Words by Jacqueline Laurean Yates
As aging happens, not only do you get wiser, but a good many other things also change. And although we may not want to talk about it, these changes often include the density of our hairlines. A large part of these changes can be traced back to genetics. And there are other times when your diet could be playing a major part. While experts agree, it is difficult to reverse permanent hair loss around the edges of your head, there are a variety of preventative measures that can be taken to delay the thinning process before it is a minute too late.
Because this is such an important topic, we have asked resident hair authorities Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City as well as celebrity hairstylist and textured hair guru, Vernon François‘ who has experience working with some of Hollywood’s most sought after celebrities to help us understand the reasons as well as resolutions for keeping your hairline in full effect.
A genetic predisposition can be one of the first as well as top factors in noticing an imbalance of fullness around your hairline. If your parents have noticeable thinning around the hairline, there is a chance that somewhere down the line you may possibly experience a similar nature with your own hair. Along with a genetic predisposition, Phillips explains that underlying skin conditions such as seborrhea dermatitis (itchy rash usually developed on the scalp), is also a frequent contributor to hair loss or subtle changes around the hairline. “Studies have shown that skin conditions can contribute to hair loss, so apart from being and unsightly, it can also exacerbate hair loss and thinning,” she explains.
Additionally, François mentions factors such as aggressive drying with a cotton towel that can pull on strands leading to breakage and hair loss. Physical changes to the hairline can also be attributed internally through poor dieting practices as well as high stress levels.
The good news? There are more than a few ways to restore the look of a full hairline. For starters, proper care while you wash, condition and treat is key. “One of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to dry your hair with more care. Carefully pat and squeeze it dry using a cotton t-shirt; or, even better, a microfibre towel. You will find that moisture is absorbed more quickly, plus the hair breaks and sheds far less, if at all, compared to harsh rubbing with a cotton towel,” says François. After drying, you should opt for a volumizing shampoo and conditioner that does not contain any harsh chemicals like alcohol which can lead to dryness and eventually breakage.
After conditioning, a helpful idea would be to add a scalp treatment like Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask to your routine to assist in really deep cleaning and exfoliating below the surface level of your scalp. Without a healthy clean scalp it’s nearly impossible for new hair growth to do it’s thing and grow. He also recommends massaging your scalp with light essential oils to help stimulate the growth of skin cells around the hair follicles. “Canola, olive, safflower and coconut oils are good ones to try,” recommends François.
Also, it’s often times true when you hear the saying, “you are what you eat.” Poor dieting habits can lead to hair thinning around the edges as well as the entire head if not changed sooner than later. “Optimal nutrition with an emphasis of protein balancing at all meals will ensure that non-essential tissue, which is how hair tissue is classified, will have what it needs to produce [optimal hair growth],” says Phillips.
Make sure to stock on protein and vitamin rich foods such as fish, eggs and brown rice as well as tons of water to keep hair hydrated from within. This will also help with proper blood circulation on the scalp to promote hair growth. You can also add supplements such as vitamins A, B, C, E, B12 and B6 to help boost nutrition levels. Try Nutrafol—a daily supplement which acts to revitalize and target root causes of hair thinning with key ingredients such as patented natural palm oil tocotrienol extract.
Last but not least, if you have consistently switched up your hair care routine and changed your diet, but have noticed little to no difference in the thinning of your hairline, it’s a wise decision to visit your local trichologist to address your specific concerns. “The assessment will involve a thorough examination of the scalp and a personalized topical protocol will be created that directly speaks to individual concerns,” explains Phillips.
If you are looking to go ahead and splurge on a permanent solution, try a hair restoration procedure like Bosley in which healthy follicles are transplanted directly to thinning areas. There is usually no downtime and the results are instant as well as long lasting.
These days, it is no secret that you may notice someone walk out of a barbershop or salon with a completely new looking hairline. Barbers and stylists have mastered a few tricks of the trade, and there are some that can easily be tried at-home as well. Firstly, it may be time to switch up your usual cut. François recommends a more tapered cut. “This is when clippers are used to align side burn tops with eyebrows; and minimize any harsh v-shaped hard angles at the top of the forehead, which can exaggerate hair loss,” says François.”
Another technique for instant gratification would be to sprinkle on hair-like fibers. Try Toppik’s Hair Building Fibers, which are made from natural colored keratin protein that works to link with your existing hairs for a naturally fuller look. Or, you can also add more hair color through using hair dye or semi-permanent rinse that will aid in allowing your scalp and hair to appear fuller.
For best results, be sure to add the same color as your natural hair and not go overboard. Only add a little additional color where your hair is thinning to follow the path in which your natural hairline would fall. Otherwise, it will look a little too unbelievable (i.e. some of the crazy fake exaggerated hairlines meme’s you may have peeped floating around on social media).
The ultimate goal is to have a healthy full hairline, not a completely drawn on cartoon-like rendition of one. With a combination of proper care, diet, low stress levels and these techniques, you are well on your way.