THE TALK: Thinning Hair

Victoria Wurdinger | November 4, 2013 | 1:28 PM


Your client’s hair is thinning.


When it comes to thinning hair, women are likely to mention it to their stylists first; men might be reluctant to bring it up. This is a sensitive topic and if you’re young with a full head of hair, educate yourself to act as an advisor and banish “bald” from your vocabulary. With one-third of women and over half of men over the age of 18 reporting thinning hair, it’s time to get the conversation started.



1. Get schooled. If you don’t know Minoxidil from Finasteride (Propecia) or the medications most likely to cause thinning hair, get online and start learning. One good site is the American Hair Loss Council at Normal hair loss is 50 to 100 strands a day and 95% of hair loss is hormonal or hereditary. Other causes include medications, stress, shock, mechanical or chemical stress and scalp disorders like alopecia. Familiarize yourself with the basics but don’t try to diagnose. If a client asks why her hair is thinning, don’t say you know why, offer options to try.

2. Make it Easy. Rather than saying, “I notice your hair is getting thinner,” or waiting for the client to mention it, use the consultation to lead the client. Ask: “What do you like about your hair, what don’t you like, and what would you most like to change?” Perform a scalp analysis. If your client wants thicker, fuller hair or wishes she had more of it, then ask if it seems to be thinning lately and what she thinks might be the cause.

3. Offer options. From scalp treatments, shampoos and hair vitamins to volumizers, hair extensions and magnetic hair fibers, there have never been so many options. No surprise, there’s also a lot of consumer skepticism. Remember, only Minoxidil, Propecia (for men only), and certain laser treatments can make hair-growth claims. Suggest a hair care regimen you’ve tested and trust, that’s tailored to what the client thinks is the cause of her hair loss. You’ll know if it’s traction alopecia; she’ll have a good idea if hair loss is pregnancy- or medication-related, hereditary, hormonal or unexplained.

4. Think Camouflage. Specific cuts, color treatments and hairstyles work best with fine and thinning hair. Always keep it positive, say: “I can make your hair look thicker by point-cutting the ends shorter,” or, “A zigzag part will make your part line look denser.” Illusions for women include bangs, long layers or asymmetry. For men, offer short, cropped cuts and some layers. According to the pros at Nioxin, deeper-colored roots and dimension always make hair look denser. Keep the developer volume low!

5. Maintain and Protect. Suggest preventive regimens that include minimized mechanical and chemical stress; thickening shampoos, conditioners and stylants; scalp treatments and scalp massages; and gentle tools, from tourmaline dryers to boar-bristle brushes. Show your client styling tricks that achieve fullness and volume with minimal heat. Then recommend a dermatologist or trichologist. You’ll come across as more credible if you don’t drift into discussions that are medical.


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