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Hair Loss

What to do if your hair starts thinning

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Sometimes you know when you should shave your head for good, but what if you're not ready to go bald all the way? What if you have locks to work with that are just aren't as thick as they used to be?

Even though there's no shortage of guys who fall into this camp, the issue of fading follicles can be a touchy subject. But instead of being in denial or letting nature to take its course, you can enlist a more pro-active approach.

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Stylist and men's grooming expert Diana Schmidtke—she gets Hollywood heavyweights like Jon Hamm, George Clooney, and Matt Damon photo-friendly and red carpet ready—is doing her part by waging a one-woman war against hair loss. In addition to joining forces with Rogaine, Schmidtke has plenty of practical advice on the topic. 

"It's okay to talk about it, so don't be shy," says Schmidtke. "There's plenty of help out there, so open up and be honest as early as possible to figure out what your options are." Here, she shares additional tips on maintaining what you still have, to keep you looking sharp as ever.

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Quality counts.
While Schmidtke doesn't believe shampoo and conditioner alone do anything in terms of combatting loss, you can temporarily bulk up the look and feel of your hair. Look out for words like "thickening" and "volumizing" in product names, ingredients like peptides and silica (both attach themselves to your strands to create a look of fullness), and invest in a quality, hair line designed expressly for men, like American Crew.

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Take it nice and easy.
Remember those old school commercials where men vigorously towel-dry their hair post-shower? Schmidtke says to ditch the method, and "use kid gloves" instead by gently blotting and patting. Why? Wet hair is more elastic than dry hair, so it's more prone to breakage and external stress.

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Embrace your dark side.
Because light penetrates thin hair more easily, it draws attention to the scalp, which is typically a slick zone for guys. Schmidtke recommends coloring hair one or two shades darker than your natural color, but not much more than that. 

"You don't want to draw unwanted attention to yourself," she says. Darker hair blocks light from penetrating down to a shiny scalp, thereby minimizing its appearance.

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Take your vitamins.
Turns out that advice you heard growing up still applies. Taking daily vitamin supplements in the form of biotin, (also known as B7 and B12), may help maintain and strengthen healthy hair.

Enlist the right forces.
When you're ready to fight the good fight, two products should be on your radar: Rogaine and Propecia. There's pros and cons to both, so here's the lowdown. The main culprit in hair loss is DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a male sex hormone that interferes with hair's natural growth and shedding cycle. Schmidtke says that "Rogaine works on nine out of ten guys" and encourages hair follicles to keep open, so shedding and regrowth can take place. Also, it's topical and easy to use. Propecia, on the other hand, is ingested orally, available only by prescription, but has been clinically proven to block the actual formation of DHT. There are some unpleasant side effects, though, as it can mess with your sperm count and libido. But using Rogaine and Propecia together, according to Schmidtke, is the best way to fight hair loss because the products tackle the problem in a way that's "beneficial to each other." Before taking this route, be sure to have a conversation with your doctor.

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