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Survey says your hair is falling out, but is it all a marketing ploy?

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

Luscious celeb locks lead real women to believe their hair is thinning

One-third of women under 30 surveyed said they think their hair is thinning. But is there really an epidemic of lost locks in young women or is this just marketing hype?

The survey, which questioned 2,000 Brits, was sponsored by L'Oreal to promote their new Serioxyl haircare line for — you guessed it — women with thinning hair. So it's not much of a surprise that they came to the conclusions they did. But that doesn't mean the results still aren't interesting. For instance, one in four women said they'd rather be celibate than bald. Wait, what? I mean, you can always wear a wig but no sex ever again? Yikes.

Assuming that women aren't losing hair at a faster rate than our ancestors, why are women so likely now to think their hair is thinning? I blame Ariana Grande. The tween starlet is known for two things — her pop songs and her crazy hair extensions. In fact, she's worn so many extensions for so long that she had to issue this disclaimer after people kept criticizing her signature Barbie-esque waterfall ponytail:

"My real hair is back to brown and I wear extensions, but I wear it in a pony tail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down. So as annoying as it is for y'all to have to look at the same hair style all the time, it's all that works for now [...] And trust me, it's even more difficult for me to have to wait forever for my natural hair to grow back and to have to wear more fake hair than every drag queen on earth combined."

See, I think we may actually not know what real hair looks like anymore. Thanks to the ubiquity of wigs, weaves, extensions and, of course, Photoshop there's a real misunderstanding about how healthy hair should look and move. We see bountiful (enhanced) manes on the red carpet, in glossy photos, on TV and even in real life as more and more girls clip, glue, sew and clamp extra hair onto their scalps.

Having thinner strands of hair and fewer of them is simply a part of the aging process, like wrinkles and sagging skin. By age 70 the vast majority of us will have significantly less hair. But unlike wrinkles and aging skin, up until now hair loss hasn't gotten as much attention as something women need to fix to not look like old hags. What used to be a little-known market, hair-regrowth and thickening lines are now top sellers. Is this simply a matter of creating the need to fill it?

Women explained their hair loss by saying it was due to stress from work, dieting, shock or trauma, and damage from hair extensions/weaves. Interestingly we largely have control over three out of those four things — and none of them can be fixed by changing your shampoo.

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