Want Thicker, Fuller Hair? Start By Doing This, Experts Say
Embarking on a hair growth journey can be quite daunting. Should you start with serums? Supplements? Scalp massage? Maybe in-office treatments? Ultimately, it depends on which cause of hair loss you're dealing with, but here's one tip I've heard countless scalp and hair experts deem the best first step.
Why you should look at your scalp consistently
The best tip to start: Look at your scalp. I mean, really look at it. Part your hair in different ways, look at when it's both wet and dry, get up close in the mirror, and investigate each part of your scalp to grasp a better idea of what's going on underneath your stands.
When you neglect regular check-ins with your scalp, you might miss the prime window for treating any problems before they become worse. It's just like skin care: If you don't look at your skin in the mirror, you might miss a subtle reaction to a product and continue using it until you experience a full-blown rash or other adverse reaction.
This is especially true for anyone trying to speed up hair growth, as you can spot plenty of interruptions and patterns with a simple look in the mirror. Below, find some red flags to look for:
- Flakes: If you take a look at your scalp and see flakes, you'll probably assume it's dandruff. The truth? It's not that simple. Think of flakes on the scalp as a sign of something, but don't jump the gun and assume it's dead skin. For example, it could also be product buildup, which would call for a gentle scalp exfoliation or a product swap.
- Redness: If your scalp is red, itchy, or inflamed, that's a sign that the skin barrier on your scalp has been disrupted. This happens for plenty of reasons, from product sensitivities to sun exposure to manual damage via brushes or scratching, and so on.
- Super oily roots: Your hair shouldn't become oily within a couple of hours or one day of washing. If it does, you may be dealing with some product buildup on the scalp and roots of your hair.
If you're already experiencing hair shedding or hair loss, looking at your scalp may help you understand what's causing the fallout. For example, a receding hairline in women might be caused by frequent tight hairstyles that pull the strands back or hormonal imbalances. General thinning may be caused by increased stress, menopause, certain medications, and the list goes on.
While your scalp won't give you an exact report card of what's happening inside your body, it is helpful to know where you're losing hair if you decide to visit a professional for help. Plus, it can help you decide which areas to target with hair growth serums, should you want to use them.
3 quick scalp care tips:
Even if your scalp looks A-OK, it's important to know what steps to take to maintain a healthy, happy environment for growth. Think about how you treat the skin on your face: You wouldn't skip your skin care routine just because your skin looks healthy, would you? The same goes for the scalp. Below, some overall maintenance tips:
- Identify the best wash schedule: Some scalps thrive with a daily cleanse, while others need a few days between washes to rest. Experiment with different wash schedules to find your favorite. Remember: You don't want a dry scalp, but you also don't want loads of buildup—find your happy medium.
- Consider weekly treatments: Part of tending to the scalp is intuitive. One week you may need a hydrating scalp serum or scalp oil to quench dryness, and others you may need a gentle exfoliating treatment. Feel free to tack on a scalp massage to your treatment for more stimulation and stress relief—here are some tools to help you out.
- Tend to your hair from within: Your hair won't reach its optimal health without proper nutrition. Keep your foods as whole and balanced as possible, stay hydrated, get enough protein in your diet, and consider hair growth supplements if you want to be proactive.
If your scalp concerns aren't improving with at-home care, don't hesitate to see a dermatologist—they have access to treatments and other medical interventions you may want to consider.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.