By Jessica Chia, Executive Beauty Editor for Allure Magazine.
Hair loss affects up to 50 percent of women. I’m part of the 50 percent you don’t want to be in. And that’s how I came to know that once you start to look, there are solutions to this common problem in so many corners of your world. Read on to find out what they are.
Supplements. Dermatologists don’t consider biotin (which hairstylists and models have praised for years) the go-to supplement for thicker hair. “It’s always been purported to help grow hair, but little to no data exists to support its use,” says Dr. Nicole Rogers, a dermatologist and hair-transplant surgeon in Metairie, Louisiana.
Instead, you may want to add vitamin D (about $15) to your shopping cart. A vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and make it almost impossible for any over-the-counter product to reverse hair loss, says Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City, who recommends taking 5,000 international units of D3 a day (and it’s generally beneficial for bone health in women over 40). “There’s also a link between low iron and zinc levels and temporary hair shedding, called [telogen] effluvium,” says Rogers.
A few studies support the use of red ginseng, sometimes called panax ginseng (about $25), for hair regrowth. It can have an anti-apoptotic effect on the hair, Rogers says, meaning it slows cell death so hair follicles can grow for a longer period of time. But before taking any of these supplements, it’s important to consult your doctor; a lab test can confirm whether you need a particular supplement or if taking it will just be a waste of time and money.
The Drugstore Plan
Ballpark Total: $70
Believe it or not, some of the best regrowth products are in the drugstore’s hair aisle.
1. Minoxidil. It’s the only FDA-approved topical nonprescription medication that can claim to regrow hair — and it should be part of any hair-loss plan if you have serious thinning, says Rogers. Minoxidil has loads of research to back it, but it requires commitment. If you quit using it, your hair will start to lose ground again. Use a 5 percent strength, like Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam ($30), once daily to see results in three to four months, says Rogers.
2. Pyrithione zinc shampoo. Traditional volumizing shampoos will give the hair you have a lift so it looks fuller (we like the sulfate-free L’Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Shampoo, $8). But some research suggests shampoos with the antidandruff ingredient zinc pyrithione can mitigate hair loss that’s caused by conditions like dandruff, says Mirmirani. Try Head & Shoulders Deep Moisture Shampoo ($6), and use a conditioner without silicones — they can make hair appear limper, especially if it’s applied near the roots (we like Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Conditioner, $9).
3. Scalp tonic. Serums with peptides or procyanidins (a class of antioxidants) such as niacinamide can help support overall scalp health and reduce inflammation, which is a major component of hair loss, says New York City dermatologist Doris Day. Try René Furterer Triphasic Progressive Concentrated Serum ($82), Julien Farel Magnifique Delay the Gray Hair & Scalp Serum ($135), or Day’s own Rapid Regrowth Serum ($55) once daily before massaging a minoxidil product into the scalp (there’s no need to wait for it to dry in between). “In addition to being anti-inflammatory,” Day says, “scalp tonics help minoxidil penetrate the scalp better and can minimize potential irritation from it.”
4. Tinted dry shampoo. Camouflage spots where you’re seeing more scalp than you want to (your hairline, a widening part, a thinning crown) and add volume with a colored dry shampoo (try Orlando Pita Color Boost Dry Shampoo in Light or Dark Tones, $22). But be sure to give your scalp a vigorous shampoo during your next shower — dermatologists recommend keeping your scalp free of styling products so you’re not clogging already taxed pores.