Tag Archives: shedding

PJ Moment: Garnier Fructis Fall Fight

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FructicHairFall

I am forever obsessed with products claiming to reduce shedding!!! Garnier Fructis’s Fall Fight system of shampoo, conditioner and strand saver spray claims to save 100s* of strands from shedding or breaking per month. Of course, that “*” is accompanied with the explanation … “in a brushing test that measures breakage, compared to a non-conditioning shampoo.” In comparison to a NON-CONDITIONING SHAMPOO?!?! That’s the point of comparison?!? Now you know dang well our conditioner happy butts ain’t just using shampoo!!! This is why it’s so important to read the small print!! I won’t be parting with my hard-earned money to find out if this works until they compare it to what a grown woman with two brain cells to rub together would use on wash day … A shampoo AND conditioner. PJ urge quelled!!!

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Have you tried/would you try Fall Fight? If you’ve  tried it, are you seeing less shedding? 

Shedding … Ughhh.

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If you are one of those lucky souls who barely seems to shed a hair during the week or on wash day, this post is not for you. *lol* Seriously!! I’m sooooo jealous when I read statements like, “My shedding is almost non-existent.” Or when I see a YouTuber doing her hair and don’t see even one strand on her hands. I’ll be squinting hard, nose to the screen, just hoping to see one or two to make me feel better about the ball of hair that is inevitable any time I detangle my hair, wet or dry. So, this is a shout-out to all my ladies who see those dang shed hairs every step of their wash day and styling process!! HOLLA!!! *lol*

Okay, let me stop being silly ;). I really do have a point. I know many of us are often concerned about the amount of shed hair that we see, me included! And, we’ve probably all heard that shedding 50-100 hairs a day is normal. And, we know that most of the hairs we are seeing are shed and not broken, because we see and/or feel the bulb on one end of the strand.

But, despite all that, when we see those strands falling free on days that we wear our hair down (HIH is often an accomplice) and see that hair ball getting bigger on wash day as strands litter the bathroom floor, shower walls and drain, it can be unnerving and anxiety-inducing. Well, at least it can be for me!

And, when I become concerned about my hair, I put on my research cap and try to understand what is happening. Hopefully, what I’ve learned will be of benefit to others! So, here is a little information about the three phases of the hair life cycle.

via Follicle.com

Anagen Phase – Growth Phase
Approximately 85% of all hairs are in the growing phase at any one time. The Anagen phase or growth phase can vary from two to six years. Hair grows approximately 10cm per year and any individual hair is unlikely to grow more than one meter long.

Catagen Phase – Transitional Phase
At the end of the Anagen phase the hairs enters into a Catagen phase which lasts about one or two weeks, during the Catagen phase the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length. The lower part is destroyed and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below.

Telogen Phase – Resting Phase
The resting phase follows the catagen phase and normally lasts about 5-6 weeks. During this time the hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle while the dermal papilla stays in a resting phase below. Approximately 10-15 percent of all hairs are in this phase at an one time.

Now, I’ll issue a couple of disclaimers here. First, all sources don’t agree on the length of time of the Telogen Phase. I’ve found other sites that indicate that it can last as long as 3-4 months. However, the point is that this phase lasts a significant amount of time. In fact, one of my hennaed grey shed hairs is what prompted me to find information on how long the Catagen and Telogen phases last. I had a hair that was red to the tip and I hadn’t hennaed in two months. So, if that hair had been growing, I would have expected to see an inch of grey at the roots. But I didn’t. Now I know why.

The second disclaimer is in relation to the Anagen phase. The sources can’t seem to agree on how long this lasts either. Some indicate 2-6 years, whereas others indicate 3-5. However, what is even more interesting to note is that the studies that determined this were extremely limited.

The Natural Haven via BlackGirlLongHair.com

[W]hat many people do not know is that the widely quoted scientific figure is in fact based on 2-3 small scale studies which account for as few as 2 individuals. There are in fact no studies which actually track a reasonable group of individuals over a period of years to firmly determine how long the hair growth cycle actually is.

Furthermore there is evidence that this 2-6 year widely accepted length could be considerably wrong. One interesting study which measured hair length of visitors to US theme parks and hair lengths recorded online on long hair sites, came to the conclusion that the average normal length of the anagen phase could be as long as 12 to 14 years.

Interesting, right?!? Anywho, all this being said, there are a few things to consider when attempting to determine if the amount of hair you are shedding is normal for you.

  1. How dense is your hair? The more strands of hair that you have on your head, the more hair that you can expect to shed given that 10-15% of your hair is in the telogen phase at any given time. I even notice that the denser left side of my head sheds more than the right side. (Check out this article on CurlyNikk.com if you’re not certain how to determine your hair density.)
  2. How long is your hair? As your hair gets longer, it can create the “optical illusion” that your shedding is increasing. But remember, the same number of hairs that you shed when your hair is shorter will appear like more hair the longer that your hair gets. Ten waist length hairs are going to look like a lot more hair than ten TWA hairs. 🙂
  3. How are you styling your hair between wash sessions? If you wear your hair in protective styles that you aren’t manipulating between wash days, then you will see far more shed hair than someone who is styling their hair from day to day or wearing lose styles. This is because the hair that would normally fall is effectively “trapped” in the protective style. So, those 50-100 hairs that one would expect to shed each day all accumulate until you manipulate your hair again. That means that if you wash every 7 days, you could lose between 350-700 hairs on wash day! Woah, that’s a lot of hair! Buuut, it’s normal.
  4. Is the volume of your shedding consistent? If you’re like me, you never paid too much attention to your shedding until you started a “healthy hair journey.” You have only a vague recollection of how much your hair shed as it didn’t really concern you. Then, you discovered natural hair online. Goodness. LOL!! But, even if you don’t know what your hair shed looked like previously, evaluating it at consistent intervals can allow you to determine whether it’s increasing, decreasing or remaining constant. Some ladies go as far as counting their shed hairs and/or placing them in a baggie to compare from week to week. That would drive me crazy. So, I just look at the size of my hair ball and try to make certain it looks relatively the same from week to week on wash day.
  5. Are internal or external factors affecting your shedding rate? As many know, pregnancy hormones can cause the hair to “stick” in the anagen phase, resulting in longer, fuller, thicker hair. A few months after having a baby, all the hair that got “stuck” in the growing phase during pregnancy gets “unstuck” and shedding can decrease dramatically, resulting in bald spots. Hormonal changes due to the aging process can also cause an increase in shedding. Shedding can increase in the spring and fall due to seasonal changes in the environment. Stress can cause excessive shedding as can nutritional deficiencies. Finally, a product that “disagrees” with your scalp and causes irritation can cause shedding above normal rates (e.g. Amla caused me to have a horrible bout of shedding for months).

So, all that being said, although I hate seeing that dang ball of hair every wash day, I know that what I’m seeing currently is normal for me. I try not to compare my hair shed to that of others as it would drive me crazy. When I see the amount of shed hair increasing, I try to make the appropriate adjustments. Hence, when my hair was coming out like crazy after using amla for a few months, I stopped using amla. (I also tried black tea rinses, but that didn’t really do much for me.) When my hair was shedding/breaking excessively last fall, I discovered that I was over-conditioned and introduced protein into my regimen and the hair fall decreased dramatically.

Now, I definitely don’t have all of the answers. And, if you think that the amount of hair that you are shedding is increasing or abnormal, you should consult with a medical professional. But, I just wanted to share what I have learned in hopes that it will help others understand and analyze their own hair in order to diagnose what is normal and find solutions for what isn’t. Hope that it worked!

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How do you know if your shedding is normal or abnormal? What techniques and/or products have you found to be effective in controlling excessive shedding?

Sunflower Oil for Hair

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If you remember, as part of my GOC regimen, I indicated that I would start oiling my scalp with sunflower oil. This was because I went to a salon where the stylist recommended sunflower oil to reduce shedding. After some research, I found information that indicated that sunflower oil is a nice light oil for those with oily hair or fine hair that is easily weighed down (see articles here and here). However, I didn’t find anything to support that the topical application of this oil to the scalp reduces shedding or thickens hair. I did find that taking a teaspoon a day orally might provide these benefits though.

via LiveStrong.com

Nutrition

Sunflower oil contains gamma linolenic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid. Such fatty acids are essential to hair health, says Spencer David Kobren in his book, “The Truth About Women’s Hair Loss: What Really Works for Treating and Preventing Thinning Hair.” GLA also is effective in preventing hair loss from male and female pattern baldness as well as alopecia areata, which causes round patches of lost hair. Just 1 tsp. a day is all that’s needed, Kobren says.

In regard to topical hair application, I located a study that compared the protein retaining and hair strengthening properties of coconut oil to sunflower and mineral oils.

via NCBI.com

The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils. Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product. Both sunflower and mineral oils do not help at all in reducing the protein loss from hair. This difference in results could arise from the composition of each of these oils. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft. Mineral oil, being a hydrocarbon, has no affinity for proteins and therefore is not able to penetrate and yield better results. In the case of sunflower oil, although it is a triglyceride of linoleic acid, because of its bulky structure due to the presence of double bonds, it does not penetrate the fiber, consequently resulting in no favorable impact on protein loss.

After reading this information, I have decided that:

  • I will not use sunflower oil on my scalp.
  • May occasionally use it on my hair post-wash.
  • I will continue to use Vatika oil, which is primarily coconut oil, for pre-pooing.
  • I may start incorporating a teaspoon of sunflower oil a day into my diet (i.e. on salad).

So, what will I use on my scalp? I have decided to use Wild Growth Hair Oil (WHGO). Stay tuned for more on my research on that ;))!!

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Do you use sunflower oil for your hair and/or scalp? If so, how and what has been your experience with it?

January GOC Update: Carla

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by Carla (Tenth Wave)

It’s been a while since I updated my GOC!

This past December, I realized that my hair sheds a lot. It’s not that it hasn’t been shedding for years already; I guess I was in denial before. It’s way more than the standard 100 strands a day. I saw my doctor about it in early January and she confirmed my worst fear. I was referred to a dermatologist and will have my appointment early February. I will update when I get some answers.

One thing I’ve been doing these past several weeks is shampooing my scalp more often. My scalp has been itching quite a bit and I can’t help but to wonder if it’s related to my shedding. After about the 4th day, my scalp is killing me with the itchies! I take whatever shampoo I’m going to use (these days Trader Joe’s Tree Tea Tingle) add lavender and basil oil to it and apply it directly on my scalp, massage, leave it on for about 30 minutes, wash it out and condition. I’ve been doing this twice a week and my hair and scalp loves it. I’m also still using henna on my hair. I’ve slacked off for a bit, but my goal is to do it twice a month as time and supply allows. I’m primarly using natural products on my hair and that makes a big difference too.

So far my hair is doing well other than the shedding. It’s difficult for me to take photos of my hair solo, but here are a couple. I wish I could do a length check, but I doubt my hair has grown much since the last time I did one. I’ll do one on my next update. My hair is BSL and has a lot of shrinkage, but I’m OK with that.

In terms of the health and fitness challenge, I’m doing quite well. I’ve stepped up my power lifting and continue to challenge myself in the gym. For example, I’m up to 100 lbs on the dead lifts, 365 lbs on leg press and so on. My diet is still very much Paleo with a lot of added vegetables. My mother recently sent me a video about a doctor who treated her multiple sclerosis with the Paleo diet and nutrition. It’s good to know I was already on a similar path as this doctor. Weight training has helped me tremendously when it comes to fitness, mobility, fatigue and so on. This is my third year since I’ve been diagnosed and I’m doing better than I was three years ago.

I’m curious, does anyone shampoo as often as I do these days, or at least once a week? Co-washing is great, but I think it causes too much build-up on my scalp.

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I’ve co-washed regularly in the past with lots of success. However, I now use a sulfate-free shampoo on a weekly basis. On occasion, I’ll go two weeks between shampoos, but that’s usually the max and I don’t even have scalp issues. So, I don’t see a problem shampooing that often as long as you are using a sulfate-free shampoo and/or diluting a sulfate shampoo and/or “buffering” with a conditioner or oil pre-poo first! So many options, right?

Hope that your visit to your dermatologist pays off Carla and that you get your shedding under control. I know how stressful that can be!!

Protein Convert Over Here!

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Yup, it’s true. I am a believer now. My hair feels so much stronger and the shedding has decreased drastically. Literally, I had my hair down a few weeks back when I went to work, and had hair coming out left and right. It was never-ending and I knew it just wasn’t normal as I couldn’t touch my hair without pulling away multiple strands of shed hair (and they were sheds, I inspect for the bulb;).

Now, after two ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor treatments (see my review here), I may lose 2 or 3 strands when I take down my updos at night. I just wish that I had learned how to properly use protein sooner as I might have kept a lot more hair on my head! Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Anywho, I’m doing some research now as I’ve yet to find any scientific evidence to support that OVER-moisturized hair could result in excessive shedding. However, I know my own head of hair, and I know that my shedding decreased after the protein treatments. I also know that my hair was feeling very soft and now it feels stronger and able to withstand manipulation a lot better. I even noticed that my hair isn’t snagging on my brush when I’m smoothing my edges like it was immediately prior to the treatments. So, I’m wondering if there is an ingredient (or ingredients) in ApHogee, other than protein, that could be responsible for this effect? The bottle did indicate that it soothes an irritated scalp. As an irritated scalp can result in excessive shedding and this treatment is touted to have something to combat that, that is where I’ll be directing my “research” and investigative skills. I found this thread on Long Hair Care Forum that poses the question, does OVER moisturized hair cause excessive shedding and does protein help stop shedding? The overwhelming consensus seems to be that there is no scientific evidence to support this premise … and some even call it ludicrous, essentially. Therefore, I think I’ll direct my search more towards how protein or other ingredients in this particular ApHogee treatment may affect the scalp. My logic leads me to hypothesize that something is causing the scalp to tighten around the follicle, whether it is somehow due to clarification of product residue, “hard” water and/or hardening of the hair strand. So, I’ll have to see if I can find anything to prove (or disprove) this theory.

Things that make you go, “Hmmmmmm … .”

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Do you use protein conditioning treatments? If so, which one(s)? Do you notice a decrease in shedding (differentiate from decrease in breakage) after use? 

(I’m hoping to be able to identify some common ingredients in protein treatments that appear to reduce shedding to further focus my research! So, thanks for any and all feedback!)

GOC Update: Luv.Lyfe

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Luv.Life (Seventh Wave) tells us about her efforts to combat dryness and excessive shedding.

My same old bun after a bit of finger detangling.

by Luv.Lyfe of My Lyfe My Growth

Here’s my update!

Fitness:

My fitness program has almost been nonexistent; however, I have kept up with good eating habits … for the most part :). Not much to say in this area, but I will get it together!  My fitness regimen will be improved by the next update!

Hair:

I have spent this time trying to learn my hair and I’ve done all that I can to get to know these strands of mine. I figure it makes sense to learn it before I can grow it to my goal length. Well this was a costly lesson. I have had to deal with some serious shedding and excessive dryness. I then read somewhere that shedding can be caused by dry hair.  Duh!!!! Well, it now made sense to me as I had noticed my hair was very, very dry. I attributed it to the henna treatments (I’ve done three in four weeks) and thought it came with the territory. Although I deep conditioned after every henna, my hair was always strawlike after each treatment. To combat the dryness, I deep conditioned and applied Kimmaytube, sealing with different oils (jojoba oil, coconut oil or olive oil), but nothing helped with the excessive shedding or the horribly dry hair I dealt with on a daily basis.

After reading the post regarding moisturizing to combat shedding, I decided to try something new until I find a good leave-in conditioner. I pre-poo with coconut oil, then co-wash with Aussie Moist or Herbal Essence Hello Hydration once or twice a week. It may sound weird, but I am using a shea butter and HE HH mixture as a leave-in and it has helped tremendously. Until I can find a good leave in, HE HH is working just fine this week.  I’m not sure if it will prove to be a benefit in the long run, but I love the way my hair feels now.
By the way, I am beginning to see the the effects of the henna.  Luv it!
Let’s grow!!!

A failed flat twist 😦

Back to my bun shortly after a co-wash.

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Glad you’ve found something that is working to restore moisture to your hair Luv.Lyfe! Did the dry hair start after you began using henna? If so, what type of deep conditioner and daily conditioner were you using? Were either protein-based? Those might contribute to dry, brittle hair. Also, not everyone does well with henna. But you indicated that you are starting to see the results! What are you experiencing?

Has persistently dry hair been your Albatross? Were you able to remove the bird from around your neck? If so, what do you think was causing the dryness and what did you do to fix it?
Do tell!! 

Dabur Vatika Hair Fall Control Cream Review

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I am a heavy shedder, but felt that I was losing more hair than normal over the last year. So, I’ve been looking for solutions for the last several months. About two months ago, I was at my local Indian grocer for some Dulhan Henna. Now, as you may or may not know, I’m a PJ. So, being in the Indian grocery hair aisle is like little PJ heaven. I start reading the bottles and boxes looking for my next fix. Then, I saw this Dabur Vatika Naturals Hair Fall Control Styling Hair Cream for $5.99. It claimed to help reduce “hair fall,” or shedding as we locals call it;-).Ingredients: EVOO, cactus extract, D-Panthenol and perfume (It’s the cactus extract that is supposed to reduce hair fall.) … “Okay, okay. Not bad, not bad.” As I’m a PJ and a fan of Vatika oil, this was a no-brainer.

The instructions indicate that it should be used to coat the hair from root to tip 15 minutes prior to washing. It also states that a small amount should be used on hair after washing. I’ve been using this cream for about two months now as a pre-poo in place of Vatika oil. I generally separate my hair into four sections, coat each section with the cream (more like saturate) while gently and lightly finger detangling, then twist each section, don a plastic baggie and a winter hat and either hit the sack or the basement for a workout.

Both the bed and the exercise provide a nice, little heated pre-poo=). Anywhere from an hour or a day after I pre-poo, I shampoo, condition to fully finger detangle and then DC. My initial impression of the cream was that it provided tons of slip, seemed to encourage wave/curl, but made my hair feel a little “hard” when I saturated it with water for a co-wash. However, the hard may have been a good thing in that henna/protein strengthening way. My hair didn’t feel dry or brittle, just harder. And, as soon as I put on conditioner, it softened. The second time I used it, I slept in it overnight and then bunned my hair for the day as I didn’t have time to wash it. When I got home at the end of the day and took the bun down, the cream had soaked into my hair and it wasn’t at all greasy. My waves/curls were sooo enhanced, a very desired effect as henna has loosened my curls and I want them back (another post for another day;). I’ve used the cream about four or five times now with consistent results and purchased two more jars of it on my last trip to the Indian grocer. However, in regard to the shedding control claim, I didn’t notice any appreciable reduction from using this product. So, I give this a thumbs up as a moisturizing pre-poo that provides nice slip for “dry” detangling, but a “meh” as a “hair fall” control cream. Stay tuned for my Shedding post later this week to find out what finally did work for me!