Ask Jean: Help, My Hair is Falling Out!

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: feedback [at] goop [dot] com, or tweet us @goop. Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I’ve noticed over the last couple years that my hair is increasingly falling out (and not the normal few hairs). Is there something wrong with me? —A.

Dear A.,

For whatever lovely reason, changing hormones affect how much hair you lose or keep. Pregnancy, the pill, teenagerdom, perimenopause, and menopause are all obvious causes; things like stress and diet, though, can send your hormones out of whack in a serious enough way to cause hair loss. Major body changes like cancer can do it too, which is one of the reasons it’s worth it to check in with a doctor if you truly feel your hair is falling out—not breaking, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Supplement-wise, biotin is the only one that consistently comes up when you talk to dermatologists and hairdressers. It works for both hair and nail strengthening/growth, to some degree—it’s definitely worth trying.

Drugs like Rogaine do work on women; a dermatologist can determine if you’re a good candidate. Shampoos that cleanse the scalp thoroughly can help too, by stimulating healthy circulation (Rahua shampoo is gentle yet invigorating, the perfect balance).

Hormones are the reason that post-pregnancy, many women find themselves with a fringe of ultra-short “bangs” (actually the hair they lost directly after having the baby, that’s now growing back). You can use a little hairspray (like the one from Intelligent Nutrients) or a hair cream or even a little leave-in conditioner (I love the spray from Lavett & Chin) to give the “bangs” a bit of texture so they’ll stay if you push them back into the rest of your hair; the other option is to cut real bangs over them.

If it’s not that your hair’s falling out, but that it’s breaking, you’ve got a more easily treatable problem. Hair-straightening treatments, haircolor (partiicularly extreme bleaching), heat damage all cause serious breakage; combine any two or God forbid three, and you can end up with an enormous amount of hair loss. The cure, of course, is to tone it down. As in, stop straightening/bleaching/curling, or at least stop doing it all at once. Conditioning like crazy can help—do conditioner in the shower, then a leave-in once you’re out, plus masks. But watch out for hair products with protein in them: A little can strengthen the hair you have left, but a lot strengthens too much, so your hair becomes brittle and thus more prone to breaking. (As with just about anything else in life, you need a combination of strength plus flexibility, not too much of one or the other.)