Hair health and hormones are inextricably linked. If you’re a woman in your forties, you might find you’re having more bad hair days than usual. The appearance of grey strands is one thing but on top of that, the drop in hormones duringperimenopause brings an extra set of challenges to deal with. You might find that your hair is becoming dull, fine and fragile or there’s just not as much of it as there used be. With menopause, which typically happens to women in their early fifties, periods stop completely, and hair loss and thinning continues.
While this may be distressing, it’s important to remember that it is completely normal. A heady cocktail of declining oestrogen and progesterone levels, coupled with a rise in androgens (sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘male’hormones), results in a shorter hair growth cycle, increased shedding, and hair strands that are finer and drier. However, knowing that this is normal may not be much consolation when you’re feeling less than at your best. The good news is you don’t need to simply grin and bear it.
At Do-Lalli, our philosophy is to work with, not against, what you’ve got, and to create cuts that require minimal upkeep. It’s an approach well-suited to thinning, brittle, hormonal hair. While mousses, sprays, blow-drying and tonging can give the appearance of volume, long term this is likely damage your hair and exacerbate the very problem you’re trying to fix. As we’re fond of saying at Do-Lalli, in hair as in life, don’t mask it – deal with it!
You can take a number of practical steps at home to help offset the impact of declining hormones on your hair. Supplements can be a big help. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is said to boost hair growth and many women swear by it (including Lalli’s mum, herself a hairdresser by trade). Another hair-health hero is hydrolysed collagen which, according to one Do-Lalli client, is also the bomb for perimenopausal joint pain.
In addition to tackling hair health from the inside, it’s important to give your hair the care it deserves from the outside. Hair bands can damage fragile hair so if you want to wear your hair up or keep it out of your face, opt for soft cotton bands rather than regular hair elastics. Similarly, hair grips can rip at your hair so approach with caution.
If thinning hair is becoming an issue, consider upgrading to a silk pillowcase. The smooth surface reduces friction and so prevents frizz, tangling and breakage, and the fabric doesn’t absorb your hair’s moisture as cotton does. Silk pillowcases are also reputed to reduce wrinkles and are cooler on the skin, a bonus if you’re affected by hot flushes and night sweats. Single-sided silk pillowcases offer a less expensive option and if you’re concerned about the ethics of silk production, satin provides many of the benefits of silk for a fraction of the price.
When it comes to salon visits, little and often is your best bet. Regular trims will keep split ends at bay and encourage strong, healthy hair growth. Good quality shampoos and conditioners that are sulphate and paraben-free are well worth the investment. Infinity Foods on North Street, just a block away from our salon, have a great selection and we use similar, no-nasties products ourselves.
Caring for cranky hair needn’t mean calling time on colour either. If hormonal upheavals are affecting your mood, feeling good about yourself and your appearance can be an excellent stabilising factor. Whether you want to cover emerging greys, make the silver shine or be dramatically ginger when your natural colour is ‘meh’, we’ll factor in your hair-health when weighing up your options. The majority of our colouring products are vegan, organic, and all our foils are re-used or recycled. Rest assured, not only do we care about the health and future of your hair, we care about our planet’s health and future too.
In short, we’re a sympathetic salon and, as your hair begins to change, if you find your regular style or colour is no longer cutting it (forgive the pun!), we’re more than happy to advise on alternatives to suit you, your hair and your lifestyle.