On Thinning Hair

In the fall of 2010, I finally got fed up with my rapidly thinning hair.  I shaved my head.


The good:

  • Really, really short showers.
  • Drying time was basically none.
  • I liked how it looked.
  • Wigs are super fun ūüôā
  • I got a lot of compliments. ¬†Some ended with, “I wish I could do something like that!”
  • I saved money on haircuts and hair products. ¬†(I used a trimmer.)
  • I didn’t have to go through the mental hoops required every time I decide to dye away my grey hair.

The bad:

  • It was a lot colder than I thought. ¬†Fall was a bad time to do this, I didn’t have a chance to get used to the body temp change before the outside temp dropped.
  • When I dressed up, I felt less formal than I do when I have longer hair. ¬†This also goes for short hair. ¬†I recognize that this is completely my deal.
  • A surprising number of men thought it would be ok to inform me that a bald head is unfeminine.

Neither good nor bad:

  • Shaving and buzzing really dark hair on pale skin looks pretty much the same. ¬†After the first couple of times, I stopped literally shaving it and just set the clippers on the shortest setting. ¬†Shaving does feel really nice, but it seemed silly to go to that extra effort and razor blade cost for a millimeter of hair.
  • Tango lead hair color preference by number of dances from most to least:
    • Red
    • Blond
    • Purple
    • Black
    • Brown
  • People who met me with a wig on would not recognize me if I wore a different wig or no wig the next time I saw them.

I eventually grew my hair back out. ¬†Starting fresh, I used sulfate free shampoos and silicone free conditioners. ¬†I didn’t start with the shampoo and conditioner until my hair was 2-3 inches long and started to feel like it needed it. ¬†After a year of no cutting, I could get my hair to stay in a ponytail after a year of growth. ¬†Curious what the growth pattern would look like, I didn’t cut it for 3 years. ¬†It basically grew out in layers, the bottom part would hang down the lowest. ¬†My hair was still thin, so I trimmed up that back part to make the length look fuller.

I went on spirolactone after about two years of growing my hair out. ¬†Around the same time, I started following Curly Girl methods fairly seriously. ¬†I stopped brushing my hair and went to only finger combing it in the shower. ¬†My hair felt fuller, but I wasn’t sure which was the cause until recently when I had to go off the spirolactone. ¬†After being off of it for a couple of weeks, my hair started falling out in gobs. ¬†The end result is that it didn’t look good anymore at that length. ¬†It was stringy. ¬†When the curls did clump together, the end result was 5-6 nice big curls, big empty spots between them. ¬†You could see my scalp clearly between the clumps.

I started playing with pin curls and finger waves, 40’s style. ¬†My hair responded perfectly to this treatment. ¬†It looked good, the fluff made it look thicker, but I wasn’t happy having to spend that much time getting hair that looked nice.

I found a local curly stylist and asked him to make my hair look good. ¬†I explained the hormonal thing and let him know that for now it was going to stay thin. ¬†He cut my hair into a long bob, saying it was more traditional and less extreme than a shorter cut. ¬†He let me know that if I didn’t like the length, he’d cut it shorter in a month for free during my bang trim appointment.

I dyed my hair for a conference. ¬†I’m about 50% grey. ¬†The grey hairs are clear, so my hair looks a LOT thinner when it’s undyed. ¬†The dying made it look fuller, but suddenly it wouldn’t curl normally. ¬†I was unable to make my hair look good without pin curls. ¬†This was actually a perfect length for a really nice pin curl style, but again, I wasn’t happy with the time sink that went into making my hair look anything but patchy and stringy. ¬†It was also now too short to put into a ponytail. ¬†On the last day of the conference, I wore my purple wig and got lots of compliments.

I went back to the stylist. ¬†I asked him to cut it shorter. ¬†I told him that if it still looked too thin to me that I would shave it off, so to do whatever he thought might make it look good. ¬†He gave me an asymmetrical cut. ¬†It’s now a long pixie on one side and a very short bob on the other, angled in the back. ¬†It looks fuller than it did before, and I like this style. ¬†Because it’s asymmetrical, it doesn’t obviously look patchy. ¬†I can go to the gym and it usually stays out of the way. ¬†I like it for now, but I have so many bad feelings around my hair right now that I don’t really think I’ll stay with it long-term.

The happiest I’ve ever been with my hair was when it was less than an inch long, and when it was long, a little thin, and curly. ¬†Long and a little thin is not going to happen anytime soon. ¬†I’m not sure how I feel about needing to take a pill everyday so that I can have hair that I like – it’s a weird feeling. ¬†