Whether your hair is short, long, curly, or super straight, it’s part of your identity. And seeing your hair fall out from a medical condition such as alopecia areata can be really distressing.

Hair loss from conditions like alopecia areata may be small and confined to a few spots or more widespread across your scalp. But even small patches of thinning hair can have big effects on your confidence and self-image.

It’s totally understandable to mourn the loss of your locks, but take comfort in the fact that you have options. If you’re interested in treatments, you can talk with a doctor. And stick with seeing the pros at the hair salon if you’re having any relaxers or other chemical treatments done.

You may also be looking for ways to navigate your new look in daily life. You could choose to embrace it by shaving your scalp (Jada Pinkett Smith did it!). If that’s not your vibe, you may want to try one of these tricks to hide hair loss with head coverings.

Even if you weren’t a hat person before, now is a good time to explore them. Hats are more fashion-forward than you might think (they’re a must-have accessory for celebs like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus), and they’re very good at hiding hair loss. Plus, they’ll protect your head from the cold and sun.

Hats come in a variety of styles and at many price points. You can go the less expensive and casual route with a baseball cap or drop hundreds on a designer wide-brimmed or bucket hat. The choice is yours.

When choosing a hat, try on a few styles to find the one you like. Consider comfort too: A soft, flexible hat might feel better on your scalp than a rigid one.

You’d be amazed at how much coverage your stylist can get with a brush (and we’re not talking about your uncle’s comb-over!). Here are a few styles that can maximize your hair coverage:

  • Move your part: Shift your part to the left or right so your hair naturally covers thin areas.
  • Get a haircut: Layers add more volume than a straight-across cut.
  • Pump up the volume: Use a volumizing shampoo, conditioner, or mousse to plump up the hair around thinning spots. Tease your hair with a comb or pick to cover an even wider area of your scalp.
  • Add highlights and lowlights: Mixing up the colors will give your hair more dimension and the illusion of greater fullness.
  • Pull it up into a bun: If you’re trying to cover one area, position the bun right over it.

Scarves are another way to quickly cover hair loss. They’re also an outlet to express your creativity because they come in an almost infinite number of designs!

Choose a fabric that’s light and breathable but not so slippery that it will slide right off your head, such as:

  • cotton
  • rayon
  • bamboo
  • modal

To give the scarf more volume so it doesn’t lie too flat, you can put a liner or padded headband underneath.

There’s more than one way to tie a scarf. Check YouTube for demos if you’re new to wearing scarves.

Not into spending extra time tying? Some scarves come pre-tied to save you the work.

Turbans are essential headwear in certain cultures. But some people just dig the look of these twisted cloth head coverings.

Like scarves, turbans come in a variety of colors and patterns. Plus, they’re comfortable, they stay in place, and they’ll cover your head all the way down to your ears. You can wear a turban on its own or under a scarf for added coverage.

Wigs are an easy solution for larger areas of hair loss. Wearing a wig can give you more confidence when you go out, and some research suggests they can offer a big self-esteem boost to people with more severe alopecia areata.

Wigs come in all hair colors and textures, so whether your natural hair is black, brown, or blond or straight, wavy, or curly, you’ll be able to find something that matches. Or you can go for a totally new look!

A partial wig will cover small areas of hair loss. For more extensive hair loss, a full wig is a better bet.

Once you’ve found a good wig match, here’s a tip: Get a haircut. It might sound weird to cut hair that’s not your own, but having the wig cut to your face shape creates a more natural look.

Extensions give your hair greater fullness. They’re an alternative to wigs for hiding smaller areas of thinning. Like wigs, hair extensions come in many colors, lengths, and textures. But they’re meant to blend in with your natural hair.

You can clip some hair extensions into your natural hair yourself. Others need to be sewn or woven into your existing ’do — you’ll need a stylist’s help with that.

A topper is another option. It’s a piece that attaches to your scalp to cover thinning patches up top.

One of the quickest ways to cover hair loss is with a spray-on concealer. These products contain a mixture of pigment and tiny fibers that blend seamlessly with your natural hair.

If you don’t have or like spray-on hair, makeup will do in a pinch. Brush a little eye shadow into thin spots to give the appearance of fullness. Just make sure the color matches your own and avoid shimmery shades.

Hair loss doesn’t always wait until your Medicare years. It can start much earlier if you have certain health conditions, and it can be a side effect of some medical treatments.

You can talk with your doctor about treatments to slow or stop hair loss if you feel it’s affecting your well-being.

In the meantime, consider trying a new hairstyle or hair covering that matches your unique personality, such as:

  • hats
  • scarves
  • turbans
  • wigs
  • extensions
  • spray-on concealers