After months of hair loss product science research, having read literally dozens of research papers – I have changed my hair routine.

This post explains what I am now using – and why.

Many people have asked me what I am now doing that I wasn’t doing before I investigated the most popular hair loss products. I am going to share with you my new routine.

And I have included ‘before’ pictures so we can check back in 3 months time to see the changes.

Key Takeaways

If there is one thing I have learned from the research there is no one product or method if you are choosing not to take medication.

Reducing my hair loss and encouraging regrowth requires a multi strategy approach. I currently take MHT, have returned favourable blood test results for thyroid, nutrients and blood sugar.

I have chosen my products based on the scientific research results and my skin type (which is dry, irritable). My tools for the next 12 weeks are Nanoxidil, microneedling, B multivitamin, SLS free shampoo and conditioner, Ashwagandha.

I look forward to reporting back my results in 3 months time!

Jump to shop the products in my toolkit HERE.

Understanding Menopause Hair Loss

Menopause hair loss is most often related to androgenic alopecia.

Androgenic alopecia – also known as female pattern hair loss – is the most common cause of hair loss in women during menopause. It a gradual thinning of hair on the scalp due to a genetic predisposition and the loss of estrogen.

Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and vitality of hair follicles.

As estrogen declines, hair follicles become more susceptible to the effects of androgens. Androgens are male hormones present in both men and women. They can shrink hair follicles, leading to thinner and shorter hair strands, resulting in hair loss.

Menopause can also trigger an increase in the production of another androgen hormone – dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT comes from testosterone and can contribute to hair loss by binding to the hair follicles causing them to shrink. This process leads to the thinning of the hair shafts, and causes them to fall out.

The combination of decreased estrogen and increased DHT during menopause creates a perfect storm for hair loss.

Causes of hair loss other than menopause

While menopause is a significant contributor to female hair loss, there can be other causes. These include: thyroid conditions, stress, nutritional deficiencies (iron), certain medical conditions and medication.

You need to identify the underlying cause before starting a new hair routine.

Make sure you see your healthcare practitioner to rule out any underlying conditions.

If you have ruled out any other conditions or nutrient deficiencies then the conclusion to draw is – androgenic alopecia.

In other words – the drop in estrogen is most likely the cause of hair loss.

Does hormone therapy help hair loss?

Many women report that starting hormone therapy leads to a decrease in their hair loss. Which makes perfect sense. Adding estrogen back in will slow down hair loss for those with menopause induced androgenic alopecia.

Hormone therapy won’t regrow your hair – but it will slow down your hair loss. Which is great news if you are taking it, rest assured it should slow down your shedding.

But not all women can take (or want to take) hormone therapy. And that is their choice, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Regardless of whether you are taking hormones or not, there are tools to help regrow your hair and slow down hair loss.

Flo Hive has written many science-based product reviews and found a number of things you can add to your toolkit.

Our reviews of science based strategies include – Nanoxidil Rogaine Rosemary oil microneedling red light therapy.

I have chosen five specific things to trial over the next 3 months. I will be reporting back to you with the results.

What I Am Using And Why

I think the why I am using them is probably a better place to start. I don’t want to take the drugs.

There, I said it.

And I don’t want to take them because for me – the side effects are off-putting. The medications on offer to me can cause headaches, lower blood pressure and increase urine output.

I already suffer from headaches (I have my whole life but even more so now that I am peri).

I have dizziness from peri so I don’t want to mess with my blood pressure.

Plus the increased urine output does not appeal either! I feel like to go to the toilet more now than ever before – also as a result of being peri.

And look – I may well end up trying the drugs in the future. It sure would be easier. But for now I just don’t to go there and would rather try other methods.

And just to be clear, I am on hormone therapy (estrogen and progresterone). I have been to the doctor and had my thyroid, zinc, iron, vitamin D, blood sugar all checked. All within range and no underlying conditions found. Iron was on the low side – but we will get to that in a minute.

Therefore the likely cause of MY hair loss, is going to be – androgenic alopecia.

So to the products I am now using. I am doing more than one thing. Hair loss and hair regrowth require a multi pronged plan of attack. There is not one thing (unless taking medication) to grow hair. It is several things.

Like I said, if I could take the drugs right now – I would. It would be easier and less effort to take a pill.

We recommend products and services based on their research backing, as determined by a review of clinical studies. We receive compensation when readers purchase the products or services we recommend.

The 5 things in my toolkit are –

1. Nanoxidil – twice a day, scalp spray

2. Microneedling – weekly

3. B multivitamin – daily

4. SLS free shampoo – 2-3 times a week

5. Ashwagandha – daily

Why I chose Nanoxidil

I was tossing up between Nanoxidil and Rogaine for a while. Ultimately I chose Nanoxidil over Rogaine because of three reasons.

One – it is less likely to irritate the scalp. I have been prone to dry skin and itchiness my whole life. Made worse for peri. I am not going to risk an itchy head to regrow my hair!

Two – it blocks DHT. And I believe DHT is my issue, it is most likely causing my hair loss. Unlike Rogaine, which works by increasing blood supply to the scalp, Nanoxidil blocks DHT directly on the scalp.

Three – the studies show results in women FAST. In as little as three months. So if it is going to work I will know in just a few months. Which for hair loss is actually a very quick timeframe.

Rogaine is a longer timeframe, around eight months to see results.

Why I chose Microneedling

Of the many hair loss research papers I have read – most were done on men. However, microneedling has been well studied in women. And studied in women our vintage!

Also, the results were very impressive. In all the studies (both men and women) participants had a response to microneedling. They all had new growth.

I feel like microneedling is the unsung hero of hair regrowth and surprised not more people are talking about it.

Why I chose a B multivitamin

Stress. I am stressed. Are you stressed? I am finding life stressful in general at the moment, and even if it were not – perimenopause on its own is stressful.

Physical changes, mental changes, sleep changes, appetite changes, hot flushes, anxiety. Need I go on?

A good quality multi B vitamin is an essential part of any perimenopause toolkit to support your nervous system during this time of great change.

Why I chose SLS free shampoo

Shampoo with SLS is not going to damage your hair. And it does not cause hair loss.

But it does give a deep cleaner, all that foaming action and the great lather you get strips the hair of oils. You don’t need to wash your hair as often with SLS shampoo.

But I want to wash my hair more often. I am only washing about once a week at the moment. And I think this lack of washing is actually detrimental to my scalp environment.

I want to wash 2 or even 3 times a week, so have chosen SLS free for a gentle clean rather than a weekly oil stripping wash.

Why I chose Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an amazing herb and I have taken it many times over the years. I have joked that my middle name should be Withania (that’s the latin name for it).

From my research it appears to be safe to take with hormone therapy (which I am) so I am confident in taking this herb alongside my estrogen and progesterone.

However, Ashwagandha is not recommended for – pregnancy, breastfeeding, and some medications for thyroid conditions, diabetes and blood pressure.

Ashwagandha works by reducing stress. It is classed as an ‘adaptogen’ and ‘anxiolytic’. Which means it helps you adapt to stress, and reduces anxiety.

It can improve sleep quality, cognition and works via reducing cortisol.

Numerous studies have been done for this herb. It’s been studied in the elderly, students, athletes, the list goes on.

In a recent study of perimenopause it was shown to reduce hot flashes, improve sleep quality, mental alertness and improve energy levels.

The link between stress and hair loss cannot be overlooked, and I believe should not go untreated.

Perimenopause is stressful, menopause is stressful. Life is stressful. Hair loss is stressful! I believe I need to support my nervous system and my stress response by using Ashwagandha daily.

My Step by Step Routine

1. Nanoxidil – twice daily

DS Laboratories Spectral.DNC-N Hair Growth Serum - Hair Thickening Products for Women & Men, Hair Regrowth Serum, Hair Growth Products for Hair Loss & Thinning Hair, Hair Serum for Hair Growth

I apply the spray to my scalp twice a day. This formula is water based so I am finding it is not leaving any residue.

My hair is very fine and limp at the moment, I was worried the spray would weigh down my hair but it does not.

I simply let it dry naturally then style my hair as I would normally.

We recommend products and services based on their research backing, as determined by a review of clinical studies. We receive compensation when readers purchase the products or services we recommend.

2. Microneedling – weekly

Koi Beauty Adjustable Microneedling Derma Stamp, Professional Microneedle Pen, Micro Needling Derma Roller Pen - Titanium Dermastamp

For this I have chosen the Koi stamp. It is literally a stamp. I can press into my scalp section by section.

I chose the stamp over the derma roller because I felt it would be easier to do with my long hair. I think the roller would be better for very short hair.

It is easy to do. It doesn’t hurt. I have set the needles to 0.5mm length. The Koi stamp is adjustable up to 3mm. The research studies were done using needles between 0.5 and 1.5mm in length.

Your average facial derma roller is only 0.25mm – so it is not long enough.

I start at the front of my face, where my hair meets my face – my hairline. I do from my ears up and over in a U shape. All the way across the hairline down the other side to my opposite ear.

Then I do my partline working front to back. Making sure I move the stamp across an inch at a time in rows.

The whole thing takes about five minutes.

3. B multivitamin – daily

Thorne Research - Stress B-Complex - Vitamin B Complex for Stress Support - 60 Capsules

I do have a few tips for when to take your B vitamins. Best taken with food. And AWAY from caffeine. B vitamins are water soluble, so if you take in close proximity to coffee you will just pee them out pretty quickly.

I take mine with my morning snack. But no later than 1PM. I have found they can be quite stimulating and if I take them too late in the day, they keep me awake. No thanks!

The B vitamin I chose has a touch of iron in it as well. My iron was 53, a little on the low side but still within range.

The jury is still out on whether your iron should be at a particular level for hair growth.

Some research says it does have an impact, others say it does not.

Regardless, I am aiming to get my iron up to around 70-80. To do this the supplement I have chosen will help but I will ensure I get iron rich foods daily.

4. SLS free shampoo – 2-3 times a weeks

Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Natural Volumising Shampoo for Fine Hair 354ml (packaging may vary)

Using the shampoo has been interesting! I am so used to getting such a big lather going with lots of suds and bubbles. My new SLS free shampoo feels like I have to manually work it into my scalp more. But I like the results.

My hair feels clean but not stripped of oil. It doesn’t feel squeaky clean – which is what I wanted. I wanted to get away from my hair being stripped of all my natural hair oils.

5. Ashwagandha – daily

Futurebiotics Ashwagandha Capsules Extra Strength 3000mg - Stress Relief Formula, Natural Mood Support, Stress, Focus, and Energy Support Supplement, 360 Capsules 1

This herb I take every day at around lunchtime. However it does not matter what time of day you take it, it is more important to take is on a regular basis.

Most brands I researched were around 150mg per tablet. So you would want to be taking 2 per day.

It has only been a few days taking the herb. It was the last to arrive from Amazon. I have noticed I feel less jumpy, less jittery. Less prone to reacting to loud noises/ being startled.

But no change to hot flushes just yet – could be too soon to report on this as has only been a few days.

What I am NOT taking for hair loss and why

I am not taking collagen or Biotin for hair loss. I am taking collagen, but for other reasons!

Let me explain.

There have been absolutely no studies done to support the use of collagen in re-growing hair lost to androgenic alopecia. However there are numerous studies done that show improved skin hydration and elasticity.

Yes please! Definitely need that!

And there was one study that really blew me away. It showed an improvement in bone matrix in post-menopausal women. They scanned their bones before the study and again after a year of taking collagen. They were 5% more dense after a year on collagen.

Yes – I want stronger bones!

As for Biotin, there is no evidence to support its use in hair loss. The average Western diet is already high in Biotin and deficiency is extremely unlikely except for some rare genetic disorders.

Conclusion & Before Shots

Hair loss and hair regrowth require time, patience and effort. I am looking for results from my chosen tools in 3 months time – mid February 2024.

We recommend products and services based on their research backing, as determined by a review of clinical studies. We receive compensation when readers purchase the products or services we recommend.

If choosing to go the non medication route it is definitely going to be more effort, and more of a financial investment.

There is no silver bullet. My strategy is using multiple tools to stop the loss and encourage regrowth. Using a scalp serum, microneedling and supporting my nervous system with vitamins and herbs – are all a part of my holistic research based strategy:

Nanoxidil, microneedling, SLS free shampoo, B complex and Ashwagandha.

I hope this helps, and I hope it helps you too. I look forward to reporting back in 3 months time!

Date of photos: 16th November 2023

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24566563/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35377827/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489052/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34222595/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34553463/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23949208/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/1/97

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