You wake up one morning crawling out of bed tired, but ready to start your day. You check your social pages and browse through your texts hoping for a good morning text. Boom! that cutie you went on a date with sent you one early in the morning and you gained a few followers over night. Today is going to be a good day! After showering and throwing on your best dress, you are ready to slay your day. All you have to do is style your hair and…wayment, is that chunk of hair mine? You reach up to touch your hair and easily pull another clump of strands out. What is going on?! Panicking you reach for your phone and dial…well who would you dial?
While this scenario may be just an awful nightmare for you there are plenty of women who wake up to this every day. Some choose to ignore it and others shed a few tears. When it comes to hair loss, people aren’t sure who to go to. Believe it or not, there are a group of people who would know how to handle this situation and it isn’t your hair stylist, it’s a Trichologist. A Trichologist is also known as a hair loss specialist. While a Trichologist could be a hair stylist as well, there are differences between the two like:
Education – Just like a doctor can specialize in cardiology or oncology, a hair stylist can choose to specialize in hair loss. A hair stylist only learns cosmetology and does their hours, a Trichologist has to participate in extensive training and earn certifications.
Knowledge – I could not tell you what I know today 15 years ago before I started my hair loss journey. As a stylist, I knew how to style hair but trichology has allowed me to go more in depth with the study.
Equipment – In order to target the source of the hair loss on each client there are a lot of tools required. I currently have a hair scope to view my clients scalp during a consultation to determine the cause of hair loss. I also have laser hair therapy equipment to treat that hair loss.
Trichology (from the Greek word “Trikhos” meaning hair) is the branch of science that deals with diseases, disorders, and functions of the hair and scalp
While your first step may be to call your stylist, you really want to be referred to a Trichologist. Many of my clients have been referred to me from their hair stylist, some found me on Google. When you do reach out to a Trichologist, make sure you schedule a consultation and ask for their certifications. You want to make sure they are credible and have knowledge on the topic. I should also warn you that a consultation typically takes up to two hours and will require a lot of background information so be prepared to sit for a few.
Have you noticed your edges thinning? Do you see your scalp when you pull your hair up? You could have Traction Alopecia and it is NOT something you want to sleep on. Recently a woman found this out the hard way after removing an install at the hair salon exposing her receding hair line. Unfortunately, this has been a common for many millennial women and it’s time to stop ignoring it and address the problem.
Traction Alopecia is a form of Alopecia also known as gradual hair loss. It’s caused primarily by pulling of the hair. This can occur with styles that pull the hair like ponytails, braids that are too tight, anything that gives excess pulling like barrettes. We’ve seen this occur on a few celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Tamar Braxton, Jessie J, and now I’m seeing it on a daily basis with my own clients.
Don’t be mistaken, Traction Alopecia isn’t just affecting women of color. Traction Alopecia has been around long even before weaves. I would say it’s probably more prevalent among African Americans because of the current trendy styles in urban culture, but it can also come from barettes which were around before weaves. I’ve come across many ballerinas that deal with the hair loss as well due to the tight buns that are worn frequently. Any type of hair pulling is detrimental to the hair follicles but I admit when it comes to Black women, the hair loss is very common. They are getting braids and extenstions and getting it done tightly because they think it will last longer that way but it is actually doing the opposite.
You should take immediate precautions for your hair and take the steps to prevent Traction Alopecia. You can prevent Traction Alopecia by:
Wearing hairstyles without the tension on your hair. Some people worry about their edges in their hairstyles looking puffy, but you don’t need to have your hair pulled so tightly that it raises your eyebrows.
Switching up the hairstyle so that there isn’t constant pulling to your hair. If you’re always about that bun life, make sure you are wearing your hair down in between to give it a break.
If you do see it don’t let it go untreated, if you do the follicle will begin to miniaturize it and the hair that once grew there will not be able to grow because there is no room for the strand to grow. If you begin to see it go see a hair loss specialist immediately for treatment. As long as the follicle is living, it’s repairable so the sooner the better. Have you noticed thinning in your edges?
Summer is approaching and that means plenty of protective styles for women of color. Whether you’re going for a poetic justice look with your thick braids or Beyoncé slay with long extensions, any look that keeps your hair wrapped up in braids is sure to provide the protection you need. This has been the mantra for many women of color who seem to always choose to hibernate their hair for the summer in efforts to protect it from the chlorine found in pool parties or the heat from those flatirons when humidity refuses to let you be great. Unfortunately, this concept has left many women looking like this…
When a young woman visited a salon in Atlanta, she was distraught. For years she had worn braids, extensions, and wigs in efforts to protect her hair. Instead, she ended up with major hair loss around her edges and breakage everywhere else. While this woman was brave enough to share her struggle with the internet, there are many women who deal with the same problems and have no clue how to fix it.
Natalie McNeil, Owner of Ends Hair Design & Spa, has dedicated her life to hair loss taking many courses on the subject from Dermatologists and Trichologists. Her salon features many tools to prevent and treat hair loss including laser hair therapy, laser combs, and even supplements.
“When a client reaches out to me about hair loss, I always schedule a free consultation where we assess the damage and get to the root of the cause.”
Many of the causes for hair loss in young women involve poor protective styling. There are many things you should look out for before throwing in that Brazillian or snatching up that Marley hair. Unless you want to spend your winter regrowing your edges, I suggest you watch out for these things.
Tight Braids – you do not, I repeat, you DO NOT have to have tight braids pulling your scalp in order to have a nice style. If you have a stylist who is snatching all of your edges then you need to advise her not to or take your dollars elsewhere
Your friend’s house – Yes your girlfriend does the best braids and sure she does it for cheap. Know that if you continue to keep going to her for your protective styles that you will pay for it later. Your friend isn’t aware of the techniques to retain your hair growth, that’s why its best to go to a licensed cosmetologist and get your style.
Expired styles – Every hair style has an expiration date on it. A wash & curl only last for 2 weeks and short hair cuts tend to only last 1 week. Unfortunately protective styles have an expiration date on them also. You should only be wearing an install in for 6 weeks then get it redone to give your hair a good wash and a good breather
Skipping washes – You should also be keeping up with your biweekly washes. DIRT DOES NOT MAKE YOUR HAIR GROW! Even when installing extensions, you should still be going to the hair salon to get a shampoo so that your scalp stays clean. There are many shampoos out there that do not require water that you can use for your braids.
Skipping Trims- You may think by keeping in that weave for three months and then switching to another style without getting a trim will help retain your growth but it will only make it worse. You have to get rid of the dead hair strands and breakage before it works it’s way up. The longer you wait, the more damage you will cause
Good hair starts with you. Make sure you locate a good stylist that cares about your hair growth and not just only your bank account. Ask your friends for recommendations and call to schedule a consultation with the stylist to see if they are the right choice. Feel free to ask to see their work and watch them as they style other client’s hair. Basic hair maintenance is a big impact on whether you have luscious locks or struggle strands.