Happy Sunday and thank you for sharing your Sunday with me. Thank you all for the wonderful feedback about last week’s episode.
As promised, this week’s secret is focusing on HAIR!!
It’s funny to me that Aguiar Plastic Surgery & Medical Spa offers no services that treat, groom, or maintain hair. Yet, I spend a lot of time talking to clients about their hair, my hair, or just hair in general. It has become very evident that women are obsessed with hair, whether theirs or someone else’s.
Hair has always been a big part of my life. As a natural born redhead, I have always received a lot of attention about my hair. Not only has it always been “coppery fire” red, but also curly. Just the type of hair that little old ladies loved to rave about in the aisles of the grocery store or K-Mart. Of course, I haven’t always loved my hair. Being the only redhead in my family, cousins frequently teased that I was adopted. Kids at school would chant, “I’d rather be dead than red on the head!” And it took me a LONG time to learn to work and embrace my hair for what it was. Wild with a mind of it’s own. Hmmmm, my parents would probably say the same thing about my personality. So in the end, I guess my hair and I are perfect for each other.
So in my 20’s, I embraced my hair, found a great stylist, and was so thankful that Jon BonJovi and Nicole Kidman were wildly popular. It’s so easy to be “in and cool” when your natural self just happens to be “in and cool” at the same time. Hahahaha.
Over the years, I have had many hair secrets, but it wasn’t until around 2010-2011 that I realized how important my hair was to me, to my identity, to my confidence.
Over a three-year period, I became very ill with a mystery illness. One of the many symptoms I struggled with included hair loss in women, change in thickness/thinness of hair strand, change in texture, loss of curl. Just about everything I had learned to love about my hair was changing or falling out by the handfuls. I remember sitting in my PCP’s office with freshly washed hair and no products in. I reached up and ever so gently pulled at my hair, and out it came in my hand, root and all. I’ll never forget the look on his face.
He sent me to a dermatologist that specialized in female hair loss. After extensive testing, biopsies, and analysis, he revealed to me that he had no idea why my hair was falling out. It was likely connected to this “illness” that we were still trying to diagnose. He couldn’t tell me if the hair loss would stop, or if my hair would ever come back fully. But he did recommend a shampoo that cost $65 for a 4 oz. bottle. I looked at the ingredients and just didn’t believe it would make a difference, so I passed.
My hairstylist was baffled also. She had been my stylist for years and I could see the sadness in her eyes as she carefully worked on my hair. Sometimes a single tear would roll down her cheek as hair fell out in her hand. Despite these changes, her skills and expertise kept me looking my best during a difficult time.
I went on an quest to learn the most about hair that I possibly could learn. After all, I’m an educated medical professional and an esthetician, I could be smarter than this crazy hair problem.
My research and any products or treatments I decided to try were done very deliberate and in a research study format. Also, I was still on the quest to figure out this mystery illness.
I learned that loosing hair with the root bulb attached is not really common and also a sign that the hair follicle may be shutting down. Once a hair follicle dies, there’s nothing that can be done to resurrect it. So that was my first priority. Keep the hair follicles alive. And remember, I still have no idea why this is happening.
My first action plan was three-fold.
1. Limit the number of times I washed and styled my hair in a week. I also slept with my hair wrapped like women did back in the 50’s to preserve their weekly wash and set to reduce the movement of my hair while sleeping.
3. I started taking D3. The connection to hair is still questionable, but my level was low anyway.
4. Probably the most important component of this initial plan is this one. I started using Rogaine for Women. I know, I know, that stuff doesn’t really work, eye roll emoji. Well I am here to tell you that it did for me. Minoxidil, branded as Rogaine, has been scientifically proven to stimulate inactive (not dead) follicles from the inside out to regrow hair. Not just any hair, but thicker hair! Beautiful Hair!
The recommendations are to use the product for a minimum of 3 months. This makes sense as the hair cycle from beginning growth, to natural shedding is about 3 months. I found that CVS had their own brand of Minoxidil, CVS Hair Regrowth for Women, that was the exact same as the name brand, Rogaine. And CVS often has it on sale for Buy One, Get One 50% off. The product comes in liquid and foam. I started with the liquid and still use it to this day. I cannot speak for how the foam works. The FDA has approved the product for the use on the top of the head only. Any other use would be considered off-label. For the first 3 months, I used the product as directed only on the top of the head. To my surprise and gratefulness, I started to see a reduction in hair loss!! I then decided to go off label and use the product all over my scalp. After 6 weeks of use on the top of my head, my hair stylist saw a noticeable difference in the growth, thickness, and hair loss factors. The other areas had been under treatment for 3 months and I was starting to see a reduction in hair loss also. Needless to say, I continued to use the product. After about 12-18 months of using the product, I felt that I had achieved very good results. I didn’t have my “old hair back” but I had hair that was healthy and strong.
About this time, my episode of Mystery Diagnosis was finally coming to an end. About a year before the hair loss problem started, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was put on the standard medication, but it didn’t work for me. My PCP changed my medication to another very popular “natural” thyroid medication. I took the medication for 3 years. Unbeknownst to myself or a slew of doctors and specialists, the medication was causing a very rare endocrine myopathy. WOW!!
Once the medication was changed to a “newer, cleaner, purer” thyroid medication, most of my symptoms, including hair loss, started to disappear. I slowly, over another 2 years, started to get back to my old self. Everything about me is forever changed by this illness, but I am very thankful and grateful to have the ability to live a full, active, healthy life with great hair again! Heehee.
You would think the saga would end there, right? Wrong. I was now entering my 40’s and there are a whole new set of “hair issues” that creep up in the fourth decade.
1. Gray hair! Eeeeek! I know, many women get gray hair earlier, but 40’s is the most common. So now you start to consider hair color, highlights, lowlights, peroxide, and professional vs box color. Now as a redhead, I have a more unique problem than a blonde or brunette. Natural looking reds are hard to recreate. Reds fade faster, requiring more frequent treatments, and redheads don’t really go gray. Nope we go white. And color doesn’t stick to white hair. Double Eeeek! No matter what color you are starting with, I cannot stress enough to find a great stylist who loves color. They should continually be educating themselves on the new technology being put into hair color. New formulations of the same product can produce vastly different results. Now for my plug (pun intended). I am a fan of Goldwell color. I think they produce the most natural, youthful, multidimensional looks. They by far have the best reds and coppers on the market. I absolutely love their blondes. I love it when I see a woman that clearly colors her hair blonde and I ask, “Is your blonde Goldwell?” Of course, I know it is, but they are always shocked that I can tell.
2. Our natural, born with color changes as we age. Maybe your hair was a lighter, brighter brunette and now it is darker and dull. That is a natural part of the hair aging process. I was recently at a memorial service for a friend’s father. I have known the family since high school, so we have history. This man’s daughter in-law was a redhead just like me. We looked so much alike in our 20’s, people often asked if we were twins or sisters. I hadn’t seen her in at least 10-15 years, and her first question to me was “how is it that you are still a redhead, and I’m brown?!?! Don’t get me wrong, her hair was very pretty. She had it highlighted with some blonde, but if you didn’t know her from those younger years, you wouldn’t believe she had coppery-firey hair. I let her in on the Goldwell secret formula. She is happily a redhead again.
3. Our hair naturally grows a thinner shaft as we age and this process starts pretty consistently in the 40’s. Basically, the hair follicle is “tired” and produces a hair that is thinner in diameter. Sometimes the texture will change also. This process can be greatly influenced by using Minoxidil. It keeps the hair follicle from getting tired and produces a thicker hair with better texture. In my humble opinion, women should make Minoxidil a part of their beauty secrets about age 35. Don’t even let those follicles think about getting tired.
4. Give your hair the treatment it deserves. Your hair works hard for you every day. It is greatly affected by hormones, stress, medications, styling products, shampoo, conditioner, UV rays, hair appliances, and many more things. So treat your hair like royalty. Go to a good stylist, who used the best products available, and for god’s sake” BUY professional hair care products from your stylist!!! It amazes me that women will go every 6 weeks for a cut, color and style. They spend hours in the salon. Abuse their hair with hot appliances on a daily basis and buy their hair products at CVS!!! I love the response when asked why they don’t buy what their stylists recommends. “Oh he/she is just trying to make money.” Duh! And so is CVS and all the crappy brands with crappy ingredients that make your stylist’s job harder because they are dealing with dry, brittle, or wax covered hair. Professional hair products ARE BETTER than off the shelf ones. PERIOD, END OF DISCUSSION.
5. And for my last secret, be OPEN to changing your hairstyle as your life changes. The hair style you had in your 20’s isn’t really doing it for you when you are 50. Your hair changes, your face changes, and your style needs to change. I recently made a pretty drastic change myself. I noticed in pictures that my forehead was getting bigger and my face looked out of proportion. What was actually happening is that I am having natural bone and fat loss in my face, so my forehead looked bigger. But what was I to do? I can’t reduce my forehead size. Yes, I can and have done filler in my face and it did help, but I still wasn’t happy with the size of my forehead. Hahahah. I came across a picture of a woman in her 20’s with this really cool style. I obsessed about it for a few weeks. When I went in for my normal cut and color, I showed the picture to my stylist and asked, “would my hair do this style and don’t lie to me! You won’t hurt my feelings if you say no way!” To my surprise, her face lit up and she said “YES, your hair would look great in this style!” I left that day with a completely new style and I LOVE it! Shortly after I vacationed with a family member I hadn’t seen in about 2 years. We had only talked, Facetimed, and exchanged pictures. She said, “Jennifer that style looks so glamorous on you. You could be in one of those hair books that we look at to get ideas.” Now that is a compliment I can float on cloud nine with for a while.
So now is the time I tell you my current favorite hair products and styling regime. I am including this because people ask me for it all the time.
1. My hair color is only Goldwell.
2. I shampoo with Joico Curl Cleansing Sulfate Free Shampoo
3. I condition with Joico Curl Nourished Conditioner and I comb out in the shower with a wide tooth comb. This helps prevent hair damage and hair loss.
4. I then apply Olaplex Hair Perfector No 3 over top of conditioner and let both set while I finish my shower. The last thing I do in rinse my hair. Once I feel products are out, I turn heat of water down slightly and rinse hair again.
5. I lightly and quickly towel dry hair.
6. The I comb bangs straight down and apply Joico Curl Defining Countouring Foam Wax to all hair except bangs.
7. I plug in my Chi flat iron and then blow bangs straight down with a Portofino BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium dryer. Once bangs are dry, I turn my head upside down and start to scrunch and dry rest of hair with a diffuser on the dryer. I dry hair about half way and then take a moment to let the hair cool down while I brush my teeth or get dressed. I finish drying hair and then sometimes, I will use the flat iron on the bangs. It really depends on the length of the bangs and level of humidity in Tampa, Florida.
8. I end my styling ritual with flipping upside down and start spraying with Bumble and Bumble Holding Spray. Then I flip back upright and spray and finish the taming of the curls.
Now this may seem like a lot, but really it takes me about 10 mins. I am in the shower, hair done, skincare done, makeup on, dressed and out the door in 30 minutes. It may take me 45 minutes if I am putting in the extra effort for an evening out with the husband.
Now you are probably wondering where the Rogaine belongs in the regime? It’s best to use on clean, dry hair. So I apply at night before bed. At this point, I only use the Rogaine 3-5 times a week for maintenance. And it is a great feeling to not see hair on the shower drain.
I know there are a lot of secrets in this post, therefore the longer than usual post. Also I write this with “flu brain”, so if something seems off or not quite right, well………. I really appreciate your time and hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. I will be posting some pictures on social media of the inspiration photo for hair style as well as how it turned out on me in real life. And some pictures of the products I talked about.
I would love to hear from you if you have a hair secrets or favorite products. Or if you have a specific topic that interests you, I would love to hear about it! You can email me at [email protected] or comment on social media.
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