hair growth, too,’ says Kingsley. ‘Every hair follicle has a vitamin D receptor, which influences the hair-growth cycle. Low vitamin D is linked to alopecia, so taking a supplement is an easy win to help with hair loss.’
Thinning hair is trickier to style, too. In a recent survey of 2,000 women, Tresemmé found that over half of us regularly have a ‘bad hair day’, whether it’s a lack of volume or hard-to-style cuts. I can relate. I met with the celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho recently (she counts Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron among her regulars) and she shared her tips for managing thinning hair on a daily basis.
‘Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet and tangled from the roots down,’ she advises. ‘Start from the ends with a detangling brush and gently work your way up to the roots to prevent any breakage.’ Jenny also suggests using old-school mousse, such as Thickening Mousse by Bumble and bumble, to get more volume. (Before you say anything, mousse has come a long way from its crunchy ’80s roots.) Use with abandon, ditch the juice diets and get some vitamin D.
A fuller life… eight thickening favourites
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