Growing Pains




Men get all the attention, but hair loss affects women, too. We've got some solutions.

Hair loss is a condition typically associated with men rather than women, but according to research done by Spencer Forrest, a company that manufactures several products targeting this issue, approximately 40 percent of women in the United States experience thinning hair. Unlike men, who most often experience a receding hairline, women tend to suffer from thinning all over the head.

Click for larger image and caption
Click for larger image and caption

"There are many causes of thinning hair," says Karen Nace, educational director at Nexxus. "Topical irritation, nutrient deprivation and hormone imbalance are just some of them." But most people have genetics to blame for thinning hair. Hair is at its thickest at age 20. After that, the downward slope to thinning hair begins. Hair reproduces in a 28-day cycle, but with time, it'll slow to a 60-day cycle, resulting in less hair.

While stylists don't have control over their clients' DNA, they can still offer help to those dealing with thinning hair by recommending products that address the problem. "It's culturally unacceptable for women to do nothing about thinning hair, whereas men are resigned to the fact that aging is inevitable," says Trevor Attenborough, vice president of marketing at Nioxin. "This forces women to seek products." Fortunately there are several companies dedicated to offering solutions. From shampoos and vitamins to lasers and cosmetic options, there is something out there for everyone.

VitaTress, a three-step revitalization program for thinning hair from Nexxus, can help with any cause of hair loss. The process has a long reputation of being effective; it's been on the market for more than 20 years. In fact, the third step, a food supplement, was Nexxus' first-ever product, released in 1979. Since then, the formula has only been altered once, in 2001. Nexxus asserts that the process, which consists of a shampoo, Biotin Scalp-Creme and the vitamin supplement, is one of the most effective and affordable nondrug programs available on the market.

If your clients want to try the newest products for thinning hair, Nioxin has a couple to offer. Scalp Renew speeds up the hair-producing process to make the scalp act like it did when it was younger, resulting in stronger, healthier hair (for the full story refer to First Look on page 38). Meanwhile, Nioxin's Volumizing Reflectives Thickening Spray uses alcohol-free, volume-enhancing polymers to strengthen the hair shaft and add thickness from deep inside the cuticle. Just spray generously from root to tip and style as usual. What makes this spray unique from others is its alcohol-free formula. Alcohol, which many other sprays use, can be damaging to the hair and scalp.

Spencer Forrest, which has been developing solutions for thinning hair for 25 years, has recently come out with a laser that promotes growth. The X5 laser thickens the diameter of the hair, resulting in a healthier look. "Everyone's hair grows faster in the summer because the UV light promotes growth," says Mark Cress, CEO of Spencer Forrest. The laser essentially behaves in the same manner. Its small size fits comfortably in the palm and its cordless design allows for easy movement. After three 15-minute sessions a week for six to 12 weeks results will become visible. This ergonomically designed laser is good for either salon or home use.

Spencer Forrest also offers XFusion Keratin Fibers, which are made of the same organic protein as your hair. The fibers latch onto your existing hair and are resistant to rain, sweat and wind but come off easily with shampoo. Just shake the fibers generously over the balding or thinning area or use the maximizer spraying device for precision.

Products derived from natural and organic ingredients are another option for women with thinning hair. Belegenza's all-natural GrowOut Shampoo uses a secret patent-pending ingredient to help slow the effects of aging by lessening harmful dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production, improving blood circulation and stimulating the creation of the molecules that hold the hair in the follicle longer.

With so many products available that target thinning hair, your female clients need not endure the emotional distress that comes with hair loss. Put the body back in your clients' hair and make them feel young again. —NATALIE GONZALEZ