Spring this year it was confirmed that I was actually in full on menopause … not perimenopause. Mercifully, it was during an event for womb health event which was a very nurturing space. I continue to take care of myself best I can. Honestly, my biggest bug bear is vertigo, hot flushes and the middle age tummy (no longer a ‘mummy tummy’). The grey hairs have begun to come through and for a while my hair felt like fibre. Fingers crossed, I think the marine collagen I’ve been taking is doing the job. My skin certainly looks better for it too. However, I felt I should follow up on my previous blog post ‘natural hair care during perimenopause’. Trichologist and Hair Expert, Afope Faahri, shared very helpful tips with me about hair care during menopause, now I will share them with you.
I met Afope Faahri and hair expert, at the UK launch of RevAir hair dryer. In fact, Afope tested the dryer on my hair. I knew my hair was thin but I was shocked to see how it looked when wet. Since going natural, it’s been a struggle to achieve the volume other naturalistas enjoy. The best results so far has been with drying my hair with a diffuser. The next best solution is humidity which I only enjoy for a few weeks in the UK summer.
Although my first big chop was at the age of 26, my natural hair journey began at 37. Could it be that my body was already changing, hence the lack of volume? I don’t know. I’ve had two additionally big chops, the last of which was in 2015. Recently I began to notice that some middle aged women experience thinning of the hair at the crown. It’s like when I was pregnant I began to see pregnant women everywhere. Well, now I’m in menopause and I noticing how it affects some when externally.
The loss of hair at the crown this (thinning at the sides or all over) is described as Female pattern hair loss (FPHL). I’m so grateful for what I’ve got but I wanted to know more, such as, how to care for hair during this phase.
Menopause & Hair Loss
I’ve noticed that my hair grows best in the summer. Afope tells me that that hair growth has a cycle. She says, “Women’s bodies (as with men’s) produce both male and female sex hormones, i.e. oestrogen and testosterone (androgens). The only difference is women typically produce more of the former whilst men produce more of the latter. It is also these hormones that we look to in order to understand how and why menopause is often accompanied with hair loss.
Interestingly I usually change my hair style roughly every 5 years which according to Afope is the end of the hair cycle. She says, “Each individual hair goes through a hair cycle, the longest of which is the growing phase which, typically lasts for an average of 4-5+/- years, after which the follicle sheds the hair and begins the growth of a new hair…”
We know that oestrogen in a woman’s body decreases during menopause. As a result, less oestrogen leads to shorter growth phases (and shorter hairs) Reassured, this doesn’t equate to us going bald in our golden years. Menopause related hair loss does slow down.
Haircare during Menopause
Then I wondered, if we are experiencing thinning hair during menopause, how do we care for the hair we’ve got left?! Right about that time, the greys are popping are we are likely to be tempted to colour them. Additionally, for a naturalistas who blow dry and straighten be safe, is that safe?
Afope advices the following:
- Invest in gentle, natural hair products where you can.
- You may also benefit from thickening shampoos and conditioners that work to improve the appearance of the hair’s volume. (Horsetail extract is a great natural hair thickener)
- Dandruff and scalp dryness may also be an issue with menopausal women – medicated shampoos and conditioners targeted at combatting this issue should help. (lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and ylang ylang essential oils are great natural remedies for this, and can be mixed into your natural shampoos)
- Avoid harsh styling practices, especially tight styles that can pull on the hair and cause traction alopecia. The same goes for using heat appliances, heat damage will only further compromise the quality of hair that is already thinner and weaker.
- Consider going short. Speak with your stylist on shorter hairstyles that will allow you to achieve the appearance of “fuller” hair and can be easily maintained without too much manipulation or harsh styling practices.
Have you found this blog post helpful? Please share your hair stories and tips below.