It’s OK To Talk about Thinning Hair

It’s OK to talk about thinning hair. There are few limits on the topics we women talk freely about. In real life, and online, we discuss our professional lives, biological cycles, relationships, finances, cosmetic procedures, and etc. One topic that is less-discussed, and perceived to be a bit embarrassing, is thinning hair.

It’s extraordinarily common after age 40 or so. About 85% of women in my age group (I’m 65) report thinning hair. It can take the form of a widening part, wispy temples, overall thinning, or in my case, gradual hair loss at the crown. I hardly noticed mine until I got out the hand mirror and – wow, there’s some scalp showing back there!

I’ve progressed to a Type II, a good time for using powder fillers and hairpieces. Source.

Of course, dramatic or sudden hair loss should be investigated by medical professionals. Many health issues contribute to hair loss, including thyroid imbalance, hormonal changes, and nutrition. My thinning, and most mid-life women’s thinning, is “normal” age-related change. I still don’t like it one bit!

I have always had fine, curly hair, and curls can give the illusion of having more hair. As a young women, it was more bountiful, although the individual strands have always been fine. About fifteen years ago I started noticing sparse areas at the back of my head, and there’s been no meaningful improvement. I have tried hair vitamins, scalp products, massage, and more. This is pretty much what I’ve got to work with.

I have been stalling the hair-loss process with Rogaine once a day. I have added this one more daily routine to the growing list of “stuff to do to stay presentable”. I use some brush-in hair powder in my thinning areas, and occasionally a sprinkle of keratin fibers, like Toppik. It’s pretty good stuff, but nothing like real hair, baby.

I have also experimented with clip-in hair, and mostly found success with full wigs. I used to have an irrational fear of fake hair, of people noticing it on my head and making fun. I know, I am twelve! In real life, I see women every day who have “alternative hair” and I barely notice it. I’ve read that virtually every celebrity uses add-in hair and wouldn’t be caught out in public without.

I just bought this cute choppy bob and it looks good. And it feels good, too, to have a full head of hair.

“Nobody gets comfortable with their hair. Hair trauma. It’s the universal thing.”

-Jamie Lee Curtis

Do any of you have experience with adding-on hair? I don’t expect you to tell all, or reveal secrets — maybe you know someone who’s dealing with gradual hair loss. Maybe it’s your older relatives. We needn’t be embarrassed, though, we are more than our hair. Even all-the-way-bald is beautiful, when the beauty inside shines out.

Stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash (your hands), xo

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patti

23 Comments

  1. I haven’t experienced thinning hair but when I had a very short style I suddenly longed to have long hair and went out and bought a wig. It looked good, but not quite ‘right’ until I took it to the hairdresser who shaped it to suit my face. She just softened it a little around my face and it made all the difference!

    • Hi Rosemary! That’s a great tip and reminder – that a professional can change the style of your wig. With no tears. I hope you enjoy your wig/s, and stay well, xx.

  2. My hair isn’t thinning but it has always been thin and only looks OK really short. Recently I thought about the fact that I had always wanted longer hair and tried on some wigs. I looked awful. The effect somehow was of a female impersonator. Just dreadful. Not criticising at all others who can make wigs work, but I was sorry to see what a disaster they were for me.

    • Good morning Ruth and thanks for coming by. Short hair is chic and easy to maintain – how many times have I thought about a 2″ buzz cut? : > Many wigs have too much hair and can overpower our faces. Rock on and stay well, xx.

  3. I don’t have thinning hair, but I am gray. I think the first strategy for dealing with thinning hair is to not be wedded to the hair colour of one’s youth. First, skin tone changes, but also, it is important to go softer and lighter in colour so that roots + contrast don’t accentuate any spots where hair is thinning.

    • Hi Dusty! I agree most of us look better with a softer color as we age. And I’m happy for you not having thinning hair! That’s a treat. Stay well and safe, xx.

  4. Patti — Thanks for posting about this subject. Could you and/or any of your readers talk about trying Rogaine and whether it was at all helpful? A friend said it helped her, but said it took a year or more of using it daily to see a difference. My hair is thinning on top and iI’m wondering if before I jump to wigs, I should take advantage of being stuck at home because of covid and see if Rogaine might improve my hair.

    • Hi Candy and thanks for coming over! Rogaine has a record of helping women with hair loss maintain what they have. A small percentage of women will grow back some hair. I was lucky in that after about 6 months of daily use, I started to see “baby hairs” come in and my thinning slowed. That said, there are no promises with it. I encourage you to try it though, as it is not too expensive and has very few side effects. Good luck and stay safe! xx

  5. Have you got any tips to make wig wearing more comfortable? I have a couple of them but when I wear them they make my head itchy. I have tried a wig cap, maybe not the right one because it didn’t help.
    Thanks!

  6. What a great post! I’m 73, and first noticed my hair was thinning about 9 years ago. Tests showed no medical cause, so presumably age-related. I tried everything at first: Rogaine; laser scalp treatments; special shampoos. All of them were expensive and nine of them worked for me. In 2014 my daughter’s wedding was approaching, and I was so distraught at the idea of meeting all those new people that I didn’t even want to attend. As a “last resort” I ordered a wig in a style I hoped might work. It was truly a desperate act at the time. I was so lucky, because that first wig turned out to look wonderful on me! I received compliment after compliment. It changed my entire outlook on life! I was proud to be seen at my girl’s wedding and I had a blast. I’ve worn wigs full-time since then, and look pretty damned good! To all your readers! There IS life after hair loss! Thanks, Patti.

    • Hello Judy and thank YOU for this uplifting comment! Some of us have looked at wigs and other helper hair as a “last resort” as you said, but they can change our lives in happy ways. Love the story of your daughter’s wedding and your new hair. Stay safe and fab, xx.

  7. Thank you for your honesty and articles which always create such a warm positive tone. I have been silently facing thinning hair loss thanks for sharing made me feel I am not alone. When it started I went to Google for natural cures for hair loss no matter what goes wrong I always go to natural cures for —.I started eating foods they recommended. I also stopped using my hair dryer and watched a you tube videos on hair care and another naturally drying your hair video . I find my hair although still thin looks better and add dry shampoo for volume to help me cover the thinner area.. I also reassure myself by thinking don’t worry if it gets too thin you can always buy yourself a gorgeous wing like actresses wear.

    • Hello dear Joan and I hope you’re having a good day. As always, thanks for your kind words. I like your tips, especially air-drying your hair. I get the best results that way too, with a sprinkle of white hair fibers or a shot of dry shampoo. Have you seen Nicole Kidman’s latest wig in “The Undoing”? Wow, stunning. Stay well, xx.

      • I recommend getting your thyroid checked as hair loss is a symptom of interactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. I’m considering Rogaine as I have thinning at my temples, so i appreciated the info you provided about that.

        • Hello Jane and thanks for your important comment. Sigh, wouldn’t it be lovely if our hair got thicker as we aged? Stay well and safe, xx.

  8. I read your posts with great enjoyment, and am particularly grateful to you for talking about and showing your own experience with hair loss. I have generalized and very noticeable post-menopausal thinning across my whole crown combined with irreversible alopecia around the front hairline :(. While I understand some thinning can happen post-menopause, it doesn’t happen to everyone and I feel it is just ignored by medicine, at least here in the UK. I am considering wigs of some kind and have been very heartened to see how good you look in them – it seems to be your hair but on a really good day (with apologies to Berocca). Thank you again.

    • Good morning Appleeverafter and thanks for coming over, and sharing your own experiences. “It’s only hair” but it has a major impact on our self-esteem. I encourage you to play with wigs and toppers and scarves; it’s a lot of fun! Stay well, xx.

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