Sudsatorium Shampoo Review 

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So today back to one of my favourite subjects – hair, and shampoo. I will bore anyone who will listen to death about hair – hair loss, what’s good for it, what’s not, what products to use, which to avoid…(you get the picture). I’m always on the lookout for my next shampoo – a better shampoo which is easier to use, smells great, doesn’t damage my hair or scalp and ultimately doesn’t contain any chemical nasties.

I’ve been using a combo of Khadi and aloe vera for some time – or simply using aloe with honey or powders in between. Because I only need to wash my hair once a week, I get through shampoo fairly slowly. This doesn’t stop me constantly looking for something new though – and after debating trying John Masters Organic I decided to head onto Etsy and see what I could find there.

I wasn’t disappointed; there are so many gorgeous homemade beauty brands on Etsy each listing their ingredients for the hair-conscious (paranoid) consumer. I’ve used skincare bits from Etsy before, (a beautiful all-natural tanning oil from Herbanna) so I knew I was sure to find something which floated my boat. The ones I found to be very pure yet still exciting and professional looking were produced by a company called Sudsatorium. Based in Canada (sadly, many of the brands are based abroad in the states or beyond), Sudsatorium offer a huge range of shampoos and body washes packed full of natural ingredients.

I was very excited to try this product, an excitement. Which was only slightly dulled by over a month’s wait for it to arrive (more on this later!) when it finally did arrive, I used it straight away.

My choice, Brewed Awakening, is as the name suggests made with ‘freshly brewed coffee’ to give your hair a caffeine induced growth kick and to add depth and shine to brunette hair. It also contains lime juice, hemp oil and vanilla; all organic of course. There’s nothing I don’t love about the ingredients list which is a bonus as I usually find something I dislike when a product’s scent and texture is just right!

The shampoo feels just like any other just slightly more runny. It lathers minimally (no SLS!), but enough to be spread evenly on the scalp (I don’t wash the ends of my hair). I left it on for a couple of minutes with my head tipped upside down(bit of inversion method) then rinsed with cold/lukewarm water as always. I don’t use conditioner and didn’t use oil on this occasion as I wanted to get a true idea of what the shampoo was really like.

When dry my hair was so soft,  so shiny and my scalp felt great. I particularly liked this shampoo because of the base of coffee – as caffeine has been shown in studies to nourish and stimulate the hair follicle, resulting in better growth and thicker, healthier hair overall. This isn’t a shampoo specially formulated for hair loss, but if you’ve read any of my previous hair blogs you’ll know That after trying most of the products out there are researching the hair and scalp I’ve discovered the best thing for the hair and scalp is going back to basics with all-natural offerings.

Anyone worth their salt when it comes to hair will tell you that 2 weeks is hardly long enough to be able to give a proper review of a product – but these are my initial views which I’ll be sure to update you with as I continue to use the shampoo! So, what’s the overall verdict at this stage?

Pros: Beautiful product with good credentials when it comes to natural ingredients. Smells incredible before, during and after application. Leaves my hair soft and shiny and doesn’t disrupt the nice natural rhythm I’ve spent ages getting it into. The company also donate a portion of their profits to charity – so I can’t argue with the price which I feel is fair for such a good product. You don’t need a lot, so it lasts a while, especially if you dilute it with aloe vera gel. 

Cons: This shampoo took ages to make and ages to come. The manufacture and shipping took 3 weeks, then it took a further 3 weeks to arrive by what I can only assume was pigeon mail. I was not impressed with this one bit and I would advise anyone wishing to try these shampoos to order WELL in advance! I understand anything sent from Canada will take a while to come, but I wasn’t prepared for a 3 week manufacture time.

Have you tried Sudsatorium? Let me know!

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If you enjoyed my Sudsatorium Shampoo Review, you can read more here.

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Hair Loss – what to do (the update)

HAIRLOSSUPDATE

I’ve covered the route for those who aren’t so bothered about the chemical aspect of cosmetics (the route I took myself initially and last year!) but I’m now keen to try a natural alternative to keep my whole body (and hair) healthy, so I wanted to compile an alternative post for those wishing to try all-natural to combat hair loss themselves.

  1. Supplements and diet – make sure you’re taking Biotin (1000mcg) every day for your hair (if you are at a safe weight and are okay health-wise to do so). I swear by this and always have done, plus it isn’t something which you will need to worry about harming your scalp! I know I don’t need to bang on about it – eating right helps too, but I know that isn’t always so easy.
  2. Use natural oils – Instead of conditioner, switch to oils. It’s a bit messy, yes, but you can buy squeezy bottles which make life easier. Even expensive conditioners contain silicones and chemicals which are less than helpful for your hair. Also take into account that any conditioner claiming to ‘aid hair loss’ is making a mistaken claim because combatting hair loss really does begin and end with the scalp. The rest of your hair is dead, so whilst combatting breakage will help your hair retain thickness and is important to the health and look of your hair, it won’t stop it from falling out at the root. I love castor oil and coconut oil. (You can read my post all about castor oil and its fabulous hair benefits here!)
  3. Invest in essential oils – Essential oils are renowned in alternative and homeopathic medicine for many health benefits, some of which are calming or uplifting effects on the mood which are added benefits to using them for your hair if it has been caused by anxiety or an eating disorder. Certain essential oils are specifically good for hair – such as Rosemary and Peppermint. Rosemary is said to maintain a healthy scalp and shiny locks, and peppermint stimulates the scalp – that’s why it is tingly when you apply it. I use a Rosemary Hair Oil every week which smells lovely and does my hair the world of good – click here for the recipe.
  4. The Inversion Method – I’ve only recently come across this – I’ve always massaged my scalp to aid hair growth but this is quite a sophisticated way of doing so which promises some pretty drastic results! I’m not sure everyone will see a few inches growth in just weeks as some internet die-hards claim, but it definitely makes sense to give it a go. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now – my hair already grows very fast and I’ve had decent regrowth round my forehead but I’m looking to sort some of the patchiness on the back of my head so I will see how I get on with those and post an update! I use the Rosemary Oil in conjunction with the Inversion Method to make it super-potent.
  5. Natural shampoo – When you’re losing your hair, you’ll try anything. (I have!). There’s countless hair loss shampoos on the market but as with all mainstream shampoos, they’re full of chemicals and we all know how harmful they can be for your skin and hair. Whilst I saw fantastic results from Alpecin and Nioxin, I’m really starting to move more towards natural methods now I’m maintaining my hair and regrowth. Natural shampoos can be hard to come by (lots claim to be natural or Organic, but they actually just contain a few natural ingredients and are not 100% natural). If you don’t feel you can, or want to, go all-natural, then try to choose the next best thing – it will be fine if you follow the next step, which is….
  6. Don’t wash your hair as much – I wash my hair once a week only. I know there will be lots of horrified people reading this – but honestly, I haven’t had anybody notice!! What I have personally noticed (and had comments on by friends and family) is the thickness and healthy look of my hair. When you first stop washing your hair so regularly, you of course feel towards the end of the week that your hair is a little greasy or looks a bit oily at the roots. I combatted this originally by using Klorane dry shampoo in between washes – but I haven’t had to use it anywhere near as much as I thought I would need to. (Now I use a chemical-free, home-made cocoa dry shampoo – recipe here!) The reason washing your hair less aids hair loss is that it allows your scalp to maintain a natural cycle and means you are not exposing your hair and scalp to chemicals so much, which not only strip the oil from your hair (confusing your scalp into producing more, hence more washing) but you are also possibly helping your hair loss by using harsh artificial detergents. You’ll notice that the greasiness really is only in the scalp area, and that this will only last for the first couple of weeks or so whilst it adjusts to not being stripped constantly. Now, after 2 months of only washing once a week, I generally don’t need to wash my hair more than that.

Combatting hair loss can happen, and it can be easy, it just takes time and patience (a lot of it!) I know from experience that it’s easy to become obsessed with progress and how much you’re shedding etc but the best thing you can do is secure a routine, follow it religiously and keep positive until you see the results.

Fancy going all-natural? Take a look at my no-poo post here!

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PLUS: Read What Not To Do for more tips

Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Hair Loss – What NOT to do

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There are so many articles on what to do when your hair starts falling out – what products to use, what to eat, how to style it. From experience these can be a little bit mind-boggling and of course everybody has different hair types, different types of hair loss and therefore widely varying opinions on products and methodology. Here’s my run down of the top ten things NOT to do when your hair starts falling out:

  1. Don’t panic

This one comes under the category ‘easier said than done’ – I know. Stress and anxiety is a massive cause of hair loss – at best it exacerbates existing hair loss. It’s difficult not to be distraught when you start losing your hair and start obsessing over each lost strand, staring longingly at everyone else’s hair and feeling generally crap and upset. Our hair is often our comfort blanket , our crowning glory – your hair (or lack of it) can make a huge difference to how you look and ultimately, how you feel. I know that. Try your best to distract yourself from what is going on with your hair. Make a plan of action and feel assured knowing you’re doing everything you can to help your hair.

  1. Don’t overbrush

Brushing your hair can be therapeutic and distracting; yet it can also become an obsessive ritual of seeing how much you have left and how much comes out when you do brush it. Some hair loss advice calls for regular brushing but experts say it is possible to over-brush your hair, and especially where hair loss is concerned over-vigorous brushing will only cause more harm than good. Use a natural bristle brush to distribute your hair’s oils evenly and minimise breakage. The same goes for washing – try not to overwash your hair even if it gets greasy and even if you are using a hair loss shampoo. This strips the oils and increases exposure to chemical nasties which do not do your scalp or hair any good. Using your hair loss shampoo twice a day won’t make any difference to your growth compared to if you were using it every other day – but it may damage your hair and have the reverse effect instead.

  1. Don’t go buying expensive shampoos

Sadly, there’s lots of people who’d like to cash in on your hair loss because they know how upset and vulnerable you are, and that most (me included!) are desperate to try anything, no matter what the cost, to get their hair back as quickly as possible. Please don’t be drawn in by anything which appears ‘too good to be true’. Equally, don’t go buying every single hair loss shampoo and product out there. They all work differently, they are different for different people, and their efficacy also depends on what sort of hair loss you have. Read reviews (you can read my post on Hair Loss Shampoos here) and make a decision on what is best for you. Give it a good month or two to see if it is working; you won’t see results in days or even a week or so no matter what anybody says. If it still isn’t working, try something new. I’ve made this mistake before and the best thing I did was eventually to buy one shampoo and conditioner and stick to that regime for over a month – that’s when I saw amazing results. Equally, I’ve tried shampoos, given them a month or two, and realised they are not working, kicked them to the curb and tried something new. Perseverance is the only way to be sure of what works and what doesn’t.

  1. You don’t have to cut it all off

When my hair fell out after my eating disorder, my hairdresser categorically told me to cut it all off. The best solution, she said, was to cut it all down to at least shoulder length and keep cutting it until it reached the length of my baby hair. That way, it could all grow at the same rate. 14 years old and recovering from an eating disorder, I was desperately clinging on to the hair I still had left. Losing it had been a shocking additional blow a few months into my recovery. There was no way I was going to cut it off.

My hair admittedly looked awful for at least a year. I lost mine from underneath, so stringy strands hung over bald patches which were gradually filled with lots of wispy baby hairs. As they grew they formed a fringe on my forehead and a fluffy ‘do beneath my old hair around the rest of my head. It wasn’t the best look, but it allowed me to keep my hair and eventually 3 years later my hair looked incredible. For a year or so I’d worn clip in extensions which helped me to feel more confident and forget about the state of my hair, and one day, I realised my hair was exactly the same without them. The baby hair had matured and was long and thick and as a whole it looked fabulous.

Since then, I’ve found some hairstyles and a few techniques you can use to help ‘mask’ hair loss whilst you are – of course temporary extensions, wigs and hair pieces are also handy. You can read about them here.

Of course if you’re brave enough to have it all cut to one length then this is good for hair health and growth and will ensure even regrowth – it is completely your decision. But know that if, like me, you are very attached to your hair, you can hold onto it!

  1. Don’t leave it unchecked medically

Hair loss is becoming more common in women especially due to the increased stress and pressure in our lives. Therefore it’s easy to put it down to stress or hormones. But there are other medical causes of hair loss which should be noted and it’s important to be vigilant for in case your hair loss is caused by an underlying health problem. If your hair loss is persistent, make an appointment with your doctor just to be sure there’s nothing else going on. They may even refer you to a trichologist for help with your hair loss.

  1. Don’t overstyle it

We all love our hairdryers, curlers, straighteners, rollers – but it goes without saying, these are NOT good for your hair, especially when it is in a weakened state. I made a conscious decision to stop using the hairdryer (unless it was an emergency – you know we all have those) and I rarely use straighteners or curlers but these were vetoed too. It may well be torture but it is worth it to help your hair to recover and alleviate the anguish that comes with seeing clumps of hair all over the floor after styling. There are lots of nifty tutorials on Pinterest for creating curls (and other hair styles) with no heat and little pulling or breakage on the hair, so if you are naturally curly embrace them and take a look online for inspiration.

  1. Don’t use tight bobbles and clips

Bobbles are the worst thing for your hair. Even ones without the metal clip which can snag hairs pull on your scalp and hair follicles and can accelerate hair loss. I only wear clips or loose slides when my hair is falling out and if I really want a bobble in I use a trick Iwas shown on a shoot by my lovely best friend and renowned hairdresser Mark – attach two bobby pins one either side of your bobble – scrape your hair into a pony then slide one clip through the centre close to the scalp. Wrap the other around a few times till it’s tight then slide the other bobby pin through the centre of your pony. Home-made bungee! So much less damaging for your hair and 0-expense, 0-hassle.

  1. Don’t forget to eat (and drink) for your hair

A few of you won’t like this one and will be sick of hearing it but honestly, good skin and hair health comes from the inside. What happens on the outside of our bodies in often an indication of what’s going on inside, so if your hair is falling out, it indicates a problem whether that’s mental, physical or perhaps a deficiency somewhere. If you’re not at the stage where you feel ready to address your diet then that is understandable, however without a good diet, your hair will struggle massively to recover. The real you will care more about your hair than what an eating disorder cares about, so concentrate on that and try really hard to follow that desire rather than any other false ideals that will be in your head. I really wish I had known what to eat to help my hair all those years ago – I was recovering and I’d have eaten anything to stop it from falling out. You can read my post on food for hair here.

  1. Don’t use harsh chemicals on your hair

Most commercial shampoos, whatever they claim to do, will be full of chemicals which are less than healthy for your hair. The ‘worst’ of these is sodium laureth sulfate, which is what makes shampoos and shower gels lather nicely. Experts say it strips the scalp of natural oils and can also leave hair brittle and dry. Once you know this, you’ll know that finding a shampoo without this in it is very difficult.

  1. Don’t feel alone, embarrassed or suffer in silence

More women than you realise will be suffering from hair loss but will not have told anybody about it out of shame or embarrassment. So many will be covering it up on a daily basis and feeling bad about it alone. Don’t feel like you are alone in this – take a look online and you’ll find lots of friendly women ready to discuss hair loss with you; forums where you can share what works and what doesn’t. And of course, you have this blog J

 

Hair loss is an awful thing to experience but at least now you know what NOT to do and can concentrate on getting your hair, and yourself, back to the best health possible.

Any tips I’ve missed here? Share them!

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Before going ‘no-poo’ after an eating disorder – what you should know

GOINGNOPOO

I do a lot of posts on the blog about hair loss, because it’s something I get asked about a lot, as many people suffer from some sort of hair loss during or after an eating disorder. Understandably – it’s devastating losing your hair and when it happens you feel like you’ll do anything to ‘fix’ it.

Having recently regrown my hair from a fairly bad bout of hair loss last Summer, (not fully regrown, just a thick 3 inch fringe of baby hairs!) and finding recently my body is struggling with the combined effects of winter and my anxiety, I have been back reading up on the negative effects of using chemicals artificial entities such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Silicones which are widely present in commercial shampoos and are less than good for scalp health.

I knew this before, of course – I even bought a Morocco Method shampoo which was lovely but just didn’t have the familiar old gloopy consistency I knew and loved from a shampoo. I’m not very patient and have a very short attention span, so in all honesty I gave it a couple of washes and gave up, without giving it the time I’ve heard is needed to really go for ‘no-poo’. After I gave up I completely forgot about it and went back to using expensive chemical products!

I went on holiday with my beautiful friend Faye in October. We have very similar hair types – sleek, brown, difficult to get body into (she likes it that way, I don’t!) She lives in Spain, so when she came over I hadn’t seen her for a good few months. And her hair was amazing – so amazing in fact I couldn’t stop looking at it and messing with it and asking her how she’d managed to get hair like that. This was a role reversal for us because when we met years ago at college, she always used to ask me about my hair, which at the time was so thick and long (that’s how I know it’s not how it should be now!).

She told me that because of the hot weather and not having to see anybody in Spain, she was only washing her hair once a week. For the rest of the time, it was up in a bun. She hardly ever used conditioner and attributed the massive growth, beautiful condition and thickness down to a combination of the sun and no-washing. Now I can’t magic the sun to the UK (I can’t tell you how much I wish I could!) but I did immediately cut my washing down from every other day (3-4 times a week) to just once a week. Yep it hasn’t always been pretty but my hair is getting used to it now – and dry shampoo is my saviour on any particularly dodgy in-between days!

Coupled with this revelation, my recent research had frightened me again into thinking that maybe   using chemicals on my hair (and everywhere, really) might be harming my body in more ways than I realised, and I wanted to go further to getting back my beautiful college hair.

Google ‘natural shampoo’ and you’ll find all sorts. Google ‘no poo’ and you’ll also find all sorts – but mostly you’ll find a lot of people talking about Baking Powder (or Baking Soda) and Apple Cider Vinegar. Neither of which I really fancied putting on my hair! Baking powder just sounded like it would be too harsh, and the vinegar element had me worrying I’d be walking around smelling like a bag of salt and vinegar crisps.

I did a little more research and came across this excellent post by Kanelstrand. Basically, she found that actually, this method is not so good at all because baking powder is very acidic, even when dissolved with plenty of water. It’s especially one to avoid if you are suffering acute hair loss.

So what to do now? Well I googled natural shampoo (again) and found lots that weren’t natural and a few that were. Some of these were bars, like bars of soap – something I hadn’t thought of using since I was very much younger and had one from Lush and one from the Body Shop. These bars are 100% natural, so they shouldn’t damage your hair or scalp and also contain ingredients which should aid in combatting hair loss.

I’ve come to the conclusion personally that if you are only washing your hair once a week as I do, you’re virtually ‘no-poo’ anyway. If you can choose a shampoo which is as saintly as it possibly can be, but that you enjoy using, then at least that is better than washing your hair every day or every other day and stripping it with chemicals regularly. Korres, The Body Shop and Organix have natural, silicone and sulfate-free ranges so browse the internet and try a few to see which one is your favourite. You might already be using one! In between washes I also use Klorane sensitive natural dry shampoo – it adds loads of body, keeps hair soft and clean and is easy on the scalp and hair.

In my last post about what to do when you’re losing your hair, I talk about the best standard shampoo ranges on offer (which all contain chemicals – however some are highly effective). But if you do want to go down the all-natural route, you can read my updated ‘What to do’ post here. Let me know how you get on!

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Hair loss shampoo – the low down

Shampoo

Hair loss is particularly relevant to the blog because eating disorders often cause acute hair loss, or at least result in thinner hair, and stress and anxiety are also culprits in causing women to lose an excessive amount of hair.

As I’ve said before on the blog, losing your hair is one of the most awful things a woman can experience aesthetically. It’s one of those things which you just want to stop immediately – so you’ll pay anything to get your hands on something which promises to stop your hair falling out, and improves the look of your hair, instantly. You feel anxious and upset about your hair and how you look and therefore you enter a vicious cycle because stress will do your hair absolutely no good whatsoever.

I’ve covered a few things that have worked for me, such as Castor Oil and other methods, on the blog before, but in this post I wanted to focus purely on shampoos because they really can be a bit of a minefield and there are a lot of them about. I can honestly say I’ve tried most of them! I’ve also spent hours trudging through reviews online and frankly, they always tend to be mixed and it takes a long time and a lot of review reading to get a decent picture of how and how well a product works! Here’s my genuine, balanced views on the top 5 I have used below:

  1. Alpecin/Plantur

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This stuff worked wonders for me. It’s a caffeine-based shampoo – the caffeine acts as a stimulant on the scalp to encourage hair growth. Scalp Stimulation is a main discipline in the hair growth bible, that’s why head massages and cinnamon and peppermint along with caffeine are extensively used in the industry. Like cinnamon and peppermint, caffeine gives a tingly sensation when it is applied to the scalp. Alpecin instructs users to leave the shampoo on for at least 2 minutes – this is when you start to feel the tingle. The instructions say ‘leave as long as possible’ so sometimes I would sit in the bath with it on my hair for 20-30 minutes just to give it a good go.

There are 2 different brands here – Alpecin and Plantur. Plantur is basically the ladies’ version of Alpecin and from what I have heard they are very similar – I used Alpecin so I had to put up with the manly smell for a few months but in all honesty it was worth it.

After a month or so of using it every other day I noticed new hair growth and the rest of my hair began to grow very rapidly. After 2-3 months I had a thatch of baby hairs about 2-3cm long and my hair was growing very quickly, so I stopped using Alpecin and switched back to my normal shampoo. Another 3 months later and that baby hair is now 2-3 inches long – I’ve had no let up in the speed or thickness of growth and I now have a little fringe of baby hair down to my eyebrows! It really worked for me it just took persistence and regular washing, plus sticking to the instructions of keeping it on for a fair amount of time.

The only thing I will say about Alpecin in particular is that I may not recommend it for lighter hair colours or anyone who dyes their hair. I have naturally mousy brown hair which I dye a shade or two darker but the shampoo actually faded my natural hair (and the dyed hair) to a weird gingery-brown colour which I had to keep dying over. It does say in the instructions that Alpecin may cause discolouration of the hair, especially blonde hair, so it’s a risk you may want to weigh up before using. Personally, I was happy to take this in return for rapid, sustained new growth.

Pros: Fantastic, good-quality new hair growth, very good price, readily available in lots of retailers.

Cons: Manly-smell (if using Alpecin), hair can get more greasy in-between washes, hair dye and natural hair colour can be affected by product.

 

  1. Nioxin

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The favoured premium go-to hair loss solution, this is the product you’ll likely be recommended by your hairdresser. I used this a couple of years ago when my hair started to fall out (not as much as when I was poorly, or last year) but still significantly enough for me to feel I needed to take action. I also had a Nioxin scalp treatment at a hairdresser which involved a long vigorous head massage using a grainy peppermint solution made by Nioxin which made my hair look thicker straight away!

I loved Nioxin so much that I continued to use it as my usual shampoo until last year when my hair started falling out uncontrollably and I felt I needed to try something else; I’m not sure whether Nioxin might have become ineffective because I’d been using it on a day to day basis for so long before my hair started falling out.

Simply put, Nioxin works using peppermint as one of its main active ingredients, to stimulate the scalp but also to fully cleanse the scalp of any debris which may be blocking hair follicles and therefore negatively affecting growth. This is also what gives it its strong, clinical minty scent. Nioxin is great because rather than being ‘one size fits all’, it caters to different hair types and therefore different types of hair loss. For me, I needed something for fine, visibly thinning hair, so I went for Number 2. This meant the shampoo cleansed my hair really nicely and left it bouncy and thick-looking, not at all weighed down. I’d still go back to Nioxin as a regular shampoo now as I liked it so much.

The only complaint I would have about Nioxin is that the range is huge; there are now different foams and lotions you can buy as well as the shampoo and conditioner which are all fairly pricey. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your hair is falling out and you are desperate to combat it in any way possible but my advice here would be to buy the shampoo and conditioner first, then see how you go. I went ahead and purchased one of the ‘Diamond Boost’ products only to find it made my scalp really dry and itchy and made my hair look greasy. I couldn’t tell if it had any effect on the hair loss because I had to stop using it, and now I have a full bottle of expensive serum lying in my drawer.

Extra tip: I bought Nioxin in bulk from my local beauty wholesalers (you can buy online too) – it was a HUGE bottle but saved me a lot of money.

Pros: Fantastic range of hair loss shampoos and conditioners (and shampoos and conditioners in general), tailored to your hair type and hair loss type, recommended by stylists, works to clean hair and scalp and promote new hair growth, range of salon treatments which are reasonably priced (RRP) and really do work to improve the look and condition of hair.

Cons: A little expensive at £12 a bottle, only available in salons and online (the best price tends to be online!), a confusing extra range of add-on products which are expensive and may be purchased in desperation but may not be best for your hair.

 

  1. Mane n’ Tail

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I heard about this years ago when I was recovering from my eating disorder but I couldn’t get my hands on any for love nor money. I even spoke to my friend who has horses and she said she couldn’t find any at the equine wholesalers!

A few years on, I noticed it advertised in the beauty section of a magazine and realised that everyone must now have cottoned on to the Mane N Tail craze, hoping this meant it was more readily available. It was! I bought mine from a local African hair retailer but you can find it on Amazon and eBay too.

I bought a bottle on eBay and started to use it straight away. What I will say about Mane N Tail is it’s a fantastic general shampoo. It doesn’t claim to contain special ingredients like others do, and it’s definitely not all-natural but it lathers up so nicely and your hair is fresh and clean and bouncy after use. It also smells gorgeous!

Originally there was just one type of Mane N Tail but there’s now a few to choose from which baffled me at first – I stuck to the original. The range also now features conditioners and a detangling spray however I haven’t tried these (yet!) so I can’t say how good these are.

All in all a good shampoo but I’m not sure it made any real difference to my hair growth. This may be a placebo opinion in that because it wasn’t tingling on my head it wasn’t ‘working’, but I would definitely use the shampoo again.

Pros: Great shampoo, smells lovely, lathers very well and cleans hair well. Good price and readily available.

Cons: Not sure it affected my hair growth (not a con for many but given the point of the article…!)

 

  1. Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches

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I had NEVER heard of this stuff (and shamefully the name made me giggle) when I heard about it for the first time when talking to a friend who has beautiful long thick hair, but felt it was thinning at the front due to wearing it in tight buns for work.

She told me she really rated it and that I should definitely try it, but that it was expensive. I went online and yes, it is a little pricey, however easily available from Amazon which also sold trial travel packs for the sceptical to try. I was so happy using my Alpecin that I decided to leave it and subsequently went back to my old shampoo; so on Christmas day when one of the said travel packs landed in my stocking I was over the moon and excited to try it!

The pack contains a tube of leave-in treatment, a tube of conditioner and a tube of shampoo. The treatment is for weekly or fortnightly use whereas the shampoo and conditioner are for regular use. I decided to go for the leave-in treatment straight away and slathered it all over my hair then went off to bake Christmas cookies for a few hours.

When I washed it off, my hair was incredibly silky and soft. It was plump and not at all weighed down by the product, which surprised me as it contains keratin protein and in my experience keratin products can be heavy.

Keratin is the main component in the 3 More Inches range; if you take a look at the ingredients you’ll see there’s no chemical nasties and a hell of a lot of keratin, which is basically protein-rich hair-food (like a smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado steak salad, topically applied!) Keratin is actually a protein itself, naturally found in hair fibres. A lack of Keratin can result in dry brittle hair which breaks off easily – so you can see why sufficient Keratin is important to stop hair loss from breakage and also from brushing out huge knots as it also makes hair much smoother and easier to comb through.

I haven’t used this range enough to be able to categorically say whether it has made a difference or not but it was certainly visibly nourishing for my hair and my friend tells me it has made a massive difference to hers in just a matter of weeks.

Pros: Luxurious shampoo, smells lovely, easy to use and lathers well considering it doesn’t contain any of the worst chemical nasties. Packed full of hair-loving Keratin which can certainly be no bad thing.

Cons: Expensive, only available online.

 

  1. Naked Shampoo 2 in 1

 naked shampoo

When I started reading up on hair loss I read a lot of articles which encouraged me to ditch chemicals completely in order to repair my scalp and restore my lost hair. Some even urged me to stop washing my hair entirely (never going to happen – I have a job!!). Whilst I could see the science behind this I struggled with the practicality. When I started looking at the ingredients lists of shampoos in the shops and the ones I used currently, I noticed they were full of the said ‘nasty chemicals’ that according to those articles under no circumstance should I be applying to my scalp. I panicked, then I Googled natural shampoos.

It took me ages going through online shops and forums to find that one of the Naked range of shampoos did not contain the dreaded Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is what makes shampoos and soaps lather. I wasn’t particularly happy about going lather-less because that’s part of the shampooing process that I love, but with bald patches rapidly emerging I was willing to try anything and going all natural made complete sense. Some of the reviews cited rapid hair growth using the shampoo so I was very excited to give it a go.

I used the Purifying 2 in 1 Shampoo from Naked. It smelt heavenly in the bottle but that smell unfortunately didn’t really linger on my hair. I was pleasantly surprised that it lathered up nicely when I washed my hair and my hair felt really clean after using it – plus it was nice and soft.

I used the shampoo for around 2 months but unfortunately in all honestly I don’t feel it made any difference to the growth of my hair. That’s when I switched to Alpecin.

Pros: Cheaply priced, smells nice, easy to use and still lathers a little bit. 100% natural no nasties.

Cons: You can only buy it from Boots and Sainsburys, and bigger stores at that. Online you can only buy it from these retailers or direct (it’s on eBay but is much higher than retail price, weirdly). Personally saw no difference to my hair growth and wasn’t the best shampoo I have ever had cleansing-wise.

 

Having read this article back, it’s funny that the two products that worked best for me are the ones with the most cons. Don’t let this put you off – as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Some of the most potent medical treatments have the worst side effects. The point is, they work. Have you guys used anything you feel is share-worthy here for hair loss? I’d love to share them with everyone else!

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HAIRLOSSSHAMPOOLOWDOWN

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