Here’s the Plan, Stan.
Now is the PERFECT time to recap my own personal hair growth methodology.
Yes, I have a plan, yes, I follow it, and yes, I’ve experienced success recovering from my own hair loss.
A great number of readers have expressed interest in my success and themselves are following same steps.
I’ll share here what I do, and also give you variations of my protocol for those with bigger budgets, smaller budgets, and also for those with chemical sensitivities who need strictly all-natural options. I’m also giving a protocol for my male readers, because hair loss doesn’t discriminate!
OK, not quite yet….
First, a recap of my story. You can read more on my About Me page, buut the gist is this: my hair loss was the result of a perfect storm of all of this stuff.
- Medication Side effects. I have hypothyroid and must take levothyroxine daily. Both this medical condition AND this medication are associated with hair loss.
- Genetics. I’ve always had a weird/high hairline, which I believe is genetic as my mother also has it and my father was totally bald by 16.
- STRESS. After a period of tremendous stress I noticed my hair falling out from these thin areas at an alarming rate. To the point where my previously thin areas on my upper temples were bald, and my hairline was getting more and more distant. I had just sold my business of 15 years and moved halfway across the world away from friends and family, to the epicenter of nuclear conflict. My stress was legit.
My theory is that the extremely high stress I experienced kicked off the existing risk of hair fall from the hypothyroid and thyroid medication I’d already been taking. In my case, the hypothyroid-related predisposition to hair loss was a ticking time bomb.
I first started with DHT blocking shampoo and quickly moved onto taking supplements. I’ve had the most luck with Nutrafol, and it’s the one I recommend most often.
After a solid year of hair regrowth focus and about six months of Nutrafol, collagen, and the other goodies described below, and especially after I said goodbye to my bleach, permanent dye and blow dry routine, my balding areas are filled in with vellus hairs (baby hairs) and real hairs.
My hair is thicker, stronger, and less brittle than it’s ever been. As an added bonus, my finger nails, which have always been thin and splitting, are strong and grow so fast that I have to cut them. This, for me, is victory.
I firmly believe that if you intervene in time, when your hair loss is recent (usually the rule is under 18 months), you can get in there and coax the follicles back to life.
Maybe the follicles won’t be brought 100% back to life, and maybe you’ll settle for lot of pretty baby hair like I have, but I’m also hopeful that over time these same formerly dormant and now partially active follicles will start cranking out more actual hair.
Most importantly, hair regrowth requires diligence and patience.
It isn’t cheap. Is it easy? That’s debatable. It depends on your relationship with routine. If you can remember to do stuff every day, it’s easy. If you can’t, your hair regrowth strategy is gonna be a bit more of a chore.
But the patience is key – for the vast majority of us women, whether your hair loss is from menopause or post-partum shifts or chemo or stress or blasted medications or just the luck of the genetic lottery….you’ve gotta give whatever you try a real shot – 2-3 months before you can assess if it’s working.
Feel free to try any of these out, depending on your budget or needs, do the work, and give it time!
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- Nutrafol for Women (you can see my progress pics on my review of Nutrafol)
- Rosemary essential oil scalp massages nightly, or nearly nightly
- DHT blocking shampoo and conditioner – I’ve stuck with the not irritating and affordable Fight Fallout duo from OGX
- Art Naturals hair mask every couple of weeks – really nice conditioner
- Just Naturals Grow New Hair Treatment on nights before I’m washing my hair the next morning – smells yummy
- Magnesium oil spray on my scalp a few nights a week – also on my ouchie areas and joints
- Bovine Collagen Peptides. Moooooo.
- Vitamin D3 – suspended in coconut oil
- Biotin – suspended in coconut oil
- I sucked it up and stopped coloring and bleaching my hair. I accept my natural color and the increasing grey. Dark & grey is better than blonde and gone.
- Stopped drying my hair, except for rare times in winter, or before fancypants stuff, and please, ladies, USE A DIFFUSER.
- Grogenix Laser Cap. That’s right, if you can afford it, get yourself a laser helmet and surrender to the science of low level light therapy.
- Nutrafol for Women – this stuff is still $88/month.
- Ultrax Labs DHT blocking caffeine shampoo & conditioner – these are expensive but totally worth it.
- Grow Gorgeous Hair Intense Serum nightly – again, expensive but worth it
- High end Bovine & Marine collagen peptides – yeah, you still need the collagen just get the fancy super clean stuff 🙂
- Vitamin D3 & Biotin – may as well splurge on the best!
- Weekly full-body massages and other stress-reducing measures or outright pampering
Ramen Noodle Living Protocol:
- Hairfluence – Hairfluence is the best cheap hair loss supplement out there at $20/month
- Rosemary Essential Oil Scalp massages nightly – a 4oz bottle is under $12 and will last you forever.
- DHT Blocking Shampoo & Conditioner from Hair Restoration Laboratories (huge bottles for the price) – these are under $40 for a set that will last you about 6 months.
- Bone broth as often as possible – buy the bones from your butcher (they’re cheap), make the broth, drink the broth. If necessary freeze the extra and thaw as needed. Read my post about this here. Making the bone broth is cheaper than buying the powdered collagen. If you’re really creative, go eat pho a few times a week over lunch at your favorite Vietnamese restaurant…should ring in at around $6/meal. Double duty food & medicine!
Sensitive Skin Protocol:
- Phytoworx organic plant stem-cell shampoo OR
- Vitamins Organic Gold shampoo & conditioner
- Organic Rosemary essential oil & Organic Lavender scalp massages nightly – why not go organic?
- Organic Saw Palmetto Supplement – it’s hard to find a specific hair-loss supplement that has 100% organic sourced ingredients so just get the most potent DHT blocker and supplement with it separately.
- Organic superfoods & grass-fed bovine collagen powder – happy plants, happy cows.
- Wild caught marine collagen powder – happy fish.
Penelope’s Hair Club for Men:
- Be Awesome to your Wife or Girlfriend (or Husband or Boyfriend) all of the time.
- Nutrafol for Men.
- Rosemary essential oil scalp massages nightly, or nearly nightly.
- Theradome or HairMax Laserband 82. That’s right, Mr. Moneybags – get yourself a laser helmet and surrender to the science of low level light therapy. It should appeal to the gadget nerd in you.
- Bovine Collagen Peptides. Moooooo. Throw it in your muscle smoothie.
- DHT blocking caffeine shampoo. Alpecin on a budget and Ultrax Surge if you’re flush from your last trip to Vegas. Both smell masculine.
Why do all of this instead of Rogaine + time?
Rogaine (minoxidil) is the only FDA-approved chemical hair loss treatment for women.
Rogaine is all well and good for those who have results with it. I am not one of those, and I also don’t like the way it leaves my hair greasy. I also have a hard time not getting it on my face. I’m Italian, and have enough issues with facial hair without having to contend with the Rogaine gorilla face.
Luckily, there are several alternative minoxidil products out there, and one I’ve considered trying is Lipogaine for sensitive scalps.
I came up with my protocol after research, trial and error, and cobbling together the treatments that seemed to work, not irritate my skin, and agree with my budget.
I’m sharing this information because the internet is full of women (1 in 4 of us!) desperate to solve the paralyzing horror of hair loss.
All joking aside, hair is serious sh*t, and since I’ve had some luck, I believe in passing this luck onto my sisters 🙂
I hope this post has given you some concrete ideas on how to tackle your hair loss. Keep trying until you find what works for you.
My blog is FULL of reviews of products not mentioned here, so if you don’t like these suggestions, keep reading and maybe something will pop out to you that sounds more up your alley.
I strongly believe my inside/outside hair loss treatment approach is mandatory, because our hair exists inside our dermis and outside our bodies.
DHT blocking shampoo is nice, but if you aren’t giving your body the collagen it needs to grow new strong hair, it’s not gonna give you the results you want.
And if you’re only taking supplements and not taking care of your hair on the outside with serums, nourishing oils, or nightly scalp massages, you also might not see much of a difference.
So, in my experience, you’ve gotta do it all, and you’ve gotta do it all at the same time.
I love hearing from you all and I encourage you to reach out to me personally or through the comments with any questions, thoughts, ideas, comments, or musings.
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We’re all in this together! Hair hair!