I sometimes get emails from people who want to know why their hair has taken on an odd, flyaway, and unkempt texture before or during increased hair shedding. They want to know if the shedding is effecting the hair or if the weird texture came before or has something to do with the shedding. They also want to know if their texture will return to normal once the shedding stops. I will try to address these concerns in the following article.
Why Changing Hair Texture Commonly Goes Hand In Hand With Telogen Effluvium: When your hair goes into TE or shedding mode, then you have a large percentage of your hair follicles that go into the resting phase at one time. From the time that the hair changes it’s cycle to when it actually sheds out, some time passes. This can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. (This is why that often times, you will start shedding around 2 -3 months after the “trigger” that brought on the shedding.)
During this transitional phase, many hairs are technically “dead” or no longer growing. They will eventually shed out, but this does not happen immediately. So, while the hair is going through it’s paces and getting ready to fall out, it takes on another texture, which is what you are seeing now. People will often ask me what they can do about this or how they can make the hair look better. In truth, there’s no way to bring the hair back to the growing phase. It is going to fall out at some point soon and there is no way to change that. However, sometimes wearing the hair up or in a ponytail will help to camouflage this. If you don’t want to wear your hair up, you can spray on a light weight leave in conditioner or a product for people with hair frizz that will help the hair to lie down. Be very picky to choose a product that is light weight. If you don’t, this will weigh down your hair and make it appear more thin and / or greasy.
The good news is that once all of the hairs in resting generally cycle themselves out, your texture should eventually return to normal, so long as you address and get rid of the trigger (if need be) so that this cycle doesn’t keep repeating itself.
When To Worry About Changing Hair Texture: As I’ve said, the dryer flyaway hair that goes hand in hand with TE will often work itself out. More concerning is hair that is miniaturized. Because sometimes, what you’re seeing is not your typical TE. Sometimes the loss also has an AGA or androgenic alopecia (genetic thinning) component. And when this happens, you sometimes get miniaturization of your regrowth. What this means is that your hair follicle is being adversely affected by androgens or other hormonal or genetic issues. As the result, the hair that regrows comes in thinner and more fine. This will sometimes also give the flyway and odd texture that I often hear about and know about from personal experience.
In this case, you will need to lessen the effect of the androgens and hormones while vigorously stimulating new regrowth. This is often at least a two step process, but if you approach it very methodically, you actually can change or improve your texture.