Frizzy and thinning menopause hair was not what I expected when I yearned for a period-free life. Watching my mother go through perimenopause and menopause, I was familiar with the unwanted side-effects of estrogen’s rude departure. I thought I could handle the hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and a growing waistline in exchange for losing the recurring red beast. After all, for two weeks per month, I had many of the same symptoms, along with debilitating cramps. But I was completely caught off-guard by what these hormonal changes would do to my hair!
Shortly after the transition from perimenopause to menopause, I began noticing clumps of hair in my shower drain and tiny bald patches on my scalp. And my once silky hair started to get frizzy and thin, like Bozo the clown minus the body.
What Causes Frizzy and Thinning Menopause Hair?
In menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels drop but male hormones, known as androgens fall more slowly over time. The imbalance between estrogen and progesterone compared to androgens causes the hair on our head to thin and the hair on our face to grow. These same hormonal changes cause our hair to become more dry, fine, and brittle, as estrogen also controls hydration in the body.
When hair is dry thin and brittle, it is also more prone to frizz.
Other conditions, such as thyroid disease, anemia, and autoimmune disease also can play a factor in dry, thinning hair, so be sure and consult your doctor to make sure these conditions are not present.
Although we can do nothing to reverse the clock, there are several ways to mitigate some of the worst aspects of menopause hair.
What Are Some Ways to Tame Frizzy and Thinning Menopause Hair?
A healthy diet is not only essential to our overall health and fitness, but it also can help make our hair more thick, strong, and shiny. According to WebMD, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B-6 and B-12, folic acid and protein, all play a role in healthy hair.
You can find omega-3’s in fatty fish like salmon or tuna, and in nuts, such as walnuts and almonds.
Foods like bananas, potatoes, and spinach contain vitamin B6, while proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products contain vitamin B12. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, whole grains, and beans have plenty of folic acid, which also promotes healthy, beautiful locks.
2. Vitamin Supplements
The best way to get essential vitamins is through nutrient-rich food, as our bodies absorb nutrients better through food than through supplements. But, if you are deficient in certain nutrients, you should consider vitamin supplements to address the deficiency. According to Healthline, deficiencies in Vitamins A-D, Zinc, and Iron can all lead to hair loss, and supplements can counteract those deficiencies if they are taken properly in consultation with your doctor. Although a deficiency in protein also can lead to hair loss, most people in western countries get all the protein they need through food and do not require protein supplements.
Dietician Amanda Foti told InStyle that “your hair is one-quarter water, so when you do not drink adequate fluids your body conserves water for other vital organs. This can lead to hair loss, thinning, and breakage.” So, among the 25,000 other benefits of drinking water, it helps our hair stay thicker and stronger too!
4. Proper Hair Care
A variety of products and haircare strategies ranging from using quality shampoos and conditioners to certain types of towels and pillowcases can help tame frizzy and thinning menopause hair. Here are a few options.
Use a Quality Shampoo and Conditioner
If you want to tame frizzy and thinning menopause hair, you should look for certain ingredients and avoid others altogether.
Avoid shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate and instead look for lauryl glucoside, cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski told Everyday Health. Although sulfates give us the lush foam that creates that clean feeling, they are harsh and damaging to sensitive hair. Healthline reports that sulfates can strip our hair of natural oils and make it frizzy. Instead, lauryl glucoside is more gentle, leaving our hair more healthy and strong. This ingredient is so gentle, it is used in organic baby products, like wipes and baby lotion too!
Romanowski also touts the benefits of coconut oil in conditioners to improve hair strength, as well as palm oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil to improve shine and moisture.
According to Beautytalk.com, coconut oil is rich in the antioxidants vitamins E and K and its fatty acids penetrate the hair to strengthen it.
Jojoba oil is derived from the jojoba shrub, found in North American deserts. Zain Husain, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist practicing at the New Jersey Dermatology & Aesthetics Center, told Prevention.com that jojoba oil contains vitamins B and C, as well as zinc and copper, which helps nourish hair to help it grow and keep it thick.
Colorist Bridgette Hill with Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa explained to Cosmopolitan, that olive oil can seal moisture into the hair fiber, which helps with elasticity and reduces brittleness. Although, if your hair is fine or prone to dandruff, you may want to avoid using pure olive oil on your hair. Olive oil can weigh hair down and feed the yeast that creates those nasty white flakes.
Apply Hair Masques
We all know and love face masques, but hair masques are equally important. They provide that extra conditioning we need to make our hair healthy and strong while taming the frizz! Follow the instructions on the masque and make sure you leave it in long enough to do the trick!
Look for masques containing coconut oil (great for just about everything) and honey to enhance hair strength and limit split ends (see above).
For hydration and shine, try a masque with argan oil, which is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, including Vitamin E. Derived from the argan tree, argan oil will improve your hair’s elasticity while making it soft and shiny.
Another great ingredient for hydration is shea butter, which is derived from the nut of the African Shea tree. Shea butter contains a variety of fatty acids and is packed with vitamins A and E.
According to bespotted.org, shea butter moisturizes and soothes the scalp, which helps to prevent psoriasis and dandruff, while making the hair stronger. And like argan oil, it makes the hair shinier and prevents split ends.
Avocados are not just tasty to eat, but their oils work wonders when applied to your hair too! According to Medical News Today, avocado oil has tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can prevent breakage and improve elasticity.
When applied to the scalp, it can also reduce dandruff, unlike olive oil, which may have the opposite effect.
Avoid Products with Drying Alcohols
Not all alcohols are bad for your hair, but you should avoid certain alcohols to avoid drying it out.
Two types of alcohol are used in hair care products – drying alcohols and emulsifying alcohol. According to farbotanicals.com, drying alcohols are added to hair and skin care products to reduce drying time. But they leave hair dry, brittle, and frizzy. These alcohols are ethanol, SD Alcohol, SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.
On the other hand, emulsifying alcohols have the opposite effect, moisturizing your hair to make it healthy and smooth. These alcohols are derived from plants and include lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, and behenyl alcohol.
Reduce Blow-Dry Time
It is common knowledge that heat products, such a blow-dryers, contribute to frizzy and thinning hair in menopause. Yet, some of us can’t go out the door without a blow-out because left to dry au natural, our hair gets even frizzier. Not to worry. There are a couple of simple strategies we can employ to reduce the impact of blow-drying on our hair.
Instead of using a standard terry cloth towel to dry your hair, use a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt. Terry cloth towels can rough-up the hair shaft, causing frizz and worsening split ends. But microfiber towels or t-shirts get rid of the excess water without damaging your hair.
Once you have removed the excess water, let it get 90% dry before blow-drying it. This will reduce your dry time and still allow you to blow out your hair for a smooth finish.
Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase
Good Housekeeping tested silk pillowcases and found that sleeping on silk pillowcases not only reduced wrinkles but also prevented frizzy hair. Silk pillowcases create less friction than other fabrics, which reduces so-called “crush wrinkles” from sleeping on our side and tamps down frizz. Silk is also less drying than cotton, which is more porous and silk and absorbs more moisture from our hair and skin.
Menopause doesn’t have to be a death knell for beautiful hair. We just need to take a few extra steps to preserve our luxurious locks. Try a healthy diet, plenty of water, and these hair care tips and you’ll tame frizzy and thinning menopause hair for good! (or at least for the next few years)
For more great tips on looking more youthful, check out my post 9 Ways to Look Younger Without Surgery or Injectables.
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