WARNING: This post is a little lengthy. That’s because there were multiple things that helped me decrease my shedding significantly and it was over time; it didn’t happen overnight.
Dealing with Excessive Shedding
Originally published on February 21, 2018
If you’re a mother that experienced postpartum hair shedding then you already know how devastating that can be. If you aren’t a mom yet then I’m positive that when you get pregnant someone will warn you. My mother, my aunts, my cousins, and my friends - literally everyone told me about this and I’m glad that they did because otherwise I would have thought something was seriously wrong. It can vary from a little hair loss, A LOT of hair loss, and none at all. Anyways this post isn’t about that, but, it was that postpartum shedding that made me think the amount of hair I was shedding a year later was completely normal. I got so used to having huge hairballs every time I washed my hair that I didn’t realize I was actually being really rough and causing it to break off unnecessarily. Other things that can contribute to excessive shedding: change of diet, stress, illness, and like with most things - not drinking enough water and lacking key nutrients. Healthy life = healthy hair!
First, let's keep in mind that we shed hair daily but because we don't wash our hair daily most of that hair comes out on wash day or maybe during your mid week detangling sesh. Shedding is 100% normal and 100% expected. This post is about my experience with excessive shedding. Now that I have gotten it down significantly I know for sure that it was in fact excessive.
When I noticed my hair thinning, I did what I always do, and turned to the internet for help. To set up a timeline this was around the end of summer 2017. I’m not sure if thinning is the correct word to be honest - what I’m trying to say is that I felt like the amount of hair on my head was decreasing. It looked to me like I had less hair. This is when I discovered tea rinses. My sons dedication for example October of 2016 I had a huge round fro (no diffuser, no picking) … the same thing for the holidays that year. But all throughout 2017 I noticed my hair was a lot flatter. I found myself having to separate curls and picking to make it look full. Very normal for some, but new to me. I don’t think it was due to the length because I got a nice deva cut June 2017.
Alright so let’s look into the science behind this real quick. I did a little digging to find how out how exactly tea can help with shedding. Since ancient times tea has been used to treat scalp issues and aid in a number of hair issues like excessive shedding. The main reason behind hair loss is a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Caffeine, found in green and black tea for example, blocks this hormone. This allows your scalp to hold onto your precious strands. So simple!
Black tea has been found to thicken and straighten hair as well. Stronger and thicker hair is less likely to break off. Green tea has a number of nutrients and antioxidants which allow it to fight dandruff and stimulate growth. For years studies have shown that green tea is amazing for hair loss.
A tea rinse is when you rinse your clean hair with brewed tea. You can use black or green tea - I used either or, I always have both on hand. She mentions that you can use decaf if you want a more gentle treatment but I did my own research and I decided that I wanted all the caffeine I could get. You just need to be cautious. Too much caffeine can dry your scalp out which is not good. That is why I only did this 1-2 times a month for about 3 months and then I stopped. The last time I did this November 5th 2017. If I ever feel like I have this issue again I may add this back into my routine here and there but I have made some other changes that continue to limit excess shedding and I’ll discuss those here as well. *Non-caffeinated tea will still provide results. You can most definitely use non-caffeinated first and see how that works for you*
If you have ever made a cup of tea then, surprise, you already know how to do this! Boil the water, brew the tea, and let the tea cool. One cup of tea should be enough. If you are using caffeinated tea don’t let the tea brew in the water for more than 5 minutes. That’s all the caffeine you need.
STEP 1: Shampoo. You want to make sure you apply this to a clean scalp for maximum benefits.
STEP 2: Apply tea to scalp. You can use a spray bottle. I just poured it on my head in 4 sections
STEP 3: Allow the tea to sit for about 15 minutes or while you deep condition.
STEP 4: Deep condition.
STEP 5: Rinse thoroughly.
If you watch the video I linked then you’ll see that Whitney detangles her hair with a conditioner and then rinses it off to apply her deep conditioner. I still don’t understand this. I mean, let me honest - I was guilty of this for a long time simply because all these hair bloggers do that. After struggling with cheap conditioners for about 2 years I have completely given up on this step. If your deep conditioner can’t detangle your hair then what is it even doing???
This photo is from November of last year.
This is when I was like wow my shedding used to be twice this much!! I was hype.I go to my Curlfriends group chat and I’m all like guys!!! Tea rinses work!! My shedding has reduced so much.
Now let’s take a look here.
These photos are from some recent wash days. Do you see a difference? Or nahhhh.
After the tea cut my shedding in half I decided to give up on conditioners. For the reasons I previously stated. I started detangling my hair with my pre-poos and with my FINGERS. This was a huge HUGE game changer for me. Guys. I know I’m late to the finger detangling party but trust me when I say it has changed my life. If those photos don’t show it I don’t know what else to say! I used to rip the hell out of my hair with a wide tooth comb. I kid you not in the past I have shed tears detangling.
I knew that I was only going to be using deep conditioners now and I wanted a way to make detangling even easier. Pre-poos were by no means new to my routine but I changed my application technique. Before I would just section my hair and rake whatever it was through it. Detangling was not on my mind at all because I knew my cheap conditioner would do that later. I didn’t care if I was pre-pooing with an oil or with a concoction, I wasn’t using that to detangle. What a huge mistake!
This video shows exactly how I do it.
I then cleanse my hair in sections. I finger detangle some more while I’m washing (yes this is possible) and then I add my deep conditioner and finish finger detangling any other knots I may have. At first, when I started doing this I would bring both my wide tooth comb and my Denman brush in the shower in case I needed backup. I was traumatized okay!! I didn’t think I would be able to fully detangle my hair this way but I was wrong. I challenged myself to ONLY finger detangle my hair this year and so far it has been going great. It takes more time but the results are totally worth it. Every time I wash, I shed even less. I still use combs and brushes when I’m styling my hair. I don’t part my hair with my fingers lol and I like a good wave comb for my buns. I may shed a few hairs while styling but it’s super insignificant.
With this decrease in shedding, I know my hair will start to get fuller with time. I have already noticed improvements. I’m glad that the only hair leaving my head is the necessary shed hair - NOTHING else.
If you read this entire post shout out to you! I hope you learned a thing or two, and if you’re struggling with excessive shedding, know that you can do something about it. I don’t dread wash day as much as I used to. I still hate that it takes 500 hours but my hair is thanking me for it by continuing to flourish. You can flourish too girl. Let me know some of your hair struggles in the comments.