So. It's been three months since my last chemo treatment. I'm feeling completely back to normal. I still get tired (like, really tired) by the afternoon, but I can no longer remember if that's a chemo-recovery thing or a mom thing. Probably a bit of both. And I am making peace with my short hair. I even…like it? Mostly?
It's just a lot to get used to, you know? I never realized how much of my personal style was wrapped up in big, messy hair until it was gone. So many of my go-to outfits now look…strange. But I'm learning. And when I look back at what my hair (or lack thereof) looked like just a few short months ago?
I'll TAKE THE PIXIE, THANK YOU.
No wonder I always wore a wig. You forget, you know? You forget how bad it was. Ugh – especially when I lost my eyelashes and most of my brows (middle pic). That one just kills me.
Shortly after the third pic (above) was taken, I made an appointment to see Shannon at Salon Ziza. I was feeling slightly ridiculous – what could Shannon possibly do with so little hair? (If you recall, Shannon and Salon Ziza have been my saving grace through all of this chemo mess.) But I was desperate – I hated my hair, it felt mannish, not sassy, and it was looking like a helmet on my head. If nothing else, I just wanted her to tell me that it was, IDON'TKNOW, growing back fast or something (lie, if you need to, lie!).
As it turns out, Shannon had a ton of ideas. Here's what she ended up doing:
1. Warmed up the color overall. The ashy brown (aka my natural color) wasn't doing anything for my skin tone. Just by adding color, not only would it reflect more light, but the color would actually plump up the strands of hair, making it look thicker overall.
2. Once my color was done, she painted on a few highlights with a brush – just where the sun would naturally hit. Tonal variations (even in short, dark hair) help to keep the 'helmet head' look at bay.
3. Used a ton of product to "push" my hair forward. You know those cute little Mia Farrow-like points in a pixie? The ones that – and I'm reaching here – I'll refer to as "bangs"? Yeah. You have to make those. With boatloads of product.
I've actually started carrying around one of those little hockey-pucks of molding cream in my bag so I can refresh my 'do. The more I wear it like this, the more it cooperates, but we'll see. I've heard horror stories of insanely curly hair post-chemo….soooo…yeah. (Shannon assures me that we can relax it, if necessary.)
The other thing that really, really helps? Not washing my hair. I rinse it out in the shower, but it's been about a week since I used actual shampoo, and it looks so much better. Food for thought, I guess.
Anyway, here are the products I swear by for both growing out and styling a pixie. I'm shocked by how well these have worked. It's more than I dared to hope for.
This is the standard recommendation post-chemo. (It helps to strengthen your nails, too.) I suspect this is the biggest reason I'm seeing such massive growth. (Hair typically grows only 1/4 inch per month….I've had almost double that.) You can get fancier biotin, but I've just been using the Target brand.
Yup. I'm rubbing Target-brand Rogain on my head. Nothing about that sentence sounds like something I ever thought I'd say. Sigh. But this little tidbit is endorsed by breastcancer.org, so there you go. Apparently, it helps to 'spur' the regrowth after your last chemo treatment. I used it twice a day at first, and now I'm down to once a day.
Nice hold, not too crunchy. Helps to keep the hair pushed forward. Shannon told me to think of 'shampooing' my hair with the gel (aka rub it all over) after I got out of the shower. Slightly wet hair will help dilute it somewhat.
I've been trying a bunch of hair wax products, and I think this is my favorite. I apply it several times throughout the day, pushing the hair forward and sculpting my "bangs" into points. American Crew's Fiber has great hold (and is Mike's fav), but I have to add something shinier on top (I like a little shine).
My eyelashes (now) look amazing. I still have a few holes in my eyebrows, but they are coming along nicely. They didn't actually fall out until January, so this regrowth happened in just a little over a month. All thanks to Latisse (I've been using it on my eyebrows, too). Lovelovelove this product.
So that's what I've been up to lately. A little Rogaine, a little Latisse…you know. The usual. (snort)
Know what's funny? Mike's been after me – for months – to ditch the wig. He's always been a fan of the head scarf, and now the super-short pixie. Which is weird – I always thought my long hair was so sexy, you know?
He says health and comfort are pretty sexy, too.
This guy. Love. Him.