Tweakment Finder TWEAKMENT





Written by: Becki Murray

Last Updated: 9 February 2024

Thinning hair can be a nightmare for women and men alike. Even if your hair is simply getting less dense gradually rather than falling out in clumps or leaving bald patches, hair loss can damage your self-esteem and emotional well-being.

So if your hair is thinning, don’t ignore the problem, because it probably won’t go away on its own. Instead, find out what is causing the problem and learn what steps you can take to slow down or reverse the hair loss. That includes options such as tweakments and surgery to haircare and lifestyle factors.

Haircare icon

What should I do if my hair is getting thinner?

Your first move should be not to panic (because stress can contribute to hair loss) but to consult a healthcare professional who can determine why your hair is thinning and advise you on what you can do to treat it. Depending on what the problem is, you may be able to restore your hair volume by making dietary changes or using over-the-counter treatments rather than resorting to medical interventions.

Hair Loss

Why might my hair be thinning?

Your hair might be thinning for various reasons. Here are the top five causes of hair thinning:

  • Genetics. The most common cause of hair loss is known to doctors as androgenetic alopecia and to the rest of us as male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss. This hair loss is caused by your hair follicles being extra sensitive to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT for short), which makes hair follicles gradually shrink.
  • Medical conditions. Autoimmune diseases, anaemia, thyroid problems, and scalp infections can make your hair grow thinner or fall out.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. If your body is short of key nutrients such as iron, protein, and vitamins (especially vitamin D and various B vitamins), your hair may suffer.
  • Stress. Jokes about stress making your hair fall out are based on truth. Stress-based hair loss is normally temporary, assuming you can alleviate the stress.
  • Medications and medical treatments. Various medications — including antidepressants, blood thinners, and birth-control pills — can cause or exacerbate hair loss.

Given this variety of possible causes, it’s vital you establish what’s causing your hair loss so that you can treat it effectively.

What are essential haircare tips for people over 40?

Once you reach your 40s, you’ll usually need to start treating your hair more gently and more carefully to keep it looking healthy and full. Here are six straightforward tips:

  • Cleanse your hair gently. Wash your hair only when it needs it. Rather than washing your hair every day, which can strip the natural oils out of your hair, try washing it two to three times a week. Use a mild shampoo, such as a sulphate-free formula, and a conditioner suited to your hair type.
  • Deep-condition your hair once or twice a week. A deep-conditioning mask or treatment can add moisture to your hair and stave off dryness. You might also try a leave-in conditioner instead of a rinse-out conditioner.
  • Use heat styling as little as possible. If you need to use curling irons or straighteners, apply heat protectant spray to your hair beforehand, and use the lowest heat setting that will work.
  • Massage and exfoliate your scalp. Keep your scalp in good shape to encourage healthy hair growth. Massaging your scalp briefly when shampooing is usually the easiest approach, but you could also give it a more extensive massage once or twice a week using a scalp oil.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Your hair isn’t entirely what you eat, but make sure your diet contains enough protein, iron, and vitamins for growth.
  • Reduce or manage stress. If someone tells you to keep your hair on, try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga rather than responding in kind

How can I choose the right haircare products for different hair types?

Start by identifying your hair type using the following three criteria:

  • Thickness. Is your hair fine, or is it thick?
  • Curliness. Is your hair straight, or is it wavy or curly?
  • Oiliness. Is your hair dry, lacking moisture; normal; or oily, producing too much oil?

You can then look for suitable haircare products using the following guidelines:

  • Fine hair. Use a volumising shampoo to give your hair more heft and a lightweight conditioner than will provide lift without weighing it down.
  • Thick hair. Get a hydrating or smoothing hair or conditioner that will keep your hair manageable and avoid tangling.
  • Straight hair. Try a smooth formula with or without silicones (see the next section) to add shine.
  • Curly or wavy hair. Look for a sulphate-free shampoo that won’t strip out your hair’s natural oils. Follow up with a moisturising conditioner or a leave-in conditioner that will enhance waves but fight frizz.
  • Normal hair. Use gentle, balanced shampoo and conditioner.
  • Dry hair. Get a nourishing shampoo and a rich conditioner that includes ingredients such as argan oil or shea butter. If your hair needs extra moisture, you could apply a hair oil.
  • Oily hair. Try a balancing or clarifying shampoo to remove excess oil from your hair without drying out your scalp. Apply a lightweight, volumising conditioner to the ends of your hair, not to the roots.

What are the benefits of silicone-free haircare?

Silicones — ingredients derived from sand — are used in haircare to smooth the hair and protect it from heat styling and humidity. Recently, silicones have gained a bad reputation because with sustained use, they may build up on the hair shafts, preventing oil and nourishing ingredients from getting to where they’re needed. To strip off the silicone build-up, you need to use a strong shampoo, which is likely to strip your hair’s natural oils too, making your hair dry and possibly irritating your scalp.

The key benefit of using silicone-free haircare products is that you avoid this silicone build-up and don’t need to use a strong shampoo to remove it. When you apply a product to your hair, it will penetrate into the hair shafts and deliver its nutrients there. Your hair may also have a lighter or more ‘natural’ feel without silicones — but if you’ve been using products containing silicones, that feel will likely be different to what you’re used to.

What are the best haircare treatments for thinning hair?

Depending on how badly your hair is thinning, your best bets for treating thinning hair include the following five treatments:

  • Minoxidil. Minoxidil, also known by the brand name Rogaine, is an over-the-counter topical treatment for stimulating hair growth and reducing hair loss. Minoxidil is suitable for both men and women and comes in either a liquid form or a foam.
  • Finasteride. Finasteride, also known by the brand name Propecia, is a prescription-only oral medication for treating male pattern hair loss. Propecia is normally prescribed only for men.
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP for short, this therapy involves drawing blood, concentrating the platelets, and injecting the resulting plasma into the scalp.
  • Low-level laser therapy. This laser therapy, often referred to as LLLT, uses a medical laser to stimulate your hair follicles and make your hair thicker. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved devices including LLLT combs and LLLT helmets.
  • Hair transplants. Hair transplants involve moving hair follicles from somewhere they’re growing properly to somewhere they’re not — for example, from the back of the head to a bald spot. Hair transplants are the butt of many a joke but have improved enough to give natural-looking results.

What are the latest trends in haircare and treatment?

Haircare and treatment are pretty good already, but they keep evolving further. Here are four encouraging trends to keep an eye on:

  • Scalp treatments. Historically, haircare has focused on the hair itself rather than the scalp, even though the scalp anchors your hair and is obviously vital to retaining it. But recently companies have been placing more emphasis on the scalp, offering products such as scalp serums and scalp masks to help you keep your scalp healthy.
  • Eco-friendly haircare products. Increasingly, brands are producing sustainable, eco-friendly haircare products that include biodegradable formulas and refillable packaging.
  • Custom haircare products. If no off-the-shelf products suits you, you can have a brand cook up custom haircare products for you based on your hair type, your hair concerns, and your goals. Some brands use online quizzes to determine your needs, some use consultations, and others use hair microbiome testing.
  • Advanced hair-restoration treatments. Clinics offer advanced treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to stimulate hair growth.


How can one prevent hair loss effectively?

Apart from the other advice on this page, here are five simple but practical steps you can take to prevent or minimise hair loss:

  • Brush your hair gently rather than vigorously.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles that involve pulling your hair.
  • Trim your split ends to avoid the splits moving up the hair shafts and making the damage worse.
  • Eat a healthy diet that will provide your scalp and hair with the nutrients they need.
  • Manage or minimise stress in your life. (Easier said than done!)


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