As menopause approaches, many women experience problems with hair loss. Hair can become thinner and more brittle, with sparse patches appearing on the scalp and a more visible parting or hairline. We take a look at how to deal with hair loss, and the best styles and hair care products for menopause hair.
During menopause, changing levels of hormones - including oestrogen and androgens - can cause the hairs on the scalp to become thinner, lighter and shorter, and to fall out more readily, which can be distressing and have a real impact on self-confidence. However, there are lots of simple and practical things you can do to help cope with menopause hair loss and feel more confident.
How do you treat hair loss and menopause?
With some simple steps, you can help protect and improve the health of your hair:
Turn down the heat - you can help protect against menopause hair loss by reducing your use of heated styling equipment, such as hair dryers, tongs and hair straighteners, which can weaken your hair and cause breakage. Avoid using high heat settings, and let your hair dry naturally or use a diffuser.
Eat a balanced diet - you are what you eat, the saying goes, and this also applies to your hair. Be sure to include plenty of lean protein, wholegrains, leafy green veg, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, which contain the nutrients you need for healthy hair. It’s also important to stay hydrated, by drinking 8-10 glasses of non-alcoholic liquid every day.
Many women find it helpful to take a nutritional supplement, such as Lindens Biotin Vitamins for Hair Growth, which can help support strong and healthy hair. (Note: you should always speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.) You can read more about managing diet and weight during menopause here.
Keep fit and healthy - doing some regular exercise, getting a good night’s sleep, and managing your stress levels by practising yoga or mindfulness will also help to regulate your body’s hormonal balance and reduce the risk of hair loss.
Protect your hair - If you’re suffering from hair loss, it’s important to protect your scalp and your existing hair from extremes of weather including hot sun.
There are plenty of stylish, lightweight headwear options available, in a wide range of fabrics and designs - from pretty silk scarves and headbands to fabric hats and beanies, which can protect your hair and also help you to feel elegant and confident.
The best hair care products for menopause hair
To help protect hair after menopause, it’s best to avoid using anything that contains harsh chemicals. Opt for natural, organic products which have been specially designed to help improve the strength and appearance of hair and support healthy growth.
The Live Better With community recommend using a growth stimulating shampoo and conditioner, such as Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo for Fine and Brittle Hair, which helps to reduce menopausal hair loss by stimulating the hair roots and protecting brittle and stressed hair; and FAST shampoo and conditioner, which encourages hair to grow back thicker and faster.
Meanwhile, applying a topical solution, such as Toppik Hair Building Fibers, can be a quick and easy way of helping to build the appearance of thicker, fuller hair. They work by binding to your existing hair, and will stay put until your next shampoo - simply shake the product onto your thinner patches.
Colouring your hair can also help to give your hair a boost - but it’s important to use the right products. Many hair colours contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia, which can strip the hair and irritate the scalp. Try Tints of Nature hair dye, which is kind to hair and can help restore colour, softness and elasticity. (Note: you should always carry out a skin test before using any hair dye or colorant.)
What styles and cuts can help with menopause hair loss?
Choosing the right style and cut can help to create depth and volume, lessening the impact of hair loss. There are plenty of options which look chic and fashionable, and can be adapted to suit your own hair texture and facial features.
Chic cuts for menopause hair
Shorter cuts offer an elegant and low-maintenance solution which can give hair a lift and draw attention away from areas of thinning and hair loss.
A classic bob is fresh and flattering, and allows a range of options for styling according to your personal taste. Wearing a straight or swept fringe can help to disguise thinning around the front hairline.
Think Faye Dunaway’s sexy ‘long bob’ in Bonnie and Clyde; Meg Ryan’s chic 90s shaggy bob; or Victoria Beckham’s sleek asymmetrical bob.
A short pixie cut looks feminine and sophisticated, while an asymmetrical cut can help to create depth and drama.
Meanwhile, adding in some choppy layers and ends to create a shaggy bob will give your hair bags of texture and volume.
If you prefer to wear your hair longer, using multiple long layers can help to frame your face, while lending extra volume and movement to your hair. Think of Jennifer Aniston’s iconic ‘Rachel cut’.
Style tricks for menopause hair
To help disguise patchy or thinning areas, try changing where your parting normally sits, as this is one area where hair loss can appear more pronounced. Using a jagged rather than a straight parting can also help to add volume and cover exposed areas of scalp.
Styling your hair with gentle curls or waves can add bounce and movement; while a ‘half up’ do with the top worn in a twist or bun will add extra height. Adding in some natural lowlights or highlights can also create depth and fullness.
Read more hair style tips in our article: Summer hair style inspiration for dry and brittle hair
Also, check out our article on Brittle Hair and Nails in Menopause.
For information and advice on hair loss during menopause, and to share your tips or questions, why not visit the Live Better With Menopause community forum.