Hair loss is one of the least sexy things I could think to write about — but then I experienced it due to some personal trauma, that I didn’t realize was trauma at the time, and, after first being scared and incredibly upset, I then found myself actually thankful — to be part of this beauty industry where there are real solutions for real problems.
Yes, some solutions are only temporary and others take some time before you see results – but I found things that worked. And they made all the difference. So in this very un-sexy post, I’m going to share them with you.
Because hair loss can happen to anyone – as a result of something very stressful, as a result of aging, as a result of illness, or as a result of something that may forever be a mystery. No matter the cause, if these products can also work for others, then sharing them is spreading beauty – and that leads to confidence and empowerment – and that is this site’s mission and why I write it.
My backstory is that I went through something very difficult. It had nothing to do with my health or my reproductive health or anything like that. It was a family situation and I was doing my best to keep it together despite mounting anxiety and fear and uncertainty. But of course, I had to get tests to make sure my health and my hormones and my reproductive system and my thyroid and my bloodwork were all in check. In my situation, I was deemed totally healthy and my regular doctor and obgyn and dermatologist and other health/beauty experts, all looked at my test results and looked at my scalp and looked at how easily my hair shed as they put their hands through it. (My follicles were not resisting as they should, there was no normal tension. A lot of hair would easily come right out. There was also a notable change in my hairline where my hair had thinned. When I put my hair up in a ponytail, you could see it. I had never had that before.) I was told my hair had gone into a “resting state” and we needed to wake it back up… The state, they all agreed, was induced by stress.
Since I was a little girl I’ve always had thick, full, wavy hair. So to see such a change over the course of just a few years creates stress – yet it’s stress they are telling you that you have to manage.
Which is hard when the floor of the shower is covered in hair. When you fear brushing your hair because you don’t want any more strands to leave you. Or, say, when a hair stylist in San Diego keeps nervously looking at you in your hotel room not sure if she should say something while giving you a blowout before you go on a live early AM television segment. (She did, ps, and suggested I go see a doctor. She looked pretty relieved when I told her I was already on it. I respected her for speaking up.)
So the hair situation itself is pretty stressful and individual moments dealing with it are pretty stressful, so it’s stress on top of stress on top of the actual original stress, with the goal of reducing stress. Got it.
I reminded myself daily of how fortunate I was to be healthy – to not be sick or in pain – as many are when they lose their hair. I still remind myself this.
I reminded myself that it was definitely possible and maybe even likely that the hair would all come back once the shedding stage stopped. I also still remind myself this.
And I reminded myself that it was just hair. And overall so far it wasn’t so much loss that people I knew commented or strangers stopped me on the street. But if that point ever came, I reminded myself I still would be fine. No matter what, I would always be fine.
If the time came, I would buy head-turning wigs and killer hats and chic mini-turbans and go FULL-THROTTLE GLAM. I have a few friends with alopecia and friends who’ve lost hair due to illness and I’ve loved and deeply admired their unwavering style and spirit through it all.
Having said all that, and even with all these check-yourself reminders and a healthy dose of perspective, it still is a scary thing to experience. Since I was already going through something that also scared me, there were some moments when I felt totally overwhelmed.
The root cause of my stress (not related to my hair) finally got resolved and since getting that closure, the shedding has lessened. This makes me cautiously optimistic that my hair will return to its earlier lioness days.
But for now I still have to care for and style my hair differently. It’s just not the same as it was.
I find myself asking my mom and my husband how they think it looks all the time because those two will give it to me straight. They are my rocks. And they help when I’m not sure if I’m just seeing things… Like: Mom, do you think this is new hair over here? Babe, see these short strands coming through??!
Never being one to accept things lying down (f*ck that!) I started playing with products and potions and supplements. I was in search of what would help, what would hide and what would not further damage. I was a girl on a mission and I found some awesome things.
I’m using them to this day.
And I’m really hoping I won’t have to forever. But if that were my fate, at least I’d feel well-armed.
Here they are — and if you can relate to any of the above, I’m really really hoping they’ll be suited for you too.
If you work out a lot – or sweat a lot – or use hair product – or use a touchup makeup to cover thin areas or grey hair or visible roots, it’s likely you may be blocking the follicles in your scalp. This is a blend of 100% essential oils that “awakens the scalp” to “energize hair.” It can also be used as a remedy for dry, oil, itchy, sensitive or dandruff-prone heads, which is great and all, but for hair loss specifically it preps the scalp to allow hair thinning solutions to work. It “stimulates micro-circulation” and deep cleans the scalp so the (potentially expensive) hair treatments you use after can actually get to work on a surface ready to receive them.
Think of it like your exfoliator before your fancypants serum. You want to prime the canvas before you apply the magic.
This liquid gets applied area by area with a dropper and you massage it in using circular motions and leave it on for 20 minutes before you get to your treatment shampoo and conditioner. It has a very minty scent and a subtle sensation that makes you feel its doing its job.
#2. Zenagen Revolve Treatment for Women Professional Thickening Therapy, $60, and Conditioner Professional Thickening Hydration Therapy, $30
This is a WONDER PRODUCT and I am so soooo happy Skin Whisperer Mary Schook told me to check it out! Zenagen is a hair care line that taps into the restorative benefits of natural ingredients. There is a version for men and one for women.
The Revolve Treatment is an all-natural shampoo you use every other day for 5 minutes that targets thinning, shedding and (male or female) pattern baldness. It also works to cleanse the hair follicles and leaves hair looking **majorly** thicker and fuller, with lots of volume.
After the very first use, I was sold. My hair was big and bouncy and beautiful. I also got compliments right away – which never hurts – including one from a favorite hair stylist!! Over time, I really do believe it’s helping as I see some regrowth coming in. (Fingers crossed!!)
The Revolve Conditioner is a unisex product and is also made to reduce shedding and increase volume, not to mention give great shine.
I love how my hair looks and how easy it is to blow out when I use the Revolve system.
And not seeing as much hair on the floor too is always a happy thing.
This paraben-free, phthalates-free, gluten-free powder hair makeup is made with argan oil, keratin and ginseng root extract. It comes in 8 rich, dimensional shades so you can match it to your haircolor. You brush it over any areas that are thinner and instantly they appear thicker. The powder is super light (with “micro-milled pigments’), literally takes seconds to apply, and cheats the illusion of a full, thick head of hair. You can use it to cover grey or incoming roots as well. It is natural looking (IRL and on-camera) and, unlike some sprays and fibers on the market, doesn’t budge or get all over your hands if you happen to touch your hair.
Madison Reed claims the product is rain, sweat and pillow-proof and will last until your next shampoo. As someone who uses it all the time, I would agree that these claims are true! I mean, I haven’t been caught in a monsoon using it but I have gotten through Soul Cycle classes and that speaks volumes.
I do love Color Wow too, as I mentioned in a previous post for covering grey streaks or errant strands, but seriously, what beats opening up this GORGEOUS luxe compact and seeing Hello Beautiful in the mirror??
It’s a literal sign for me to chill out – because this is so far from the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Like, helloooo beautiful, everything is okay.
#4. Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel, $30
When you are experiencing this kind of hair situation, the last thing you want is unnecessary roughness. You want to minimize any risk to hair. Since hair is most vulnerable when wet, and most towels aren’t exactly smooth and gentle, a great extra step is to invest in a towel that is made to absorb without harming your delicate strands. The Lisse Luxe hair towel from Aquis “dries fast with less friction, to minimize frizz and damage.” Sign me up!
It’s 19″ x 42″ and comes in 3 chic shades or a soft chevron print. The towel is made for all hair types from curly and course to fine and damaged. Every time I use it, I feel like I’m wrapping my hair up in the extra love it needs. (Yeah, I’ve totally gotten soft like that.)
#5. Metagenics Wellness Essentials Pregnancy Packets, 30 count, $55
There is a lot of debate over whether prenatal vitamins actually improve hair, skin and nails — or if improved hair, skin and nails are just a bonus of being pregnant and pregnant women take prenatals. (Age-old causal vs correlational situation.) I’ve read all sorts of things like the added iron helps with anemia and anemia is a cause of hair loss (particularly for women who don’t eat red meat, which was me) and also that the biotin in prenatals improves hair in every which way (length, texture, condition, etc). As a non-pregnant woman who takes prenatal vitamins, I am in the camp that they do help in strengthening hair and nails. For sure, 100%, I can say my nails grow longer and get stronger when I take them.
But do they make my hair grow? And I specifically mean not just existing strands longer but do they stimulate or allow for new hair growth? And do they stop or reduce hair shedding or thinning?
This I cannot answer with certainty. (Nor am I qualified to answer.)
What I can say is that these Metagenics pregnancy vitamins were recommended by my primary care practitioner. She feels, as do many in health and wellness, that not all vitamins are created equal, and that the Metagenics brand does not compromise on quality. Their prenatals come in little packets with an assortment of the 7 total pills you need to take daily. This makes it super easy to toss a packet in your bag every morning and travel with them too. Going away for the weekend? No need to count out the right amount from each pill bottle. Just toss 3 of the daily packets in your weekend bag and off you go.
Since I would love to become a parent in the future and since countless women rave about the benefits of prenatals whether or not they are pregnant and since my own doctor advised them for me, I feel really good about taking them. Since everyone is different, for this one I think just ask your doctor.
NOTE: Do not take them on an empty stomach! This took me some time to accept and I spent many a morning nauseous when I started on them :(
A final (non-product) solution I have been working on… and bringing it all full circle… stress management. Even when I didn’t think I was stressed or thought that I had stress under control — and when I looked, felt and truly believed I was rock solid — it turns out physiologically my body was telling a different tale.
I’ve found exercise and going to bed earlier whenever I can to help tremendously. But let’s be real, I’m not all zen at yoga. Oh hell no. I wish I could be that girl. And I’ve tried and tried. But for me, it’s knocking the shit out of a boxing bag, slamming down on the beat in spin class or pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in a HIIT class or a bootcamp. I leave these intense workouts either totally energized or completely calm and centered.
And I also try to be near water when that’s possible. With loved ones. That’s as close to peace as I think you can get.
Please let me know if you have any hair loss or hair thinning solutions that you’ve tried or heard about – or if you end up trying any of these above products, please let me know how they work for you!!
NOTE: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. Samples may have been provided for editorial consideration and/or my use as a professional makeup artist. All photos are property of DIVAlicious.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site, with a goal to SPREAD BEAUTY, is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.