I'm just gonna say it: Hair loss S-T-I-N-K-S. While shedding a few strands here and there is natural, hair loss can be exacerbated by all kinds of conditions, from stress and menopause, to diet and illness.
For me, hair loss, thinning, and breakage went from natural to worrisome in my mid-forties. That's when I entered perimenopause, that ever-so-fun phase of female life — as any woman who's been through it can attest — wherein a host of exciting side effects become your new normal. Mood swings and weight gain and sweating, oh my! Add hair loss to the mix and you've got a recipe for waning self-confidence, and on some days, sheer horror. Honestly, sometimes it seemed like my hair was falling off in sheets. Showering and shampooing became a hair-owing experience — pun intended — and I often wondered how there was anything at all left on my head.
Distressed, I tried everything: fancy shampoos, scalp massages, collagen powder, Biotin supplements, brushing my hair incessantly, not brushing my hair at all. Some worked better than others, but what worked best (and the treatment I still use) is a combination of three essential oils combined with either shampoo or a second "conductor oil." (I know, I was skeptical of plant remedies, too — but they do, in fact, work.) Here's my regimen of natural cures for hair loss, thinning, and breakage.
To Thwart Shedding
Add 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil to a dollop of shampoo and massage into scalp. Let sit 5 minutes, then rinse. Studies show antiseptic cedarwood dissolves dead skin cells that clog follicles and lead to fallout. Plus, its antifungal compounds kill dandruff-causing fungus. Both of these are good news for women struggling with hair loss. Whether due to stress, alopecia, aging, or illness, the effects of thin hair extend beyond physical well-being. We feel good when we look good — and for most women, healthy hair is part of that equation.
To ‘Fill In’ Sparse Spots
Combine 6 drops of peppermint oil with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and massage into scalp for 1 minute. Let sit 20 minutes, then rinse. Mint’s menthol boosts circulation, putting hair follicles into an active growth phase so new strands can mask sparse areas. Scientific research supports peppermint oil's hair-growing superpowers. A 2014 mouse study showed the elongation of hair follicles and exceptional hair growth and thickening within one month of consistent topical application of peppermint oil. While natural remedies have been used to treat hair loss for centuries, few have been scientifically evaluated in the way that peppermint oil has — and far fewer show such positive results.
To Beat Breakage
Stir 10 drops of rose essential oil into 2 tablespoons of olive oil and smooth over damp hair. Let sit 15 minutes, then rinse. Rose’s emollient properties lock in moisture to fortify strands, thwarting the brittleness and breakage that make tresses look thin. Additionally, rosehip oil is believed to enhance scalp health, which would, in turn, promote healthier hair. A 2015 study testing the efficacy of rosehip powder on facial skin suggested that it had substantial moisturizing benefits. Though more research is needed, if the results are correct, rosehip powder's positive impact on facial skin would likely translate to the scalp, as well — thus encouraging healthy hair growth.
Whether you favor long hair or short hair; embrace your gray or color it; were born with straight and slick or curly and textured tresses — there's help for hair loss and thinning. Just remember: You're perfect regardless of what's happening on your head... because you're perfectly, beautifully you.