It seems someone in the comments section of natural hair tutorial will often ask, “How much hair did you shed?” after a wash, protective style takedown, or detangling session. We all wanna know. Is that natural hair guru really human or secretly unicorn?
Some naturalistas started showing the evidence, holding up little balls of their own hair, saying, “This is pretty normal for me.”
Imagine that! Everybody sheds hair. Nobody sheds none. There is no invasion of the unicorn-people. So flip the script and find out, “How much hair do I shed?” What does your normal look like? Because appearances can be deceiving.
When my hair was short, normal was pea-sized. My looser textures create a more voluminous ball than my tighter textures. And of course there is a difference between shed hair and broken hair: LINK
Humans, barring health issues, shed an average of 100 hairs a day. (SAME LINK) Obviously, an average is an average and not a precise measure, and who knows what kind of people (unicorn-people, maybe?!) were studied to arrive at that number? But it was as good a place as any to start, when trying to find out if my shedding was “normal”.
To do that, I counted my shed hairs. Yes, I did. No, it didn’t take long. Extrapolation and estimation are your friends.
You’ll need: Maths
Step one: detangle onto something that will collect your hair. I used an old bedsheet.
Step two: Detangle in sections and set aside the hairs collected from each section. Be observant of the difference in volume among your textures and lengths. Some areas may only look like they shed more than others.
Step three: Count out 25, 50, or 100 hairs from one or more sections (I counted from each different texture, as I happen to have large sections of distinct textures on my head.) Check for shed versus broken hairs.(THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM)
Step four: Extrapolate. Compare the ball you counted from to what’s left and to other balls similar in texture. Is the other the same size, twice the size, thrice? If you’ve got 100 hairs in your hand and another ball is half the size, you’re probably looking at an estimate of 50 hairs over there.
Step five: Do the math. Write down your estimates for all the balls. Add them up. Divide the total by how many days it’s been since your last detangling session. The answer is the average amount of hair you shed every day. You can even take a picture for future reference.
As I mentioned before, as hair gets longer there will appear to be more of it. So, I keep that in mind over time. But ever since I counted my shed hairs, I could more confidently gauge whether what I saw was excessive or normal, for me, and stop worrying.
That’s one reason we ask, “How much hair did you shed?” Because we constantly worry there’s something wrong with our hair, especially when we’re just starting out and aren’t familiar with our hair in its natural state. If I ever do see something that causes concern, I’ll count again, and look into any existing problem.
The point is to know my own hair, what my normal looks like. This is mine, by the way (about a six days’ worth two years ago):
You still got questions? Hit the comments.