Woman brushing her hair with a comb.

The root of hair loss has always been in plain sight – it’s even written in this sentence! Did you know that your hair roots may be the primary reason your mane can’t seem to grow longer? Diet, hair products, and vigorous styling can affect their health, resulting in brittle and thinning locks. Learn more about what lies beneath your scalp and how to give your hair the best environment for growth.

What Are Hair Roots?

If you have a green thumb, you know that the stronger the roots, the healthier the plant. The same goes for hair.

Each strand has a shaft – the visible part of your hair – and a root, where the strand extends deeper into the skin. Hair roots are made of protein cells and are surrounded by the , which anchors the hair to the skin with connective tissue. While the follicle is attached to a tiny muscle that makes the hair stand up and sebaceous glands that nourish the strand with oil, the hair root goes deeper into the dermis

Have you ever pulled a strand of hair with a white lump sticking at the end? That’s the hair bulb. It goes deep within the dermis and holds the hair papilla, which supplies hair roots with blood. Here, cells form to create new strands of hair.

Factors That Damage Hair Roots

Several factors contribute to the weakening of hair roots. These include:

  • Stress. Your fight or flight response increases cortisol levels in the bloodstream and reduces essential to hair growth. Additionally, physical stress and strain from tight hairstyles (looking at you, ) tug at your hair roots and weaken them.
  • Strong chemicals in hair products. Over-processing your hair can cause scalp irritation and weaken hair roots. Hair product buildup can also clog the follicles, obstructing hair growth.
  • Hormonal problems. Androgens produce healthy hair follicles in which hair roots grow. During pregnancy and the menstrual cycle, androgen levels may fluctuate, thinning the hair from the roots.
  • Free radicals. UV radiation and pollutants can damage hair strands and the scalp. A reports that oxidative stress causes hair to fall out during the growth phase of the hair cycle, a condition known as .
  • Unhealthy diet. Your hair roots need adequate proteins, vitamins, and minerals. If your diet lacks these nutrients, your hair can gradually become weak. Your nails can turn thin and rigid, too.

How to Strengthen Hair Roots

Unless you have an underlying condition, it shouldn’t take much effort to make your strands strong from the roots. If you’ve been struggling with that’s prone to falling out, these tips can help.

Massage the scalp.

A daily is a simple – and free! – way to achieve your hair goals. shows that it is effective at increasing hair thickness, too. Working your fingers on your scalp stimulates blood flow into the hair roots, sending more nutrients and oxygen to your hair bulbs, strengthening your hair in time.

You can massage your scalp any time, even in the shower. Make circular motions with your fingertips or massage brush without pulling or rubbing your hair. If you’re feeling fancy, try slugging your hair with coconut oil for extra nourishment.

Go easy on your hair.

Just like you, your hair needs the occasional breather. Chemicals in and extreme heat from your styling tools exert stress on the shaft and ultimately damage the hair roots. Be vigilant with aftercare when experimenting with your locks, whether that's trying out new hairstyles or rocking the .

Wash your hair with Dove Botanical Silicone Free Shampoo for Damaged Hair Restore no more than three times a week to bring back the natural shine and softness of your hair. The formula is paraben-free and boosted with pink Moroccan rose extract, suitable for salon-treated hair. Avoid over-washing your locks to prevent further brittleness.

Right after shampooing, fortify the hair cuticle to curb breakage with Dove Botanical Hair Conditioner for Damaged Hair Restore. It helps detangle and preserve your hair color. Plus, it makes it easier to style your hair any way you want.

Take vitamins.

Take care of your hair . Eat foods rich in , such as fish, avocado, eggs, and beans, to replenish weakened hair roots and follicles. If you’re not the type (or don’t have the time) to do meal planning, omega-3 supplements may also help. Vitamin B12 and iron are great additions since they increase the production of red blood cells. You can also take hair-specific supplements like biotin.

Do hair detox.

Do you have an oily scalp but dry ends? Are you alarmed by the number of strands you see on the floor? These are tell-tale signs that your tresses require detoxification. Residue from styling products can suffocate your scalp, depriving your hair of room and resources to grow. 

Hair detoxing is as easy as shampooing – no kidding! You can use TRESemmé Detox & Nourish Shampoo to cleanse your scalp from product buildup and pollutants. This shampoo contains ginger extract and green tea, delivering antioxidant benefits and nutrients to your scalp. It’s also free of parabens and dyes that can weaken hair. Do this weekly if you have oily hair.

Your hair roots may seem fussy and needy, but all they really want is some TLC. Give them some much-needed pampering with these tips. And please, don’t put your hair in a ponytail 24/7!