It's normal to shed hair—from 50 to 100 hairs a day, in fact—but some 40 percent of American women are losing noticeably more by midlife, according to data presented at the most recent meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The signs can be subtle—seeing more hairs in your brush and in the drain, and realizing that your part is widening or that you can wrap an elastic band more times around your ponytail than before (Not sure? Here are 8 signs your hair is thinning.) "Often women are not aware of thinning hair until they have lost 15 percent of their hair volume, which means it started long before they noticed it," says trichologist, hair and scalp expert Philip Kingsley.
Fortunately, regardless of why your hair is thinning—whether it's from genetics, hormonal changes, medications, medical conditions or lifestyle factors—new treatments that you can do at home show promise in restoring fuller manes. In just one recent finding, women who took Viviscal Professional oral tablets daily saw a significant increase in number of hairs as well as an increase in their diameter. (Lose up to 25 pounds in 2 months—and look more radiant than ever—with this new Younger In 8 Weeks plan!)
We rounded up the newest, most promising treatments that will help restore your hair.
Qilib Hair Regrowth + Revitalization System for Women
This twice-daily regimen consists of a leave-in 2 percent minoxidil spray, previously available only by prescription, and a second spray containing a botanical blend—including lemon and onion extracts, vitamin C, proteins and antioxidants—that nourishes the scalp. "Minoxidil is proven to regrow hair, and the botanical spray nourishes the scalp, which may help negate side effects that have stopped some people from sticking with minoxidil," explains dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. Studies by Galderma, the maker of Qilib, found that visible results can be seen in as little as four weeks, and after 12 weeks, 75 percent of women were satisfied that the system worked. Qilib also makes a supplement, Qilib Hair and Health Reinforcement Biotin + Multivitamin Supplement, that contains 5,000 mcg of biotin, vitamins B12, C, D3, E, plus iron and zinc, which you can take along with the Hair Regrowth system or separately. (Here are 7 foods you should eat for fuller, stronger hair.)
You'll need a Skype session with the hair experts at this Danish company (or a visit to their clinic in Tampa, FL) to see if you qualify for their customized treatment, which they say has helped some 70,000 women and men regrow their hair, and runs about $100 per month. Expect to apply a botanical extract— developed from a specific type of cow's milk and plant derivatives (some people also get miniscule amounts of minoxidil)—to your head each night and wash it out every morning with a special pH-balanced shampoo. You should see a fuller head of hair within 3 to 4 months. Although they don't know exactly how the treatment works, the company claims a more than 95 percent success rate—and they do show gains in hair density, quality, and quantity using a special camera that zeroes in on hair follicles.
"Many of our clients have used minoxidil with little to no effect," says Lars Skjoth, founder and CEO of Harklinikken. "We achieve unparalleled results because of our ability to customize the extract to the specific conditions of each client." The program works on all hair types, as long as you're otherwise a good candidate (meaning your hair loss is not from something they can't treat, like a chronic skin condition). (Check out these 3 gorgeous makeovers that mask thinning hair.)
Trichotherapy Hair & Scalp Regime for Fine and Thinning Hair by Philip Kingsley
This daily three-step program includes a protein spray, scalp drops, and a dietary supplement to encourage healthy hair growth and reduce breakage. The spray, ideally applied to freshly washed hair, contains proteins and antioxidants to repair damage, protect the hair cuticle, and increase elasticity. The real action is in the scalp drops, which use a blend of seven ingredients to quiet the enzymes that convert testosterone to DHT, a more potent version of testosterone that basically shrinks hair follicles to the point of dying off. In an independent blind trial of 94 women in the UK, 79 percent who used the system said their hair looked and felt fuller after 12 weeks. (Summer means self-tanners…just be sure you avoid these 10 awkward self-tanning mistakes everyone makes.)
FDA-cleared to cultivate hair growth, this high-tech headband has shown impressive results in clinical trials: In a 2010 study, nearly 95 percent of women who used the technology saw an average of 20 new hairs per centimeter after 12 weeks. Wearing the headband for just 90 seconds every other day may create just the right scalp conditions—lowered inflammation, less oxidative stress, more building blocks of energy—to make weaker follicles more robust and nudge dormant follicles awake. The LaserBand is pricy ($795), but you can get same technology from the company's Advanced7 LaserComb ($199).
Viviscal Extra Strength dietary supplements
Models who frequent Manhattan's Ted Gibson salon swear by these drug-free tablets to maintain thicker, fuller hair and reduce shedding, according to stylist Angelica Laudiero. The star ingredients are their patented AminoMar marine complex to nourish hair, biotin (a vitamin B complex that helps the body better absorb the building blocks of hair), vitamin C, which helps the body absorb more iron into the blood, and iron itself, an essential mineral that boosts the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to hair follicles.
ReGenesis Hair Enhancing System
Revitalash, the company that coaxes eyelashes into a lusher fringe, now has a line of seven products that nourish hair right at the root. Their active ingredient is BioPeptin Complex, which uses biotin, plus essential nutrients and plant extracts to strengthen strands and protect against breakage. Their Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner, Detox Hair & Scalp Masque, Spot Serum, Micro-Targeting Spray and Fast-Absorbing Foam work best together but can be used separately.
Éprouvage Progressive Plant Cells
In this 2016 line, plant stem cells combine with vegetable proteins and botanical extracts to give hair the healthiest possible growing environment. The hero hair loss product is Éprouvage Restorative Scalp Serum, which has been shown to help keep hair in the growing phase longer. In an independent 2015 study, 77 percent of women who used the shampoo, conditioner, serum and plumping spray for 3 months felt they had little to no hair loss, and 85 percent of women felt their hair was less susceptible to breakage.
To preserve and protect your hair, according to celebrity stylist Ted Gibson of New York's Ted Gibson Salon, use a wide-toothed comb instead of a brush when hair is wet to avoid damaging hair when it's most fragile; use a brush with boar or nylon brushes instead of metal, which can be sharp enough to tear cuticles and heat up during heat styling, burning hair; avoid too-tight pony tails that yank at your roots; and if you must blow out your hair after every wash, first apply a product that insulates the cuticle to protect against heat damage. We like Pureology Style + Care Infusion and just out this month, Rene Furterer Karinga Hydrating Styling Leave-In Cream.
"What you eat can tremendously impact the health of your hair," Bowe says. To nourish strands from the inside out, Bowe recommends healthy fats such as avocado and salmon—because omega-3 fatty acids are hair's building blocks and also lower inflammation, a cause of hair loss; lean protein, because the hair shaft is made up of 97 percent protein; vitamin C, which helps the body create protein and makes the scalp better able to neutralize damaging free radicals; and iron, from sources such as tofu, spinach, beans and red meat, because hair loss can be caused by low levels.