I had the recent pleasure of talking all things hair with Cornwall Curl Specialist Sarah White. We discussed my hair loss experience and Sarah's knowledge of others going through similar. I was fascinated by her knowledge and she reminded me of a few things I’d forgotten!
I remembered my hair knotting, the matting, it clinging to my clothes and finding it everywhere, but I’d forgotten that it was actually painful at times. When it first started falling out I could actually feel it coming out at the root, and I swear I could hear it at times. Journaling all of my experiences would have made it easier to look back, but as I said to Sarah, I sometimes struggled to hold a pen. Not a fun experience for a writer.
I wanted to meet Sarah as she volunteers for Cancer Hair Care, the charity that kindly donated a topsy turvy dolly to help my little friend understand my baldness. She volunteers twice a month on their helpline and is involved in their wig cleaning service. She’s also taken the honour of shaving the heads of clients who are losing their hair through chemo. And as my hair is starting to grow back, I was interested in collaborating with her on all things hair regrowth and chemo curls.
My hair is growing back in the same way it first grew when I was a baby. It’s thicker at the back and darker than I expected. But I’ve been dying bits of my hair since I was sixteen, so how did I really know what colour it was? What I do know is that I started to go grey at the age of 29 and I’ve been hopeful that not too many will return. I actually think that where my hair is growing slower its where most of the greys were. I'm now wishing daily that the greys stay away (I’m not ready for foxy silver just yet).
To help my hair along I’ve been massaging rosemary oil into it and rolling castor oil through my eyebrows. I daren’t mess with my lashes to avoid harming my eyes, but they are now long enough to take a little mascara. And if my brows return as they first grew, it’s going to be a bushy new year for me. Maybe I’ll be on-trend for once, as being a nineties girl they’ve been preened and tweezed more than they should have.
Sarah reminded me of the importance of supplements for hair regrowth as well. Given that the chemo kills off nutrients to the hair follicle, causing the hair to fall out, supplementing with nutrients can help the regrowth process. I take a few supplements already to support my immune system and protein to help my muscles, but I hadn’t thought about using anything for hair growth.
And so I thought I'd share with you the things I'm loving, those I'm trying, what I'm not keen on and what I'm about to start using. As I’m not an expert in any of this and can only offer my experiences, I’m sharing to stimulate your curiosity for you to find your own way.
Always check products for ingredients in case of allergies.
The things I love
Nikura Rosemary Aromatherapy Hair and Skin Oil is just lovely to use. It smells delicious, feels like a treat and my hair absorbs it beautifully. It's non-greasy and I really feel it's been helping. You can also make your own rosemary water as a cheaper alternative. Either are beneficial for both hair loss and thinning.
Shavata Brow & Lash Strengthener has been sitting in my cupboard for years and I'm finally using it. It feels nourishing and my brows are returning quickly. For a more affordable version take a look at Bionable Castor Oil for brows and lashes. Both are organic.
I'm hearing about other uses for castor oil as I talk to various people about the things I'm using. I'm amazed by it's multitude of benefits. I'll have to do a future post on it.
The things I'm trialling... hmmmmmmmm
I discovered the Grow Gorgeous range on TikTok, and although it's too soon to tell how effective it is, I'm not keen from the get-go. The Intense Serum left my hands sticky and grabbed at the hair. A couple of strands came out as a consequence, which doesn't happen with the lovely Nikura oil. I didn't like the smell either. I prefer more natural products. I'll be patient and try it a few more times to at least give it a chance though. Their Repair Strengthening Hair Mask is very heavy. I just felt like I didn't really want either product on my hair, and I think it's important to listen to your gut on these things.
Yet to try
I have GLOWWA Hair Food on order. It's been recommended as a clean supplement with a recipe designed specifically to help with hair growth. They also have a menopause version.
I'd love to know if you've had any experience with these products or use something else that you just love. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Everyone’s hair loss and regrowth is different. After chemotherapy, some people find that their hair grows back a different colour. And you may have heard of chemo curls. It's where a person grows the tightest little ringlets after their treatment even if they didn't have curls before. Sarah explained to me that hormones can be a factor, similar to when this happens due to hormonal changes through pregnancy. Also, in the absence of hair, the follicle can change shape.The shape of the follicle is one of the determining factors
of whether the hair grows straight, wavy or curly. If the shape changes as a result of chemo, the hair can grow back different to how it was prior to chemo.
So it's fair to say I'm learning a lot through my own experience and Sarah has informed me about the science behind that. And honestly, she is such a lovely person that anyone going to her for any aspect of hair loss, regrowth, or curly hair expertise, you are in good hands. I took my wig off and was showing her my new hair growth within minutes as she made me feel so comfortable. If you live in Cornwall and want to book her or are interested in her knowledge, you can find her on Instagram.
Even though my hair appears to be growing thick and fast, it's going to be an evolving experience as time goes on. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out and what I can do with it during the inbetween stages.
And don't forget, hair loss isn't just chemo related. Alopecia affects approximately 2% of the population and male patterned baldness has a significant emotional impact for some. When things happen to us that are out of our control, it can really play with our self-perception and identity, none of which should be 'brushed' over (I'm allowed the pun as I'm currently only sporting a little bit of baby hair).
Thanks for reading, and please do share my posts with people you think might find some value in what I've written.
Wishing you well,
If you'd like to read more, you might like my Facing Hairloss Through Chemo post