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Why Does My Hair Fall Out When I Wash It? How To Stop It?

Confident African American with healthy hair standing outside with her arms folded.

Whether your hair is thick, thin, short, or long, shower-related hair loss is a shared experience – and we know that the struggle is real!

Maybe you’re frustrated because your hair keeps clogging your shower drain, or perhaps you’re worried because your hair loss seems to be getting worse.

Either way, this article will explore why your hair falls out when you wash it and help you understand how to take back control of your hair.

Why Does My Hair Fall Out When I Wash It?

Experts estimate that every human has anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 hairs. And each of these hair strands goes through a natural renewal cycle, part of which includes normal hair loss.

Beyond our hair’s natural growth cycle, however, other factors may contribute to excessive daily hair shedding. Hair shedding is not only affected by our natural hair growth process but it can also be affected by outside influences.

There are many other reasons why you may experience an increased amount of hair loss when you wash it. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common reasons why your hair may be falling out in the shower.

Cute black woman with a curly hair type talking on the phone while walking outdoors.

Wet Hair Means Weak Hair

One of the most common reasons you see hair on your shower floor when you wash is that your hair is breaking. Wet hair is much weaker than dry hair, and it’s more prone to breakage due to the manipulation associated with washing.

When you scrub shampoo into your scalp, and throughout your hair, the combination of excess moisture and tension from the scrubbing causes hairs to break and end up in your drain. 

If you brush your hair while it is wet, whether it takes place when you’re in the shower or just after you get out, this issue may be exacerbated. This is true, especially if the proper detangling protocol is not followed (more on that later). 

You Have Thick Hair 

In general, people with more hair tend to experience more shedding than people with thin hair.

That’s because if you have thick hair, you’re more likely to have more hair on your head as compared to people with normal to thin hair. The more hair you have, the more your hair may shed. 

Note: Some people with lots of hair think that they’re losing more hair than others when they’re not. If your hair is long and thick and you lose 100 hairs, it will look like you lost more hair than someone who has thin, short hair. This is true even if you lost the same number of hairs. 

A beautiful African woman talking to a friend about female pattern hair loss and the passing hair growth cycle.

Certain Styles and Treatments

When you expose your hair to harsh treatments (e.g., dyeing, perming, heat styling tools), it is more likely to fall out as you wash it. If you tend to wear tight braids, ponytails, or buns, it may encourage breakage, directly contributing to the amount of hair loss you see in the shower.

Deficiencies in Nutrients and Vitamins

Your diet can also impact how much hair you lose in the shower. If you are low in specific vitamins and nutrients (e.g., vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, zinc, protein), you will likely experience more hair loss than the average person would. 

How Much Hair is Normal to Lose in the Shower?

There are three main stages in the hair’s natural renewal cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Anagen is a period of hair growth, catagen is a period of transition, and telogen is the stage at which hair is at rest or ready to fall out.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the average human head sheds between 50-100 hairs per day due to this process.

Depending on how you treat your hair, you may experience increased levels of hair loss, especially when you shower. If you feel that you are losing more hair than the average 50-100 strands per day, you may want to address this problem. Fortunately, there are various things that you can do to help.

A lady with curly hair follicles standing outdoors in Birmingham, Alabama with her arms folded.

Top Tips to Reduce Hair Fall in the Shower

While some hair loss in the shower is normal, too much shedding might mean you need to do something differently. Being mindful of your hair care routine is essential: hair fall could be related to how you wash, moisturize, and style your hair or the products you use.

Continue reading to learn more about several transformational habits that you can start immediately to establish and maintain a healthy head of hair. 

Avoid Brushing Wet Hair Without Detangler

Detangling your hair in the shower is often frowned upon, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. You can brush your hair while you’re in the shower and avoid excessive hair loss. Just keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Only detangle your wet hair after applying a slippery product or detangler to it. Doing so will help the brush glide smoothly through your strands. 
  • Don’t use a narrow bristle brush. Your best bet is to start with your fingers, and if needed, use a wide-toothed comb or shower brush to finish the job. 
  • Be generous with your detangler and gentle with your detangling tool. 

Minimize Tension as You Wash

Every time you wash your hair or detangle it in the shower, you’re putting strain on it. If you tend to pull on or yank your hair while spreading the shampoo or conditioner through your hair, the tension is magnified.

Doing so can weaken and damage your hair, directly increasing the likelihood that you’ll lose excessive hair in the shower. Instead of haphazardly pulling and tugging on your hair, make it a point to be extremely gentle. Treat your curls like precious wool and handle them with care. 

A light-skinned mixed-race woman talking on the phone to a friend about excessive hair loss.

Limit Heat Exposure

Whether you blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair regularly, exposing your hair to heat damages it over time and affects the amount of hair fall you experience in the shower.

In a perfect world, we’d advise that you stop using heat altogether. But we realize that totally avoiding heat may not be a practical solution for you. In that case, limit your hair’s exposure to heat as much as you can. It can significantly decrease the amount of hair you shed. 

Take Vitamins

When taken alongside a healthy diet, vitamins can serve as an excellent way to improve your hair’s overall health and reduce hair loss.

Given that many nutritional deficiencies have the potential to lead to hair loss, you may want to consider increasing the number of vitamins and minerals that are made available to your hair follicles daily.

Some of the best nutrients for the hair are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, zinc, biotin, and more. Feel free to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new vitamin.  

African American woman talking on an iPhone about her hair falling out in the shower.

Related Articles

There are many reasons you may be experiencing hair loss in the shower, and pinpointing which applies to you can help you figure out what to do next. But no matter the reason behind your shower-related hair fall, the tips listed above are a great starting point for reducing mild hair loss.

Ultimately, each of these tips will produce varying results from one person to the next, but they could really help you out. 

If you believe that you may be experiencing excessive hair loss (e.g., female pattern hair loss) consider setting up a consultation with a doctor to determine the next best steps for you and your hair. We wish you the best as you rectify your hair shedding/hair loss issues.