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It’s about four years since peri-menopause started to play a tug of war with my hair. After much research and a blistered scalp (Rogaine and Nioxin are not for me), I found Folligen. Although this proved to work (e.g. rub in scalp, wait weeks, see whispy hair grow), its bright turquoise color, accompanying nasty smell and chemicals, ensured that my search would continue. The years have been fruitful and now my hair growth arsenal is now fully equipped with a full regimen that has everything a flowing mane could want, from shampoo to supplements.
Few of us would spend $60 on a regular shampoo, but if you are concerned about thinning hair and want to do as much as possible to kick-start growth, then it is worth investing in ReLuma Shampoo ($59 in the TIA shop) The active (Human Adipose Derived Stem Cell Conditioned Media) is a complex of growth factors that signal to cells and follicles. They are backed up by three B vitamins. ReLuma produces a decent foam and rinses out easily with no build up. Read the full review, at the very least it does reduce shedding.
A heavy hitting shampoo such as ReLuma may only be necessary a few times a year. I certainly find that for day to day maintenance, Mukti’s shampoo and conditioner (now in the TIA shop) give great results: fuller hair, less shedding. In any case, I use the Mukti conditioner after the ReLuma shampoo (at least for me, a conditioner is essential). I prefer Aussie brand Mukti to Nutra-Lift, a shampoo that also reduces shedding ($22-34), as it does a better job of lathering up and rinsing out without leaving product buildup. Mukti is equally natural using aqueous botanical extracts and the shampoo and conditioner don’t even have a water base, meaning that they are super concentrated. A key ingredient is bladderwrack, a seaweed that has a high amount of vitamin C and something called alginic acid, which is insoluble in water and swells by absorbing water up to 100 times its weight. It is also a very good source of vitamin B12, a lack of which can result in hair shedding and dullness. Read more on Mukti here.
It took four years to find a replacement to Folligen, a hair growth treatment that is rubbed into the scalp, and I had to make it myself (well, with some help from Your Best Face). Since launching Hair Vitality Complex ($49 in the TIA shop) last March, it has become a bestseller and has had positive reviews from many members of the Truth In Aging community, including Julie Kay and Ellen. Hair Vitality Complex, uses copper peptides and vitamin B and has been formulated without nasty chemicals, is safe for color treated hair and has an almost neutral scent. Regular use (every other day) keeps my hairline completely filled in with full-growth hair.
For an alternative to copper peptides (which is also the active in Folligen ($22 in the TIA shop) and Hair Signals ($27 in the TIA shop), there is ReLuma’s hair growth serum that uses human conditioned media and has versions with minoxydil (the ReLuma Hair Complex for Men) and (ReLuma for Women) and without (The Original). ReLuma ($52 in the TIA shop) can take a while to kick in (six weeks in my experience), so be patient.
Emu oil works synergistically with hair growth products. Best used first (it is similar in molecular structure to human sebum and, therefore, penetrates easily), with Hair Vitality Complex or ReLuma layered on top. Emu oil has even been shown (in studies on mice) to revive dormant hair follicles. It's also a favorite with Charlize Theron. It can be a bit like chicken fat, so it is best to look out one that has been refined, such as Clearly Emu ($26 in the TIA shop).
For good measure, I take Follicle Fuel supplements every day as well. Follicle Fuel ($50) is big on biotin and the formula includes beta sistosterol, a plant derived phytosterol. It is one of the components of saw palmetto, and eclipta prostrata extract, which Indian researchers concluded “may have potential as a hair growth promoter.”
All of these are safe, mostly natural and so effective that all I have to worry about is frizz – and, in humid New York, that’s plenty to fret over.