We want to make it clear: hair loss is normal. It’s not uncommon, it’s not strange. And more people need to talk about, specifically women.
Though often normalized among men, hair loss is still extremely taboo among women and nonbinary people.
One in four women experience some sort of female pattern hair loss by the time they’re 49 years old, according to one study. Fifty percent of women experience some form of female pattern hair loss by the time they reach 79 years old. In the last two years, thousands more have experienced hair loss as an aftereffect of COVID-19.
If it’s so common: why are we so shy to talk about it?
We wanted to give this topic a head start– In hopes of normalizing the conversation, we sat down with 5 INH Babes, ages 20-35, who have experienced some sort of hair loss and wanted to share their stories.
Join us, in reducing the stigma together babes <3
Meet Leni (she/her/hers)
City: Cleveland, Ohio
Hair Texture: Curly
It took Leni a while to feel comfortable wearing a wig. So many people wear wigs to change up their look, experiment or simply have fun. Leni changes up her look with wigs, too. But she mainly wears them to cover up her hair loss. And that is a scary reality to face.
Leni first spotted signs of hair loss six years ago at age 29. It may have partially resulted from an EEG test, or some weight loss. But she’s not completely sure why her hair has shed, so much so that bald spots have reached her scalp. For a long time, she was too scared to even seek answers.
“I used to have long, beautiful thick hair,” she said. “I lost a lot of confidence.”
“My husband can tell,” she said. “He’s like, ‘It’s good to see you have your confidence back.’ And you know, I’m smiling more. I’ve definitely gotten very emotional when I look at myself in the mirror and I’m like ‘Oh my god, I have my hair back.”
It’s important for people to feel beautiful, Leni believes, “even if it takes fake hair to get there, it’s okay because your self-esteem matters”.
Though admittedly hard for her to choose, Leni’s favorite INH hair pieces include the Zooey clip-in bangs, and the Alice and Raven wigs because they both remind her of hair she once had.
Meet Christina (she/her/hers)
Occupation: Stay at home mom
City: Lafayette, Louisiana
Hair Texture: 3B Curls
You’re not vain, nor are you shallow, for feeling insecure about hair loss, Christina believes. “It’s okay for this problem to hurt as deeply as it does.”
At just 15 years old, Christina noticed something different about her hair. Compared to her sisters and aunts with “enormous, voluminous curly hair,” hers was thinning and receding. Christina never received an official diagnosis, but she believes it was due to stress-induced alopecia.
“It was emotionally very hard,” she said. It affected her behavior. She avoided standing in front of windows or in direct sunlight. Others might be able to see through her hair and peek at her exposed scalp, she feared.
It took her a while to accept that she had a problem, but once she did, she found it very healing. “This is something I will just have to deal with. And even if I never fix it, that’s okay,” she said.
Over 10 years later, Christina’s finally figured out her hair growth remedy. With a combination of at-home red laser light therapy treatments and Moringa supplements — originally intended to help her breastfeed but alternatively improved her skin clarity and hair growth — she’s noticed a difference in her hair. Her curl pattern has actually begun to improve.
She recognizes, however, that her hair growth journey is so individualized. “It’s been like 10 years to get through all of this stuff,” she said. “It’s personal and very intimate, for each person.”
Christina’s favorite INH product is the Chloe half up half down hair extension. She said it’s the first hair extension she’s seen that matches her curly hair texture perfectly, and plans on buying a second one soon.
Meet Ashley (she/her/hers)
Occupation: Photographer and Target employee
Hair Texture: Wavy
“It’s just hair,” Ashley reminds herself. There’s no reason to be ashamed about losing it. There’s no shame in telling people she’s faking it with wigs or hair extensions.
In 9th grade, Ashley was diagnosed with thyroid disease, and hair thinning was one of her symptoms. Though she’s been on effective thyroid medication for years, she still hasn’t found a complete remedy for her hair loss.
No matter how she parts her hair, she said, her thinning hair is noticeable. So, fake hair and Filling Fine hair powder has become a part of her regular routine.
“It's just so easy, and it really has given me so much more confidence,” she said. “I wish I had the confidence to go [out] with my natural hair. I'm not at that point yet.”
Through it all, Ashley said she remembers that she’s not just her hair. She’s so much more than that.
During the summer heat, Ashley said she loves wearing clip-in bangs Zooey and clip-in bun extension Cami. However, her ultimate favorite: the YoYo wig. “That’s my dream hair, basically,” she said. “I need like 5 extra.”
*Trigger warning: the following section contains mention of eating disorders
Meet Josephine (she/her/hers)
Hair Texture: Curly
Like many, hair was what gave Josephine confidence. Her “big, bouncy Disney curls” were the one thing people always complimented her on. In April 2021, however, a combination of pandemic-related stress and an eating disorder made her “super thick hair” fall out in “clumps.” And it just wouldn’t stop.
She tried different hair products and medicines. She tried changing her eating habits and her workout routines. She had to completely reevaluate how she cares for herself.
“In a way, I’m kind of grateful that my hair started falling out,” she said. “That was like the final straw for me to realize, ‘Okay, I need to get better now. I need to beat this disorder.’”
It’s taken time for her to heal, time for her to cope. She’s built a fabulous collection of wigs and hair extensions. But most importantly, she’s found her own little community to talk about hair loss and feel less alone.
She and a group of her friends conduct their own little research tests. They try out different hair growth methods, but it’s mostly a way for them to support one another. It helps her come to terms with her situation, while also finding a solution.
Josephine’s favorite INH hair piece is Shayla because it’s most similar to her natural hair texture. She also said she loves the Sharon and Jordynn clip-in ponytail extensions. She loves wearing them when she’s on day 4 or 5 of her hair routine, when her curls aren’t as prominent.
Meet Katie (she/her/hers)
Hair Texture: Wavy
Katie first started noticing hair loss when she was around 18 or 19 years old. She was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fibromyalgia — both of which are potential causes of hair thinning and hair shedding.
“My hair is a part of me,” she said. Seeing her hair change made her feel sad, and wonder, is her hair ever going to grow back healthy. Eventually, her hair started growing back thicker.
Over time, she’s found that a prescribed anti-dandruff shampoo, biotin supplements, and less frequently dying her hair has helped (to her dismay).
But what’s helped her most along the way was having a support system behind her. Katie's mother, Jean, battled through everything from lupus to rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. She was constantly researching, and even worked in the medical field as an insurance agent at one point.
“I saw her fighting, so it made me want to fight. To get up and, you know, do stuff and then change my lifestyle,” she said.
Ultimately, Katie urges people to talk to their friends, talk about their stresses. Hair loss should be normalized.
While Katie’s hair was really thinning, she wore INSERT NAME HERE ponytail extensions as she waited for it to grow. “The ponytails helped me feel more confident about my hair,” she said. She particularly loves Miya in colorful shades, like the bubblegum pink as pictured above.
Hair loss, in any capacity, is so completely normal. You’re beautiful regardless. If you or a loved one are struggling with hair loss, please seek some of the resources below and/or join our inclusive group of INH Babes for support. And remember you’re not alone, babe.
- Female Celebrities Who Experience Hair Loss
- 10 Foods to Promote Hair Growth
- How to treat hair loss
- Coping with hair loss and thinning
- The Rapunzel Project — a nonprofit dedicated to helping chemo patients with hair loss
- Shedding Light on Shedding: How I Navigated Female Hair Loss