Seeing all those strands of hair in the shower can be alarming. Cleaning enough hair out of your hairbrush for a small wig can be scary. Aging has consumers running for anti-wrinkle creams and hair restorative systems that promise to re-grow lost bulk.
It is normal to lose between fifty and two hundred strands a day. WHY?
Hair grows in cycles. Each piece of hair on your head has experienced Anagen, Catagen, and Telegen phases. What are these and why are they important?
Each hair comes out of a hair follicle, which is like the house the hair lives in. Cells live in the follicle and go to work each day, dividing over and over again until there is no more room, and they push the old cells out. As the cells are kicked out of the nest (the follicle) they are lined with the protein keratin, making them strong. This is the growth stage, or anagen stage. Cells are dividing and pushing out older cells (what becomes the hair as we know it) at about 1/2" a month | 6" a year. This cycle lasts anywhere from 2-6 years.
After the Anagen, comes the Catagen phase. During this cycle, the cells in the follicle take a vacation and stop working for about ten days.
In the Telegen stage, the follicle itself takes a break and evicts everything inside. This is the 'hair loss' we all know and love. All the little baby hairs we see and think 'what the what?!' is the new cells starting the Anagen phase all over again. Each follicle is on a different place in the cycles than the one next to it, which is why we are constantly losing hair every day. 50 to 200 a day, to be exact.
We often hear statement such as 'I don't know why my hair grows so fast!' or 'I can't seem to grow my hair any longer than this!' These guests might have accelerated Anagen cycles or significantly shorter cycles. Remember, it can be anywhere from 2-6 years. That's a big difference. All the little fuzzies we see, especially at the hairline: those follicles are probably on a different, shorter cycle than hairs in the back. And for follicles that are sluggish or are considering shutting down: a daily head massage to increase blood flow can bring new life and encourage new, faster hair growth.
Here's 5 tips to help your guests with hair loss (and make you look like a hair genius in the process)
- Offer scalp massages with every haircut service. This will increase the blood flow. More nutrients = happy follicles.
- Soft Boar Bristle Brushes are extra gentle to the hair while stimulating the scalp. Try Diane Wave for something that won't break the bank, or the Ibiza OC4 for that professional glam.
- Products with salicylic acid are great to use while massaging the scalp. For DIY treatments, dissolve aspirin in water and use it to rinse hair. It can also be found in plants. Aveda's Invati line uses salicylic acid derived from wintergreen to gently exfoliate the scalp. Paul Mitchell derives their scalp treatment from willowbark.
- Discuss their level of stress and offer two solutions. It's a little outside the salon world box however stress does lead to our body's systems behaving erratically...including our hair growth. Meditative breathing, frequency therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, five minutes alone in a quiet room...all of these can help reset the body.
- Stylist's talents don't end when hair is shed. Keep an open, professional conversation going with guests who are concerned about hair loss, and take the time with each visit to give attention to scalp health and the progress of the new baby hairs as they grow.
Want to take it a step further? Top end salons offer scalp analyses with a trichoscope: a device that allows a stylist a view of the scalp at up to 200x magnification. At FourteenJay in New York, beautiful color starts with a healthy scalp and the follicle gets the attention it deserves with a trichoscope in the consultation. Redken even branded a trichoscope for salon use.
Now you know, destroyers, and knowing is half the battle. Next time you see hair falling out in the shampoo bowl, feel calm knowing some follicles are taking a much needed vacation and new hair is on its way.