Hair loss, a concern that affects millions globally, often leaves individuals feeling self-conscious and anxious. While genetics and aging are common culprits, an often overlooked factor is chronic stress. The constant hustle and bustle of modern life can escalate our stress levels, disrupting the natural hair growth cycle and leading to thinning hair or even alopecia.

While conventional treatments often involve medications and topical solutions, emerging research suggests a potent link between the mind and body’s health. This link points to the potential of mindfulness, a mental state of active, open attention on the present, in combating stress-induced hair loss.

Understanding Stress-Induced Hair Loss

Our hair follows a precise growth cycle, including the anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting) phase. Severe or chronic stress can disturb this cycle, pushing more hairs into the telogen phase prematurely. This condition is known as telogen effluvium, leading to noticeable hair loss.

Moreover, stress can worsen conditions like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that attacks hair follicles, and trichotillomania, a psychological condition where individuals feel compelled to pull out their hair. Clearly, stress management plays an integral role not just in our overall wellbeing but specifically in maintaining a healthy mane.

The Power Of Mindfulness

Mindfulness, a practice rooted in ancient meditation, has found its place in contemporary psychology. It involves focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. A growing body of research has demonstrated the positive impact of mindfulness on stress reduction, making it a potential tool for managing stress-induced hair loss.

Mindfulness Techniques For Stress Management

Several mindfulness techniques can help reduce stress levels and potentially improve hair health. Each technique serves as a tool to bring your mind back to the present, away from the worries of the past or the uncertainties of the future.

1. Mindful Breathing

At the heart of mindfulness is mindful breathing. This technique involves focusing on your breath, observing each inhalation and exhalation without judgment. When your mind wanders, as it inevitably will, gently guide it back to your breath. Concentrating on each breath helps create a sense of calm and presence, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity.

2. Body Scan Meditation

Body scan meditation is a powerful mindfulness exercise that fosters a deeper mind-body connection. It involves mentally scanning your body from head to toe, noting any sensations, tensions, or discomfort. This heightened awareness not only helps to identify areas of physical stress but also promotes relaxation and stress relief.

3. Mindful Eating

In an age of constant distractions, we often eat in a hurry, not fully appreciating the food we consume. Mindful eating involves savoring each bite, paying attention to the food’s texture, taste, and aroma. This mindful practice encourages a healthier relationship with food, crucial for hair health since nutrition plays a significant role in hair growth and quality.

4. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is a structured program that marries mindfulness meditation and yoga. Developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, this program has undergone extensive study and shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. This eight-week program can provide a structured approach to cultivating mindfulness and mitigating stress-related hair loss.

5. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation, also known as Metta meditation, involves focusing on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness, and warmth towards oneself and others. This practice can

help alleviate personal stress and anxiety, as it cultivates a sense of compassion, understanding, and interconnectedness with those around us.

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Your Routine

Establishing a mindfulness practice might seem challenging, especially if you’re new to the concept. However, it’s more accessible than you might think. Start with short sessions of 5 to 10 minutes per day, gradually increasing the duration as you become more at ease with the practice.

Over time, mindfulness can become a natural part of your life, much like brushing your teeth. You may find yourself engaging in mini-mindfulness sessions throughout the day, taking moments to focus on your breath or notice the sensations in your body.

In addition to mindfulness, consider integrating other healthy habits into your lifestyle, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. These habits complement mindfulness practice, collectively working to reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being.

If you ever feel overwhelmed by stress or notice significant hair loss, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Remember, hair loss due to stress is usually temporary, and as stress levels decrease, your hair growth cycle should return to normal. If you’re interested in understanding the timeline for hair regrowth, click here to learn more about how long it takes for hair to grow back.

Conclusion: Mindfulness As A Tool For Hair Health

In conclusion, stress-induced hair loss might seem inescapable in our fast-paced world, but there’s a solution within our grasp: mindfulness. With its proven stress-reducing benefits, mindfulness could be a natural, non-invasive, and effective technique for managing hair loss.

Adopting mindfulness techniques not only promises potential improvements in hair health but also contributes to overall physical and mental wellbeing. Embrace mindfulness as a way of life – a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and tranquility that can help you manage stress and potentially restore not just the health of your hair but your holistic wellness.

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take that first step towards mindfulness today and start reaping the benefits for your hair and your overall health.

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When the temperatures drop, my skin tends to get super dry and a little more sensitive than usual, so I like to amp up my beauty routine with some ultra-hydrating skincare products. Here are six products made by women of color-owned brands that I’ve been reaching for nonstop, in case you need a little extra boost in your routine, too.   

First up is the Matcha Face Moisturizer created by Priscilla Tsai, founder of the brand Cocokind. This moisturizer is made with a combination of antioxidant-rich, organic matcha powder and green tea extract that’s specifically formulated for dry or mature skin. It’s a great pick-me-up when you need an extra dose of hydration. This unique formula blends in nicely and leaves skin feeling soft yet matte. Because of its green color, it also helps to balance the appearance of any redness or blotchiness. You can use this moisturizer on its own, or for an extra boost of hydration, I recommend layering it with a face oil.  

Speaking of oil, my go-to has been Ode to Self De Palma Hydrating + Clarifying Oil made by Nashville’s very own Kimberlee Alexandria. I have been using this nonstop since I first bought it. It’s very nourishing and smells beautiful. It’s made with a blend of oils like jojoba, squalane, black currant, evening primrose, and palmarosa that absorb quickly, leaving skin super hydrated and soft. Ingredients like sea buckthorn and rosehip work together to even out skin tone. All Ode to Self products are made to help simplify your beauty routine while soothing dry skin and combating hyperpigmentation. They’re also intentionally formulated with the needs of Black women in mind. 

In the winter time, I also like to use an oil on my body, so I’ve incorporated the Pink Moon Midnight Melody Body and Hair Oil by Lin Chen into my routine. This oil is made with sunflower seed, apricot kernel, and meadowfoam and scented with organic essential oils like tuberose and ylang-ylang. It’ll leave you smelling like a bouquet of flowers. I love a versatile multi-use product, and this oil can also be used as a bath oil or subtle perfume. Make sure to check out Pink Moon’s online store because not only does Chen make incredible beauty products, she also carries an entire collection of women-owned brands on a mission to change the beauty and wellness industry. 

Another multi-use product that I’ve been loving lately is the Honest Beauty Magic Balm. It’s unscented and made with a hydrating blend of olive, argan, and coconut oils as well as shea butter, so it’s very nourishing yet never greasy. You can use this stuff pretty much anywhere. I like to use it to soften dry lips and hydrate my cuticles, but you can use it to moisturize rough elbows or even apply it as a glossy highlight on cheeks or brow bones.

When I want to hydrate my lips and add a touch of color, I reach for the Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Sheer Colour Balm in the shade Blow Up, which is a pretty, everyday peachy nude color that would look great on a variety of skin tones. This lip product glides on like a balm yet looks like a gloss. It’s very hydrating without being sticky. Pat McGrath’s line is technically not a clean beauty brand, however, most of the ingredients in this balm rate a three or under according to the EWG, so I’m comfortable using it. Plus, the packaging brings me so much joy. How cute is that gold lip detailing? I have the mini size but I know I’ll be upgrading to the full size once I finish this one. 

Last but not least, another go-to is the Lotus Moon Organic Honey Masque. Honey is a powerful natural humectant, according to the brand, meaning that it attracts and maintains moisture. It’s a great ingredient to nourish sensitive, irritated, or dry skin. This mask is gel-like so it never fully dries down. I leave it on for 20-30 minutes and when I wash it off, my skin feels soft, hydrated, and ready for the day.

Trying to choose low-waste brands? Check out my suggestions for my favorite 7 low-waste beauty brands!

What products have you been loving lately, friends? Feel free to share them in the comments below. I know I’ve added a few to my must-try list thanks to Elsie’s last skincare post. xo, Amanda

Credits // Author and Photography: Amanda Lopez. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

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