Does menopause cause hair loss? It may be one of the lesser known menopause symptoms but hair loss can be caused by the hormonal changes of the menopause years. During menopause, hormonal changes, specifically a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels, can have an impact on hair growth and hair follicles. This hormonal imbalance can lead to a condition called “menopausal alopecia” or “female pattern hair loss.”
Leading trichologist Anabel Kingsley, tells us, “oestrogen is a hair-friendly hormone, helping to keep your hair in its anagen (growth) phase for longer. During menopause, oestrogen levels drop, meaning the anagen (growth) phase can become shorter.”
Hair loss one of the most emotional issues women face at midlife, a signifier of health, beauty and our identity. Some of the key questions women ask at this time of life:
- Does hair loss from menopause grow back?
- How can I stop hair loss during menopause?
- What does menopause hair loss look like?
Almost half of us will experience hair loss during menopause – around 40 percent to be exact, according to Dr Sharon Wong, one of only a handful of people combining medical trichology with dermatology. There’s no doubt that this thinning and loss of hair can be one of the most challenging changes for midlife women.
We also know, from our recent midlife beauty survey, that a good hair day is key to self esteem and confidence. 85% of our survey respondents told us that a good hair day makes them feel more confident than a new outfit does.
So it’s a significant issue for many of us that our hair is the part of our looks most affected by the hormonal changes of menopause. Overall, 87% of our survey respondents noticed major changes to their hair in these midlife years, with almost half reporting all of the following: Changes to texture, increased dryness and brittleness, hair loss, finer and slower growth and thinning eyebrows. Let’s face it, we don’t need to add to menopause anxiety, many of us suffer from so much of it already. The good news? There are solutions.
Will hair loss from menopause grow back?
Trichologist Anabel Kingsley offers this insight into how hair changes with the hormonal fluctuations of this time of life.
Most women find that their hair loses volume and length around menopause, according to Kingsley. “Fortunately, as the hair cells adapt to the hormonal changes, the shedding decreases and normalises and the condition of the hair improves,” she adds, reassuringly. “However, the natural process of ageing can bring about a very gradual permanent change in hair diameter and hair density.”
Trichologist Lorna Jones has this additional advice. “It would be useful for women to start thinking about hair issues as they approach their perimenopausal years,” she says. “This includes looking at diet, so eating well and trying to incorporate oestrogen-rich foods into the diet. Also, managing stress levels and having techniques in place to provide stress relief. All of these can impact the growth of hair.”
How can I fix my thinning hair during menopause?
Our hair naturally grows thinner as we age, but the biggest culprit is the effect of testosterone as our female hormones drop. The female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are hair ‘protective’ and help to keep your hair in its anagen (growth) phase for longer. Meanwhile male hormones (androgens) kick-start the balding process in genetic hair loss.
During menopause, the ratio between the female sex hormones and male hormones is gradually reversed. “The decline in estrogens/progesterones means you lose the protective effect on your hair, whilst the effect of androgens on the follicle is amplified,” explains Dr Wong. Hair follicles begin to get smaller, causing hair to grow back finer and weaker.
Menopause is also a time which can coincide with the onset of female pattern hair loss (FPHL). “This is the female equivalent of male pattern balding, with loss of density and thinning specifically over the crown,” explains Dr Wong. Not all menopausal women will experience thinning, however. “They must have a genetic predisposition which then becomes active when the oestrogen levels start to change,” trichologist and hair loss expert Lorna Jones says.
The power of protein
Female hair loss is an issue that the team at Virtue haircare have spent more than three years tackling in their labs. The result is Virtue Flourish, a range containing two keratin proteins to enrich the scalp and create fertile ground for hair growth.
It all starts with scalp health. The clinical-grade proteins in the Flourish products clear the follicles, nourish the microbiome, and strengthen the moisture barrier. As new, fragile hair emerges, it is nurtured and cared for, so it grows stronger and thicker. Sounds like exactly what many of us need – and the feedback from testers confirms it: 97% said their scalp feels healthier and 90% said they saw new hair growth. Hand. It. Over!
Will HRT help menopause hair loss?
“Certain HRTs can help prevent or improve hair density changes,” says Anabel Kingsley. “Others have no impact, or can actually be detrimental. Speak to your doctor about any hair loss concerns you have so they can point you in the right direction.”
As well as HRT and healthy lifestyle measures, what are the best products out there for menopausal hair? We’ve done the research and found 10 of the best.
What makes a product right for a Hylda woman?
Here’s how we choose the products to feature… Our beauty writers are experts in their field and have years of experience writing about the best in beauty. They will only recommend products that they know will make a difference and help with the symptoms caused by the fluctuations of the menopause years. Our reviews are honest – they are not paid for by the brands. We might earn some affiliate commission if you choose to buy the product, but we are not paid by the brands to put them in the article. Never ever. Picked by experts and chosen just for you, that’s our Hylda promise.
Top 11 products to help with menopause hair loss…
Best scalp treatment kit: Virtue Flourish Hair Rejuvenation Treatment, £41.60 (one month’s kit). Buy it now.
Best for a healthy scalp: Philip Kingsley Tricho 7 Volumizing Hair And Scalp Treatment For Fine/Thinning Hair, £52. Buy it now.
Best for hair breakage: Kérastase Genesis Masque Reconstituant Hair Mask, £23.65. Buy it now.
Best for healthy follicles: Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo, £8.99. Buy it now.
Best to encourage new growth: Aveda Invati Advanced™ Exfoliating Shampoo, £20.25. Buy it now.
Best for instant styling: Kevin Murphy Full.Again Thickening Lotion, £25. Buy it now.
Best nourishing treatment: Kiehl’s Magic Elixir, £30. Buy it now.
Best to add thickness: Revitalash Thickening Shampoo, £41. Buy it now.
Best vegan formulation: Grow Gorgeous Intense Thickening Shampoo, £12. Buy it now.
Best styling aid: Klorane Quinine & Keratin Strength Fortifying Spray, £24.50. Buy it now.
Best luxury hair treat: Sisley Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Care Mask, £75. Buy it now.
Best treatment kit: Virtue Flourish Hair Rejuvenation Treatment, £41.60
Why it’s a great buy: This one comes with clinical research behind it. The products contain exclusive Alpha Keratin 60ku CLINICAL® protein to clear the follicles, nourish the microbiome and strengthen the moisture barrier.
What we love about it: It’s the serious science of haircare. The kit contains the Flourish Shampoo for Thinning Hair, Flourish Conditioner for Thinning Hair and Flourish Density Booster. This regimen is best for mild to moderate hair thinning and those seeking a more natural approach to
nourish the scalp and thicken each hair.
What we don’t love quite so much: This regime takes commitment and it’s not cheap. Allow a minimum of two weeks for existing hair to feel healthier, 12-16 weeks for optimum results.
Best for a healthy scalp: Philip Kingsley Tricho 7 Volumizing Hair And Scalp Treatment For Fine/Thinning Hair, £52.
Why it’s a great buy: Backed up by seven years of research, Philip Kingsley’s treatment gives clinic-worthy results.
What we love about it: Formulated to stimulate the scalp to extend the anagen (growing phase) of the hair growth cycle, it also inhibits the production of hair-thinning hormones, as explained above.
What we don’t love quite so much: The price.
Got a perimenopause or menopause question?
Best for hair breakage: Kérastase Genesis Masque Reconstituant Hair Mask, £23.65
Why it’s a great buy: The Kérastase Genesis range strengthens thinning hair that’s become prone to breakage.
What we love about it: We love the intensely hydrating five-minute masque. It’s enriched with edelweiss native cells and ginger root for a super glossy finish. You’ll find more of our Kérastase favourites here.
What we don’t love quite so much: We’ve read a few negative reviews about the fragrance.
READ MORE What are the 34 menopause symptoms?
Best for healthy follicles: Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo, £8.99
Why it’s a great buy: Created for midlife women, Plantur Shampoo uses a Phyto-Caffeine Complex to reduce hair loss caused by menopause.
What we love about it: Research shows that caffeine promotes growth by stimulating the hair follicles. With the inclusion of zinc and niacin, it’s a powerhouse formula for thicker hair.
What we don’t love quite so much: It contains metylparaben, a paraben that may not be suitable for you if you have sensitive, allergic, and/or eczematous skin.
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Best to encourage new growth: Aveda Invati Advanced™ Exfoliating Shampoo, £27.50.
Why it’s a great buy: Meaning ‘invigorate’ in sanskrit, Aveda’s Invati range claims to reduce hair loss by 53%.
What we love about it: The award-winning shampoo contains pore-clearing salicylic acid to renew the scalp and provide a healthy foundation for new hair to grow.
What we don’t love quite so much: You may find it too heavy if you have very fine hair.
Best for instant styling: Kevin Murphy Full.Again Thickening Lotion, £25
Why it’s a great buy: If it’s a quick fix you need, this Kevin Murphy lotion is formulated with rayon particles to make fine hair act thicker.
What we love about it: You only need to use a small amount, and it feels weightless, giving your hair natural movement and body.
What we don’t love quote so much: Not the easiest product to track down.
Looking for a menopause forum?
Best nourishing treatment: Kiehl’s Magic Elixir, £30.50
Why it’s a great buy: Kiehl’s much loved pre-shampoo treatment works to optimise the health of your scalp to encourage hair growth and reduce shedding.
What we love about it: It’s formulated with a blend of avocado, rosemary leaf and safflower seed oils, plus soothing aloe, to leave hair looking and feeling healthy.
What we don’t love quite so much: It’s often out of stock.
Best to add thickness: Revitalash Thickening Shampoo, £41
Why it’s a great buy: If you’ve tried their iconic eyelash serum, you’ll probably be very happy to hear that Rivitalash has added a shampoo to its portfolio.
What we love about it: Filled with proteins and amino acids, it encourages hair to grow thicker while protecting against breakage.
What we don’t love quite so much: It’s a lot of money for a shampoo.
Best vegan formulation: Grow Gorgeous Intense Thickening Shampoo, £12
Why it’s a great buy: Vegan haircare brand Grow Gorgeous has created a shampoo to increase hair density and stimulate growth, thanks to a cocktail of amino acids, biotin, caffeine and B vitamins.
What we love about it: Great price and a great all-rounder that works with every hair type.
What we don’t love quite so much: Several reviews comment on the masculine fragrance.
Best styling aid: Klorane Quinine & Keratin Strength Fortifying Spray, £24.50
Why it’s a great buy: Looking for a low maintenance treatment? This is lightweight and non-greasy with a subtle scent – perfect to quickly spray on before styling.
What we love about it: It feeds the follicles with active ingredients to add instant thickness and improve the strength of your hair over time.
What we don’t love quite so much: A strong smell that not everyone will like.
Best luxury hair treat: Sisley Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Care Mask, £75
Why it’s a great buy: Packed with restorative plant-based proteins and enriched with a blend of shea, macadamia, and camellia oils, this is a luxurious treatment once or twice a week.
What we love about it: It hydrates and strengthens each strand from the root.
What we don’t love quite so much: The luxury price tag.