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Since I wrote my post last year about dealing with hair loss when over 40, many of you have asked me to write a follow-up with what I am using now. I just re-read that post from April 2017 and my routine has changed and I have tried many products since. A recap of what I have tried and whether they worked or didn’t.
I mentioned biotin in the previous post, and my hair stylist who is the ultimate silver fox with glorious hair cascading down his back is also a biotin believer. However, since writing that post I learned from my stylist that while some biotin is amazing for hair, too much can cause more hair loss. I was taking the Nature’s Bounty vitamins, separate biotin, and sometimes two. I switched to never more than one 7,500 mcg biotin pill a day and started taking the Nature’s Bounty vitamins every other day. Within two weeks my hair seemed to either be growing back or falling out less. If you’re taking biotin and dealing with a lot of shedding, consider reducing the amount. Biotin can also cause cystic acne; if you’re taking it and have started seeing breakouts you may wish to reduce or stop using it.
TOPPIK Hair Fibers
When I wrote my first post some of you recommended TOPPIK hair fibers. I found them on Amazon, put them in my online shopping cart, and decided I’d buy them in January when I do my birthday beauty haul for the year. Then I had the opportunity to test the product and received free the hair fibers, applicator, and comb.
This stuff is so great I will be buying it again when this can of fibers runs out. It’s like a powder, but has fibers in it that attach to your hair and scalp. A shake (or puff from the applicator) wiggles in between hairs to hide your scalp, make the hair appear thicker near the head, and even cover roots. Sure, if you scratch your head you may end up with powder the color of your TOPPIK under your nails, but this stuff doesn’t drip, doesn’t get on your hand when you run your fingers through your hair, and it doesn’t make your hair greasy, gummy, or sticky. You can read more about my thoughts on TOPPIK in this blog post.
Aveda was kind enough to send me their Invati Exfoliating Shampoo, Thickening Conditioner, and Scalp Revitalizer. This line says it takes 12 weeks of regular use to see results. I planned to go 12 weeks but stopped after three. With the results I was getting, three weeks was as long as I could go, and I was glad I didn’t have a day job to go to.
The shampoo and conditioner (not sure if both or one, I used them the same amount, never one without the other) made my scalp greasy before the end of the day, my ends dry, and ate away my haircolor. I kept trying thinking my hair needed to get used to it, but it only got worse. There’s no instructions on the actual bottles, but online it says to massage the conditioner into the scalp. If you do that, you’ll have greasy roots as soon as you dry your hair and the Aveda smell is so intense it ends up smelling medicinal. I started just having it from tops of ears down and it helped but I was still a greasy/fried and dry combination.
The Invati Scalp Revitalizer is a pump with a nozzle that directs the spray right to your scalp. You are to apply 16 sprays all over the scalp daily. If I did it on damp hair and used product and a blow dryer after, it wasn’t an issue. When I let my hair airdry, this product made my roots look… like they had product on them like mousse or gel. Sort of a wet look. They also felt as though there was some sort of product on them.
I am a huge Aveda fan and wished for this line to be great. Do note their trials showed the products work to prevent hair loss from BREAKAGE, not age/stress/hormones/yadda yadda. So even if I did it for 12 weeks I don’t know if I would have been a fan because it’s not breakage that’s causing my thinning hair.
Keranique was recommended by a couple of you and had positive reviews on Sephora so I decided to take a chance. All I ordered was the one-month supply of Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women. This product contains 2% Minoxidil, the only FDA-approved treatment for women’s hair loss. Like the Invanti Scalp Revitalizer, this is a bottle with a long skinny nozzle to target the scalp. Six sprays twice a day for the rest of your life (seriously, they say if you stop using it your hair will fall out again).
I did not like this product. I used for only two weeks (not at the same time as Invanti) because this not only made my roots greasy and feel like they were coated with product, it also made my scalp burn and caused some bumps/acne on my scalp and anywhere it dripped (it’s a super drippy formula). From what I read, this isn’t an unusual side effect from Minoxidil, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Wigs and Extensions
I’ve tried both, I don’t like them. I find clip-in extensions heavy and when your hair is thin, it’s easy for them to be visible if you’re not super deft at putting them in. I had a set, and ended up getting rid of them because if I didn’t spray my normal hair into a helmet, the tops of the extensions would eventually peek out. Also, extensions don’t help if the thinness is on the top of your head. Wigs aren’t my jam, though I have close friends and family who wear them and look awesome.
The Current Situation
Since stopping all products for hair loss except biotin, my hair is so much happier. I may not have the same thick head of hair I had a decade ago, but at least now my hair is shiny, bouncy, my scalp happy, and I don’t look like an oil slick by 7pm. I’ve decided to do what I preach on here all the time – quality, not quantity.
- Using TOPPIK has been enough to not have a lot of white scalp showing. I use Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray to add volume to my styled hair and also hold it in place. I am now using a shampoo and conditioner with argan oil which protects my hair without making it greasy.
- I try to go without a hair dryer or curling iron as often as possible (yes even in the winter, I’ll put my hair in one of these towel turbans until it’s as dry as possible then let it air dry the rest of the way).
- I’ve stopped trying to cover my roots and dye my hair at home; sometimes it worked but if I did it more than once I’d end up with oversaturated ends, missed greys, and it just didn’t look as natural. Going to the salon is more expensive, but the results look better and last longer.
- I got a full blood workup to ensure everything’s running properly under the hood. I’m getting more sleep. I’ve improved my diet, take supplements, and started working out on a regular basis. I figure if I can be as healthy as possible on the inside, it likely will help with the outside.
If you’re experiencing thinning hair or hair loss it can be so frustrating. Men can strut around with receding hairlines, bald spots, and completely hairless heads and still look virile, strong, and sexy. When women experience hair loss it can give an effect of frailty, illness, or unkemptness. But it’s equally as bad to sacrifice health and comfort. If you’ve tried the pills, the sprays, and the topical ointments and had bad reactions, stop! Consider a fiber product to bulk up the roots, or consider going with a shorter cut and a lighter color that doesn’t have as much contrast with your scalp. Look beyond the hair and see if there’s external or internal issues causing it (stress, insomnia, thyroid, and many supplements and medication can cause hair loss), and if it makes you comfortable, find yourself the best most badass wig in your pricerange. I wish you the best, and if you have any products or tips, share them in the comments!
has anyone tried surface awaken box set for thinning hair? Recommended by stylist.
Grace Graupe-Pillard says
I chose Caboki over Toppix….and it works really well.
Too many people have no knowledge of the fact that scalp therapy shampoos for fast hair growth (of course without any sulfates, parabens or DEA) are a thing. Hair styling enthusiasts now may have longer hair and achieve more alternatives. Certainly worth researching. If you’re addressing hair loss, damaged hair, preventing skin disorders, hair growth, hair health at large, the same principles come to mind. As a general rule, you will want to steer clear of hair treatments and products that use chemicals such as parabens, DEA or sulfates. What is beneficial for your hair is good for your skin all the same. For obvious reasons the content here is so useful for so many reasons. It steers away from the usual mistakes and mistakes so many fall into: purchasing ineffective alternatives. Keep it up!
Going gluten free stopped my hair loss. I was just trying to eat healthier and had been sugar free for a while but when I went gluten free I discovered I was losing way less hair.Tw
So I came across this site because I was reading the reviews for Invati. For the last few yrs I have been desperately trying to find something for my thin hair and it seems like going the expensive route doesn’t always work. One day I was grocery shopping online when I decided to look up shampoo for thinning hair and I came across this one brand that would have never caught my attention before. It’s Renpure Originals, Bioten & Collagen thickening shampoo & conditioner (blue & orange bottle). I thot, why not, it doesn’t cost much and I’ve tried a bunch of other high end products already. Let me tell you, it’s the best thing I ever did. I have not changed shampoos since the 1st day I used it. I only hope that anyone else who is willing to try it will have the same positive results as I did. I know that feeling of embarrassment and low self esteem and I wouldn’t wish that on any woman having this same issue.
Are you still using it??? How is it working? I’m trying not to let this issue affect me, but it’s really getting me down.
Yes I still do but I decided to also try one other product just in case my hair stopped responding to the same product for so long. I started using Mane ‘n’ Tail shampoo. Now I know it may seem a little odd since it can also be used on horses but I checked and read some reviews. I really like this shampoo. I’m just ecstatic that I’ve found 2 products that will help me. Please try both products out and let me know what you think.
Mary Anne A Boyden says
I am using Invanti wish I had read this previously. When I use the 16 liquids all over my scalp it looks awful/
Am I supposed to wash my hair every day? I can’t go out like this.
Agree, the invati line is a disappointment. I sometimes use the spray still, but put it in my palm then evenly distribute through my hair.
I found i had more noticeable improvements in growth with lifestyle changes & the Alterna Caviar anti- aging volume mist.
Little Red says
I like the Nature’s Bounty Extra Strength Hair, Skin, and Nails soft gels. I take two of them a day which seemed to help with preventing breakage (in the shower, combing, etc) and strengthening the strands themselves.
Apparently ferritin levels need to be over 80 for the body to have spare to divert for hair growth. Might be worth checking your levels https://www.philipkingsley.co.uk/clinics/from-the-clinic/ferritin-and-hair-health/
I really appreciate this update. I read your previous post and purchased some of the supplements you recommended, although I must admit I didn’t use them consistently for very long. My hair loss continues and I’m very concerned about it. I had mentioned it to my doctor back in July and he said there was nothing in my blood work to be contributing to it. He said that at any given time some hairs are in the growth phase and some in the shedding phase. Sometimes something causes them to all go into the shedding phase at the same time but it usually sorts itself out. That may be the case but mine isn’t sorting itself out. I have an appointment this month and I intend to bring it up again. In the meantime I’m going to get serious about taking supplements regularly and *try* to get some sleep.
Caylen Williams says
Hello- I first stumbled upon your site when looking for information about underarm rashes and Native deodorant. Thank you for that post BTW. I saw this one and knew I had to tell you about our story with hair loss. I am not one to try and sell things -honestly, but this hit so close to home. My husband started balding about 6 years ago and this has been an issue that bothers him a ton- he just turned 32. We tried lots of different things to no avail. A friend of mine introduced me to a company called MONAT (Mo-Nate). They are an all natural hair care company- shampoos/conditioners, men’s line, kid’s line, hair styling products, etc. I was very skeptical at first, but finally decided to try the men’s Confidence Line. We decided to give it 60 days and within 30 we were amazed! I wish I could post his pictures, because it is amazing. A simple 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner and a spray have changed his life in 60 days. Its amazing to see how much more confident he is now. Anyway- I just wanted to share our story with you and what we found to fix the problem. Check out my website or email me if you are curious. Have a blessed New Year!
My daughter lost her hair after chemo as part of her leukemia treatment. Her trichologist put her on minidoxil tablets. Her hair which was non existent started growing. Now about 3 years and her hair is still thickening up. If she wears a bun you can’t see a bald patch and overall her hair is much better. It is still growing – the thin parts are gradually getting thicker.
The doctor tested her hair follicles to see if they were dead or asleep. Luckily they were asleep.
So try the tablets. Used to be prescribed for high blood pressure but then they noticed the hair growing side effect.
Good luck and here’s to everyone with a hair problem.
Please see your dermatologist and consider oral spironolactone. It is the gold standard for treating female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), but must be started early to prevent irreversible hairloss.
For the last 8 years I’ve been battling hair loss. It started with pre-menopause, and I had 3 surgeries which triggered huge hair loss at about 1 month post-surgery. I was told that anesthesia can trigger hair loss in some people, and boy it did. Early on, I had luck with Nioxin hair products, but they did dry out my hair. I also tried Rogaine and half wigs, but my scalp got so tender and even itchy.
Now, in the latter half of my 50’s and post-menopause, I’m still losing hair but at a slower rate. I use sulfate-free shampoos & detangling sprays, and air-dry as much as possible. I use Cover Your Gray Fill in Powder (Medium Brown) to disguise scalp showing on the crown of my head. I take a multi-vitamin for hair, skin & nails, plus Biotin, Vitamin D, a Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc, and Collagen Hydrolysate powder every day. I’m following a ketogenic diet, & found that healthy fats with no grains or sugar improves my skin & hair.
Have you tried adding fish oil to your diet? When I started taking fish oil, I realized that my hair and eyebrows were growing more quickly. Also, my co-workers used to tell me that I needed to eat shellfish to grow my nails and hair and keep them shiny. I don’t know if any of this is helpful, but best wishes to you!
Alison Gary says
Thanks Molly! I’ve been taking fish oil for years for my skin – it prevents it from cracking and getting raw in winter. And we eat shellfish quite regularly, I do think it helps with hair and nails!
Can you use Toppik if you have highlighted hair? Do you recommend doing the lighter or darker? I have naturally medium brown hair, but have (alot of) blond highlights…all of the examples they had on their website were people with one color hair. Thanks for any advice! And your hair HAS been looking amazing lately in your posts–love the bouncy blowout!
Alison Gary says
Ooh good question! The product is opaque, especially with the applicator its targeted to the roots so I’m guessing the darker color so it will blend with the roots.
Alison, just got my Amazon sample of Light brown and it is AMAZING! thank you so much for the recommendation….I can finally pull my hair off my face now without worrying about my hairline looking sparse on either side. GAME CHANGER!! 🙂
I always appreciate your honesty and reviews, Alison!
I was going to try one of those half wigs that just covers the top of your head for this exact reason. But I haven’t pulled the plug yet!
Alison Gary says
That sounds like a great solution!
T E says
I’m guessing you don’t want to try Rogaine because of the chemicals? I know you’re into natural products frequently. I had some hair loss after surgery a few years ago. I tried the Target brand of Rogaine (men’s version) and it worked absolute wonders.
Alison Gary says
This sounds wacky but I just can’t stomach the smell of Rogaine. I know it hardly has a smell but I had a friend who used to use it, and the smell brings up weird memories.
I looked into the updated Invati three-part system. It’s around $130 a set, which would last me about a month. I just can’t justify an additional $1500 a year on my hair (not counting cut/color and other styling products).
So glad to read this honest post! Your hair always looks great. I am WAY older than you, but my thinning hair and two bald spots have me open-mouthed/amazed, after a lifetime of pretty, full, curls. Trying wigs. My thought is that they look cute and don’t need to look “natural.” Wish me luck!
Alison Gary says
My relative rocks the wigs. She has some that look more natural than others but finds them so easy and fun and they look great on her!
Toppik is great stuff. CVS carries it, but at a higher price than Amazon. Rite Aid carries Marc Anthony brand fibers, but I didn’t find it a good enough color match for my hair (medium brown) to keep it even for emergencies.
Alison Gary says
Thanks for this honest review!