A Toxic Mix
Chemotherapy is not a typical topic of conversation for hairstylists. However, it is an important conversation to have. So many of us have been affected by Cancer. It knows no prejudice and I know I'm not the only hairstylist that has had to walk a client through the change of his/her hair after treatment.
After everything is discussed about treatment, "What about my hair?" is a typical question asked by the newly diagnosed. On top of everything else the client and family must experience, there is also the loss of one's hair to deal with. As a hairstylist, I’ve come to know how important it is to help clients through this difficult, life changing experience. Imagine how difficult it must be to have Cancer not only change you, but the way the world sees you as well. Your diagnosis, your fear, your battle is no longer private. The loss of one’s hair allows the world into your private fight for life, forcing you to deal with all that added drama. But one thing I know for certain, a compassionate, knowledgeable stylist can make a tremendous difference, which is why this conversation is so important to have.
Change Can Be Good!
Many times I have seen hair change completely after treatment. The hair was straight before and is now curly, not just wavy, I mean curly! For some survivors, hair that was once super thick may never regain its thickness. Even when you expect a change, it still never ceases to shock both client and hairstylist alike. As you can imagine, it takes skill and a true understanding of hair to make someone who has had a certain hair texture all their life, to now embrace this new head of hair.
How can you make someone who has undergone so much, grow to like their new hair? This can be quite a challenge when you consider it can feel like you’ve now got someone else’s hair on your head! Not only is the change over whelming, the way they look after their hair has to drastically change as well.
For the stylist, this is where sensitivity, thought and creativity comes in. For the cancer survivor, embrace the opportunity to change. Try something different you may like it! This is when you want to make sure your existing stylist can work with your “new” hair. If they are not great with short or fine hair, do not hesitate to look elsewhere. So, get your photos ready, kick open that salon door and treat your self well. You deserve it dammit!!
The Road To Recovery
I recommend allowing hair to grow about 2 inches before taking any action. Once you are ready to restyle, the following recommendations are for both survivor and stylist alike:
- Start conditioning treatments right away; getting the texture hydrated is very important. It makes the hair shinier and its ability to with stand coloring is improved ( if coloring is needed ). A great shampoo and hair mask is Age Recharge by Kerastase. Try it!! It's amazing!!!
- Be gentle with the choice of colors, use demi and semi- permanent colors that have little or no ammonia rather than permanent colors. It maybe a case of trial and error as you begin to color again, because sometimes the hair may not respond as the stylist expects. Be patient.
- If you decide to highlight, stay away from heat and use high lift tints (not bleach). The less stress the better.
- As hair continues to grow, this is the time to invest in a great cut, a cut that is strong enough to leave you feeling comfortable with your new style.
- If your hair is growing in finer than usual at the beginning, stay away form razors and thinning shears. I know, it sounds like everyone should know that right? Well don't take any chances. Be aware.
A Magic Mix
After Chemotherapy, it’s natural to want to avoid any more chemicals. I have researched many ingredients, mixing oils, fruits and even some ingredients from my native land (mosquitoes). I have also tried a few homemade recipes that are currently being advertised. Some were good, some even great, but many were just a plain old bad idea.
As always, you should be careful before you use any remedy on your hair, however, the following recipe is one that consistently works the best for me. In just in case you were wondering, it was not tested on any animals. My human “guinea pigs” are my family, friends and clients, plus my own head of hair! It’s all natural and surprisingly fun to do…so enjoy!
VERY RIPE AVOCADO: Apart from making a mean Guacamole, its has been known for its moisturizing oils.
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Is used all over the world in many home hair care recipes for soothing the cuticle.
ORGANIC EGG WHITE: Great source of protein.
FRESH MINT: Great in preventing static on conditioned hair.
FRESH LEMON: A natural hair brightener (don’t use lemon if hair is color treated)
First whisk one egg white, half an ounce of lemon juice and half an ounce olive oil in a bowl. Then crush five mint leaves and an Avocado. Combine all ingredients and whisk for five minutes. I recommend shampooing with Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo by Aubrey Organics. Start by applying your treatment to clean partially towel-dried hair, or as an intensive treatment, you can use the treatment on clean dry hair. Leave in for five minutes and then rinse well. If you have stressed, thirsty hair leave in for ten minutes and then rinse well. After rinsing, use the same shampoo, but a lot less this time. Don't worry about the shampoo stripping the treatment. This treatment is so rich you will need to use shampoo, trust me. When you are done, you will be amazed at the softness and shine. The best part? It will last for days!!