Unless you were lucky enough to be born with picture-perfect hair—immune to frizz, breakage and flyaways (yes, Gisele, we’re talking to you)—you’ve got a hair hang-up or two.
Everyday wear and tear, plus harsh hair habits such as daily blow drying, wielding hot tools like curling irons and getting chemical straightening treatments, punish your strands. The result? Frizzy, crispy, lifeless hair that’s chockfull of split ends.
Rather than putting up with a slew of self-esteem-blowing bad hair days, you can take smart steps to handle these hairy situations. Here’s how to tame your mane and get the healthy, radiant hair you crave.
Breakage: Most breakage occurs from everyday wear and tear. Everything you do to your hair—brushing, blow-drying, styling—can tear it. The less you mess with your hair, the less breakage you’ll likely have. Treat your hair like a delicate silk blouse and go easy on the vigorous brushing, scorching heat and tight clips.
Thinning: If your mane isn’t as full and lush as it used to be, your hair may be thinning. Maybe your ponytail is getting skinnier, or you can see more of your scalp through your part, which is a sign of allover, evenly dispersed thinning. Or you’ve noticed thinning in small patches.
General thinning is usually due to the natural aging process and hormonal changes, but diet, medical issues, some prescription medications and stress can all be a factor. If you think your hair is unusually thin, consider talking to your doctor. In one U.K. study, 67 percent of the women in a thinning-hair group had the endocrine disorder polycystic ovarian syndrome.
If you regularly wear your hair in tight braids or twists, or if you sleep in tight rollers, you might be experiencing traction hair loss, which is when constant tugging on the hair follicle causes patches of hair loss. Sometimes a small bald patch is the first sign of alopecia areata, a disease that causes hair loss. If you can’t think of a reasonable explanation for your thinning hair, see your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy-related thinning: During pregnancy, your hair may feel thicker because estrogens extend the growth cycle, leading to longer hair that’s less likely to fall out. Though most common lore says hair always gets thicker, that isn’t the case for a whopping two-thirds of women who see no change or even thinning hair during pregnancy. After birth, your hair may fall out in clumps as the growth cycle shortens again. Don’t worry; you’re not balding! Your system is just resetting. The changes you see are rarely permanent—hair typically goes back to normal over time.
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