One of the things that can lead people towards a curly journey is hair loss. One of the things that can alarm people at the beginning of their curly hair journey is hair loss! Regardless if when you started losing hair, it can be alarming. It’s a topic that is always at the forefront on every curly hair forum and one that has a lot of reasons for happening. So let’s dive into a few of the things that can cause hair fall.
You’re not actually losing more hair.
Well, that would be a relief, wouldn’t it? If you had been wearing your hair straight previously and just started wearing it curly, you may not be accounting for how much shed hair is just hanging out in your curls. It’s normal for us to shed 50-100 strands of hair a day. When you were brushing your hair every day, you were discarding those loose strands. Now if you’re only brushing on wash day, you may have a few days worth of hair shed hanging out in there.
You switched to exclusive co-washing and you’re not cleaning your scalp properly.
A lot of people start the Curly Girl Method and swear off any sort of shampoo immediately. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are not properly cleansing your scalp because you were accustomed to the bubbles and harsh cleansers in a sulfate shampoo doing the work for you, you will end up with clogged follicles and build up on your scalp. Proper cowashing normally takes MINUTES, not 30 seconds, to do. Things like a shampoo brush can help make sure you’re really cleansing your scalp without scraping your scalp with your nails.
In the US, we have a lot of access to things like low-poos and sulfate free cleansers that can be a great alternative to co-washing since they are a little more cleansing. But for those that don’t have access and think you might be having this issue, you can always mix a little bit of silicone free sulfate shampoo with your conditioner to give it a little more oomph without it being drying (like mentioned in my Curl Product Hacks! post.)
You’re not losing more hair from your scalp, but yet you have less hair.
This is possible and far more common than people think. This happens when you’re not meeting the needs of your hair and end up with increased breakage. Have you colored your hair? Is your hair texture changing with age? Have you spent a lot of time in harsh cold, direct sunlight, in a pool or in the ocean? Did you switch to “strengthen and repair” products when you previously had healthy, virgin hair? All of these things will impact what your hair needs!
So why is that? Because hair requires a proper protein/moisture balance. If you’ve put your hair through more stress, it may require more protein to help strengthen the damage. If your hair is super healthy, you may be putting into protein overload by using products that are meant for damaged hair. Grey hair tends to be more coarse, having different needs than your strands that still have their pigment. Hair will break if it’s not kept in some semblance of balance, so if your hair FEELS bad AND is thinning it’s probably needing to fix your protein/moisture balance.
And of course, make sure you’re not tying your hair back super tight and killing it with a hairbrush, etc. Normal causes of breakage.
You have an actual underlying medical condition, are on a new medicine, or have recently experience trauma.
If all else fails, follow up with a doctor.
You could have an undiagnosed medical issue, such as hormonal issues, autoimmune disease, or anemia. I sometimes go through periods of heavy hair fall, but I have an autoimmune disease so I already know the cause!
If you have recently started on a new medication or changed a dosage, one of the side effects could be hair loss. Even if you’ve been on it for 6 months, it is still considered “new.”
Severe stress and trauma, whether physical or mental, can cause hair loss. Have you been through a major surgery? Pregnancy? A divorce? You don’t have to feel mental trauma for your body to be experiencing trauma.
So what can I do?
If there’s not an underlying medical condition (which if so, the answer is to get treatment), there are a few things you can do to help stimulate hair growth.
1. Make sure your nutrition is up to par. The reason that hair vitamins are popular isn’t because they trigger some message for hair growth. It’s because it helps fill in the gaps from whatever nutrients you were missing from your diet. Eat a healthy diet and your body will be able to produce healthy, strong hair!
2. Scalp massage. This can be with finger tips, a scalp massager, or even a hair brush. Some people like to do this with special oil blends, but you don’t have to- just the scalp stimulation is enough!
3. Keep the hair you have healthy! Get trims, deep condition regularly, don’t pull your hair back too tightly, and don’t heat style.
Did I miss any concerns?