How to Wash Thinning Hair

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Hair can be naturally thin or it can thin out as the result of aging, pregnancy, trauma, certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, illness or thyroid problems. Your hair can be fine, meaning the diameter of a single hair is smaller than average, or thin, meaning that you have fewer than average hairs on your scalp, or both. Whatever the reason, you need to take special care of your thinning hair to preserve it and prevent further thinning.

Treat your hair like it is a fine fabric. Handle it gently when shampooing. Soak your hair thoroughly before applying shampoo. Many people rush through this step, but it is important to sweep away loose dirt, oil and pollutants to prepare it for the shampoo.

Use a body-building, or "volumizing," shampoo made specifically for fine, thinning hair. Start with lukewarm -- not hot -- water. Pour a quarter-size dollop of shampoo into your hand, spread it into both hands and apply it to your hair. Massage your scalp gently with the tips of your fingers, being careful not to scratch your scalp.

Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Apply conditioner, if needed, only to the ends of the hair. Rinse out the conditioner. Using too much conditioner will weigh down thin hair. End with a cool-water rinse to close the hair cuticles. One washing is enough.

Dry your hair on top of your head for volume. After your shampoo, apply a volumizing mousse, gel or setting lotion. With a large-tooth comb or your fingers, scoop your hair upwards. Grasp the hair on top of your head and secure it with a clip, or twist it gently into a loose ponytail and fasten it with a scrunchie or rubber band. Let your hair air dry, if possible, rather than blow-drying it.

Read the labels when shopping for shampoo. Many shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, synthetic substances that create suds. They can cause allergic reactions and even hair loss. Heaps of suds aren’t necessary to clean your hair.

Use products from the same line. If you find a shampoo that works well for your thinning hair, try other products by the same manufacturer. Try thickening conditioner, mousse or gel in the same product line.

Shampoo less frequently. Daily hair washing is not necessary, and it can be especially stressful to thinning hair. Washing thinning hair every other day is generally often enough.