Losing More Hair Than Usual? It Might Be Telogen Effluvium

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It’s the health condition you might not know you have, but your hair stylist has the scoop: telogen effluvium, aka hair loss. This tounge twister of a medical term describes a condition in which a person sheds a lot hairs, usually after a prolonged and highly stressful period of their lives. Which pretty much describes the last year plus for many people, who were either suffering from COVID-19 or living in perpetual fear of becoming infected with the virus.

Unsurprisingly, when we spoke with Eric Torres at Bombshell Salon in Los Angeles, he confirmed that he’s noticed a high percentage of his clients dealing with hair loss recently. The good news is that telogen effluvium is usually entirely reversible. So, keep the faith and follow these simple steps from Torres on how to counteract Covid-era hair loss in and out of the salon.

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telogen effluvium exfoliate
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1. Exfoliate Your Hair and Scalp

“At the salon, I’ll go in with a gentle exfoliant such as a Malibu treatment (a granular deep cleaning solution) to remove scalp buildup and stimulate fresh growth,” Torres says. (We don’t mind the nice scalp massage that comes with the application either.) At home, you can get similar results with a scalp detoxifying serum and a scalp massager that can be used on wet or dry hair to encourage blood flow.

2. Apply Gloss to Strengthen Hair

Torres recommends getting a gloss post-color (or pre-cut, for any hair virgins still out there). This temporary treatment not only smooths the hair cuticle, but it also removes unwanted tones caused by sun exposure, chlorine or hard water. While usually done in a salon, there are at-home hair glosses for more subtle but still effective results.

3. Get a Trim

Clients sometimes shy away from getting a cut, Torres says, because they don’t want to lose what hair they have. But he emphasizes that a trim prevents damaged ends from working their way up the hair shaft and causing breakage. Also, a trim doesn’t mean you need to lose length. Just communicate with your stylist, and be clear that you only want a dusting (unless there is a lot of damage, in which case they may need to cut a little more).

4. Deep Condition

Sure, it’s a drag to have to wait seemingly forever while your conditioner-coated head marinates under a dryer, but Torres says that post-lockdown, customers are less resistant to hanging out in the salon for a deep conditioning treatment. “Everyone is happy to get out of the house,” he says. Deep conditioners help counteract the natural oxidation process that occurs when hair gets longer, restoring the shine and smoothness that's been taken away by all those months and years of weather elements, salon treatments and heat styling. If you’re looking for something to use at home, consider a strengthening oil treatment—or if you’re pressed for time, an overnight hair mask.

5. Take Supplements

Torres believes that "everyone over 30 should take hair supplements” because he says that biotin, magnesium, selenium, essential acids and vitamin E all naturally deplete with age. Each brand has its own proprietary formula, with botanical ingredients such as scalp-energizing black currant (Rene Furterer) and added nutrients like zinc and folic acid (Hum Nutrition); some come in a palatable beet sugar-sweetened gummy form that doesn’t require you take them with food or water (Olly).

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...