How Should I Style My Hair If I Have Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  One of the biggest dilemmas that many of us have when struggling with telogen effluvium is how to style and cut our hair.  It is very tempting to just slap your hair in a pony tail all of the time, but then you worry about the extra tugging and pulling causing more hair loss.  Many of us notice that when we don’t keep our shedding hair trimmed, it starts to look stringy pretty quickly.  The all one length, long cut that looked so great when we were not shedding hair can look just awful when you have telogen effluvium.  That’s because the changes in hair texture can mean that your hair doesn’t lay down correctly and the loss in volume can mean that long hair looks limp.

Many of us are tempted to cut our hair off and rock a very short style.  This DOES work for some folks, but you have to be careful if your hair is fine instead of coarse.  In some cases, a layered, short cut will show scalp if the hair does not have enough width to cover it.  You have to evaluate if your hair is coarse enough to cover all of your scalp when cut.  Generally speaking, a shorter layered style will work better for folks with coarse hair or kinky / curly / wavy hair than for folks with fine / straight hair.

For those with fine hair, a bob or blunt cut can work very well.  The bluntness of the ends can make it appear that you have more hair.  Another option is putting some wave or curl in your hair to add volume.  (Tell your stylist that you’re having hair loss if you are getting a perm so that she can be careful not to get as close to your roots and she can try to be as gentle as possible.)

Cheryl Burke’s style in old episodes of “Dancing With The Stars” (the side-swept bang blending into a blunt cut on one side) could help to camouflage a lack of volume, but only if your hair texture lays straight naturally.  You don’t want to choose a style that goes against your texture so that you are required to do a lot of blow drying, curling, or straightening.  You just don’t want to manipulate your hair by styling any more than you have to.

I always regretted it when I cut my hair too short to wear a pony tail.  I never wore my hair up every day when I was shedding because I didn’t want any traction problems.  But there were days when I just did not want to see shedding hair all over my clothes and it was a relief to be able to get my hair up so I just didn’t have to deal with it.  I also found that allowing my hair to dry in an upside down ponytail meant that I had volume when I took it down so that I would not have to manipulate it in order to get volume.

In short, the best style for telogen effluvium works with your hair’s texture and how your hair naturally lays.  You want a style that makes the hair look well kept without needing to manipulate it too much.  And you want a style that can camouflage the loss.  In my case, this was a bob that just brushed my shoulders and worked with my fine, wavy hair.  I could still put it in a ponytail when I wanted to.  And I didn’t need to style it that much in order for it to look okay.

Your best style may be different, but I’ve found it best to keep your hair trimmed when it’s shedding to avoid the stringy look.  If it would be helpful to read some tips for dealing with telogen effluvium,  feel free to check out my blog at

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