Have you noticed more bad hair days around your period? A lot of folks report struggling with oily, flat and stringy hair around the time of their period.
Why does my hair change throughout my cycle?
Just like skin, your hair changes in response to changing hormone levels in your body. Life changes like where you are in your monthly cycle, puberty, pregnancy, menopause and other things like the use of hormonal contraceptives change the levels of sex hormones in your body.
This can mean you have more or less hair at certain times and time periods of your life. It also means that your hair is extra oily or shiny at other times in your life and across your menstrual cycle.
What does my hair do across my cycle?
Your hair during your period
The beginning of your menstrual cycle - your period, brings with it a whole lot of hormone changes, including:
Estrogen levels are now at an all-time low and low estrogen can mean hair that is harder to manage and less shiny. Time to nurture your hair with some moisture-rich conditioner.
During your period you lose a lot of blood. This is meant to happen, and it can mean that iron levels drop (especially if you experience heavy periods). Low iron levels sometimes means dropping a few extra hairs around the place. Be gentle on your hair this week.
Progesterone and Testosterone
During your period, you have higher levels of the sex hormones progesterone and testosterone. Together they can increase the amount of oil your skin is producing, and might lead to an oily scalp and limp hair. Your hair might benefit from an extra clean or grab some products for oily hair to use during period week.
With this being said, now is NOT the best time for your monthly wax as high levels of prostaglandins will make your skin sensitive and more reactive to pain. Also, it’s best to go easy with the hair brush.
Your hair the week after your period
After your period ends, hormone levels start to rise and your body enters the last half of the follicular phase, when your body is preparing a follicle (fluid-filled sac containing an egg).
Estrogen levels are on the rise so get ready for the return of your luscious, shiny locks! Time to enjoy more good hair days.
Progesterone levels are low. This is good news if you’ve been dealing with an oily scalp! If you have dry hair, you might need some extra moisture at the moment.
Your hair during ovulation
You’re at the mid-point of your cycle and your body is about to ovulate (release an egg). This is a hormonal sweet-spot for clear, glowing skin and healthy, lustrous locks.
Estrogen levels are now at their highest point and your body is making something called luteinizing hormone (LH). LH and estrogen give your hair a shine and a smoothness.
Your hair after ovulation (luteal phase)
If you have been enjoying easy-care, great hair days, this could be about to change. Now you’re into your luteal phase and heading towards your next period. Your hormone levels are rapidly changing.
Estrogen levels are dropping now so you might see less shine and softness in your hair.
To get your body ready for possible pregnancy, progesterone levels are rising sharply and with them comes increased oil in your skin (and hair). If you get oily hair and breakouts, try to do an extra wash this week, consider using less conditioner, or keep some dry shampoo on hand.
Not sure what your hair’s up to throughout your cycle?
Download the YourCycle app for personalised information on everything to do with your cycle. It’s completely free and always will be.