Can Stress Really Cause Hair Loss?

It has been said that stress can make you go gray, or cause you to lose your hair. But can it?

What’s Stressing You

Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist with the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif., says it all depends on what type of stress you’re talking about. “Stress because you’re late to work or you’ve got a heavy workload is not going to cause you to lose hair,” she says. Short-term, everyday stress is not going to affect your body in such a way that your hair falls out. It takes something larger to do that. “Something that causes you to lose sleep,” Mirmirani says, “or changes your appetite and raises the level of stress hormones.”

McMichael puts it more bluntly. “There has been, for my entire life, this mythical connection between stress and hair. It’s absolutely ridiculous.” McMichael says there is no evidence to support the idea that just because you had a few stressful days last week your hair will fall out this week. “It doesn’t even work that way,” she says.

Stress and Hair: The Hair Cycle

A normal head of hair contains about 120,000-150,000 strands of hair. Usually, at any one time, about 90% of those hairs are in a growing phase, growing by about 1/2 inch each month. This phase lasts for two to three years. At that point, a hair will go into a resting stage. This “rest” lasts for 3 to 4 months before the hair falls out and is replaced by a new one. “Typically, people shed about 100 hairs a day,” says Carolyn Jacob, MD, founder and medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. “Most people don’t even notice.”

Sometimes, a significant stress of some sort may spark a change in your body’s routine physiological functions, Jacobs says, and cause a disproportionate number of hairs to go into the resting phase at the same time. Then three to four months later, sometimes longer, all those resting hairs are shed. The effect can be alarming. The types of events that disrupt the normal hair cycle, Jacob says, can be caused by the substantial physiological stresses on your body.

But, according to McMichael, physiological stress is not the same as emotional stress.  Hair loss can be one way the body responds to significant physiological stress that may be brought on by diet, medical, or lifestyle changes.

“Only those things that cause physiological stress can cause a hair loss event,” McMichael says. The good news is that the hair loss from these kinds of events is usually temporary, as long as the stress event is temporary. Once the stressor is addressed or goes away on its own, hair grows back and the normal hair cycle resumes.

Stress and Hair: What Causes Hair Loss?

A variety of stressors may cause your body to undergo hair loss. It happens, McMichael says, when there’s some type of physiological change in your system. “For instance,” she says, “you go on or off an oral contraceptive. Or you lose more than 15 pounds of  weight. Things like this change the physiological balance in your system.”

Mirmirani says that hair shedding can also result from certain medications,  thyroid disease, and nutritional deficiencies such as  vitamin D or too much vitamin A.

Pinpointing the actual cause of the shedding isn’t always easy. That’s because, Mirmirani says, there’s a three- to six-month lag time between the stressful event and the hair loss. In order to determine the cause, you need to look back at what was happening three, six, or even nine months before the hair loss began.

McMichael says that because people have repeated the myth of a direct connection between emotional stress and hair loss for so many years, many people now believe it. “There’s no way to predict who’s going to lose hair and who’s not. If you’re a shedder, you’ll shed,” Jacob says. She also says there’s no scientific evidence that points to specific emotional stresses that might trigger the physical stress that can lead to hair loss.


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How To Get The Perfect Blowout At Home

Doing your own blowout can be intimidating. The surefire recipe for a good hair day? Strong biceps, patience, and these tips.

Switch Your Shower Lineup

If you’re after bouncy hair, skip shampoos and conditioners that claim to be moisturizing or damage-repairing, they contain ingredients that weigh down even thick hair. Go for ones labeled volumizing, which are lighter. But if your hair is a frizz ball, use a smoothing shampoo and conditioner, which are full of silicones and oils (good ones) like our Renewing Argon Oil Collection.

Now Leave The Bathroom

It might seem like the obvious place to style your hair, but if it’s at all humid, your blowout will frizz. Move the whole setup to another room.

Get In On A Secret

Quick-dry sprays actually work. They contain ingredients, like isododecane, that wick water off hair so it dries faster. Bonus: Most of these sprays also contain heat-protecting, hair-smoothing silicones.

Drink Coffee; Check Your Email

Procrastinating before you jump right in to blow-drying can actually make your hair look better. If you try to style soaking-wet hair, it will take forever, and you’ll probably give up before your hair is completely smooth. Rough-dry your hair any which way until it’s barely damp, or let it air-dry for about 20 minutes.

Hold Off On Mousse

If you’re after smooth results, mousses (and gels, and anything with hold) work best when you apply them to damp hair and then blow-dry immediately. Letting them sit in hair while it air-dries for even ten minutes can freeze kinks and waves in place so they can’t be undone with a brush and a dryer. Oils, leave-in conditioners, and other anti-frizz products should be applied right away.

Always Tackle Your Bangs First

Before they have a chance to dry wonky. For side swept bangs, use a medium-size round boar-bristle brush and sweep them to one side. If your bangs are blunt, start by brushing them from side to side with a paddle brush as you dry them so they’re polished but not too flat.

 Don’t Let A Blowout Deflate

The difference between straight and lank is a two- to three-inch round boar-bristle brush. Use it to stretch your hair up slightly at the roots and then down toward your shoulders in a slight arc, pulling the brush straight through the ends. Move quickly to minimize damage.

Count To Four For Volume

Five works, too. When you let hair cool for a few seconds on the round brush, it dries bouncier. Pull your hair up toward the ceiling, and then roll the brush down the length of your hair and back up. Keep each section of hair wound around the bristles for about four or five seconds after you’ve dried it.

Check Your Work

Once you think your hair is dry, feel around for damp spots. If you want your blowout to last, hair needs to be 100 percent dry. Otherwise it will frizz and volume won’t last.

The Pros & Cons of Hair Extensions

With the increasing popularity of hair extensions it’s important to understand the pros and cons of having them before deciding weather or not to get your own. Some extensions are glued or clipped into the natural hair and other times the natural hair is braided to the scalp and the extensions are sewn into the scalp. Here are some pros and cons to help you make your decision.


The most obvious advantage is the instant gratification. You don’t have to spend months waiting for your hair to grow out. You can go from short to long or vice versa in just hours. Extensions are versatile, they come in a variety of colors, lengths and textures. They are also low maintenance. Good extensions can last up to three months and you can style them just as you would your own hair.


The biggest downside of getting hair extensions is the scalp and hair damage. When you suddenly add a lot of hair at once it pulls on the scalp. This causes damage and irritation. Extensions can also damage the hair, depending on how they are attached. Tight braids can cause breakage at the roots, glue can burn the scalp or weaken the hair shaft. Extensions can also be very pricey. They can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the method of attachment and how much hair you use. It is also time consuming to have extensions applied. It’s not unusual for someone to spend eight hours or more sitting in the salon.

Picking The Right Hair Color

Before taking your pick of hair colors, you need to ID your skin’s undertones. Most people fall into one of three categories: warm, cool, and neutral. Figuring out where your complexion lies can seem confusing, but there are a few tricks:

Look for specific colors. Cool-toned skin has pink and olive undertones, while warm-toned skin has yellow and gold. Got a combo of any of the above? You’re probably neutral.

2. Match yourself with a celeb. When you’re looking for A-list color inspiration, try to pick out people with similar skin and eye coloring to your own. It’ll give you a much better idea of how the hue will actually look on you in the end.

3. Check your wrist…You’ll see the pinks, reds, blues, greens, and yellows there, which are a great indicator of tone. If your veins are blue or purple, you’re likely cool-toned. If they are green, you are warm-toned.

4. …Or your eyes. If you have a lot of gold specks in your eyes, usually your undertones are warm. If you have a lot of blues and greens, then you are usually cool.

The rule of thumb for a hair color that will flatter your complexion? Pick a tone that’s opposite from your skin’s undertones. So, those with warm undertones might opt for a cooler color, and vice versa. The degree of importance varies from hair color to hair color, but it’s a good guideline to remember. And if you have neutral skin, you’re a lucky minority—everything looks good on you.

How To Prolong The Life Of Your Color

Anyone who has ever bleached or colored their hair knows the struggles of keeping that color nice and vibrant. With so many products and environmental factors chipping away at your color maintenance can become challenging and wear on your hair. But don’t give up, there is hope! Here are some tips for prolonging the life and vibrancy of your color. 

Avoid Washing Hair Daily

Shampoo not only strips your hair of color, but it also strips away the natural oils that help keep the hair healthy and to take color better. Keep those locks fresh by shampooing only 1-2 times per week.

Look for “Color Treated Hair” Products

Regular styling products can contain harsh ingredients like detergents or alcohols. Choose products that say that are for color treated hair. They will help lock in your color and add some shine.

Use Sunscreen On Your Hair

The sun is a huge culprit for fading hair. Using a sunscreen on your locks will help prevent lackluster hair. Just be sure that you get a sunscreen that is meant for your hair and not your skin.

Try Cleansing Conditioners

If you have thicker hair you may want to try cleaning conditioners to keep your color vibrant. They allow you to wash your hair less often, and won’t strip your color over time.

Use Pigmented Conditioners and Dry Shampoo

Instead of standard conditioners try using a pigmented conditioner bi-weekly to refresh your hair’s tone. Pigmented shampoos are miracle workers for color treated hair, but some can leave a dingy white-cast that causes your strands to look dull and lifeless. Choosing a pigmented dry shampoo that matches your hair color allows you to soak up excess oils without dulling your locks.

Use Cold Water

The temperature of your shower can affect your hair color. After shampooing and conditioning, rinse your hair with a blast of cold water. The cold water will shut the hair’s cuticle and give it a glossy finish.

Use Deep Conditioning Masks

Deep conditioning masks are not only moisturizing and hydrating, but they also are amazing at locking in your hair color. You can even use one a few days prior to applying color as it will smooth the cuticle and allow for better color absorption.

Use Hair Tools With Heat Control Settings

You don’t want to blast your colored hair with excessive heat so choose tools with heat control settings like our selection of full size professional flat irons and straightening brushes.

Avoiding Split Ends

Tired of dry split ends? Our hair undergoes a lot abuse from styling tools and products to daily environmental factors. Here are some tips to help keep your ends healthy.

Get Regular Trimmings

No matter how well you take care of your hair, the everyday combing, washing and environmental factors will cause some damage, and therefore you can’t prevent split ends entirely. Inevitably, a trim will be necessary at some point to control split ends. But, proper care will allow you to stretch trim appointment to every eight to twelve weeks, or may be even longer. Keep a regular check on them. If you happen to see a random split end, take a pair of scissors and get rid of it. Leaving the split end uncut is not a good idea, as it could potentially get worse and travel all the way up to the root.

Oil Your Hair Before You Wash It

Washing can cause damage to your hair. When hair gets wet it absorbs water and swells. In this state it is very fragile and therefore it is easier for splits or chips to occur. Oil forms a protective sheath around your hair, reducing the damage during the washing process. Plus, oil also nourishes your hair, and helps restore its moisture balance. Some of the best oil for pre-wash treatments are coconut oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil and almond oil.

Dry Hair Gently

Wet hair is fragile and vulnerable to damage. Vigorously rubbing your hair dry with a towel creates tangles and twists in many unnatural directions, thus causing breakage and split ends. Instead, gently dab wet hair with a towel to get rid of the excess water.

Use A Wide Tooth Comb

The best way to detangle your hair after shampoo is by using a wide-tooth comb. Start at the ends and gently work your way up the length of your hair. If you encounter a tangle, stop and untangle it gently with your comb or fingers and then proceed.

Protect Your Hair From The Elements

Environmental factors such as sun, wind and cold work against your hair too. Long-term exposure to hot sun may damage your hair, leaving it dry and brittle, and more prone to breakage as well as split ends. Similarly, cold winds can be just as harsh on your hair.

Whenever you are stepping outside in the hot sun or cold winds you must protect your hair. Wearing a scarf, a hat or a cap will lock in the moisture in your hair and protect it against the elements. In addition, they make great accessories, and they are also excellent at hiding bad hair days.


Sun Care Tips For Your Hair

The hair on our heads does way more than we give it credit for. Outside of adorning our appearance, it also helps insulate our bodies when it’s cold, and it keeps us cool and regulated when it’s hot. Since it acts as a barrier between our skin and the sun’s rays, our hair can take on a lot of damage if not properly protected.

Overexposure to the sun effects the protective barrier of natural oils we all have on our scalp by causing blood vessels to dilate and become inflamed. This damage can cause hair follicles to switch off growth and enter the shedding phase, which leads to … hair loss!

Here are seven tips on what you can do to keep your hair, scalp and follicles healthy and growing strong this summer:

  1. Try wearing a hat. It will not only keep your scalp, hair and skin happy, but will also help keep you cooler by creating shade.
  2. Try massaging Zinc Oxide sunblock cream onto the areas of your scalp that are exposed due to thinning hair.
  3. You can apply sun protection directly to the hair also. Sometimes, the same products you use for your face and body will work in the hair.
  4. Use natural oils like avocado, coconut or olive oil. They deliver natural shine and offer some protection.
  5. When you are at the beach or pool, try combing a restorative conditioner like our Renewing Argon Oil Conditioner in wet hair, then throw it up in a bun to create a barrier from the UV rays and keep hair hydrated.
  6. Prevent damage with a Mask like our Renewing Argon Oil Hair Mask once a week to retain moisture.
  7. Cut back on shampoo sessions. The oil your hair naturally produces protects it from the sun, so you don’t want to over-wash during the warmer months.

To Bang Or Not To Bang

Thinking of taking the plunge and going for a style with bangs? Here are some things to consider before taking the leap…

(1) It will take awhile to get your bangs to look right. If you have, say, center-parted hair, your hair is likely used to growing that way. So when you cut bangs and suddenly tell these shorter bits of your hair to grow forward, it’s going to take them a minute to adjust. Most people who give up on their new bangs make that call while their hair is adjusting to the new pattern–they complain that they “can’t do” bangs, but really all their hair needs is training! We’ve found that the best way to train your hair into beautiful bangs is to blow-dry it every morning. This will give it the correct shape.

(2) Bangs are high maintenance. You have to style them. You have to hold them in position. And most importantly, you have to keep them at their optimum length. Take this into consideration when you’re deciding To Bang Or Not To Bang–if you are a wash-and-go kind of girl, you may not be happy with the time commitment a fringe requires.

(3) The bangs you want may not be the bangs you get. There are a lot of ways to wear a fringe, and what works best on you will depend on your hair type, thickness, how much time you want to spend styling it, face shape and your personal style. It is a tragedy of our times that occasionally, we may want bangs that won’t work with one or all of those things. Thin, fine hair may not accommodate a thick, full fringe. Curly hair and short, feathery bangs may never meet. Bettie bangs and a woman who has two minutes to do her hair in the morning could be a very poor match.

(4) You may need to alter your makeup style. No matter what style of fringe you’re rocking, bangs definitely change your face. They provide a frame, which can be lovely and dramatic when paired with the right makeup. Makeup should complement–not compete–with your hair.