THICK, luscious hair is something many of us can only dream of.
However, there are some simple ways to encourage hair growth.
Whether you’ve noticed that your hair just isn’t as thick as it used to be, or you’ve always had thinning hair and are hoping to revitalize it, help is available.
What is causing your hair loss?
Do you find that your hair is thinning? Or does it just not seem as thick as it used to?
There can be several reasons for this.
Jack Merrick-Thirlway is creative director at Neville Hair & Beauty.
He says hereditary hair loss is the most common form of hair loss and is transmitted through your genes.
This type of hair loss can start as early as adolescence and while difficult to treat, it can be slowed down with prompt treatment.
Hormonal imbalances can also lead to hair loss.
Pregnancy and menopause are two important times when hormonal imbalances can occur that can lead to changes in hair thickness.
However, chronic stress and certain medications can also contribute to these imbalances.
“It’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice hair loss because they can recommend the best course of action,” says Jack.
Another hair saboteur is excessive friction. Jacks says those who repeatedly wear a tight ponytail can experience hair loss.
“Hair loss will stop if you change the way you wear your hair.”
Finally, using the wrong products or too many chemical treatments can lead to hair loss.
“That’s why it’s important to seek professional advice when considering chemical treatments,” adds Jack.
So how can we encourage hair growth?
Choose the right hair care
Jack says that when shopping for new hair thickness support products, there are few ingredients to look for.
“I would recommend looking for ingredients like biotin, collagen, amino acids and products with vitamin B3. All of this helps strengthen hair follicles and encourage growth.
“However, if you feel overwhelmed, you can also get advice from your hairdresser.”
Be wary of too many chemicals in your styling products as they can make hair fall worse.
“To ensure your hair stays healthy, it’s important not to wash it too often,” advises Jack.
“Instead, try to limit washing your hair to two or three times a week.
“Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to make sure you don’t remove moisture.”
Dry hair a problem?
Jack recommends applying some leave-in conditioner: “Also, when you’re done washing your hair, try towel-drying your hair instead of rubbing it.”
Protect your hair while styling
From hairbrushes to heated appliances, we expose our hair to a lot. So make sure to protect your hair while styling.
“Avoid over-brushing,” says Jack, who says it’s best to invest in a good hairbrush, as poor-quality hairbrushes can damage hair more.
For hair dryers, curlers and straighteners, try a lower heat setting and always use a heat protectant spray to avoid unnecessary damage or breakage.
Jack warns that it’s also best not to skip the six-weekly haircuts. Regular hair trimming reduces the risk of hair damage.
Eating can help
nutritionist Rob Hobson says there are a few specific nutrients that can aid in hair growth: “Biotin (vitamin B7) and the other B vitamins can help.
“You can find these in meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy greens like kale, and nutritional yeast.”
Rob adds: “Also watch out for iron deficiencies as this can cause hair to become weak and brittle.
“More than a quarter of women do not get enough iron from their diet. So make sure you’re eating enough by consuming iron-rich foods like red meat, beans, and dried fruit.”
Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet as well. “Hair is made of keratin, a structural protein.
“If you’re lacking enough protein, you risk weak and brittle hair,” says Rob.
Another important nutrient for hair is zinc: “This mineral regulates the production of sebum, an oily substance that helps keep your scalp and hair moisturized.”
“Overproduction can lead to greasy hair and scalp, leading to dandruff.”
The hair life cycle
It’s also worth noting that our hair changes throughout our lives.
“Over time, you’ll find that your hair can look different than it used to.
“This can be caused by various factors such as hormonal changes, medical treatments, diet or growth patterns,” says Jack.
He explains that there are four phases in your natural hair cycle: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogenous.
The anagen phase is the phase when hair grows the fastest.
“At this stage, your hair grows an average of 6 inches per year,” explains Jack.
This phase generally lasts between three and five years, but can vary.
This is followed by the 10-day catagen phase, which signals the end of hair growth.
The next phase, known as telogen, lasts about three months and hair is not actively growing during this phase.
Finally exogenous; the final phase in the hair growth cycle: “It refers to the phase where you lose hair.”
Jack adds that your hair is likely to appear thicker during the anagen phase.
There are ways to fake thick hair. Jack recommends tape-in hair extensions, which he says are a quick way to add volume and length to your hair.
He adds: “Our experts may recommend the use of wigs to avoid further damaging the hair when it is weak and brittle.
“They may also recommend keratin bond extensions if the client is looking for longer-term volume.”