How to Salvage Your Thinning Hair
You’re going to lose your hair. Maybe not all of it, but at least some of it. This is a fact. Thinning hair is an almost universal reality.
Let's be clear: There’s no shame in hair loss. A lot of us choose to embrace it, rather than trying to regrow it. Even if you do take the measures to grow it back, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have your 18-year-old hairline again. So get comfortable.
Given all these facts of life, the best thing you can do is to deploy some new products – and perhaps even a new style – to accommodate for the change. You can make the most of your thinning hair, buzz cuts (and combovers) be gone. Just try these simple fixes to make everything look thicker and fuller.
First, get the right cut
If you’re thinning uniformly, you still have a host of style options. Even if you plan to “have your hair your whole life”, it’s going to get significantly thinner over the years. The follicle itself will shrink, as will the density of the hair overall. Have your barber texturise your hair when you go in. He or she will snip away at the hairs to give it slightly different lengths throughout. This will do two things: It will allow the hair to fall into place without getting too bulky – especially since you can still wear your hair down and get full coverage, even if it’s less dense than before – but it also adds definition and texture for whenever you style your hair up.
If you’re receding at the temples, a slightly longer style – a couple inches or more – will benefit you most, if you want to cover the temples. After all, the aim here isn’t to deny your hair loss, it’s to work with it. Technically, this teeters into comb-over territory, but you won’t be accused of it so long as you aren’t severely thinning up top. Lastly, shorter styles should be texturised, then styled up and forward. The noise of it all will distract from the recession, without entirely denying it.
Then, switch to the right styling product
If you’re styling it forward, pick a texturising paste. It can be applied to wet or dry hair, which will dictate hold and shine. (Applied wet yields firmer hold and higher shine once it dries.) I like R+Co.’s Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, a hybrid styler and dry shampoo. It absorbs excess grease and adds grit and texture to your look. This makes your forward-facing style more of a style, instead of a dull lack thereof.
If you’re styling it up, then actual dry shampoo is a good place to start. (And Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo is a great one.) It texturises the hair by stripping excess oils, and should be used on days you don’t shampoo (see the ”Maintenance” notes in the next section.) This will make the hair look thicker overall, and on alternate days you can use a thickening cream (for which I’d also endorse Living Proof), which will temporarily coat and boost each strand of hair for a fuller style. You can dry it with a blow dryer for extra volume, if you’ve got uniform thinning and don’t mind exposing your hairline.
If you’re sweeping it to one side, then the goal changes from volumising to movement. Stick with a styling cream (V76 has great light and medium options.) Creams help control frizz and direction, without adding any bulk to the style.
And perfect your maintenance routine
Don’t wash it every day, unless you want volume. The natural oils produced by the scalp are actually nourishing and conditioning agents for the hair. When you shampoo, you strip the hair of these oils. Sure, sometimes it gets greasy and needs a washing, but oftentimes a simple rinse will flush the hair of product and excess grease, without stripping it entirely. That being said, if you do wash your hair daily, you’ll notice it gets poofy and dry, and is thus more voluminous. Maybe this is what you want, after all! Then be my guest, but take note that it isn’t going to improve the quality of your hair. If you want to perfect that, just wash it every other day, then deploy dry shampoo on the in-between days to remove any excess grease and add volume.
Use a conditioner daily. One, this will help rinse out any product on the non-shampoo days. More importantly, however, it will fortify the hair and scalp with nutrients, keeping everything healthy, strong, and style-ready. (As opposed to dry, overly washed hair, which tends to be resistant to styling products.) On days when you shampoo, use the conditioner last, otherwise it’s pointless. If you mix it with the shampoo or buy a 2-in-1, it’s also less effective. The idea is that it’s the last coat you put on your hair in the shower, to restore any vitality that you stripped away with the shampoo, or to reverse damage from environmental wear. (As for a good conditioner, Martial Vivot has one I love, since it preserves hair’s natural volume and density.)