March 4, 2014

Hair Update: 3 Months Post-Chemo (Or That Time I Went From Bald To Pixie)

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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?

 

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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.  

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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. 

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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.

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1. Biotin, 5000 mcg per day

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.

2. Rogaine (AKA "Hair Regrowth Treatment)

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.  

3. Rene Furterer Vegetal Sculpting Gel

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.  

4. Style Sexy Hair Control Maniac

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).  

5.  Latisse

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.  

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This guy.  Love. Him.

xo,

S

 

 

 

By March 4, 2014 52 No tags Permalink
52 Comments
  • Jennifer
    March 4, 2014

    I LOVE it, Shana!! You look great and I’m glad you’re feeling pretty good, too. Rock on! XO Jen

  • Ellena
    March 4, 2014

    I love the pixie on you! It helps that it’s been my fave hairstyle on myself for years ;)

  • Seanna
    March 4, 2014

    Such a great update! So hopeful and happy and “I’m finally getting there!”
    You look wonderful. I don’t know anyone who could pull off a wicked pixie and k-way so perfectly. :)

  • Diane Hughes
    March 4, 2014

    Your blog makes me smile. I just wanted to tell you that. – Diane

  • Lane
    March 4, 2014

    I love him too! Where is his jacket!? Ok yes I’m a mom now.

  • Ashley
    March 4, 2014

    Your hair guru is pretty awesome. You look great.

  • Rebekah
    March 4, 2014

    I don’t know you, obviously, but I’m very happy for you that you are done with chemo, and your hair is growing back in. And also that you have a loving family…it makes me smile to see you with your husband who loves you, and your sweet kids. I’m glad you have had some good support through all of this.

  • Fanny
    March 4, 2014

    :)
    Fully agree with Diane! A sunshine!

  • chez
    March 4, 2014

    Love your hair and, more importantly, love your attitude. I am also so impressed by your marriage. You guys seem to have an incredible and respectful connection.

  • Nina
    March 4, 2014

    You look fabulous, as always!

  • Nicole Mulvany
    March 4, 2014

    You look so Mia Farrow! I always thought she rocked the pixie like nobody else could (and ever has) until now! You own it!!! Love it. You look great. I’m so proud of you. So happy you are doing so good. And on a side note. Ummm what kind of necklace is Mike wearing. B/c I may want to make fun of him later. If it’s a herringbone gold chain. You just made my day. Love you!!!

  • Amanda | naturalmommie.com
    March 4, 2014

    OH I just love this and love seeing you as YOU! You’re rocking the heck out of your pixie and look absolutely radiant! I am sitting here smiling big for you. And that husband…what a keeper. xoxo

  • Jenny
    March 4, 2014

    You look awesome! All those celebs with their “brave ” new dos have nothing on you. Love reading your blog.

  • Wendy
    March 4, 2014

    I too love the pixie on you. Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us. I am awed by your bravery.

  • Sue
    March 5, 2014

    Your hubs is a keeper – his priorities are you. I love you with your pixie and I love you with long hair – either way, you look fab with both as it’s your personality that shines through. And more than anything – you have been so brave sharing this journey.

  • Beth
    March 5, 2014

    You look fabulous! And, while your hair looks amazing, I have to say that your beauty is radiating from the inside out- for you have got a GORGEOUS heart Shana!! xoxo

  • Beth
    March 5, 2014

    You’re making me all emotional this morning! Pictures say a thousand words. You have something so special, it’s difficult to put words to it but thanks for sharing it with us.

  • michelleinbda@gmail.com
    March 5, 2014

    So beautiful. You are an amazing person

  • Rachel Parker
    March 5, 2014

    Very cute! I have a pixie and I LOVE it. Women are often really invested in that lion mane, but the truth is that most people are just as beautiful (if not MORE beautiful) with a pixie. I wish more people realized they can pull it off by, you know, getting it cut and just ROCKING it.

  • liz
    March 5, 2014

    you’ve got a great man! and a beautiful pixie “cut”. :)

  • Ginny
    March 5, 2014

    You look radiant, so happy for you!

  • Natalie Hutter
    March 5, 2014

    Shana, you are inspiring. What an impact you are making for so many. One word: Gratitude

  • Jean
    March 5, 2014

    There’s totally something in my eye… sniff. You guys are awesome.

  • Rebecca
    March 5, 2014

    aww, you guys are so cute :) Love your pixie too!

  • Jenna
    March 5, 2014

    I’ve been reading your blog since your sister Scotti posted an article on Facebook. I am
    Not a mother yet, but still your peices on fashion and home and life are not only genius but extremely entertaining. I am a hairstylist myself, and will absolutely share this article with my clients who also through this horrible experience. Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration!!

  • DontBlameTheKids
    March 5, 2014

    You’re beautiful. No hair, short hair, all hair. BEAUTIFUL. (And not just because you had cancer.)

  • Miranda
    March 5, 2014

    Love him and you!

  • Patricia S.
    March 5, 2014

    Your hair looks super chic and confident, just like you!

  • Jamie
    March 5, 2014

    Makes me miss my super short hair. Though it was so long pre-chemo, I loved it that short. My fave hair products now that I’m “growing it out” are Aquage Transforming paste and Goldwell Spray Wax. They’re both great for creating those tiny “bangs,” and now I’m using them to rock a faux-hawk. Great all day hold without looking greasy or dirty.

  • Jeannine
    March 5, 2014

    Love, love, love the pixie. It looks so refreshing. You notice more of “you”.

  • Meredith
    March 5, 2014

    You look fantastic! And what an awesome husband you have! I’m happy you are healthy and full of joy!

  • Hallie
    March 5, 2014

    I love your pixie! You look completely fabulous with that hair. Hallie

  • Francine
    March 5, 2014

    Ditch the wigs! You look wonderful and amazing!

  • Liz
    March 5, 2014

    I so know what you mean! I thought my long hair was sexy as well. I ended up keeping the pixie for ages (growing past that mullet stage is HARD!), but I have now done it and am back to a choppy bob now.
    Def ditch the wig. It looks fab!!

  • Meg
    March 5, 2014

    I recently went from long hair to a pixie. I relate with how much it changes your personal style, and my cut was by choice. A lot of outfits I used to love just feel so masculine now. Still, I’m keeping it for a little while because I can mohawk it. You probably need just a touch more length for that (sorry, probably tired of hearing that), but I feel so freaking cool walking around with my mama mohawk. Hair products are key with short hair. My two faves are Big Sexy Hair Powder Play to add height and Style Sexy Hair Dry Wax Spray for texture.

  • Stacy
    March 5, 2014

    What a perfectly timed post. I have about 1/2 inch of hair now and am about to start rockin’ the pixie. I have absolutely NO idea what I am doing! I am going to ask my oncologist about the biotin and Rogaine, and I am going to try the sculpting gels you recommend. Thanks so much for the tips!!!

  • Jenna
    March 5, 2014

    Paul Mitchell Lab Elastic Shaping Paste
    I rock short hair by choice (thankfully) but this stands my super thick 3- 5 inch hair straight up for days and shines for a wet “ish” look. I love it! It’s a bit sticky to put in but on damp hair and rub it in your hands to “melt” it. Rockin a spike/Mohawk.
    As a SAHM this saves me time, I can just get up and haul my toddler and preschooler to the gym without having to “do” my hair.
    So glad you are feeling healthy and I love that your husband is there for YOU.
    As a long time follower, keep it up!

  • Ali Stevens
    March 5, 2014

    Mike’s pretty Epic. You both are.

  • Tamar
    March 5, 2014

    Rock on pixie girl. Keep on sprinkling the pixie dust. I love it .

  • Sandy
    March 5, 2014

    You look beautiful!!! Love the strength of your marriage and love for each other. So powerful…

  • Erin@clevergirlreviews.com
    March 6, 2014

    Glad to see it’s coming back! I love the pixie and can totally see you rocking a Ginnifer Goodwin style do in a few months! I think if I was in your shoes I might take the time to dye my hair a crazy color, if your hair can handle it that is!

  • Tricia
    March 6, 2014

    I love the pixie look on you! I actually had a pixie until my 2nd was born and I decided to grow it out. It’s been 5 years since I started growing it out and I’m itching to go back to my pixie – and seeing pics of this cute style on you makes me want it even more! The time it saves in the morning! And oddly, the confidence I think I had with it. Now I feel like I’m hiding behind my hair and I feel better about myself when I pull it back. I’d love to hear from you on this area having gone from long to short, even if it was involuntary.
    I think your hubby is right – health and comfort have a ton to do with sexy! I know it’s been a long road for you…but seems like you have a huge support group!

  • robyn florea
    March 6, 2014

    You look gorgeous and healthy. Hubby is definitely a keeper.

  • Emily
    March 6, 2014

    You look awesome! Personally, I loved that stage, post-chemo. As the mom (at the time) of a 2 and 12, I felt like it gave me a little spark that work+parenting+being 44 had faded a bit. :) I also did not use anything for regrowth, but my lashes and eyebrows (which look totally normal to other people) are still disappointing — meaning, I am a wee bit tired of adding powder to my brows and a bit to my lash line!! Anyway, enjoy this part. It’s fun and a relief from all of the cancer treatment. xo Emily

  • Marianna
    March 6, 2014

    Congrats on rocking the pixie with style! I swore by biotin too. It totally helped my hair grow out. It also takes about 3 months to kick in, so you’ll begin to see a lot more growth soon, and it’ll get thicker too. Lots more fun hairstyles to come for you. Short hair can be great!

  • KAS
    March 6, 2014

    You look amazing with a pixie, it really highlights how beautiful and feminine your facial features are. Gorgeous.
    And your husband is such a treasure for you and an amazing example to your boys!

  • Lindsay
    March 6, 2014

    You look awesome, for real.

  • Courtney Walsh
    March 11, 2014

    I just found your blog googling style tips for busy moms (I’m so lame and desperate) and this post is so amazing and inspiring. You’re darn gorgeous!! :)
    Can’t wait to scour the rest to learn how to dress like something other than a college student. I’m 38. :o\

  • Fran
    March 12, 2014

    hey now, don’t hate on “insanely curly.” Curly hair is fuuuun. I have been letting my curly-flag fly since 1982 (well, ok, I didn’t get hair till ’83 but w/e).
    *wink
    glad you’re feeling better and looking BOOM.

  • Patti
    April 1, 2014

    Wow. I’m going to my hairdresser/ friend tomorrow to see what she can do with MY 3-month post-chemo hair, too! I just did a quick search and happened upon this. You look great. If all goes well tomorrow (and the weather cooperates!) by the weekend I’ll be “out of the closet” and ditching the caps, scarves and fake bangs.
    I’ve been using Rogaine and my look is very similar to yours in length and coverage.
    Many thanks, and be well.
    Patti

  • addison.se@gmail.com
    June 4, 2014

    I’m new to the blog but wanted to share that I feel your emotions in this journey. I was DX TNBC at 24 weeks pregnant in 2012. Glad to report I’m 1.5 years cancer free and almost rocking a “kelly Ripa” Bob. Its true what you said about all your clothes looking different when you’ve got short hair. I’ll be reading more for fashion ideas. Summer is hard with all of my chest scars. But scarred and different, and alive, is a beautiful thing. @missse06

  • Stephanie
    June 26, 2014

    Hi Shana,
    I just started chemo as well and my eyelashes and eyebrows are looking sparse. How did you use the Latisse since it is so expensive? I just started using it, and was wondering if you used 4 applicators (one for each eye and one for each eyebrow) or just 2? I used one drop for one eye AND eyebrow, and then repeated on the opposite side.
    I hope you can explain what you did…I’m new to all of this.
    Thanks,
    Stephanie

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