Update on Hair Loss, Alopecia, Omegas, Candida, Mega X

before-and-after-mega-x-plexus, hair loss, alopecia, omega

So many of you have emailed me and commented continuing to ask what I’m experiencing and doing in relation to my hair loss issue (an issue I’ve had to deal with since I was 19).

In particular, many have asked about minoxidil. Minoxidil was absolutely effective for me. You can read the blog post here. But I didn’t like the side effects. (More here). Weight gain and facial hair were the mildest. It was the depression (and anger) that got to me.

My extremely premature hair loss bothered me a lot! I even wore wigs sometimes, which was sometimes fun and sometimes weird. (see some of my favorite wigs here). I’ve tried many supplements. Hair Repair (the best at the time that I had tried), straight saw palmetto, and everything I could read about that seemed to have promising reviews. After taking something for 6-8 weeks, I would see mildly encouraging results, but then nothing. Revivogen was one of the most frustrating products, building up a supply of new growth only to lose it all (due to the synchronized growing and shedding cycles it encourages – completely pointless to me).

I’ve been trying something lately I wanted to share with you. I’ve been on this product for about 3 weeks. I went on it after dreaded post partum shed made me feel just terrible and always self conscious.

Here is the before and after:

before-and-after-mega-x-plexus

The before was from about 8 weeks ago, but it is what my hair looked like when I started on Mega X (made by Plexus). (Besides a few hairs I could see that had started to sprouted from taking Hair Repair for two weeks). I stopped taking Hair Repair when I started taking Mega X.

What encourages me is the way the new hairs line my hair line, and the way that stray piece of hair no longer falls down the center of my face because it has other hair to “cling” to. (Yes, hair sticks to each other – it’s one of the trademarks of healthy hair).

This is just the beginning, so we’ll see what happens.

Also after:

after 3 weeks of Plexus Mega X hair loss update

(I’m wearing Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer in Linen in this picture – I love it!)

And just another photo I like:

aftermegax

I should say that besides being on Mega X, for a month previously I was on the Triplex system from Plexus, which balances hormones and blood sugar, something I knew I was in need of. I would like to talk about this issue in a future post. I do not know how much this contributes, but I know hormones which are out of whack can be at the root of many unlikely issues.

Ingredients of Mega X:

Ahiflower seed oil, raspberry seed oil, broccoli seed oil, SDA (from Ahiflower seed oil), sea buckthorn berry oil, pomegranate seed oil, avocado oil.

 

Reese by Noriko – Wearing Hair

Hello new hair style. Perfect cut and color. The hair I’ve always wanted. Don’t mind if I do this do from now on.

Reese Wig by Noriko

Does it take long to do my hair? No, not really. Who does my hair? A lady named Patti…she lives a ways from here.

Reese Wig by Noriko

Little effort, lots of confidence.

Doesn’t break the bank.

Because this is Reese by Noriko. From Patti’s Pearls in California.

Reese Wig by Noriko

reese by noriko

More on Hair Health, Alopecia, Minoxidil, Saw Palmetto

It’s such a relief to stop using minoxidil (Rogaine, Lipogaine, etc).

After the initial wow I had using 5%, the side effects influenced me to switch 2%. Much better. However, the side effects of minoxidil are cumulative. I’m getting personal here, but tweezing your face twice a week, than once a day, than twice a day, will get to a girl after awhile. Then there was the side effect of depression. Not really strong, but a constant feeling of uneasiness that seemed to lessen considerably whenever I forgot to use minoxidil for a few days. Nate noticed it, too. Of course I also lost an alarming amount of hair and would start using it again.

I won’t comment on the side effect of weight gain except to say that it made an ordinary battle to stay fit harder. Nobody wants that.

So I’m done. And I already am experiencing the benefits of quitting. In one week I’ve gone from having to use the tweezer twice a day to twice a week. And what’s there is much finer in texture.

To counteract the withdrawal I knew I would experience quitting minoxidil (you lose all your hair gain in a matter of weeks if you quit minoxidil – no such thing as using it for awhile and then quitting if you want good results), I’m using megadoses of topical and internal saw palmetto – an herb. The only herb I know of with a reputation for stopping hair shed.

I told myself if I experienced the hair shed, I would mix minoxidil with it and go off of it more slowly. But in the end, I went cold turkey. It’s been a week so far. I know from experience that I would have lost a lot of hair already going cold turkey, but I’m not. In fact, I experience less hair shed than I did on Lipogaine.

Every day:

I take one dose of Hair Repair from Whole Body Research (includes over 300mg of saw palmetto) and

I absolutely douse the crown of my head in Surface Awaken Therapeutic Treatment, the second ingredient of which is Saw Palmetto. You can’t skimp with this stuff – I pour it on thick.

And that’s all I’m doing right now. Both products contain all the B vitamins and the Saw Palmetto also has all the amino acids which make up hair, as well as many other minerals, herbs and vitamins which help to maintain hair health. Between the two you are doing the essential things I’ve learned you must do to even have a chance against hair loss:

Block DHT.

Cause new growth.

Nourish hair.

They are 3 separate things which require 3 separate types of ingredients. Rogaine or minoxidil, for example, is a drug that artificially causes new growth but it doesn’t block DHT, so if you use it all by itself you could get new hair that gets attacked by DHT. If you block DHT only, you may not get new hair growth in places you have lost hair. And if you don’t nourish hair, the combination of the above might result in weak hair that is easily damaged or breaks off. This is not to say that effectively doing all 3 is easy. We are still in a stage of a lot of research when it comes to restoring lost hair from stress, genetics, medical conditions or trauma.

Here’s the picture from a few months back after using minoxidil-based products for about 4 months. Read more about my experience before and after minoxidil here.

Here is a picture of my hair after 1 year and 5 months of minoxidil use and the week after I stopped using minoxidil based products respectively:

minoxidil and saw palmetto hair loss

WP_20140621_09_03_53_Pro

 

(The first picture is product free and the second two were both after having done my hair). The only thing that’s really clear in my mind is that the Surface Awaken and Hair Repair have kept me from losing any progress I made with Lipogaine (Minoxidil) so far, though it’s only been a week. This is unexpected and of course, makes me hopeful that I will not have to go back on the stuff ever. The 2% was not quite as amazingly effective as the 5% anyway (though it was effective) but I just don’t think I can live with the increasing side effects for the rest of my life, which is, of course, what you have to be prepared to do if you use minoxidil-based products.

I’ll try to keep you all posted.

Interesting fact about Saw Palmetto: even though it is claimed by many (note the word claimed) to promote new hair growth, it also is prescribed by alternative medicine doctors and used by patients to reduce unwanted body hair. If it works, it brings many interesting questions to mind about drugs versus herbs, and the healing code many believe to be in herbs. The only way I can imagine saw palmetto to do this simultaneously is that by working with the female hormonal system, instead of just blindly causing hair growth (anyway and everywhere), like minoxidil tends to.

 

 

The best hair straightener – Chi Nano

its time to get a chi nano

Obviously it was time

inglot-477-inglot-20-inglot-317-b

To get a Chi Nano.

its time to get a chi

what straightener should i get for fine curly hair

chi nano straightener

This is why you’ll love the Chi Nano.

As opposed to other Chi Straighteners, it has temperature control.

this is why you'll love the chi nano

And it heats up lightening quickly. 

And it still heats all the way up to 395 if you want it to. I don’t think I need that. Even at 290 the Chi still does a better safer job than cheap straighteners (I’ve tried. I know.)

chi nano straightener

I only had to straighten a few pieces to get my hair to behave. I maintained its wave and texture by focusing on the most unruly defectors (see top picture to see what I mean!).

Don’t forget your thermal protectants and volumizers.

smooth sleek volumized hair

The Sexyhair Straightening Balm is a must have. My hair was very manageable and smooth using just a pea-sized amount of this gem. Also it seems almost unscented. You know I hate chemically overpowering fragrances.

Aveda Brilliant Damage control is a must-use as well. I’ve used it for 7 years. Longer than any product.

BB Thickening Hairspray is the best hairspray I’ve ever used, including Kenra, Pureology, Sebastian, all kinds. And it smells delicious.

For straightening, the Aveda is too wet. I have to use another thermal protectant. I used DermOrganic this time because the Chi Iron Guard I have smells so strong and I got a rash on my arm where it rubbed off. I don’t know if that’s the best though. I’m still on the hunt for a natural argan oil type hair protectant. Suggestions anyone?

This retails between $160-$210. I got it at @marshalls for $69.00. #fabfound

Length Update – Shaping a Growing Pixie

growing a pixie to a bob for curly hair - micro links and alopecia

Joni at Franklyn has my back. Months after cutting my pixie it’s still an unmanageable mop of hair. It’s been almost 8 weeks since Tech Hair linking in Philadelphia, and I was excited to get my first haircut of my new hair.

I explained the knots to Joni and mentioned that a wide tooth comb and brush were best, as was no straighteners. She was almost as psyched about the tiny links as I was and was amazed that there was something like that out there for hair-challenged people. So much healthier than extensions. I recommend! If you can afford it that is. But as Dolly Parton says, whether it’s real or not, your hair should cost a lot.

growing a pixie to a bob for curly hair - micro links and alopecia

My highly unsymmetrical hair has me seriously considering an asymetrical bob.

growing a pixie to a bob for curly hair - micro links and alopecia

I love it that the back was not too stacked or short at the neck. Not knowing what I will end up with, I’d rather do minimal cutting and shaping as it grows.

growing a pixie to a bob for curly hair - micro links and alopecia

When I got home I added some Bumble and Bumble (my favorite hair brand) texture cream (a little goes a long way), to make the left side wing out a little bit the way the right side naturally does. After not being brave enough for asymetrical bobs, I settled for texturing this, which I think looks better anyway.

growing a pixie to a bob for curly hair - micro links and alopecia

Juice Organics Brightening Shampoo and Conditioner Review

More on Alopecia Solutions: Tech Hair or Micro Point Linking

before and after micro point links or tech hair

I was going to wait a long time (until I could better afford it) before I did this. But I cancelled my last hair appointment (pixies seem to be my only option right now) because I was so under-excited about it. In fact I felt like crying. I didn’t want to go.

So I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to do something more substantial and immediate about my hair.

Read more about my story here.

So what in the world is Tech Hair or Micro Point Links? Well to clear up confusion from the start, it’s NOT any form of extensions, large or small. There is no tape or glue involved and hair is added one tiny little piece at a time.

Well, four tiny pieces at a time to one existing piece.

Every little hair (of the 400 bio hairs used) was pulled, giving me a very sore head! But this resulted in 1600 brand new hairs in a little over 2 hours.

This is an early reaction post, as I will have to see how it turns out for me. The hairs could slide out, be yanked out, or fall out with my naturally shedding hair.

But for now, I genuinely have more hair – instant hair! And that’s a pretty cool feeling. I no longer feel self conscious about my hair. In fact I love it.

alopecia and hair loss solutions

alopecia and hair loss solutions

alopecia and hair loss solutions

alopecia and hair loss solutions

alopecia and hair loss solutions

So how do they attach it to your own hairs? With tiny little knots.

alopecia and hair loss solutions four new hairs were linked to one bio hair with a tiny knot

So what did it look like before?

Before and after, side by side: (left: before, right: after).

before and after micro point links or tech hair

A lot more fullness at the crown and in the front bang.

Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder Review

how i hide my alopecia bumble and bumble hair powder

Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder.

Quick back story: I tried Toppik (hair fibers – little tiny pieces of keratin) and was very impressed. I really loved using this product. It grabs on to the individual hairs and thickens them by many times. The results were amazing. Even Nate was very impressed (though he thinks my hair is fine the way it is). However, I had such a bad allergic reaction to this that I got several rashes and a very large bump – which ended up to be a cyst (probably) that was inflamed that kept me from a good night’s sleep several nights in a row. I had to wash my hair several times before the ammonium chloride was completely gone.

Then I tried Caboki. I mean it’s a fiber (cotton this time) but doesn’t stick to the hair as well and is messier to use. It wasn’t as much fun. I didn’t love it.

Then I read this incredible post from Corner of Hope and Mane and was sold. I don’t think I used it as expertly but this is my first time and I like it. No messy powders. It’s sold as a dry shampoo and thickening spray. I wonder if Bumble and Bumble realizes it’s an effective hair loss concealer and thickener.

bumble-and-bumble-hair-powder-before-and-after-1

bumble-and-bumble-hair-powder-before-and-after-2

bumble-and-bumble-hair-powder-before-and-after-3

bumble and bumble hair powder

I’m kind of loving my hair in this picture.

It’s a bit pricey at $35 for 4oz, as all Bumble and Bumble products are. But worth it.

Another hair post – DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel and JuiceOrganics Brightening Shampoo Review

dermorganic sculpting spray gel and juice organics brightening shampoo

First off, I am almost over my emotional breakup with NYM. It was tough. I wanted to cling to their brand even after itchy skin and watery eyes. But after my Dear John letter, I felt some closure.

I went to @Marshall’s to load up on discount high end beauty brands for my hair. For a return queen, I actually kept and loved at least half of what I bought. Score me! Score Marshall’s!

While the hairspray was a little weird and thick for me (I’m used to Kenra volumizing), and the Oscar Blandi had a wonderful texture, but was a little heavy for my fine hair, I fell in love with the Juice Organics Brightening Shampoo and DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel.

First, let me talk about Juice Organics – this stuff is amazing! It is such a gentle shampoo with no sulfates and wonderful vegetable based sudsers. It has a quick creamy lather that feels like butter and makes me my hair so clean and weightless. At the same time, it doesn’t strip my hair with daily washing (which I seem to need), like many other gentle shampoos do, even ones labeled as gentle. It gives my hair a lot of life, volume and shine. It lays the foundation for a naturally wavy “lively” style with volumized hair.

I haven’t tried the conditioner yet. For now, I just wash and style.

Juice Organics Brightening Shampoo has aloe leaf juice, shea butter, cane sugar (exfoliates scalp), cucumber extract (soothes scalp), green tea leaf, borage seed oil (rich in gamma linolenic acid), linseed oil, even primrose oil and more. (Full list of ingredients below).

I fell in love with this shampoo so much I wrote the company a thank you letter. My scalp and hair have never felt so good.

So on to styling. I cannot tell you how many different things I’ve tried since the NYM post. And even though I don’t have the complete process figured out, I’m really intrigued by and am enjoying using DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel. Unlike any other curl cream, styling gel, pomade or texturing cream, it is really light. It is not greasy, oily or heavy.

It comes out of the spray bottle as a fine pleasant liquid, not a gel. Once you leave it on your fingers for awhile, you feel a bit of stickiness, but not much. So it really works through hair well. One of the things I love about it is that it can be used to create almost any style. I go for a more curly one. But I’ve read reviews where people use it to straighten their hair as well and love it for that purpose. Another thing I love is that you truly can use it wet or dry and I use it for both. I use a few spritzes while blow drying (roundbrushing and diffusing), and when I’m done, I use it as my “pomade” to sculpt and separate the pieces to my heart’s desire. Whether you use a little or a lot, the effect is very light and doesn’t weigh my hair down.

Some of the finished results (I also use a volumizer in most of these pics).


And now for some comparison. Here is my “side shot” from using NYM products in the last hair post.

kinky-curls-side-b (1024x864)
And here is the results using  DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel:


While my hair is not quite as volumized, it is shinier and softer and more natural looking and I like it. It doesn’t look as sticky or built up.

No chemical or fake fragrance smells here with either of these products. No watery eyes or wishing I couldn’t smell.

DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel has Argan oil, sunflower seed extract, grape seed extract, rice amino acids and vitamin E. I wish I knew if the very last ingredient on the list (fragrance) was artificial or not. So far, the smell has not bothered me, but smells very naturally like grape seed extract (I used to use this in making soap).

DermOrganics Hair, NYM Hair, no product:

dermorganics-vs-no-product-vs-nym1000

Amazing what a little product can do, huh? I can’t believe how much it softens my features in the two left pictures to have some volume in my hair.

Happy to be headed in the right direction with healthy organic affordable haircare. I feel like I’m always learning and forever trying to crack the mysteries of nature and science when it comes to hair and skincare. How I do love a well formulated product.

Full ingredients:
JuiceOrganics Brightening Shampoo ingredients:
Ingredients: Organic juices of aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, pyrus malus (organic apple juice)*, sodium cocoyl alkyl esters, decyl glucoside, coco-glucoside, cocamide DIPA, glyceryl oleate, capryl hydroxamic acid, vegetable glycerin, citrus aurantium amara (petitgrain oil), caprylyl glycol, organic botanical extracts of saccharum officinarum (organic sugar cane extract)*, oryza sativa (organic rice syrup extract)*, cucumis sativus (organic cucumber extract)*, citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet neroli orange extract), citrus medica limonum (lemon extract), camellia sinensis (green tea leaf extract), sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, phytic acid, malic acid, organic plant oils of oenothera biennis (organic evening primrose oil)*, linum usitatissimum (organic linseed oil)*, borago officinalis (organic borage seed oil)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter)*, citrus grandis (pomelo grapefruit seed oil), citrus aurantifolia (lime oil), sodium levulinate, sodium anisate, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, panthenol (Vitamin B5), sodium cocoyl glutamate, disodium cocoyl glutamate, citric acid, sodium hydroxide

Purchase at Marhsall’s (availability varies) or Ulta (couldn’t find shampoo on their site, just makeup, but maybe their stores have it).

DermOrganic Sculpting Spray Gel ingredients:

Aqua/Eau/Water, PVP Copolymer, Polysorbate-20, Caprilic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbopol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Organic Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (UV Inhibitors), Rice Amino Acids, Methyl Gluceth-20, PCA, Panthenol B5, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycereth-2 Cocoate & Benzoic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance.

Purchase info: same as above, is available at Ulta.

Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Cream and She’s a Tease Volumizing Hairspray Review

So I couldn’t resist trying almost every single NYM (Not Your Mother’s) product. The branding and consistent low price lured me in. Every product is exactly the same price – $6.50 or $4.74 at Walmart. The promise of things like “grapeseed extract” and “bamboo” and “argan oil,” which is what all the high end brands are using really made me want to try them. Not to mention their clear self-explanatory titles and prompt customer service.

So I’ll be reviewing more of these. To start with, this is how I styled my fine thin hair this morning.

  • She’s a Tease Volumizing Hairspray (for the back)
  • Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream (for the front). I’ve used Deva Curl a lot in the past so I wanted to see how a $6.50 (Ulta and everywhere else – $4.74 at Walmart) product stacked up.

not your mothers kinky curls and shes a tease volumizing spray (1024x972)

Really soft pretty waves or curls. Softer than what I always got with Deva Curl.

Method: I roundbrush the back with an attachment on my blowdryer, alternating between high and medium heat. I scrunch only on the front and front-sides with the diffuser on my hairdryer. I don’t want really kinky tight curls so I loosen them as I go.

nym kinky curls front (796x1024)

While I”m at it – why not show off some Revlon Just Bitten Lip Balm Stain in Lovesick (the only color I can like this product in – but what a perfect match it is!)

From one side.

kinky-curls-side-a (1024x812)

From the other side. This is where my technique with the volumizing spray and round brush could improve to more evenly blend the layers in the back. But the volumizing spray does give a lot of height and volume. Maybe too much sometimes. Which just means I have to use less product.

kinky curls side b (1024x864) 

For performance, I completely recommend every NYM product I’ve ever tried. Cons? The fragrances. Of both. Kinky Moves smells like a grape scented marker, and the She’s a Tease just smell overwhelming. Fragrance should never be halfway up the list of ingredients – it should just be at the very bottom if at all. Fragrances bother me. If it’s not no-fragrance or an essential oil, I’m probably going to hate it. This is no exception. If there are no adverse effects on my scalp or hair (such as burning scalp and my hair falling out), than I’m just going to have to get use to the smell if I want incredible salon quality products at steal prices. My husband doesn’t think they smell weird though so it could just be me. Given that I’m very picky about and sensitive to fragrances, I’d recommend that you give these a try for yourself – if you like or can ignore the perfume of each of these products, than there’s a good chance you’ll be even more pleased than I am with the overall price, performance and quality of NYM.

Let me say a word about fragrance. WHY?????

That was my word about fragrance. Here is quite possibly “the hair line” I’ve been looking for with really great performance and it smells anything but high end. Why would NYM go through all the trouble to formulate a salon quality product and then pour low-end fruity hopelessly chemically smelling scented kiddie marker style fragrance into it so much so that it’s higher than some of the active ingredients on the list. OK I think I may have just spoiled this product for many people but I’m frustrated.  I’m going to have to come up with my own hair line because sometimes the only difference you’re getting when you buy a high end product is better or lower amounts of fragrance. High end brands tend to use less, often use plant extracts (which I usually indiscriminately love), and usually come up with fragrance formulations that are unrecognizable and unique. Not like – a cherry. A grape. A coconut. More like a subtle concoction of herbalistic rainforest subtle exotic fruit blends with all the high and low notes of a carefully crafted aromatherapy experience. Is that what we’re paying for? Because all too often, it’s not the active ingredients. In fact I don’t see how it could be since I prefer the results I got with these two inexpensive hair products to any others I’ve tried lately (WEN, DevaCurl, DermOrganics, Kenra).

Who puts fragrance at the top of the list like this? It’s higher than any of the botanicals or healthy ingredients in the product.

not your mothers kinky moves defining curl cream

This one’s better and way lower on the list but I still have a hard time with it. I’m not sure why given that it really shouldn’t be that overwhelming.

not your mothers volumizing she's a tease hairspray

I want my own line. I want it now. I want to control the ingredients so I don’t have to worry about itching, burning or hair fallout (I think I’ve worried enough about that in my life).

And there’s my rant about almost perfect products, and being excited and then disappointed in yet another could-have-been-so-great product line. I’m sick of almost perfect products.

I can’t even start a list here on my blog of my “favorite” products. I’m going to have to call it “almost perfect products.”

And for almost perfect, these might fit the bill for some. But not for me.