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Curly Nikki

40 Plus- Naturals and Thinning Hair

By January 27th, 202133 Comments

40 Plus- Naturals and Thinning Hair
Wendy writes:

I’ve been natural for a little more than three years. I stopped relaxing because my hair began thinning. Now at 50 and completely natural, I still find that my hair sheds a lot. I often get compliments on my hair, but you ladies know, we know our hair, and my hair is not as thick as it used to be. I don’t know… some are of the opinion that long hair is not for women over forty anyway.

What are your thoughts? Can you relate?

33 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    I saved my hair at 48 by big chopping the damage from the perms. I love short hair so I go to the barber about every 2 months. I will be 50 this year and I'm so glad that I went natural, wish that it had been sooner. I was shedding hair by the handful and tried cutting my relaxed ends but the didn't help. I just love my short natural hair, it's so easy, just walked in the rain today w/o fear of quote ruining a style.

  • Pink Lady says:

    I just turned 47 a couple of days ago and my hair has never been thicker, healthier or longer. I do take HBP meds, but also hair vitamins, Shea butter and olive oil, and trims every 6-8 wks.

  • 53deelade says:

    Doesn't brushing the hair help to stimulate the scalp to help with hair growth. I thought I read this somewhere years ago and you're suppose to use a brush made with boar hairs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sooooo glad to see this post as I am brand new to the AAW curly kinky community. Wore braid extensions in my 20's (12 yrs-yikes!) dreads in my 30's into 40's and I am now in my late 40's and want to "release" my dreadlocs, probably this summer ('11). I didn't want to pull the "age card" so I have been soaking up all the uplifting information and stories of everyone's hair journeys here and on Youtube. Not on any meds, lead a decent health-affirming life (I am a vegetarian bellydancing coffee drinker), and if genetics play an integral role in the hair growth/ retention thing I think chances are fair to good that I will maintain and retain much of the fullness of my hair appearance as I approach my 5th and 6th decades. I had severe iron deficiency anemia in my 30's and had a hysterectomy at 42 (a healing experience FOR ME!) and NEVER had hair thinning, loss, or shedding with my dreads. I think I'll take one day at a time and like India Arie sings, "I am not my hair." Thanks CN community for being here. I salute you all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad I came across this post. It would be good to see more articles in the future addressing the hair issues of 40 plus naturals.

  • Gina says:

    so glad someone's addressing this! I'll be 37 this year and my hair simply REFUSES to grow at the crown. I had to stop relaxing because of the breakage, but going to the salon every 2 weeks to have my hair washed and retwisted is just as expensive and perhaps damaging.

    I love looking at all the pictures and videos of the younger girls, but I don't see much for women my age/weight/looks. It seems that anything beyond a TWA is more for the young, pretty, slender ladies. I'll be getting extensions first part of the year; hopefully that will help.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love this topic! I just turned 36 and it has been 8 months since my last perm and my BC was in Sept. I have also noticed some thinning in the top and on the sides. I love my natural hair because it makes my hair look thick, however I know if I get a relaxer/straighten my hair it would be very thin. My goal is to acheive healthy natural hair, it doesn't have to be long, a medium size puff would do. I have also heard that low iron may be a culprit and was wondering if anyone else has heard the same? Hope to read more about solutions :<)…..Thanks for the post Curly Nikki!

  • Anonymous says:

    Stopping relaxing was the last step in trying to get my super thin hair to fill in. I have psoriasis and my hair fell out from that. My scalp would scream at my touchups 3 times a year and my parts seemed like they were an inch wide. This all got progressively worse during my 40's – a steady, small loss of density over years that I attributed to damage, skin disease and age. About 2 years ago my hair started to fall out in handfuls. Sometimes just touching it would leave 10 – 50 hairs in my hands. I have heard a lot of heartbreaking stories about massive breakage because of damage and I certainly have had my share. Having your hair fall out in handfuls from the root is a whole n'other story.

    My dermatologist didn't even get it – she said I had thick hair because it was kinky – but she didn't know what I knew – that my hair was falling out and was less than half as thick as when I was young. It wasn't until I went to my regular doc for something else that they found out that I had a very bad Vitamin D deficiency that was taking me and my hair down. One symptom of D deficiency is hair loss- between that, the psoriasis and relaxing I was shooting for severe alopecia.

    When I stopped relaxing in 2009 I was soooo hoping my hair would grow back – because while I know that people believe that age automatically means thinner hair, I also know that there are a lot of factors that go into losing your hair.

    The Vitamin D helped but it took a year just to get the dosage right – (over the counter was a waste of time). Funny but that helped my body fight the psoriasis and at that point I could focus on my natural hair journey – no heat, no relaxers or permanent color. I am a fan of aruvedic treatments too but my real point is you may want to investigate other avenues. Don't assume that age means thin hair – family history is one part but not the whole story.

    Finally after a almost 2 years of Vitamin D supplements and a new hair care regimen, my hair has filled a lot more than I ever expected and my parts look normal. I shed very little (probably because a lot of the hair on my head is new!) Now my goal is grow my hair as long as I can – at least mid back. Then I may cut it but I want to be open to different options. I have seen many older women with thick hair and I would like to be one of them. I am 48 now. swoodward

  • Bianca says:

    The reason I big chopped my waist length locks in 2009 was because my texture has changed, and my roots would not stay twisted any more.I tried for 2 years to keep my locks nice looking, but I only ended up with an afro-lock do…which is not my preference…
    So after a dozen years of locks I had my 12 year old daughter cut my hair to a shorter length to be combed out…
    This past year of fooling with my hair has taught me a lot about how to nourish it.
    I have noticed my texture has continued to change in certain areas of my head it is straightening out in the back. I am 40…

  • Anonymous says:

    This a great topic, and I'm glad I stopped by. I will be 50 years old in 6 months, and I've been natural for 13 months and 26 days…LOL I decided to go natural because my mom's crown is very thin, and it looked like I was headed in the same direction. I know that my mom's thinness can be contributed to her HBP meds, but I felt that eliminating the chemicals would be much healthier for my hair.

    My crown (top right side) was thin as well as my edges when I did my big chop. I can now see the edges filling in slowly as well as the thin spot in the top. The less I do the more results I see. I've been doing henna's now for the last 8 months, and now I'm going to incorporate a few ayurvedic treatments into my weekly regiment next year!! However, protective styles are the best thing I could have started doing. I'm doing a self-imposed twist challenge, and I can see the change in my hair after only 30 days!!

    I'm not sure if age has anything to do with hair thinning, (it might) but I know my hair was much thicker in my 20's & 30's than it is now. However, my hair is much healthy now than it has ever been!!!

    KinkyNappyHappy

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting topic…I'll be 41 in a few days…so this pertains to me! 😉

    Prior to becoming fully natural–month 9–I noticed the front, all along my hairline was thin, so thin, I could see through my hair to my scalp. Luckily, my hair is deceptive: it looks thick, but it's really fine. Honestly, the thinness was worrying me! Would it continue? Am I on my way to baldness?

    As I've increased my hair care knowledge, I believe much of the thinning came from brushing…years of severe brushing for that slick ponytail. As I've not used a brush in my hair in almost a year, I'm seeing an improvement. I don't brush my hair, I oil with castor & jojoba oils and I don't pull my hair too tight. Hopefully, the next few months will show if my brush theory is correct. If not, then praise Him for my kinks…they hide the "shallow" spaces! 😉

    TheRYL1

  • Anonymous says:

    thanks for the post on over 40 naturals! I am 46 and have been natural for 15 years. Last February I big chopped (APL natural hair) to get rid of my dyed hair and embrace my graying strands. It was becoming too time consuming to fight the gray (my hair grows quickly and I needed the color touched up monthly). Also as my hair became grayer, it was becoming increasingly resistant to dyes. Often, at the end of normal processing time,I would rinse the dye out and the gray regrowth seem untouched, or would be some funky shade of yellowed red I was not grooving on. AARGH! I did not like the texture change all that coloring was causing, so I shaved it down to about 1/4" and was working that Camille Cosby salt and pepper look. Love at first sight. Before I cut it,I was afraid gray hair would make me look too old, especially a grey TWA, but actually my face is quite youthful and the gray hair provides a contrast that I love. I got so many compliments I hesitated to grow it out again, but I kinda miss my long hair and I think a salt and pepper BAA would look amazing (I definitely will stand out in any crowd, that's for sure!) Can't wait. I haven't noticed any thinning with age, but I think much of age related natural hair thinning is related to hormonal changes of perimenopause/menopause, and, annoyingly, Mother Nature is still knocking on my door every 28 days (36 years of that is quite enough, thank you very much). The natural fluffiness of natural hair will definitely help disguise any thinning (nothing worse than see through relaxed hair). Be gentle with your hair and definitely consult with your dermatologist, gynecologist(for info on hormonally linked hair loss) and leave any chemical covering of gray hair to a trusted professional.— Toots mom

  • Anonymous says:

    Great discussion topic! I'm in my late twenties, but have been thinking a lot lately about how to maintain a healthy, full head of hair into my 40s and 50s. I think much of it is genetics, but it's good to know that so many of you 40+ ladies have thriving hair. Obviously, we all change as we age, but it's all about looking the best that you can!

  • Unknown says:

    I can so relate. I am 41 and my hair has thinned out a lot for the last ten years, the last year was the worst!
    Now,I think it was not age -related (b/c I have seen some women with a head full of beautiful hair past 60..) but -in my case- life-style related.
    Too much stress, way too much coffee (sigh), I even smoked, too much fast food and too less hair care and exercises.
    Now Nikkis last post of post-pregnancy hair shedding got me thinking (again!) and I have set my goals for 2011 and the following years: a head of full, thick and luscious hair.
    My tools:
    -)regular ayurveda treatments like henna, cassia, brahmi, bhringaraj. Most of the Indian woman I know have awesome thick, healthy hair well in her 60's and above and do not think it is all genetical…and besides our genes are literally formed by our life style choices such as nutrition according to newest studies.
    -)a complete switch to an ayurvedic eating regimen
    -)drinking 2 liters of herbal infusions daily (horsetail, nettle, hibiscus and raspberry leaf in rotation
    -)detoxing my head and scalp once a week with a rhassoul mud pack (which make my curls pop like crazy)
    -)cut back on coffee
    -)hair vitamins (phyto specific is my fave, expensive but very effective, without them my hair loss might be much severe) and silicea gel.
    I really hope to feed my hair back to life with this. Sorry for writing so much but in case of hair loss and thinnig I think the treatment has to be complex, considering inside and outside. I think a little visualization and meditation to cut back stress might not hurt me as well… Merry Xmas, mes Dames!

  • Unknown says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • RDW says:

    I, too, in my late thirties starting experiencing thinning at the sides and crown–thought it was b/c of my infamous helmet hair hair style–slicked back bun; but after loosing up the bun and wearing my hair looser it's still not as thick as it used to be; plus my incoming grays are/were wiry and breaking off…I have been using henna for the last year–every 3 months or so and I notice the diffence in the texture… it looks/feels thicker, the grays are smoother and shiny. I also have been massaging rosemary, tree tea and almond oil on my hairline and scalp (baby hairs are returning…); I am certain as I age, my body changes and hormones rage that I need to pay extra attention to how I treat my body…LORD KNOWS WE ALL CARRY MORE THAN THE LAW SHOULD ALLOW AND BEING GOOD TO ME *US* HAS TO BE PRIORITY NUMBER ONE!!!! So I will continue to henna and massage my scalp and hair…there's a definite difference!!! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year and hair growin' ladies…

  • DvaAuNaturel says:

    I'll turn the big 40 next year. I noticed that my hair is definitely not as thick as it used to be, however I also notice that when I pamper it and give it TLC it flourishes.

    @LarMarvilla, I had no idea HBP medicine could cause thinning. I'll definitely look into that more and discuss with my doc. Thanks for mentioning that. I do think that by the hair being in its natural state will probably help it be thicker than if it had chemical processes.

  • Mimi says:

    I'm 52 and have been natural for almost 2 years. I was tired of the damage relaxers were doing to my hair, including the thinning it created. I think I caught it just in time before I lost my edges. I do henna and mud treatments and every so often protein treatments. I haven't experienced much shedding yet. I take vitamins, biotin and flaxseed oil to get my GLA intake. I'm a believer that without the chemicals you can maintain fabulous full hair into your 50's.

  • Cheryl says:

    I am 48 yrs old and I rock a BAA. Actually it is getting bigger and better. In the last two days, I've had friends and strangers tell me, and I quote, " Your hair is gorgeous". I went natural because my edges are very fragil. One more relaxer and I would not have any. I have been natural for about 7 and a half years; 5 and a half years of that I had locs. For me locs was an easy natural. After taking down the locs; yes I took them down – I did not chop, my hair was super hard. It took me a while to train my hair. I did it with deep (store bought) and natural conditioners (honey and coconut oil). After a while, it softened up where I was not breaking the comb. I am now into ayurvedic hair products and I think it has taken my hair to another level. I don't think my hair has changed in density/thickness. I believe the density is the same as when it was relaxed, but I have my edges. I might add, that I alternate between protein treatments of yogurt and egg whites and moisturizing treatments of honey and coconut oil. This keeps a balance of strength and moisture. If you want a BAA, keep striving for it and rock it gloriously.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm in my 40's and and i'm completely natural.I still wear a protective style(crochet braids) until get to the length i want. I found that i had more hair loss with a relaxer than with being natural.I think women should wear their hair how ever they like!I LOVE big hair!If Chaka Khan and Diana Ross can rock some big hair,so can i!

  • Anonymous says:

    I was just thinking about this as I hennaed my hair this morning. At almost 45 and natural for 12 years, I've noticed that my twists, and twist- outs, aren't as full as they used to be. There's been a lot of shedding over the last few months, just touching my hair seems to be enough for a few strands to come away in my fingers. I've been waiting for my ayurvedic oils to come in, maybe they'll help. I'll give that protein treatment a try too. Otherwise I guess, like this extra weight that won't go away, it's just part of the trial and tribulations that come along with the 40s.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am 39 and I am completely natural. I stopped relaxing/texturing because I noticed my hair thinning in the crown. I went to the dermatologist about 5 of 6 years ago to have a scalp biopsy from that, a hair transplant in the thinning areas; nothing worked for me. Now, I am focused on maintaining a good healthy hair care regimen. However, I get a little depressed about the thinning area.

    Anyway, Merry X-MAS!!!!

  • Adrienne says:

    @stephanie,
    i used to notice strands when removing my twists and detangling as well. i am 45 and will be natural 3 years in february 2011. what has really helped me with shedding was doing a protein treatment. i used aubrey organics gpb protein treatment. that stopped my shedding in it's tracks. i am also very, very careful with handling my hair. i co wash (condition wash) in sections, scrubbing my scalp with the pads of my fingers. i remove the conditioner by very gently pressing it out. once that section is done, i twist it and secure it and move to the next sections. my hair is very, very thick, so i leave the twists in for a couple of days. when i take them down, i make sure that i have all of my oils and butters on hand, literally. i make a habit of having olive oil and shea butter on my hands before i touch my hair. i then put in two strand twists (tst) and pin those into an updo of some sort. i can usually leave in my tst updo for about a month. i apologize for this loooong post, but i hope it helps. baa=bad ass afro."

  • 40gurl39 says:

    I am 43 and have been transitioning for nearly 2 years (Feb 14th is my transition anniversary) and my hair is much thicker than it ever was while I was getting regular relaxers. I do a combo of ayurvedic treatments and natural conditioners (honey, olive oil), etc. I also do a lot of buns and wash n go's. I am working on greater lengths this year as I cut quite frequently (every 6-8 weeks) to snip off a little of my relaxed ends. I have approximately 2 more inches of relaxed hair (I am almost BSL when stretched) and plan to slow down on the cutting in early spring.

    I believe that women over 40 can hold on to our precious strands with low manipulation, extra moisturizing and drinking water out of the wahoo. At least this is working for me. 🙂

    Blessings!

  • MommieDearest says:

    I'm 47 and my hair is very thick, though not as thick as it used to be. I just give it a little more TLC so that it remains healthy. My grandmother is 89 and her hair is snow white and full and still stands straight up from her head. It looks like a cloud, so soft and fluffy. Hopefully I inherited her "hair genes." LOL! As for length, I cosign with the above ladies that age should have nothing to do with how long you wear your hair. As long as it's healthy and well-groomed, I say go for it. I plan to sport my big hair and the occassional BAA for a long time to come. @Stephanie, BAA = Big Azz Afro.

  • Stephanie says:

    I'm 43 and I notice strands in my hands when I take down my flat twists, and when I detangle. I've been completly natural for just over 8.5 months. I don't know if the hairs in my hands are normal shedding, or if there's an increased amount because I'm getting older. I'm still learning about the many natural conditioning treatments, including henna and amla. All in all, my hair is healthy and I want it to grow long, big, strong, eye catching and fabulous! I applaud you and your sister. I'll bet you two are show stoppers!! I have a question though, I don't know what all the acronyms mean for hair length. For example, what is "BAA"?

  • Ems says:

    I have to say at 42 and 6 mos transitioning, my hair is very hard, even after henna and leave in conditioner and butters. The texture doesn't even feel the same (like coarse and wiry). My hair and I have been staring each other down in the mirror lately. Now what do i do with hard, middle-aged, transitioning hair?. Huh?

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with all the ladies above, that as we grow older our hair does change. My sister and I had this discussion maybe 3 weeks ago. She has been natural for about 10-12 yrs and I have been for about 9yrs. We are both in our 40s. My hair goal is a BAA, yep, even at age 43. But I noticed I have to use protective styles a lot and I've also accepted that my afro will not be as thick as the young ladies I admire on these sites. Nevertheless, it is our decision on whether we want long or short hair as we mature. Age is not the factor. How we feel about ourselves and our choice of hairstyle are valid factors. Sport your big fro with pride sista. As I grow mine out, I most certainly will.
    Allnatural1 (Michelle in TX)

  • Anonymous says:

    As a 45 year old natural for 15 months, I am thankful to have hair thicker than ever. I attribute this to weekly ayurvedic treatments and henna. Bhrami, amla, neem, etc. all claim to reduce hair fall and thicken strands, and it's working for me! I also care for my hair with lots of TLC, protective styling, and very little manipulation (all learned from the young ladies here and on other blogs/vlogs).

  • MelMelBee says:

    I'm 28 and my hair is thin in the crown. As a chid, my hair was long and thick, but over the years (relaxing, bleaching, braiding) it just got really thin. My mom and my aunt are thin in the top, but that has been post 40 (They are both in their 60's), so I think I sped up the process.

    Because it's natural, I can fool people into thinking it's thick. I've tried everything…biotin, scalp massages, special "thickening" hair products…it does not work. I'm praying ( God says bring it ALL to Him) that I can repair it. So, we'll see!

  • beautifulmia says:

    I decided to go natural because my hair was starting to thin, and when i would get relaxers the front of my hair would be so thin it looked like i was going bald. My Aunt told me that it's normal for your hair to thin in your fortys due to your hormones.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, maybe our hair changes as we age. I think that can be OK as well. Sometimes we may need to change products or styles as changes occur. I have experienced changes with my hair this winter season. I believe the winter hats along with turning up the heat in the car and in the home affect our hair more than I ever realized. Moisture and more protective hair styles might be the best defense. I am considering cornrows next week as a protective style. Again, sometimes change is good.

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    It's normal for hair volume to decrease as you get older. Also, if you're taking medication for high blood pressure that can also cause increased hair fall.

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