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If I didn't know the noun compound "hair loss" and I wanted to describe to a pharmacist that I have hair that has been falling out and needed a shampoo with the right formula for it.

Why can't I say " I need a shampoo for my falling hair"?

I am given to understand that you can say "the falling leaves" and "the falling snow" Why can't you use this adjective for hair and describe a condition in which you hair has been falling out?

  • First you want shampoo to prevent hair loss, but as you say falling hair I imagine a hair that is slowly falling (still in the air) – Ahmad Aug 16 '15 at 3:58
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The most basic answer to your question is that "it's just not how we say it" and, in fact, our use can mean something quite different.

For example, if someone said "Her hair was falling around her face in ringlets", this would normally mean that she had curly hair that was being worn down and framing her face. Something like this:

Curly hair image
[image from here]

It would not mean that her hair was falling out of her head, the way you might describe a leaf falling off a tree.

Additionally, you don't want the shampoo for the hair that is falling out of your head. Certainly you don't mean to wash the hair that is no longer attached to your scalp?

Instead, you want shampoo to prevent your hair loss. So, you would be better to say something like

I want shampoo that will prevent me from losing any more hair.
I want shampoo that prevents/reduces hair loss.
I want shampoo that stops my hair from falling out.

  • Please help me with this. How did you know that "falling hair" is hair that has already fallen out. Because I thought that "falling hair" or "falling leaves" describes leaves/hair that is falling out. So, that's why I thought they are called the falling leaves. Am I wrong? – Ghaith Alrestom Aug 15 '15 at 23:20
  • @GhaithAlrestom in general, if the leaves are "falling" they are no longer attached to the tree. So, in your sentence, falling hair is the hair has already fallen out. – Catija Aug 15 '15 at 23:25
  • Thank you for your response. I was very hoping you could answer me. I get very frustrated with this. But in my opinion, they should call it " the fallen hair/leaves" that would make more sense!! Thank you. – Ghaith Alrestom Aug 15 '15 at 23:31
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    @GhaithAlrestom Fallen leaves are the leaves already on the ground. Falling leaves are the ones still in the air but not attached to the tree. – Catija Aug 15 '15 at 23:39
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The "falling leaves" or "falling snow" represent the elements (precipitation of sorts) that is not attached anymore to its source. The leaves are not on the trees, the water droplets are not in their clouds.

The same with hair. What's the point of washing the "falling hair"? That pair of words represent the hairs that have already detached themselves from their follicles. Do you really need a shampoo for that?

You admire, ruminate over, then rake falling leaves. You curse, dance under, falling snow. You usually simply forget about falling hair, once you remove it from your comb or brush. What you fret over is the remaining hair, the hair that is now thinning (while still attached to your scalp).

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Generally I would say "fall out" since hair is falling out of your head.

Since hair loss is a condition but you don't know this phrase, it takes some more words to try to say the same thing.

I need a shampoo that will help keep my hair from falling out.

This a bit different from "the falling leaves" or "the falling snow", though they can both fall out of the sky.

  • what about the "I need a shampoo to prevent my hairs from falling (out)" ? – Cardinal Aug 15 '15 at 21:23
  • You could say that. However prevent may be too strong a term, unless the shampoo stops the hair loss. Using help means it will improve the condition but not necessarily cure it. You could use help prevent which is the same as my example. – user3169 Aug 15 '15 at 21:29
  • In American lawyer lingo, the shampoo may help to decrease hair loss. – Victor Bazarov Aug 15 '15 at 21:38

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