Well, isn’t this a dandy day… the day you run your hand through your hair and feel it’s noticeably thinner. Or, you see a place where hair used to be, now empty. Or, your part is growing wider. Maybe it’s just looking dull and dry. AH, the joys of menopause!
Do not fret, lovelies. There are things you can do (and things you should NOT do) to bring your hair back to life.
First off – let’s do the no’s first:
NO sodium lauryl sulfate! It is also known as SLS, sodium laureth sulfate, and probably other derivatives. Get rid of that stuff! It’s horrible for you and your hair! Look at your shampoo’s ingredients. If you see it or something similar; when in doubt, throw it OUT! Check your conditioner, too. Check for organic products that do not have this chemical. Loreal is making a SLS-free line now that is pretty good. You can also search “no poo alternatives” on the Internet as there are a lot of folks making their own shampoo or using other products in lieu of shampoo. Vinegar, for one, is an excellent shampoo alternative (if you can deal with the smell).
NO HEAT. This is a difficult change for many. Cooking your hair is not good; and the stretching and pulling that generally goes along with the cooking doesn’t make it better. Irons, hot dryers, and some curling tools are terribly stressful on the tresses. If you’re not ready to give them up altogether, at least make an effort to reduce the number of times you apply heat to your hair weekly or find more gentle tools/instruments to lessen the damage. I wear my hair up half of the time so I don’t have to “do my do” more than 3-4 times a week.
NO HARSH COLOR. If you’re using a natural color product, you’re good. If you’re like me and rip the color out of my hair (also known as “going blonde”), this can cause hair loss and structure damage. Yeah, I still do it. The one modification I’ve made is I don’t color right to the root anymore; I leave a little bit of my lovely brown (ugh) in view. I have also gone to a more gentle color change and color less often.
NO AGGRESSIVE BRUSHING. Ripping through your hair with a spiny instrument, contrary to the some old school philosophies, can cause increased hair shed due to tearing/breaking of delicate hair. Go easy on the brushing.
So do the best you can with these. Proactive treatments will be less effective if you don’t reduce the damaging habits. Now, onto the “do’s” for your ‘do:
Massage your scalp: Get the blood flowing and wake it up! Two or more times a week is great. Massaging the scalp with apple cider vinegar before shampooing really helps clean the scalp, remove debris and wakes up the follicles. A little gentle scalp scratching is good too. Try this twice a week or more.
Wash your hair with conditioner! Most conditioners have alcohol in them and most will do a decent job of cleaning with less oil-depleting properties like shampoo. The best shampoos strip the oil out of your hair; and that’s kind of their job! Unless you have a very dirty job, the use of shampoo on a daily/alternate daily basis is probably not necessary. I shampoo once a week. I use conditioner the rest of the time.
Here’s the holy grail right here: Castor oil. YES! This has done miraculous things for my hair. Serious new hair growth and softer, more manageable tresses. I even put it on my eyelashes and eyebrows before bed, straight outta the bottle.
If you have not had the castor oil experience, it is very thick, rather sticky and smells… not so good. So, to make your experience with this more palatable, mix equal amounts of castor oil with another oil (like almond, olive or melted coconut). This will make it easier to spread. Add a few drops of essential oil to offset that smell. I generally dump this concoction on after I do a vinegar scalp massage (above). I leave the oil mix on for at least one hour; more is better (like 3-4 hours). Make sure to work it onto your scalp and not just shlep it onto your hair. This does require shampoo to remove; I have to wash 2-3 times to get it all out.
I not only noticed immediate results in better hair texture and even some growth, and the hair is and continuing to grow. Try this treatment once a week and additionally before or after a color.
Next time, we will talk about hair growth supplements and cover-ups/volumizers. Come see me again soon! Have an excellent week J