Noticing a lot more bad hair days during your menstrual cycle? That’s what “period hair” is all about. Unbeknownst to many, your period can affect more than just your mood or skin!
During the cycle, your hormones fluctuate. While the changes in your body make you feel sluggish and leave you with painful cramps, the loss of blood can deter your hair from being in its very best state too.
Be mindful of how your hair reacts during your next cycle and you’ll know what we mean. But don’t see it as another thing to worry about, because we got your back, sister!
Read on for a better understanding of “period hair” and just how you can turn the tables to keep your hair lustrous and picture-perfect!
What is “period hair”?
Greasy “period hair”
As our skin gets oilier and causes more acne or breakouts, our precious tresses are getting the greasies too.
A week before our cycle begins, our bodies produce more testosterone and progesterone which increases sebum secretion in our hair. Some birth control pills contain a synthetic form of progesterone (progestin) which can bring oil levels up.
This stimulates the sebaceous glands in the skin to generate more oil. And when all that is mixed with dirt, sweat, and product buildup, that’s when you’ll notice sticky, oily, and greasy hair.
However, at this point in your cycle, there is a rare silver lining. Since your hair has much more natural oils to protect against harsh chemicals, it’s the ideal time to dye your hair!
Dry “period hair”
If your hair doesn’t get extra oily each month, you could be experiencing the opposite problem instead: dry hair.
As you’re crying from all the body aches, your “period hair” is doing the same and all dried out. Your hair may get more unruly, frizzy, and more prone to breakage.
This happens when there’s a drop in your estrogen levels which can lead to a loss of water, leaving your skin and hair high and dry.
Increased hair fall during your period
Off-kilter hormones can also affect the thickness of your hair, which manifests as “period hair”.
Your hair follicles go through different phases of growth. The sudden drop in estrogen levels causes your tresses to skip the catagen phase where your hair is transitioning after growth.
Instead, your hair enters the telogen phase too quickly, where your hair is resting before growing again, and ends up shedding increasingly. This is the same occurrence that can be observed commonly after pregnancy and during menopause.
At the same time, the iron levels in your body drop which also leads to more hair fall. In many cases, heavy bleeding triggers thinning and hair loss too.
Irritated and sensitive scalp
“Period hair” also appears as an issue for your scalp. With the onset of your period, another hormone that takes a hike is prostaglandin, which makes you more sensitive to pain.
This means your scalp may be more tender and reactive towards hair care routines or hair services.
If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, you may experience an increase in androgen and an imbalanced estrogen level which affects your scalp’s natural oils.
In extreme cases, you may notice excessive oil and irritation as well as conditions like dandruff.
Ways to manage and prevent your “period hair”
Here’s the bottom line. Your “period hair” can vary from the next person and it can be a tall order to manage it.
However, you can understand how your hair reacts during your menstrual cycle so that you’re able to make good hair days outnumber the bad.
You can choose to go for hair treatments to address your specific “period hair” problem. Go for an anti-ageing hair treatment for dry and thinning hair or scalp treatment to address hair loss and dry or oily scalp. The possibilities are endless!
For a more cost-effective solution, take matters into your own hands — make changes to your lifestyle and use the right hair products to counter your “period hair” woes!
Before you start anything, be sure to consult with a medical professional especially if your home remedies aren’t working out.
Clear dry or greasy “period hair” at home
To prevent looking like a monthly oil-slick with your “period hair”, you can consider washing your locks more often during your cycle.
However, it won’t help if you’re washing your hair daily and possibly stripping it of its natural oils.
Here’s where you can invest in a good dry shampoo that’s best for your hair type. This will absorb excess oil and keep your tresses oh-so-fresh!
Do avoid using products that are oily and can make the greasiness worse.
Try: Ouai Detox Shampoo. This purifying shampoo works to detoxify the scalp by removing any grease and buildup.
It’s gentle on the scalp but can be a little drying on the lengths of the hair, so follow up with a light conditioner and monitor how it performs on your hair before tweaking your hair wash schedule.
OUAI Detox Shampoo retails for RM157 at Sephora.
If dryness is your “period hair” issue, do the opposite! Try not to wash your hair too much and only use hair products that will help moisturise every strand.
Look for deep, nourishing conditioners and hair masks or serums to plump those tresses up!
Halt falling “period hair” with the right tools and nourishment
One thing to note is that hair fall during your period isn’t permanent — your hair will still grow back, but if you notice excessive hair loss or your hair growing back slower, you can do more than just wait!
Be gentle with your “period hair”
Other than giving your doctor a call or looking at hair loss treatments, you can start by avoiding braiding your hair or putting it up in tight, restricting styles to prevent further hair loss.
Use a hair scalp massager to improve blood circulation which will promote better hair growth and give you a relaxing, therapeutic hair care step.
As far as hair tools go, use those that are gentle on the hair. Avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet as that’s when your hair is at its weakest and will cause more breakage or hair fall. To detangle your hair, work from the bottom up.
Revive your “period hair” by choosing the right ingredients in hair products
When shampooing or shopping for a good shampoo to tackle hair loss, reach for caffeine shampoos. A staple for our sleepy mornings, caffeine can also work wonders for hair loss.
This ingredient can also be found in volumising, thickening, and hair loss hair products.
Try: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo. This luxurious shampoo features caffeine, biotin, and niacinamide. Its bio-restorative complex stimulates the scalp for hair growth and strengthens the hair for shinier, smoother tresses.
Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo retails for RM245 at KENS Apothecary.
For more options, check out our list of the best caffeine shampoos for hair loss.
If your hair loss gets extreme, you may need iron or hair supplements. Consult a professional to find the most suitable oral hair treatment for you!
Calm your sensitive “period hair” scalp with these tips
Needless to say, your scalp’s where the hair grows from, so it’s crucial to take really good care of it.
Go gentle when handling your hair and avoid pulling or tugging at it. Opt for a wide-toothed comb or a soft hair brush.
Use less heat on your head and schedule your hair appointments carefully so that your scalp won’t be receiving chemicals that may worsen its condition.
Wash your “period hair” with care
The same goes for when you’re washing your hair — refrain from letting scorching hot water hit your hair and scalp.
Scalp treatments may just do the job of countering your sensitive or even itchy scalp, but you can achieve the same results in the comfort of your home too!
Further remedy your “period hair” problem by picking products that are centred on helping soothe your sensitive scalp.
Try: Aveeno Scalp Soothing Haircare Daily Moisture Oat Milk Conditioner. This nourishing conditioner is blended with colloidal oats and a host of botanicals for the perfect soothing and moisturising effects on your hair and scalp.
Explore Aveeno’s other products from its Scalp Soothing Haircare range to make sure both your hair and scalp are properly managed.
Aveeno Scalp Soothing Haircare Daily Moisture Oat Milk Conditioner retails for RM49.50 at Lookfantastic.
Feature image credit: @belallure/TikTok, @drcharlesmd1/TikTok