Bad hair days happen to the best of us, but what happens when every day is a bad hair day? If thin, limp, weak hair is your every day, you’re not alone. The good news is that you have options. From clever cuts and innovative products to smart styling and even small changes to your diet, there are countless ways to thicken up your hair. However, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In most cases, it will be a combination of things that yields visible results.
“I find a holistic, personalised multi-pronged approach is the most effective way to treat any form of hair loss,” says Anabel Kingsley, brand president and consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley. “Your metabolic and genetic profile, as well as your lifestyle and diet, may be very different from a friend who is also experiencing hair loss. However, in all instances, you want to be optimising each possible factor that can affect your hair growth cycle, such as health, nutrition, thyroid function, stress levels and scalp health, as well as the condition of your hair itself.”
What causes thin hair?
The key to getting thicker hair is identifying the cause of your thin hair in the first place.
One of the most common types of hair loss in women is Androgenetic Alopecia, which is characterized by an overall thinning of hair. “It occurs when follicles are genetically predisposed to be sensitive to normal levels of circulating androgens (male hormones),” says Kingsley. “Treatment for this does take time, and the improvement you can expect to see does depend on the degree of your follicle sensitivity and how severe the density loss is when you start treatment. This is why seeking help as soon as you notice changes is really important.”
Stress, hormonal imbalance and/or vitamin deficiency
Another very common cause of hair loss, especially in women, is Telogen Effluvium, which is characterized by excessive or daily hair shedding. This is not genetic and can happen to anyone. “It does not change the size of your hair follicles, or hair diameter,” says Kingsley. “What TE does cause is a sudden and greater than normal number of hairs to move from the growth to the resting (and then shedding) phase of your hair cycle. It is a reactive hair loss caused by an internal imbalance or shift.” This can relate to hormonal changes, vitamin deficiency and/or stress.
For cases of Telogen Effluvium, the underlying cause needs to be identified and then addressed. “For instance, if you are losing your hair solely or in part due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency, dietary changes and nutritional supplements will form an integral part of your hair loss treatment plan. If your hair loss is due to hypo or hyperthyroid, this must be addressed with the appropriate medication.” As for stress? Self-care and plenty of sleep are key.
Over-styling and over-coloring your hair
Another culprit behind thin hair is over-styling and over-coloring. Heat-based styling products and bleach-laden coloring agents can strip your hair of all its strengthening fibres, leaving it weak.
If you can bear to, take a break from coloring your hair and step away from the styling products. Opt for a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to give your hair a thorough cleanse, too.
How to make your hair thicker through diet
One of the easiest ways to thicken hair is through diet and supplements. “Vitamin deficiency affects our scalp and the hair condition,” says Ohta. “If you are concerned, you should ask for a blood test to see what is lacking within your body, and speak to your doctor for advice.”