As we approach menopause we find that our hair is no longer as strong and voluminous as it once was. And our colour starts to fade as those pesky greys appear.
There is a new school of thought that says we should celebrate having grey and white hair and I'm sure you have noticed some of your friends throwing away the hair dye and embracing the grey.
For many of us though, grey is synonymous with 'old age' and we'd do anything to disguise those tell tale signs of maturity. Not only that, but many of us have to cope with thinning or falling hair.
It's not a problem faced by men alone.
So what causes hair loss?
The most common form of hair loss is determined by our genes and hormones and it is estimated that around 30% of Caucasian women are affected before menopause.
There are three things which speed up the rate of hair shedding - advancing age, an inherited tendency to go bald early (for men), and an over-abundance of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) within the hair follicle.
Basically changes to the hair's growing cycle means more hairs are shed with the hairs becoming thinner and thinner until they are too fine to survive daily wear and tear.
Other physiological factors might cause hair loss. Recently, a group of Japanese researchers found a link between excessive sebum in the scalp and hair loss. This is because the excessive sebum (oil) which often accompanies thinning hair enlarges the sebaceous glands and leads to malnutrition of the hair root.
Although this condition could be hereditary, they believe diet is a more prominent cause. The researchers note that Japanese hair was thick and healthy, with a small gland and little scalp oil, until more animal fat crept into their diet after World War II.
Hair loss is often increased by stress, dieting, poor circulation, steroid use, mineral deficiency, genetics, pregnancy or moving to a new country or change of environment. These can cause a change in the body’s hormones and effect DHT – the contributor to hair loss.
Psychological distress can also makes matters worse. The more hair we lose the more we worry about it – and then the more we worry about it, the more hair we lose… It is a vicious cycle!
Caring for thinning hair can also add to your stress.
Most doctors agree that if you have a oily scalp with thinning hair, you should shampoo your hair frequently. This is because shampooing can reduce surface sebum, which contains high levels of testosterone and DHT that may reenter the skin and affect the hair follicle.
You may think that more frequent shampooing is the last thing you should be doing if you are worried about thinning hair or hair loss but there are some effective, yet gentle, shampoos on the market.
I was recently sent a selection of shampoos to try by hair loss specialists The Harley Street Hair Clinic, who are world leaders in FUE hair transplant technology and are the only clinic in the UK to specialise in follicular transfer hair transplant technology.
They are finding that, as more high-profile patients speak candidly about their hair transplants (for example their client Wayne Rooney), more men and women are getting in touch for consultations.
Whilst I am not losing my hair, I have definitely noticed that it is getting much drier and coarser as I get older - and admittedly, colouring my hair is probably not helping!
Swopping to a gentler shampoo has definitely helped.
Phytojoba Intense Hydration Brilliance Shampoo
This one had a lovely coconut smell and left my hair with more volume. It contains Jojoba Oil, which is a genuine liquid wax to smooth and add shine, soothing Cornflower and Mallow and a washing base derived from Coconut Oil to help your hair rapidly regains an optimal level of hydration, shine and suppleness.
Sachajuan’s brilliant blue Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo contains the brand's signature ‘Ocean Silk’ technology – a cocktail of marine algae extracts which works to enhance strand-strength, suppleness and shine. This mimics the bed-head effect of the spritz, to create texture and body without adding weight. It is suitable for all hair lengths and textures, but especially those with fine hair .
I loved the fragrance of this shampoo which really does remind you of the sea. I didn't find this one quite so moisturising though.
Korres Shampoo For Thin/Fine Hair with Rice Proteins and Linden
This Korres shampoo is designed to strengthen and add volume to thin / fine hair and contains rice proteins to increase hair elasticity and density while adding natural, lasting volume. The Linden extract forms a protective film on hair surface, improving its sheen and appearance. I loved this one. It definitely left my hair smoother and sleeker.
Kloraine Shampoo With Citrus Pulp
Klorane Citron Pulp Shampoo with vitamins is suitable for all hair types and can be used as frequently as necessary and by the whole family. It has a fresh invigorating fragrance and it neutralises hard water to restore vitality and radiance.
Whilst I loved this one and it's light citrussy scent, I found it a little too strong for me since it is for normal to oily hair.
So there you have it - a selection of great shampoos which will help nurture dry and thinning hair. You can find out more about hair loss, both male and female on The Harley Street Hair Clinic's website and, if you are worried, a chat with your GP may help to rule out other causes such as an underactive thyroid or vitamin / mineral deficiency.