Female hair loss and shedding + remedies for control

This blog post is dedicated to female hair loss and shedding + remedies for control. It’s a very personal post, and it makes me nervous to admit, but I experienced major hair loss and hair shedding two years ago that left me feeling so self conscious and anxious. Fortunately with some tips and remedies, it grew back strong and healthy. So I want to dedicate this blog post to sharing my tips with you.

Read on to learn why I experienced hair loss in the first place, and some remedies used to help me get my healthy hair back. These include both oral and topical remedies. They’re natural and easy additions to my routine, and have made a big difference in my hair regrowth.

I realize that everyone will have different experiences, and what works for some may not for others. However, I know I would have really appreciated a blog post like this one during my struggle. I felt lost on what to do, and there isn’t a lot of support for women going through female hair loss.

Not much support for us women…

I did so much research on female hair loss and hair shedding, and TBH I felt super alone in the experience. It seems like all the articles and advice is for men, and everything for women is focused on how to get long mermaid hair – when I just wanted my normal amount of hair back! Hair loss for women is just not a topic that’s widely discussed.

I hope if anything this blog post can help provide relief for women experiencing hair loss and hair shedding, to know you’re not alone! And you will get through it. Lots of women experience hair loss at all points in their lives for various reasons. So let’s share our tips and tricks, because hair loss isn’t just something men experience.

female hair loss before remedy
My hair before making remedies
female hair loss after remedy
My hair now, six months later after applying these easy remedies

Why I experienced female hair loss:

I noticed significant hair loss after going off birth control pills. In fact, my mum was first to notice when she came to visit me in France. She wasn’t being rude or pointing out my flaws, but sometimes when you don’t see someone for a long period of time you pick up on differences, and she definitely noticed a change in my hair.

Hair loss isn’t an instant thing – I didn’t wake up one morning with no hair. But the more I reflected on it the more I realized after going off birth control I did notice significant amounts of my hair strands all over the house. I’d be picking them off the kitchen counter while I cooked, handfuls coming out when washing my hair, and copious amounts at my desk. It freaked me out!

We started thinking about my lifestyle changes that may have attributed to this change. I didn’t feel stressed, and my diet remained the same. But, I had gone off birth control a couple months prior. This was a red flag for my mum as she’s experienced female hair loss herself during hormonal changes in her life – pregnancy and menopause. We did extensive research on the topic and came to learn it’s really common for women to experience hair loss and shedding from hormonal imbalance.

After being on the pill for so many years, and seeing a major thinning of hair after stopping, I’m certain it is the reason. Here’s a couple articles speaking more to the topic from Healthline and the American Academy of Dermotology.

female hair loss before remedy
my hair after experiencing major hair loss and shedding. I feel anxious even sharing this photo as it looks so unhealthy.

The not-so-trivial anxiety about female hair loss

It might sound trivial to be so focused on something like the thickness of your hair, but I know first hand just how self-conscious hair loss makes you feel. I was SO shy about my hair loss and would get very anxious about people noticing. I would try hiding it in photos or avoid them altogether, and look for its “state” in every reflection. I had real anxiety thinking about seeing my friends and family and having them comment on its thinness. And I hated going to the hair dressers for the dreaded words “you have very fine hair.”

I would walk down the street and fixate on women with beautiful, strong and long hair. Wishing so badly for my hair to look like theirs. It drove my husband crazy to hear me being so negative about myself. I’d get down on myself for not being able to wear the latest hair style trends, because my hair was too thin to braid, or too wispy for a high pony. It really affected my confidence, and how I went about my daily life.

So yes, although the idea of measly hair might sound trivial and silly to get upset about, it’s a real downer for women who experience female hair loss and shedding. Especially when our society glorifies women with long and abundant mermaid hair. And the conversation about hair loss is deemed only a problem for men.

In reality, a lot of women experience female hair loss and shedding for a host of reasons. For me it was hormonal, but it can also be due to stress and diet, weight-loss and more. So if you feel alone, please know you’re not!

female hair loss before remedy
I would wear my hair up a lot during this time, as it was so thin on the sides.

Remedies to control female hair loss and shedding

So, this brings me to sharing my tips and remedies for growing my hair back, after hair loss and shedding. I want to stress how hormonal imbalances in the body often work itself out, and so the results of my hair also lends itself to my body getting back to balance after going off the pill.

However, the remedies below certainly helped in the process, and are good tips for anyone looking to improve the health of their hair. Even though my hair has grown back, it’s never looked healthier and more full. I will continue to use these tips moving forward.

female hair loss before remedy
My hair before, thin with lots of breakage
female hair loss after remedy
My hair now, thicker and healthier than ever

Oral Remedies for female hair loss and shedding:

Let’s start with what I put in my body to help control female hair loss and hair shedding

Multivitamin supplement:

Adding a multivitamin to my diet is one of the best things I’ve done for the health of my hair. I know they say if you’re eating a well balanced diet, you can get the nutrients you need through food. But from my experience, taking a daily women’s multivitamin has played a major impact on the health of my hair, skin and nails in addition to eating healthy!

After starting multivitamins I noticed a major change in the thickness and strength of my hair, as well as my nails. With lots more hair growing in. I started taking multivitamins about a year before the episode of female hair loss, and still noticed a boost in hair production and strength. (I probably noticed it at around the three month mark). So even if you’re not experiencing female hair loss per se, a multivitamin can help with strengthening your hair and promoting growth. I am a big advocate for them based on my own experience.

The multivitamin I use is by a brand called Solgar. It’s more expensive than others on the market, but I love it. I discovered it here in France at the pharmacy, in which the pharmacists seem to have a high opinion of it.

I understand it’s hard to know which vitamin brands to trust, and which not. So you can always check with your pharmacist, doctor or naturopath as to what they recommend. I’m no expert but this Solgar multivitamin is definitely my favourite brand for women’s multivitamins, and I’m glad a few pharmacists recommended it.

B-Vitamin supplement:

In addition to a multi-vitamin I decided to add a b-complex to the mix. B-vitamins play a major role in hair health. My hair dresser recommended to start taking them, particularly biotin, which is known to help with hair growth. See more on the subject here.

B-vitamin pills are especially beneficial for those on a plant-based diet, as vitamin b12 is hard to get. It’s predominantly found in meats. So, I like to take a b-complex to cover all basis (b12 and biotin).

I’ve tried a few b-complex brands, but again this b-complex by Solgar version is my favourite. I really trust them for quality vitamins.

Protein:

So this is sort of a given. We all know a protein rich diet makes healthy strong hair. But it’s important to take time to actually think about how much protein you’re getting in your diet.

If you’re on a plant-based diet, you have to pay closer attention as it’s not available in such high amounts as meat. I actually hadn’t realized just how little protein I was getting in my diet until I started paying closer attention to it. There are lots of easy ways we can up our protein intake on a plant-based diet – when we’re mindful of it.

Adding more nuts, seeds and beans:

I made a conscious decision to add more beans, nuts and seeds to every meal. Lentils was an easy solution for me as they cook quickly, and you can easily toss them into dishes like stir-fry’s or salads to up the protein levels.

I also like to make a “seed mix” of chia seeds, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds, and sprinkle it on pretty much everything from my oatmeal to salads, to avocado toast and buddha bowls. I’ll even pack a bag full of nuts and seeds when I go traveling. If I’m at a restaurant and they can offer is a green salad for vegans, I can add my own protein.

I’m not the biggest fan of many plant-based proteins on the market as they’re full of fillers and artificial sweeteners, (which isn’t so great on the digestive system for those with IBS). But instead I’ll add 2-3 tbsp hemp hearts to my smoothies to up the protein and healthy fats. Three tablespoons of hemp hearts equates to 11g of protein!

These are the hemp hearts I like to buy, as a good plant-based protein source. You can add them to salads, oatmeal, and smoothies for a protein-boost. Be mindful of how you’re getting your protein, and add more when you can.

Topical Remedies for female hair loss and shedding:

Now for what I put on my body to help with female hair loss and shedding. These topical remedies helped to keep my existing hair, and ensure it grew healthier, stronger and more flexible.

Rosemary Oil

I’ve got to attribute rosemary oil as one of the best additions to my regiment for healthy strong hair. I started adding rosemary oil as a topical treatment for my scalp about three months ago, and have noticed a major difference in new hairs coming in, and improvement with hair shedding. To quote my hairdresser, the results are “incroyable!”

I actually discovered the benefits of rosemary oil for hair loss by fluke, when researching hair loss for men (as there is much more information on this this topic for men than women).

Many men will use a drug called “Minoxidil” for hair regrowth, it’s a topical ointment they massage into the scalp. What’s interesting is a study that pitted rosemary oil against “Minoxidil” and yielded similar results. Of course this peaked my interest!

It appears rosemary oil can help to stimulate blood flow to the head, and strengthen hair follicles. Which aids in hair growth and stops shedding. How freaking cool!?

There are lots of online recipes to make a rosemary oil hair mask, but if you’re lazy like me I really like this pre-made rosemary oil blend by Kiehl’s called “Magic Elixir.”

Kiehls magic elixir

I will add 1-2 tsp of this to my scalp before each wash, massaging the scalp and leaving it on for 20-30 minutes. Then I wash like normal. On weekends I’ll leave it for even longer – maybe a couple hours. You’ll notice the oil gives a tingly sensation on the scalp, which I love. I feel like you know it’s working.

It took about three months for me to notice a difference in new hair growth using rosemary oil. And I’m definitely going to continue its use. I hope it works for you!

No Sulphites, No Heat

Quality sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners are much kinder and less damaging to the hair.

I really like Aveda for haircare products, as well as Kiehl’s. The shampoo and conditioner collection I use is called “Damage Remedy” from Aveda. It’s a more expensive shampoo vs. buying from the drug store. So feel free to shop around for other sulphite-free and paraben free brands. But I really like Aveda for quality shampoos and conditioners.

I also reduced significantly the amount of heat I added to my hair. Instead of blow drying, straightening and curling, I now let it self-dry. The reduce of heat to my hair has really helped to keep the hair strong and healthy.

To style without heat, I like to add a few sprays of a product called “Texture Tonic” by Aveda while it’s wet. I spray it on and brush it through the hair with a comb, twist sections of the hair and scrunch it. Then I let it self dry. This gives it nice beach waves. The look is really pretty and much more gentle on the hair.

Braid before bed:

Before going to bed I will braid my hair. This is a great way to reinforce the hair for sleep.

While you’re sleeping it’s normal for your hair to tangle and break from friction against your sheets. Especially for fine hair. Braided hair is much stronger than each individual strand.

I will braid the hair before going to bed, and then apply a dry oil on the bottom to keep the ends moisturized. I no longer wake up with loads of hair in the bed after sleeping. Which is good for my hair and my mentality!

Join the scrunchy gang:

Another tip is to opt-in for fabric hair elastics. Since my hair is thin, and more easily breakable, scrunchies allow for a more gentle hold of the hair, and will reduce breakage. The good news is scrunchies are back in trend and so you can easily find them at accessory stores.

female hair loss after remedy
Feeling happier, and more confident than ever about my hair!

Summary:

I know this is a lot of information to digest. And so I want to clearly break down the details listed above. I used all of these tips, both oral and topical, to grow my hair back. Not one is the solution, but applying them all.

Oral Treatment:

  1. Taking multivitamin supplement
  2. Taking B-Complex supplement
  3. Increasing protein consumption with nuts, seeds and hemp hearts

Topical Treatments:

  1. Rosemary Oil or Kiehl’s Magic Elixir
  2. Switching to Shampoo/Conditioner with no sulphates (I like Aveda), and applying no heat
  3. Braiding hair before bed with dry oil for ends
  4. Using scrunchies for hair ties

So there we have it – a few of my tips both oral and topical, which helped me rebuild strong and healthy hair. I hope if you are experiencing female hair loss or hair shedding these remedies are as helpful to you as they have been for me.

Just know you’re not alone in experiencing female hair loss – so many women go through it! And there are lots of ways we can help our hair grow back faster, stronger and healthier.

And if you do try any of the tips let me know in the comments below what you think! I love hearing from you! Or, if you have other remedies that have worked for you please share below. It’s all about women supporting women! Wishing you all the best in your progress.

Here’s to getting your confidence back.

2 comments on “Female hair loss and shedding + remedies for control

  1. Thank you so much Hannah 🤗
    I’m suffering from hair loss fir past 16years. But, never really tried anything consistently. Went to dermatologist and they did a biopsy of scalp and diagnosed as .ale pattern baldness, that put me inti a downward spiral and never really felt like doing much as it’s of no use! But, will give topical remedies a try…thank you for sharing your experience and remedies with us.
    Deepta.

    • Hannah Sunderani

      17 May 2019 at 2:12 am Reply

      Hi Deepta, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. I can relate to how it feels being at a loss for what to do. I really hope some of these tips help you and I’m wishing you all the best!

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