Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Hair Obsession- A Tale of Loss and Recovery

Meet one of the products in my "hair beautification arsenal." This product was once a shameful secret, now it is a priceless "lifesaver."

When I was five years old, I met my maternal grandmother and I was confused why she had "spider webs on her head." What I didn't understand was that my grandmother had a form of Alopecia. Her hair was very thin and wispy and to a five-year old, it resembled spider webs. My mother had very thick black hair for most of her life. When she entered her thirties, she began to lose volume very slowly and by the time she was 43, her hair was visibly thin. Now, at 35, it is my turn. Unlike my grandmother, my mother, and her sisters, I have Rogaine and I started it early.

In 2008, my hair down to my shoulders. I loved it long. I really did. However, when I was in Northern California for business in May of that year, I noticed that my hair was beginning to look stringy and lanky. It wasn't thick like it was when I got married 12 years before. My hair was always been fine, but now it was thinning too. Great. I cried. I decided my hair would "thicken up" if I got a shorter cut. I had my stylist, Corry, cut my hair into a chin-length bob.

For a while, my hair seemed thicker. This was especially the case when I had it colored platinum blond with black underneath. Then I had it colored black and pink, then all black. Despite my attempts to color my hair blues away, my hair was still thinning. I really noticed the lack of volume kick in when my hair was black. In July 2009, I went off the Pill after being on it for 15 years, and then real drama started. My hair was falling out. Most people will lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day. I decided to collect my shed hair and count it at the end of the day. I had to stop after 250. I cried. I cried hard.

One day, I realized the crying and coloring were over. I went to my dermatologist and told her about my family history with hair thinning and the fact I went off hormones. She said the hair loss due to a hormone imbalance was to be expected and in most cases temporary. However, because I had been losing volume over time due to an inescapable heredity, I needed to start Women's Rogaine now. Let me tell you, when I heard my doctor udder the words "you are losing your hair," I thought I was going to lose it. I teared up a little but I kept myself composed.

I went to the grocery store after my appointment and bought my first bottle of Rogaine. I quickly shuffled to the checkout and hoped the lady at the register wouldn't notice my shame. Nothing happened and I was just given my receipt and a friendly smile.

I began Rogaine in September 2009 and after a couple of months of continous use (1 ml in a dropper applied twice a day), my hair continued to fall out. I felt frustrated, angry, and sad. I found myself looking at women with envy who had thick stresses. I realized I was getting obsessed and stressed out about my hair. It was all I seemed to think about. At one point, I almost threw the Rogaine out but my mom told me not to stop and that it would take time.

As the early winter and spring of 2010 progressed, I noticed my hair was no longer coming out in heaps in the shower. My stylist noticed too. He said my hair felt thicker. I was elated.

Now, here it is late July. I have been using Rogaine for almost 11 months. I feel like my hair is like its old self again. I have not had hair this thick since I was in my early 20s. I have to keep using the product for the rest of my life and that is okay. I am willing to use "suck it up" to have hair.

I know that in the scheme of things, hair is not a big deal. At the end of the day, if hair is the only thing I have to worry about, I should consider myself lucky. It silly how insecure I am be over something as simple as hair but I have to admit I am happier Rogaine is working for me. I am overjoyed I have decent hair to cut and style.

So, for all you ladies out there in the same boat as me, if you are worried about hair loss, go see a dermatologist.


  1. Wow, that must have been pretty traumatic. I always feel so sorry for gals with thinning hair. For a woman it must be simply horrifying. I've always had really thick and coarse hair, which is hard to style in vintage ways as it's too thick to be curly and most styles require curl. I've wished my hair would thin slighly and regretable so, as recently, and I think it's due to my pregnancy, I've noticed some thinning on the top in the front. To most it would look normal but to me, I noticed it's not as thick as it was. If it progresses, I will definately start using Rogaine. I am happy to hear it works and you are seeing great results with it.

  2. Its awful that you have to go through that but at least you've found a cure. Its very common too, even for women. My company makes a serum, shampoo and conditioner specifically for thinning hair. It was made innitially for people going through chemo. If Rogaine works for you stick with it, but this may be something you could try in conjunction with it. It makes your hair really thick!! Its pricy though so if we get some extra in I'll grab it and send you some. My friend uses it because she bleaches her hair. We also make one for lashes that doesn't change the color of your eyes (like Latisse, blech!). http://www.osmotics.com/catalog/Hair/hair-products.html

  3. That sounds like such an awful experience, but that's great that you found something that worked!
    My mom has very thinning hair, she too had very thick black hair up until her mid 40s when it got noticeably thin. I bleach and color the crap out of my hair and have noticed it's WAY thinner than it used to be.
    You're not alone, that's for sure!

  4. My friend is a vintage hairstylist and she is losing her hair. You can imagine how devastated she is by this, as she wears a vintage style every single day and its her trademark. She used to have long hair but she has a much shorter style now and uses a lot of hairpieces and hats to disguise it. She has recently been to the dermatologist but I havent seen her for a while. I will mention this product you use to her (not sure if you can get it in the UK but im sure we have something similar).

  5. so sorry you had to go through that..and glad you found something that works,,my mom makes this homemade shampoo..stops your hair from falling and grows new shiny hair..she blends fresh olvera plant and adds the contents to any olvera shampoo.

  6. Rachelle,

    If you have a family history, especially female, of hairloss, then I say you may need Rogaine later. If you are just experiencing hair loss due to pregnancy or a temporary hormone imbalance, Rogaine will not work. Nevertheless, if the hair loss continues, go to a dermatologist. Heredity is the main factor for Rogaine to work.

    I am jealous (jk!) that you have thick hair. I have always had super fine hair but when I saw less and less and at one point even saw thinning patches on my temples, I got really wigged out. I am glad the Rogaine has made my hair grow back. I also feel sorry for the girls who have no cure but a wig.

  7. Holly,

    Isn't that always the case? You know, a product works wonders but we have to pay big bucks for it? In 2001, I started using a British skincare line called Elemis. Their neck and bust lifting serum is amazing but it costs $116! I got it as a gift a while back and loved it but shelling out that money is hard especially when I have already spent it on vintage! I have been using the free serum samples I get with my online orders.

    I will check into the Osmotics for sure! I am a sucker for beauty products.


  8. Thanks for the support, Tara! I love your name by the way;)

    I always tell my friends that as soon as they notice thinning, go to a derm doctor! If you need to use Rogaine, the earlier you start the better. Rogaine will regrow and maintain hair but if you one's hair is "too far gone," the product can only do so much.

    Also, if your hair is thinning due to a possible hormone issue, the dermatologist can help determine the best course of action to get your follicles back on track.


  9. Clare,

    I am so sorry to hear about your stylist friend's predicament. I know how painful and traumatizing it can be when one sees swirls and swirls of hair going down the drain whilst in the bath. Rogaine is amazing and I recommend it to women who have a history of hair loss in their family. Rogaine is the brand name for Minoxidil.

    I hope your friend can go to her GP for answers.


  10. La Dama,

    I have never heard of Olvera before. Sounds very interesting. I have used Avalon Organics Biotin shampoo and conditioner but they did nothing. My hair was falling out due to being off the Pill. Even though the shedding was temporary, my heredity hair loss situation could cause my hair to not grow back like before. So, for now, Rogaine is the answer. But now that it is working, I think I may try organic biotin or herb-infused products again.

  11. Thanks for the advice! And I love your name too! :) hehe
    I didn't even really consider the fact that my hair could be thinner because I had twins a year ago. I'm sure my hormones are all over the place. Thanks for the recommendation on seeing a dermatologist, I think I'll do that just to see what they say.

  12. Tara,

    You are so welcome! Having children is a major cause of hair loss. My sister told me that when she was pregnant with my niece, her hair got really thick and then when her daughter was born, it started to shed big time. My sister started using the Rogaine before me and it really worked for her too.

    By it way, it is cool meeting another "Tara!" For years, I felt like I was the only one. Everyone was Jennifer, Megan, Cathy, Tracy, Becky, Robin, etc. I wanted to be anything other than Tara when I was elementary school!


  13. oh gosh I meant aloe vera plant..i am the worst speller,lol

  14. La Dama,

    That is ok! lol! I know that aloe has been used for skin irritations and burns. I think it is so cool when you cut the plant and it oozes. Maybe its soothing properties can be good for hair too!

  15. I also had thinning hair and it got really bad in 2007 after massive weight loss. I don't know if it was due to the weight loss or what, but it was so bad I was using fake pony tails and Rachelle had recommended I get extensions.

    I switched shampoos and stopped losing weight. I don't know if it was the combination, but it seemed to work. Purology volumnizing shampoo and conditioner are what I use. I started losing weight again after a massive weight gain, and my hair seems to be holding up. If it starts to thing again, I will try the Rogaine.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  16. Kim,

    You are welcome. I know that weight loss, especially if you lose it fast and quick, can cause your hair to fall out temporarily. This is a form of stress and stress can cause a hormone imbalance which causes hair loss.

    I use Pureology but it is so darn expensive! It is worth it though. I also use the Rogaine twice a day and so far, so good. The dermatologist told me that Rogaine works best for women who have a family history of hair loss. It will not work if your hair is shedding due to temporary factors.

    Also a healthy diet chock full of fish and/or lean protein, fruits and veggies, Omega-3 and Omega 6 oils, lots of water, good sleep, and de-stressing activities like meditation and yoga are amazing. I have been doing yoga since 2003 and I meditate. I tend to get stressed easily and yet I try to keep calm for my health and hair's sake!

    If you have a family history of women's hair loss ie, your mom has it, then go see a dermatologist. The sooner you start taking Rogaine, the better it will work because it will maintain the hair on your head better than if you really start losing.


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