'If woman have long hair, it is a glory to her,' so it states in the Bible.
But what if your hair is anything but glorious? Thinning hair, bare patches or even baldness is not something that only affects men - nearly 40 per cent of women by the age of 60 experience some form of hair loss. And while men find the condition upsetting, women can find it devastating. But take heart - it need not be.
By Jo Carlowe
There are usually underlying causes to hair loss including hormonal changes caused by an overactive thyroid, menopause or pregnancy. Ask your doctor to run some tests. Happily, female hair loss is often reversible.
A lack of minerals can cause hair loss, so eat iron-rich foods such as liver, kidney, branflakes and soya products. Protein and zinc are also important. Foods with zinc include wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, egg yolk and shellfish.
If you don't get enough iron and zinc in your diet you could try it in supplement form. Some claim that sea kelp supplements can also help. These are available from health food shops.
Use volumising shampoos, and a volume-enhancing root-lift spray when drying your hair to make the hair stand up from the scalp giving it a thicker appearance, but avoid rinse-out conditioners and heavy hair-sprays which flatten fine hair.
Layers can give a sense of volume, especially if you put the shortest layers at the top of the head. Combining this with a large-curl perm will make the hair look even thicker.
Not everyone agrees that this works, but some hair experts claim that blasting fine hair with a cool or cold water final rinse will close the cuticle and help it to swell slightly so it looks thicker.
Many hairdressers suggest air-drying thin hair or blow-drying on the slowest setting as ‘overblowing' can cause fine strands to flatten. Blow-drying ‘upside down' can create the illusion of fullness, as can backcombing hair.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the most common treatment for hair loss in women. You apply this to your scalp twice daily. It revitalises hair follicles in 44 to 63 percent of women and can be used on colour-treated hair.
A doctor can inject steroid injections directly into bald patches - which, unfortunately, is as painful as it sounds. It works by preventing antibodies from attacking the hair follicles preventing hair growth. It's most effective when hair loss is minimal.
A prescription-only drug called Spironolactone can help with thinning hair. It is thought to work by decreasing the production of testosterone. Women with hair loss are sensitive to this hormone. Positive results may occur within three to six months.
A full head of hair extensions can be attached to your remaining hair through a fine mesh. The process can take hours and can be expensive (over £1,000) and you may need to go back for regular tidy-ups.
If your hair is thinning or you have a balding patch you may only need a hairpiece rather than a wig. A hairpiece can be permanent - attached with medical adhesive - or removable - attached by double-sided adhesive.
Wigs shouldn't be seen as a last resort - specialist centres offer hundreds of choices, and six out of 10 wigs are bought as fashion accessories by women with healthy hair. Wigs usually feel strange at first but become familiar quickly - like new shoes.
We're talking eyebrows. If you have the less common ‘alopecia universalis' - a condition that causes loss of all body hair - then re-growth is unlikely. Some women with total hair loss opt to have their eyebrows tattooed.
Contrary to popular belief, hair loss is not caused by frequent shampooing, hats, wigs, perms or colours - so don't waste time thinking that thinning hair has been brought on by anything that you have done.
Think Elton John - it's expensive but possible. To qualify for the medical procedure you must have healthy hair growth at the back and sides of your head to serve as donor areas'- the places on the head from which grafts are taken.
The first anti-baldness pill Propecia is currently only available to men because testing on women is incomplete, and it has been linked to birth defects. However, there is talk of making Propecia available to postmenopausal women by prescription.
Not a proven one - but some people claim it works. You run the hairbrush-shaped-laser through your hair several times a week. It is said to dilate blood vessels and increase the blood supply to hair follicles.
A Scottish study suggests essential oils can help. Mix: thyme (2 drops), atlas cedarwood (2 drops), lavender (3 drops), rosemary (3 drops), jojoba oil (half a teaspoon) and grapeseed oil (4 teaspoons). Massage onto your scalp nightly, for two minutes.
Not a dead cert this one, but exponents claim it increases blood circulation to the scalp which strengthens the hair roots. Masseurs use coconut, almond, olive or sesame oil to nourish the hair while promoting circulation through massage.