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Why Hair Thickness Varies and How I Improved Mine During Cancer Treatment

Just like yours might have, my hair thickness has changed during my life.

I’d always had fine hair, but in my twenties, I began experiencing hair loss/excessive shedding that was a result of stress, poor health, and a hormone imbalance.

Then, in my thirties, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I soon lost all of my hair during my cancer treatment. Adding insult to injury, I was told my hair would never grow back because the follicles were too damaged. 

I’ll touch on my recovery later, but before we cover how to enhance hair thickness, it’s important to understand how we define it.


Understanding Hair Thickness

Hair thickness is defined by the width of each individual strand. You can determine yours by how it feels when you separate one individual strand of your hair between your fingers:


If it's hard to feel the strand, your hair texture is most likely fine, and if you can definitely feel the strand it's probably medium or thick.

The density of your hair is how many strands you have per square centimetre of your scalp. 


This is why you can have thick strands, but low density, and you can have fine strands but have thick hair if you have high density. 

Factors Influencing Hair Thickness

Genetics of hair thickness:
Genetics plays a huge role in our hair thickness. Our hair is preprogrammed at conception but can be influenced during our lives by our health, the medications we take, lifestyle factors like diet and stress, and natural changes due to ageing.


Shedding can happen as a result of many things. It’s natural to experience shedding/hair loss at the end of your hair growth cycle, which varies from person to person and is determined once again by genetics (amongst other things) – but can last for anywhere between 3 to 7 years.

This explains why some people can grow their hair to be very long, and other people find their hair gets to a certain point and then they can never seem to be able to get it to grow it past that length. 

This natural shedding cycle can affect your hair density and thickness. 

Hormonal changes:

At certain times in our lives, changes to our hormones can affect the thickness of our hair. 

For example, post-partum hair loss affects around 50% of new mums and is a result of estrogen levels rebalancing after they give birth, or when they stop breastfeeding.

This type of hair loss is temporary but can affect the density and overall thickness of hair. 

Health and hair thickness:

Hair needs essential vitamins and minerals to grow thick and healthy strands. 

By increasing foods in our diet and using topical hair products that contain these essential vitamins, we can help boost our overall hair health and thickness. 

  • Biotin:
      • Found in: The Robe Lengthening range.
      • Dietary sources: Eggs, nuts, and fish.
      • Benefits: Biotin supports hair growth and can prevent hair from becoming dry and brittle.
    • Hydrolysed Wheat Protein:
        • Found in: The Robe Thickening range.
        • Benefits: Protein helps strengthen hair and reduce breakage. Hydrolysed wheat protein, in particular, improves the hair's ability to retain moisture.
      • Vitamin C:
          • Sources: Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts.
          • Benefits: Supports the production of collagen which is crucial for hair strength and growth.
        • Vitamin A:
            • Sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale.
            • Benefits: Helps cells produce sebum which keeps the scalp moisturised and healthy.
          • Vitamin D:
              • Sources: Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and sunlight exposure.
              • Benefits: May help create new hair follicles and promote hair growth.

            Scalp circulation for hair thickness:

            In order for your hair follicles to receive all the essential nutrients to grow at its best, good scalp circulation is essential.  

            This is why stress can be a big contributor to hair loss and thinning – when we’re stressed, we tend to hold a lot of tension in our jaw, neck and shoulders, which can affect the circulation to our scalp and affect the thickness of each strand, and the density of  the hair. 

            The way it was explained to me a long time ago was like this:  

            When our bodies are experiencing long periods of heightened physical and emotional stress, our bodies go into the survival mode of fight/flight.

            Since our bodies want to conserve as much energy as possible to keep our hearts beating in order to fight off whatever the stressor is, the energy that goes into our hair growth gets ‘turned off’ and put into the Telogen phase. This is the dormant phase before shedding, and helps to save energy for more important bodily functions that will aid in our survival. 

            That’s why you might notice a large amount of hair loss/shedding around 3 months after a very stressful time in your life. 

            If your body stays in this heightened stress state for a long period of time, you might notice each strand starts growing out in a finer texture, and in extreme cases maybe stop growing at all.  


            Enhancing Your Hair's Thickness

            Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep might seem like the basics when it comes to enhancing your hair health, but they’re hugely important.

            But if you’re getting enough sleep and eating well you still feel as though your hair could be thicker, then one of the most powerful ways to improve your hair thickness is to improve your scalp circulation.

            Some great ways to boost circulation of the scalp are: 

            Regular scalp massage and exercise can help reduce cortisol in your body, and by using topical products on your scalp/hair that are proven to improve scalp circulation.  

            The Robe Thickening Range (including the Thickening Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner) contains ginger root extract which is proven to help boost scalp circulation and stimulate hair growth, and the hair tonic contains both Akosky Adzuki bean and green tea extract, which have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries because of their ability to strengthen the hair and increase hair density. 

            By using a product like the Tonic or Thickening range, these key ingredients go directly to the root of the hair where they're needed most. 

            How I Improved My Hair Thickness

            As I mentioned earlier, I was once told my hair would never grow back after chemotherapy. But I didn’t give up.

            I researched, developed, and then applied what’s now known as The Robe Tonic on my scalp every day. This gave my follicles and scalp the key ingredients that have been proven to boost circulation and overall hair health.  

            Fast forward just a few short months, and – slowly but surely – my hair started growing back, even during chemotherapy when most people experience hair loss. 

            And today, and I now have a full head of thick, healthy hair. My hair texture is still considered to be fine-medium texture (because of my genetics) but the density is full and thick.

            If you’re currently experiencing hair loss or thinning, there could be a multitude of reasons, and it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor to ascertain the exact reason why.

            There are many ways to help enhance and optimise your natural hair thickness, and fluctuations with texture and density are very natural.

            But your hair recovery can be supported with the right hair products and lifestyle choices to improve your overall hair health and growth, and help you to make the best of what you’ve got.

            Lauren x


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