Thoughts We're Having: How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?

The answer might surprise you

Updated 06/02/19
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Call us paranoid, but we’re constantly living in fear that we’re losing all our hair. How can we not, when we’re greeted with the alarmingly large clump nestled in our drain at the end of every shower? Or the fistful that comes out when we run our fingers through our damp hair? Shudder. In the hopes of quelling our concerns, we decided it was time to put our paranoia to rest and consult an expert: That would be Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, trichologist (a doctor that specializes in hair loss) at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York.

We came to her, beseeching and desperate, with our one main query: How much hair loss is considered “normal”? Her answer was surprising, to say the least. Keep scrolling to see what she said.

How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?

The life cycle of a typical strand of hair is between 24 and 72 months. During this time, a hair follicle goes through three stages: a growth stage, a resting stage, and a shedding stage.

Phillips says that most people lose anywhere from 80 to 100 hairs a day. To put it in perspective, that means at any given time, up to 10 percent of your hair is in the shedding stage—and Phillips assures us this is completely normal. “While there can be some variation in fall depending on the season, it’s very marginal, and there is typically a better explanation for excessive shedding than seasonal change,” she says. If you find that you’re losing more than this amount and it hasn’t seemed to decrease after eight weeks, Phillips says it may be time to investigate.

Culprits like low iron levels, poor nutrition with a lack of protein, thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, over-styling, and high stress levels all can contribute to excessive hair loss. If you find that your hair has been falling out at an alarming rate, Phillips says to immediately try to lower your stress levels and fix your diet. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to meet with your physician. “Any improvements will need a minimum of 16 to 20 weeks to reflect the improvement of hair quality,” Phillips says.

In other words, be patient. Nutrition, fiber, heat-styling management, exercise, and stress relief are all healthy hair allies, says Phillips. She suggests using repairing products, like Philip Kingsley’s Exfoliating Scalp Mask ($14) and Elasticizer ($98), which will help boost healthy hair regrowth and condition the hair to restore elasticity. Don’t forget about supplements, too—Phillips suggests PK4Hair ($46), a soy-based protein supplement that “offers nutritional support in conjunction with a balanced diet.”

The Best Products to Prevent Hair Loss

Shop more picks for healthy hair saviors below.

Hair Regrowth Treatment with Minoxidil Easy Precision Sprayer 2 oz
Keranique Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women - 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution $25
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Minoxidil is a common active ingredient in hair growth products for women. Keranique’s treatment features a precision sprayer for easy application.

Cake Restorative Scalp Tonic
Reverie Cake Restorative Scalp Tonic $72
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For an all-natural hair growth treatment, Reverie’s Cake may be more your speed. This leave-in serum restores and regenerates hair follicles.

Phytospecific Phytogrowth Spray
Phytospecific Phytogrowth Spray $54
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Phytospecific Phytogrowth Spray is formulated especially for textured hair and features a spray nozzle to target specific areas.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Leave-In Root Treatment
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Leave-In Root Treatment $38
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Use this leave-in treatment daily to reap its full effects. It thickens hair using a Red Clover Growth Complex that promotes blood circulation.

Full Potential Hair Preserving Booster Spray 4.2 oz/ 125 mL
Bumble and Bumble Full Potential Hair Preserving Booster Spray $60
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Thin, broken hair is restored with this “liquid bandage” booster spray by Bumble and Bumble.

The Nue Co. Milk Protein + Gut Food
The Nue Co. Milk Protein + Gut Food $50
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Healthy hair growth starts from the inside out. The Nue’s Milk Protein delivers essential amino acids that promote hair recovery and growth.

Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment 1 oz/ 30 mL
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment $32
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Improve scalp health with the aid of charcoal, which soaks up blockage from the scalp. Tea tree oil contains natural antiseptic qualities and soothes irritation.

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