When your hair is shedding or falling out enough to cause alarm, most people search high and low to find the cause. When a cure or relief doesn’t come quickly, it can be common to grasp at straws for something, anything, to make it easier to cope. One common suggestion for making things better is changing your hair’s length. I’m often asked questions like “does having long hair make it fall out more?;” or “if I’m shedding, will it help to cut my hair shorter?” I’ll answer these questions in the following article.
Is The Weight Of Long Hair A Factor In Making It Shed Or Fall Out More?: The theory behind cutting long hair that is shedding is that the weight of the hair makes it more apt to fall out. I used to have the same theory and I did cut my hair from a length to down my back to a short, choppy cut. For a while, I did notice some relief in the amounts of hair that I saw in my drain and on my floor and clothing. However, I now firmly believe that the reason for this is that short hairs easily go down the drain, don’t wrap around the vacuum bar, and don’t stick up on your clothes. In short, you just don’t notice them as much.
Also, when you look at say 5 long hairs in a pile and 5 short hairs in a pile, it’s likely you will think that the fallen long hairs represent 10 times more hair. So, seeing long, spent hair in a pile can look awful scary and troublesome, even if it’s the same amount that you would lose if you had short hair.
Think about this for a second. When your hair is healthy and you are shedding normal levels, does brushing your hair cause more to fall out? Sure, a few more hairs come out during this process. But this heavy manipulation is nothing to worry about. If you had put your long hair into a ponytail when it was healthy, would you have given it a second thought? No, because it’s not even on your radar then. It’s only when we start noticing the excess loss that we begin to be very aware of how many are coming out and this is due to issues that are causing the shedding, not with the length of you hair.
In my own case, once I came up with this theory, I started being more vigilant with collecting hairs after combing and taking inventory on my clothes. And guess what? I was shedding just as much with the shorter do. However, the length just made it much less noticeable.
The One Other Variable: I believe that there may be one other variable at play here. Sometimes, folks with long hair do not need to wash it as much. The longer strands do not get coated with natural oils nearly as quickly so while you may need to wash daily with a short cut, you can typically go for several days if your cut is longer. I actually know some in the long hair community forums who wash their hair only once a week or so or who wash with conditioner only.
This practice can make for healthy hair for someone who has no shedding issues. But if you are having hair loss, this practice can make it worse. Why? You’re allowing sebum, DHT, and androgens to accumulate on your scalp. Your risking hair follicle clogging followed by shedding. And you’re allowing inflammation to build. I understand not wanting to over shampoo your hair, but you can use very gentle products that shouldn’t make the shedding worse.
Does Cutting Your Hair Shorter Help When You Are Shedding?: It can for some. Mentally, it can feel good not to see long hairs everywhere. But, I doubt it’s going to lessen or eliminate your shed in the long run. And, you can feel very bare without the camouflage of longer hair. But, long strands can get stringy and appear very skimpy. I often advise folks to go for a blunt bob rather than a layered cut. This will give you more volume but isn’t so short that it looks like you have nothing there or you can see through to your scalp.
What is going to really help you both in terms of coping and in terms of your appearance is to determine why you have having excess shedding or hair loss and to fix it. Healthy hair deeply embedded into your scalp doesn’t fall out unless you pull it (hard) or unless it’s in the resting or shedding phase of it’s life. And that goes for hair that is either short or long. The key is to find out why it keeps going prematurely into the resting phase.