Beauty, Beauty, Hair Care

How’s Your Hair Doing? Pandemic Hair and Beyond

For men and women alike, the pandemic brought our regular barbershop and salon appointments to a halt. For the majority of 2020, we had to figure out how to handle caring for our tresses at home, which was cool if you were a barber or hair care professional. However, for the rest of us, it was a lot of trial and error. With a whole lot of errors seen online with posts of self-cutting hair attempts gone very wrong. At least it happened across the board for everyone. Even celebrities were committing hair infractions left and right too.

However, according to L’Officiel How Hair Care Became The New Skin Care (01.13.2021 by Hannah Amini). Skincare and other wellness routines have become a source of therapy and experimentation.

When the access to hairstylists was limited, many took and are taking otherwise daunting treatment regimes into their own hands.  With many people purchasing the products and equipment needed to maintain their hair. Everything from rinses to permanent and semi-permanent hair color, hair treatments, and more are taking place at home.

There is more interest in maintaining healthy hair through natural products they purchase or raid their pantry for, such as mayonaisse or avocado to make deep conditioning hair masks for healthy and shiny hair. There’s been a boon of tips to be found on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, with some influencers gaining followers and sponsors who pay them to try their products. Moreover, there is a wave of hair-based entrepreneurs with  homemade products for every hair type from natural to color-treated, with every type in between, available for consumers to purchase.

For women who had chemical processes like relaxers, perms, Brazilian keratin treatments, and Japanese straightening. Then there was the matter of hair weaves, extensions and heat treatments too.

According to Go natural, try a new style or panic? How black women in the coronavirus era deal with their hair (Los Angeles Times, Arit John April 11,2020)  Many black women found themselves trying to figure out what to do with their hair during the pandemic. Salons, beauty supply stores and stylists that cater to black women adapted by revamping their digital presence with instructional videos and the sale of products online. Felicia Leatherwood, a celebrity hairstylist who has worked with Issa Rae of “Insecure” and director Ava DuVernay, said some black women are experienced “anxiety on top of anxiety” during the pandemic.

“They have anxiety about what’s happening, and then they have anxiety about discovering their hair and working with it and realizing that they actually have not liked their hair, never really liked their texture,” said Ms. Leatherwood.

As a black woman who decided to go natural several years back, I can attest to the nervousness I felt when the pandemic shut everything down. However, I grew up with a mother that loved hair and had no problem trying out products and keeping a supply of haircare at home. I went through trial and error to find out what worked best for me after having my hair relaxed for the majority of my life. I never had an issue with my hair’s texture, but when I was growing up, there wasn’t any product for my curly hair. Nowadays, it’s an embarrassment of riches.

Now, 18 months later as some states have allowed salons to re-open, and with many of them still following Covid protocols, we can safely go back to our hair salons and barbers. Nevertheless, it’s important to maintain your hair in between appointments and not let the lessons learned during lockdown go to waste.

 

Here are some tips for all hair types. Shampoo 101: Choosing the Right Shampoo for Your Hair Type (byrdie.com

Experts for the article

MEET THE EXPERT

  • Sharleen St. Surin-Lord is a board-certified dermatologist based in Maryland.
  • Shab Reslan is a trichologist and hair health advisor at HairClub. Trichology is
    the branch of medical and cosmetic study and practice concerned with the hair and scalp.

A good at-home haircare system should include

  • Shampoo based on your scalp.
  • Oily Scalp- If you have very oily hair, avoid hydrating shampoos that will weigh your hair down. You need something to help clarify your hair and to build volume.
  • Dry Scalp- Avoid shampoos with sulfates that dry hair out. Look for shampoos that promote moisture, hydration, smoothing, or curls.

For Hair Care based on hair types

  • Fine Hair: Look for volumizing shampoos that can boost your strands without weighing hair down.
  • Thick Hair: Hydrating or moisturizing shampoos are great for adding moisture, shine, and smoothness to thick hair that lacks moisture.
  • Straight Hair: Smoothing or straight hair shampoos are typically rich in extra moisturizers and smoothing agents that help seal the cuticle and provide a great start for straight and smooth styles.
  • Wavy Hair: Balancing shampoos are typically a nice middle-of-the-road option. They’re not too moisturizing but won’t dry your hair out.
  • Curly Hair: Look for very moisturizing shampoos that contain ingredients that reduce frizz without weighing down the curls.
  • Damaged/Colored/Brittle Hair: Strengthening or fortifying shampoos are good for damaged, over-processed, highlighted, weakened, or brittle hair, as they usually contain extra protein to improve hair’s condition.

Shop Around for the right haircare.

There are a lot of products on the market, look to the internet to research and get  reviews from other people. Whether you’re back at your salon or not, it’s good to ask your stylist for tips and recommendations. a good stylist wants to help you feel and look your best. When you take care of your hair too, it makes them look good as well.

Look to beauty influencers online to see what products they are touting. Naturally, keep your perspective. Many are paid to hawk the products, but if they are using them with good results, delve into a little. Many new companies offer samples to get you started. This way you don’t waste money investing in something that may not work and just wind up taking up space in your bathroom.

Finally, make sure you keep it fun too. Haircare is serious health business, but it’s all about your crowning glory. Find what makes you feel like your most authentic and beautiful self.

 

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For more information check out the following sites for a more in-depth look at haircare.

 

https://www.byrdie.com/shampoo-101-choosing-the-right-shampoo-3517815

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-04-11/coronavirus-black-hair-care-natural-braiding

https://www.lofficielusa.com/beauty/at-home-hair-care-covid-trend

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Hair Today, Loving your tresses through changes

Hair Love
Hair through the Ages

From the moment we come into the world, much attention is paid to what’s on top of our heads. Whether you were born with a thick shock of hair or peach fuzz, your hair was brushed and adorned with barrettes or ribbons. As we got older, hair care was a part of a routine and it likely went through a litany of styles, colors, and phases over the years.

Once we hit forty, many women begin to notice changes in their hair. It might seem a little less thick, a bit more dry, grey hairs are coming in faster, the list goes on. The battle against aging isn’t just about your skin, hair gets in on the act too. According to the article Surprise-Your Hair is Aging (And Changing) Right Along With You Skin, written by Hanna Baxter in Coveteur “While women can see early signs of hair aging in their 30s (grey is normally the first sign and can start well before the others), it is typically in the 40s when the signs become noticeable,” says Dr. Jeni Thomas, PhD, Hair Biology’s principal scientist. “By the late 40s and early 50s, women are seeing multiple signs which change hair’s fundamental needs.” And although changes in your hair can occur due to endocrine disorders, thyroid issues, and the environment, there are a few signs that are universal to the aging process.

When the effects of the pandemic resulted in a lockdown for states in March 2020, hair salons, barbershops, blowout bars, and more, had to close their doors. Not only were hair professionals temporarily put out, we as their clients were too. Furthermore, if you were a woman in your late thirties, forties, or fifty-plus, and dealing with hair changes, we lost our partners in hair care. Now, the health of our hair was literally in our hands. So let’s focus on what some of us are dealing with.

Thinning– Once thought of as a strictly male problem (male-pattern baldness near the crown), hair thinning is an issue for men and women. In general everyone’s hair gets thinner with age to a greater or lesser degree. However, things for women can begin to change with perimenopause and menopause, when hormones began to fluctuate. As stated in Coveteur, by age 45, the relative scalp coverage is 5 percent less than the maximum, and by age 50, scalp coverage is 11 percent less than the maximum,” says Dr. Thomas. The actual diameter of our hair also changes and that directly affects the strength of the strands.

Texture- When hair diameter changes, so does the texture of your hair. If you were born with curly hair, you know hair texture isn’t uniform, you’ve been coping with that for most of your life. However, if you don’t have curly hair, it can be a shock to realize how much it affects the way your hair looks and feels. Dr. Thomas noted that “The curvature of hair tends to lose its uniformity as we age. That also leads to the appearance of increased frizz and flyaways. Even for curly hair, which has an elliptical shape to begin with, the fibers lose their conformity to the fibers around them, resulting in a curl pattern that is less consistent than in earlier years.”

Dryness- Most teenagers and adults know about oily complexions, but there’s a certain amount of natural oil found in our hair. A number of women had to deal with oily hair that needed to be washed daily or every other day. The same hormones that made you break out as a teen into your twenties and early thirties, will strike again, only this time it’s a matter of less production of natural hair and scalp oils.

Grey Hair- This is inevitable for everyone. When we begin to see grey hair can be determined by genetics. If your parents greyed early, you are likely to begin to see those little hairs about the same time they did. “The average age of Caucasians when greying begins is reportedly mid-30s. People of Asian descent tend to grey a little later, late 30s, and people of African descent even later—mid-40s [on average],” says Dr. Thomas. However, it’s important to note that we can’t stop grey hair, and even if you color it, grey hair isn’t the same as natural color hair. Regardless of how healthy we feel, our bodies slow down as we age. A good diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep helps, but it doesn’t stop your system’s slowdown. The cells that produce color in our hair slow down in favor of other processes our cells need to perform. In other words, grey hair happens.

Lifestyle- Most of us have a hectic life. Stress plays a big part in our overall health, and that includes our hair. Finding ways to limit the stresses we can control helps a great deal. Moreover, finding a way to cope with those we can’t, like a pandemic, is essential to our overall health and our hair. It’s also important to note that even if you are pretty healthy, you may have underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or other autoimmune diseases for which you take medication. Medicine affects your hair too, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just remain mindful and don’t put too much extra on your hair.





What can you do?

  • Eat right. A diet rich in vegetables, lean protein, and fruit helps keep your body and hair beautiful. Supplements haven’t been shown to help hair production, but check with your doctor before you begin taking anything
  • Drink Water. We need to drink enough eater to keep ourselves hydrated. It will help keep your tresses strong. At least 8 glasses a day. JUST PLAIN WATER. If the idea of plain water doesn’t appeal, you can have coffee and tea. There are also flavored seltzers, mineral water, or fruit water. Read the label to be sure it’s low or no-sodium.
  • Sleep. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep. Eight is ideal, but another cute little factoid about menopause is sleeplessness. Many women experience sleep problems during perimenopause , the period of time before menopause when hormone levels and menstrual periods become irregular. Often, poor sleep sticks around throughout the menopausal transition and after menopause.  Try to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly. Turn off the television at least an hour before you turn in. Put your cellphone, tablet, or laptop away and out of sight. Read a book or magazine before bed.
  • Read the labels. When buying shampoo, conditioner, or any hair products, read the label. What goes into a product then onto your hair matters. In the Coveteur article, Dr. Thomas recommends staying away from anything particularly heavy, like an oil or thick balm, as these can weigh down thinner hair. Lightweight and fast-absorbing serums will help you impart more moisture as your sebum levels drop, minus the unwanted weight. She also advises avoiding texturizing products (like those that contain salt) and dry shampoos, as they can leave your hair feeling rougher and dryer. However, if you can’t bear to part with your favorite styling product, just scale back on the amount or use them less frequently. If you’re looking for new products to incorporate into your routine, there are a few key ingredients to embrace to prolong your hair health. Dr. Thomas recommends, “Ingredients like restoring lipids, cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, and the antioxidant that supports hair’s keratin structure, histidine.”
  • For Silver Foxes- If you have decided to embrace your grey hair. Good for you! Look for products that will keep your tresses looking silver and not yellow. Grey hair has specific needs in terms of shampoos and conditioners. Look for products that will keep it beautiful and healthy looking.
Embrace the Changes

Embrace you. There isn’t any law that says you have to have short hair once you reach a certain age. The way you style your hair is your choice. If you want pink streaks, get them. A cute bob, or locks that rival Rapunzel, go for it. The best part about aging is being comfortable in your own skin.

As the pandemic has subsided a bit, salons and barbershops have begun to reopen. If you miss your weekly chat in your stylist’s chair, make an appointment and make sure everything is as it should be in order to ensure safety for everyone. Most of all, have fun. Your hair is a part of you, it by no means defines you as a woman. How you feel is up to you. Long, short, thick, or thin, you are still a queen. Always remember that.

Sources Coveteur, Hanna Baxter October 2020

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Hair raising ch-ch-changes- North of Forty plus women discover hair changes are good

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Turn and face the strange

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it

Changes, David Bowie 1971, Hunky Dory

While 2020 was notable for many things, for a number of women and men March of 2020 marked the Covid-19 closing of hair salons and barbershops. Instead of chatting with your stylist or barber and just shooting the breeze with fellow clients there was silence and panic.

Whether you have high, low, or medium maintenance hair, taking a seat in the chair meant your hair worries were taken care of. Many of us had standing appointments with our beauticians for shampooing, conditioning, coloring, cutting, or trimming. Some had keratin treatments, relaxers, or curly perms. When the doors shut, you had to figure it out and fast.

Once upon a time, when a woman was north of forty or fifty plus, they were expected to cut their hair short. The reasoning seemed to be that long hair was for younger women, which is nonsense. How a woman wants to style her hair is her call. If you like it long, keep it. Love it short, do you!

However, Covid-19 said do your own hair and many of us were left scrambling. About six years ago, I stopped getting relaxers and went back to my natural hair. It wasn’t a journey I wanted to go on by myself, so I consulted with a professional and had a standing appointment to get my hair done every two weeks. TJ did everything. She customized my hair color, washed and conditioned my hair with intermittent outside trims. I had no worries. Then I was in Connecticut for a stretch and when I was about to come back to New York, everything was on lockdown. I had to figure it out and fast.

I’d always worn my hair straight, first with a relaxer and then with a blowout. I didn’t have a clue what I would look like with curly hair. I’m not a teenager anymore. Then I did some research and checked in with professionals for advice on what type of products to use. I was pleasantly surprised to see there are a lot of choices and products to use for curly hair. After all, the reason I went straight to begin was the fact there wasn’t any one product line or product for curly hair (Caucasian or African American). Thankfully that changed. I ordered what I needed online and I was able to get some things fairly quickly, but certain items like hair color, I had to buy in bulk. I couldn’t afford to get a bottle or two, there are a whole lot of Clairol devotees out there.

If there was a good thing to come out of this hair wise, it was an opportunity to embrace change. Maybe you had dark brunette colored hair and you tried your hand at highlights, or maybe the ombre-craze. If you were covering up the grey roots, maybe you decided to go full-on silver shoulder length hair. Locks, twists, streaks, highlights, low-lights, braids, the list goes on. As long as you weren’t working with chemicals (hair color doesn’t count as one to me), your only limit was your imagination. You had the chance to create a look of your own.

Well, we are not in lockdown anymore, but social distancing is still in place. Most of us are able to make appointments to see our favorite hair magic practitioners, and I suppose the plus side is there are no more walk-ins, everything is by appointment, which is safe for both us and the stylists.

If you changed your hair and you’re still not used to seeing the new you in the mirror, don’t avoid the mirror. Like the late great David Bowie sang, ‘turn and face the strange’. It’s not that bad even in the face of time.

Ch-ch-changes

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time

Changes, David Bowie 1971 Hunky Dory

Having a hair moment, have a cup of tea or decaf with a scone.

Blueberry Scones recipe by Chef Parisi adapted by me

For the Scones:

• 2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet rice, or brown rice flour)

• 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoons sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar)

• 1/2 tablespoon baking powder

• pinch of sea salt

• 2/3 sticks cold unsalted butter (vegan butter, margarine)

• 1/2 cup cold buttermilk (1/2 cup of almond, rice, or soy milk plus 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice to apple cider vinegar. Stir and let sit for five minutes.)

• 1 large eggs (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or egg replacer)

• 3/4 cups fresh blueberries

• melted unsalted butter (vegan butter, margarine)

For the Glaze:

• 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar (Organic confectioner’s sugar, Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute)

• 1/2 to 1 tablespoons whole milk (dairy: 2% or non-fat) (non-dairy; almond, rice, or soy milk)

Makes 6 scones

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Resting Time: 45 minutes

1/2. Preheat the oven to 375°.

1. Add the flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and mix with a whisk.

1 1/2. Next, grate the butter on a cheese grater and fold it into the dry ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula or spoon mix until it becomes a dough.

2 1/2. Fold in the blue berries gently until completely combined into the dough.

3. Place the dough onto a clean surface dusted with flour and roll out until it is 1/2” thick.

3 1/2. Cut the dough into 6 triangle pieces and place them into a circle 1/8” to 1/4” apart from one another on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

4. Chill the dough on the sheet tray in the refrigerator to harden the butter in the dough for 10 to 12 1/2 minutes.

4 1/2. Remove the dough and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoons of sugar.

  1. Bake at 187 1/2° for 12 1/2 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn lightly brown. Remove and place on a rack and cool to room temperature.
  • To Make a flaxseed or chia seed egg. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds with three tablespoons of cold water. Let it sit at least five minutes.
  • Be careful when buying flaxseed to get plain flaxseed, not toasted flaxseed.