A few years ago, I was very sick for a number of reasons that mostly centered on the health of my blood. It was a time of major transition in my life, so I’m sure the constant stress didn’t help either.
As a result — and much to my chagrin — I began to lose my hair. While a healthy person usually loses about 50 to 100 strands of hair per day according to the American Academy of Dermatology, I was losing hair by the clump and the loss was becoming increasingly obvious.
A few years after those horrible months, I had begun to heal but my hair hadn’t yet returned to its original lion’s mane and probably never would.
As I sat in the chair of a family friend who'd been cutting my hair since I was 8, she ran her fingers along my scalp and dropped a sympathetic bomb: “Your hair does seem a lot thinner, sweetie.”
I held my breath. A flood of familiar emotions welled up in my stomach.
Vain as it may seem, a significant portion of my identity was tied to my hair, something I didn’t realize until I began to lose it. Yes, this is traditional femininity in action, but I'd just turned 18 and had been blessed with thick, gorgeous hair my whole life. Thinning hair wasn't something I'd chosen, and that made it all the more difficult for a semi-control freak to find peace with her clogged shower drain.
On the other hand, it could have been much, much worse. In fact, it is a lot worse for some people. If I could do it all over, I'd hope I could have dealt with the situation more mindfully. Hell, maybe I should have even shaved my entire head in an effort to practice impermanence.
But hindsight is 20/20, no?
My hair has finally stopped falling out at the alarming rate it used to, even though I’m still working on the blood-health thing (that’s a lifelong process). My hair and I continue to have a weird relationship, though. To this day, almost four years later, I still have an inner millisecond meltdown when I go to tuck my hair behind my ears and a piece falls out.
Whether your hairline is receding, the overall thickness is dwindling, or you just want it to grow back faster after you shaved it off to tattoo Gaia on the left side of your head, here are a few things I’ve been doing to treat my hair like the survivor it is: