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Try This Stylist’s Trick for Making Thinning Hair Appear Fuller

Sparse edges or scalp show-through at the crown needn’t get you down.

With all but necessary businesses closed in many communities during the coronavirus outbreak, a lot of us who depend on regular salon visits are looking for DIY solutions and simpler routines. For the many sisters grappling with hair loss, styling just got a bit more complicated — especially if they can no longer rely on weaves.

Lubbock, Texas-based Mayvenn-certified hairstylist Qualimetra Chapman says keratin hair fibers can be a quick fix to add volume and conceal thinning hair, especially at the crown of the head. Because human hair is made up of keratin protein, the “keratin fibers mold to your hair and make the hairs you already have appear fuller and thicker through static electricity,” says Chapman. (She’s careful to note that this temporary cosmetic solution isn’t designed to promote hair growth. Read Sisters articles on how to medically treat hair loss here, support hair growth with diet here and choose a hair mask to protect against breakage here.)

Whether you’re experiencing hair loss and thinning due to aging or alopecia, keratin hair fibers can help mask it. “I like the idea of [my clients] being able to apply the product themselves because it restores their confidence and almost makes them forget they have hair loss,” says Chapman. “Women don’t always want to wear extra hair, so being able to create a fuller, thicker appearance without weaving is a plus.” Two widely available brands are Nanogen Keratin Hair Fibres or Luxe Hair Thickening Fibers.

If you’ve never heard of or used keratin hair fibers before, or if the infomercials you’ve seen made you think that this is a product just for balding white men, know that they work for all textures. They come in a variety of shades, from blond and auburn to dark brown and gray, allowing you to find a natural-looking match. You can also mix colors, which is especially helpful if you have highlights.

Applying the product to the roots of your hair is simple once you’ve read the directions or watched a video demo. Chapman compares the process to sprinkling salt. The results will be pretty forgiving if you’re a bit heavy-handed, but for a natural look, less is more, she says. Start with a thin layer on pre-styled hair and build as necessary. “My front hairline started to thin out due to my past wig wearing. Not just because I wore wigs but because I always used the front comb to secure my wigs down,” one Toppix reviewer wrote. “There was no mess at all. The product stayed in place.”

If you’re interested in trying the fibers, here are some pro tips:

· Keratin fibers only work when applied to completely dry hair. Some people prefer to lock in the fibers with hairspray, but this extra step isn’t required since the fibers adhere nicely to your own hair, according to Chapman.

· If styling products and tools, including gels, serums and curling irons, are part of your regular routine, use them prior to applying the fibers.

· Keratin hair fibers can withstand a little sweat and won’t flake off on your clothes or pillows. However, they are meant for temporary use, meaning the product washes out with shampoo, so you’ll need to reapply it.

· If you scratch your head, the fibers can get under your fingernails but can easily be washed off using soap and water.

· Discontinue its use and wash out the product if you notice itching, irritation or redness.

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