Ask CurlyNikki: Is My Hair Shedding Too Much?

Curly Nikki

Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you're in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by emailing them to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

READER QUESTION: I'm losing a lot of hair every time I wash and style. I'm sure it's shedding and I know it's a natural occurrence, but it's more than usual and I don't know what to do. The hair balls are really massive. Please help before I go bald!

CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE: You're right. Shedding is an inevitable and natural part of the hair growth cycle and the average person loses 50 hairs a day. On occasion, we all notice an increase (or decrease) in shed hairs, but when the loss begins to unnerve you and cause anxiety, it's time to schedule an appointment with your general practitioner or dermatologist, to rule out possible underlying health concerns. Once you're given a clean bill of health, you can incorporate some of the following to help you save your last nerve.

  • Wear protective styles such as loose buns and twists to reduce manipulation and retain your sanity. It's important to note that the less you wash and style your hair, the larger your hair balls will be on wash day, so don't freak out!
  • Detangle and style with your fingers, not a comb or brush. You don't need any undue stress on your strands.
  • Focus on moisture and health and avoid harsh products such as gels and mousses.
  • Use castor oil. It’s (anecdotally) known to promote hair growth and thicken up the hair line.
  • Massage your scalp once a day for one minute to stimulate growth. For an added bonus, lace those fingertips with castor oil!
  • Take your vitamins and supplements (discuss with your doctor). Some folks swear by garlic supplements to curb excess shedding. I personally use MSM and Biotin for hair health and added volume.

I hope these tips help! Keep us posted!

Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com, is a successful psychotherapist and creator of the most credible online source about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. She's the author of the book Better Than Good Hair.