All the things I’m doing to fix my hair loss

Ick. This is literally the most embarrassing headline for a post I’ve ever written on this blog. But this is real life, my friends. We’re talking about hair loss, and what I’m doing to fix my hair loss, as well as the reasons it has happened to me.

Before we begin, I need to mention that my journey to fix my hair is not complete, and I’m still on it. Normally, I would not write a full post about something until I was further along in the process, but because I know I’m on the right track, and because I know this is something a lot of women are dealing with these days, I felt like writing it now. This is not the final mention, this is an ongoing project.

Let’s get into the backstory …

I started noticing that my ponytail was not as thick as it used to be in late 2020, during the height of COVID, right around the time we were losing my dad, and right when we were planning our cross-country move. It was a tough time, and I’m 100 percent sure that stress played a part in shedding my once-thick hair. I didn’t have any patches, I just had less hair overall. (I even asked my doctor about it during a routine physical, and she said that the whole COVID-lockdown/pandemic situation was so stressful that a lot of people were seeing increased hair loss, and I wasn’t alone.). 

That happened, and I didn’t do a ton of stuff to fix it at the time, other than start taking iron pills and try to be a bit more gentle with it. With a bit of time, it improved slightly, but not a ton. Also, I must mention, I’m lucky to have (or had) really thick hair. At one time, my hairstylist said I had almost a head-and-a-half of hair. So I started from a good spot, but that also meant that I was extra sad to see so much of that nice hair dwindle down.

All the things I'm doing to fix my hair loss by A Lady Goes West

Then, one year later, something else happened: the dreaded miscarriage and subsequent D&E surgery. There are two big things at play here: When you are pregnant and then you’re not any longer, your hormones change significantly and this can be the impetus for a big shedding of hair. (When you are pregnant, you actually don’t shed as much hair as normal, so once those pregnancy hormones are gone, the shedding resumes, and it is increased to make up for lost time.)

And the second thing: When you have a surgery with anesthesia, this can also result in hair loss for some people. The term is called telogen effluvium, and it’s a condition that disrupts the normal hair follicle cycling and puts your hair in the rest phase, meaning you don’t produce new hairs, and it results in overall loss.

Both of these hit me, and I noticed the worst-of-the-worst hair loss about three months after all of this happened. I noticed a patchier hairline (an absolute nightmare for me, because I already have a high forehead, and this patchiness is something I would stare at in the mirror obsessing over day in and day out. It was painful for me to deal with, and it’s just now improving.) I also noticed breakage, curlier-than-usual roots and thinner hair that was not as thick as it once was overall. I mean, a terrible hair situation — literally causing tears. And while I’m embarrassed about it, it doesn’t make it any worse to talk about it with you, so here I am sharing some seriously sensitive stuff with you today.

Ashley and hair loss by A Lady Goes West

Since that time, and during that time, I’ve been doing a bunch of things to fix my hair. While it does NOT look how I want it to look, it is absolutely getting better, and I think that time and effort are helping. I recently went to the dermatologist to get my skin checked, and I asked her to check my hairline, and she said I had a lot of new growth, and she also confirmed the telogen effluvium diagnosis.

Once again, I’m still on this journey, and I know that a lot of women are or have experienced changes in their hair the last couple of years with a lot of extra stress and illness, so let’s talk about what’s working for me. And if you know someone in this situation, please share this post with them. Not only so they don’t feel alone (and totally embarrassed), but also so they may get some helpful tips.

All the things I’m doing to fix my hair loss

All the things I'm doing to fix my hair loss by A Lady Goes West

Here’s what I’ve been doing to help fix my hair loss …

Taking Nutrafol daily.

This is not cheap, my friends. My doctor told me about Nutrafol, and I was skeptical, but I read a bunch of reviews and decided to order it from Amazon, and I’ve been taking it for five months straight. I really think this has helped. It’s a supplement with a ton of natural vitamins and minerals that support bolstering hair growth, especially biotin (a whole lot of biotin). You take four pills a day, and one bottle is a one-month supply. You can find Nutrafol here.

Nutrafol by A Lady Goes West

Switching to a silk pillowcase.

One of the big reasons for hair loss can be friction, so I switched back to a silk pillowcase to help my hair overnight. I always used a silk pillowcase in California, but when we moved and bought a new bed and new sheets, I stuck with the regular organic cotton case that came with our sheets. Using silk pillowcases has benefits for the skin and hair too, reducing wrinkles and keeping your hair in better condition. I love that I’ve switched back and am going to stick with this change, because silk is so darn soft. Find the silk pillowcase I use here.

Washing my hair more often (from one to two or three times a week).

Okay, so many things to say on this point. First of all, you often hear that you should wash your hair less to improve its health, which is why I almost always went with once a week, even though I’m a sweater. Well, then I read about the hair follicle, and how you have to keep it clean and clear, just like a pore. If you let your pores get clogged, your skin freaks out. And if you let your follicles get clogged, your hair will freak out, fall out or be extra damaged. I don’t know the science exactly, but it started to make sense. So now, I wash my hair two or three times a week.

Massaging my head with a scalp massager.

Okay, I do not do this one as often as I should. But I purchased this little scalp massager off Amazon (once again, after a whole lot of research), and I use it maybe weekly (I should do it more than that), to gently massage my hairline and entire scalp. This is supposed to stimulate growth and production and improve overall scalp health. It also feels very good. I should go grab it right now. Find the massager I got here.

Scalp massager by A Lady Goes West

Taking collagen daily.

I’ve been taking collagen for years and years, and I think because of that, things have not been as totally bad as they could have been. I still believe in taking collagen to support skin, hair and joints, so I have to include it on my list. I’ve taken many kinds of collagen over the years, and now, I’m using collagen from NOW (my code WEST gets you 20 percent off this on the NOW website). I put it in my morning tea latte, and you can see how I make that latte here.

Eating more iron-rich foods and protein.

This one is a work in progress. I am actively trying to eat more iron-rich foods, and that includes grass-fed beef. I do not gravitate to meat very much, and I don’t even like to cook it, but whenever we are at a restaurant, I will order the steak. And sometimes Dave will make us steak or regular grass-fed burgers on the weekends, instead of veggie burgers. A few other iron-rich foods I often eat are pumpkin seeds, broccoli rice and legumes. I was taking an iron supplement and recently ran out, so I need to get back to that. I read there was a link between consuming adequate protein and iron-rich foods with hair strength, so that’s where this one comes in.

Using a thickening shampoo and conditioner.

For a long time, I was using Beautycounter shampoo and conditioner, which is super clean and works great. However, once again, I decided to do a bunch of research on the best shampoos and conditioners for damaged hair that was thinning to find something targeted for my needs. There are a bunch of chemical-laden products with hair-growth mixtures, but I still wanted to keep it clean with safer ingredients. I ended up buying this set from Pura D’or, and it gets my hair and scalp super clean. I feel like it’s worked to support thickness too. Find the shampoo and conditioner I’m using here.

Purador shampoo by A Lady Goes West

Being more gentle with how I pull my hair back.

I’m a fitness instructor with big hair, so I have to pull my hair back tightly for classes. I’ve been doing this my whole life, and some of that may have impacted my hairline — by causing something called traction alopecia. While I still use hairspray and bobby pins to keep my messy hair out of my face, I’m trying not to pull it as tightly as I used to. This is a work in progress, because sometimes I forget, and I realize I have my hair really tightly wrapped. I’m human, and I’ve done this for a lifetime, so it’s difficult for me to remind myself to do things differently. Especially at night, or when I’m around the house, I keep my hair in a very loose pineapple with a big scrunchie. Scrunchies are key for saving hair.

Abstaining from chemical hair services.

I’m dying to get my highlights done and my keratin straightening done again. However, these treatments are both very harsh, so I’m abstaining for now, until I see more improvement. I have been getting regular haircuts, as well as something called a gloss, which is semi-permanent and enhances the color you already have, but doesn’t do all that much. It’s something, even though it doesn’t give me the results I want. It will be so good to go back and get some highlights, but I need to give my baby hairs that are growing in more time.

Ashley and Brady at the vanity by A Lady Goes West

There are a couple other things I haven’t tried, like red-light therapy, but I’m hoping all that I’m doing right now will be enough to speed-up the grow-back process and maybe even help my hair to be stronger moving forward.

Overall thoughts on everything I’m doing to fix my hair loss

This has not been a fun thing to go through. Especially because I stand on a stage in front of hundreds of people a week as a group fitness instructor and then talk to many of them close-up afterward. (And I’ve convinced myself that they must be secretly judging me.) But this is real life, and this is something that is probably a lot more common than you think. I’m lucky that I started out with a lot of extra hair, and I haven’t needed to resort to any drastic fixes. But it’s still embarrassing.

Fixing my hair loss by A Lady Goes West

(Wearing this lipstick in rose, these jeans, this sweater and this watch strap in these photos.)

Once again, I want to remind you that I’m still on this journey and do not feel like my hair is back to 100 percent fullness and health. But I’m certainly seeing progress and I thought it was worth sharing this with you. Because I’ve done a lot of research, much like when I was fixing my hormones years ago, and I think some of it could help you.

And we’ll stop there. Thanks for reading this one about fixing my hair loss, friends. It was a tough one for me to put out there, but here it is. Have a wonderful day. 🙂 

Other posts you may like …

Questions of the day

What’s something you’re dealing with right now that’s a little embarrassing?

What do you do to take care of the health of your hair?

How was your weekend?

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24 Comments

  1. Ashley, thank you for this post. I’m also dealing with the same thing so please know you’re not alone! I have thick curly hair but it used to be even thicker minus maybe the last 10 years? My ponytail also used to be this big poof in the back. My hair ties would always stretch out or break that’s how big my ponytail was. It’s so disheartening feeling/seeing the difference now and even washing my hair feels different. My hair is thinner but my main concern is a section of my hairline in the front. I see it in pictures all the time and even when my hair is freshly colored/blown out there’s that little spot that is so annoying lol. For me it was stress/pregnancy hair loss related, it just never grew back. Some things I’m doing are some of your points above and taking Spironolactone daily and I’ve done PRP for hair treatments. Crossing my fingers we both see some improvements soon!

    1. Hi Joanna! I’m sorry you’ve dealt with this too, because it’s very painful emotionally — even if it’s a vanity thing. I’m glad you are taking proactive efforts to fix your hair, and I hope the combination of all of it works over time. I do know that we tend to be a little harder on ourselves than others, so I’m guessing you still look perfectly beautiful no matter what! 🙂 Have a wonderful day, and thank YOU for sharing with me!

  2. Dealing with this too over here and I think right now it is so, so common. I was discussing it with my therapist and she doesn’t have a single female patient who has not experienced some major hair loss in the last two years. It’s been a tough time! Sounds like you’re doing so many great, supportive things for yourself, now it’s just the “be patient and wait” phases (THE WORST haha.) I’ve done some of these same things as well and seen some improvent. My biggest uplift was increasing my iron consumption. Best of luck to you! I never realized how vulnerable hair loss feels, and it’s been super humbling. Thanks for talking about it!

    1. Hi Holly! It always feels better to know others have shared in your struggles a bit. Thanks for telling me about what you’re going through. And props to you for talking about it working on increasing your iron — I do need to keep on that one. Hope you are well, and hoping the waiting game isn’t too bad until your hair rebounds! Mine too! 🙂

  3. I didn’t start with the shedding until around 55 years old. Thank God, like you, I had thick hair. I am going to start some of the things you mentioned above. Ready to start – really been on my mind and not in a good way. Thank you!

    1. Hi Cathy! Thanks for reading the blog, what a nice treat to see a comment from you! I know that it’s very common to feel like you have less hair as you age, and you should feel good, because I think your hair looks nice and thick and healthy all the time. I’m glad you found this post helpful — it feels good to be proactive in trying to fix something that you aren’t happy with! 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I don’t have hair loss, but I have genetically very thin hair (I can clip it all back with one bobby pin!) so I’m definitely going to try out some of the stuff above and see what happens.

    XOXO

    1. Hi Nicole! How are you, my friend? Thank you for reading and for sharing with me! I did know that hair thickness is genetic, and I don’t know if you can reverse it — but it seems like all hair-supporting efforts would be worthy of your time, because you never know what may help! And you always look great, BTW! 🙂 xoxo

  5. Hey Ashley! I recently experienced major hairloss myself and am still recovering. I didn’t realize how stressed I was from my job but I did recognize that chunks of hair were flaking out every time I washed dmy hair. A little over two months after I quit my job I got a haircut to celebrate starting my new job. The stylist confirmed my hairloss but she also pointed out sections of regrowth! I recently picked up a scalp massager and even if it isn’t helping, it feels good when I use it to massage my scalp.
    Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Hi Stefanie! Yesss, stress plays a huge role in our hair health (and I bet you had other ailments brought on by stress too). I’m so glad you are in a new job, and I hope you are enjoying your new role. Thank you for reading and for sharing with me! Also, enjoy that scalp massager — it’s a treat. I should keep mine by the couch so I can do it while watching TV at night! 🙂

  6. My hairdresser commented maybe 7 years ago, when the high topknot- bun styles became common, that there were many women were going to see receding hairlines from the traction and pulling of the delicate hairline… he was right because the number of women I’m aware of who are experiencing hairline loss is tremendous. I know it’s more than traction for many, but gosh it’s our crowning glory! I don’t have hair loss but I do have a weird hair pattern on my scalp that results in a bunch of curls growing like a star bursting from one point… I’ve been styling my hair to hide that for years and it’s no fun to hide something on your head.

    1. Hi. lady! We all have our things we have to deal with! Thank you for sharing with me. And yes, the tight hairstyles are definitely causing some issues and have been for a long time. They look so cute though! 🙂 Here’s to being more gentle with our hair!

  7. Just wanted to say that I think your hair always looks amazing (on socials and here)! I can only imagine how hard it is though as hair and faces are the first thing we see. I am still conscious of my baby postpartum hairs. Sounds like it’s all heading in the right direction for you. Thanks for always sharing your journey, the good and the bad!

    1. Thank you for reading and for commenting, Courtney! I really appreciate it! And yes, those baby hairs were so annoying, but at least it means they’re coming back in! 🙂 xoxo

  8. While I know this is probably top of mind for you (and very unfair), others probably haven’t noticed! You do a good job of disguising it! In your last post about the pizza party, I noticed your hair was darker (but I like it)! I thought maybe you were just trying a new hair color. I hadn’t noticed any other changes in any of your pictures you shared! I think you are very pretty. I imagine it must be hard, and I hate this for you, and i just wanted to comment that it is probably less obvious to everyone else than to you. I hope all these strategies work!

  9. Hi Ashley! I haven’t experienced this, but I can imagine it wouldn’t be fun to deal with. My hair is naturally fine, but I’ve noticed that if I let my hair grow too long, I lose a LOT of hair in the shower/after combing it. By keeping my hair shoulder length or just slightly longer, I lose significantly less hair.

    1. Hi Shelby! Thanks for sharing that — it’s good to know your hair’s length limits — I know shorter is ideal for keeping it healthy too! 🙂 Happy Friday, and thank you for reading!

  10. So I am having the same issue and the only thing working for me is eating steak daily. I don’t get it. The iron supplement didn’t do a thing, but actual steak did … maybe it’s not just the iron?

    1. I think that it’s hard for our body to get a lot of iron out of supplements, and you won’t absorb as much of it if you don’t pair the iron with vitamin C either (I take a vitamin C tab with my iron pill). But you definitely absorb the steak! Hope you are able to see some improvement, Cher!

  11. Hi!
    Thanks for the post. I can honestly say I have tried all those things for years and I have spent a lot of money on vitamins and products and I am just sharing to help others. I have dealt with this for decades and the only that has worked thus far is Divi.
    I would say that if you have oily hair this product will make your hair look even more oily but just apply it the night before you will wash your hair or on those days that you know you will not be getting out of the house. You will see different influencers and people applying it making it seem like your hair looks great but trust me it will make it look super oily so that is the only downside but worth every penny.
    I just hope this helps somebody 🙂

    1. Hi Anamaria! Thanks for reading and sharing. I’ve actually never heard of Divi before. How long were you using it before you saw some results?

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