Dealing with Hair Loss During and After Chemotherapy

Donna Kim-Brand

In the last blog post in the “Hair Loss and Chemotherapy” series in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s explore together the scenarios of hair loss during and after chemo:

During Chemo-

  • Make sure you have a home environment where you are comfortable being uncomfortable, with locations to be on your own as well as communal spaces.
  • Limit exposure to stressful situations or people who upset you.
  • Have designated drivers to appointments or shopping for necessities as well as back-up plans. Some insurances won’t cover drivers undergoing chemo.
  • Depending on how the hair is thinning or coming out more dramatically, consider shaving your head. Notice how interesting your head actually looks. Remember, there’s a whole ‘science’, phrenology, based on our head shape.
  • Continue to be gentle with your hair and scalp with lotions and potions, but also by using gentle sunscreen and keeping direct sunlight off your head. You may also want to switch to a soft-bristle brush, like a baby brush.
  • Since your head may be more sensitive to temperature during chemo, be aware that you might want a soft cotton hat or head covering that keeps you warm while not being scratchy or annoying by constantly slipping off.

After Chemo-

  • Remember that your body, mind and spirit have likely been through a traumatic period. Allow time to regain your full strenth and ease back into activities and relationships that serve you and lift your spirits.
  • Be aware that how you look at life and choices you make for yourself may be quite different from before your diagnosis. Friendship dynamics may also have changed, which may shift how you choose to relate to everyone in your life, from family members to friends, old and new.
  • Continue to treat your hair and scalp gently, and remember to smile as you look into the mirror and see a stronger, wiser version of yourself.
  • Decide what to do with your collection of hats, scarves or other head coverings at this phase of your treatment. Some women have grown to love their new look and continue using head coverings as part of their fashion statement. Others fling them off, rejoicing to be past their need for them.
  • Pace yourself and be patient, remembering that the natural process of hair regrowth will be aided by you being in general good health and spirits. Stressing over how long it is taking, if that’s the case, is not helpful.

In the smorgasbord of life experiences available to us as humans, very few would choose to go through cancer, hair loss and everything else associated with it. But should this be part of your experience, why not approach it as a chance to cultivate your patience, resilience, wisdom and love. Learn to recognize your inner beauty and strength. Most people are far stronger, resourceful and caring than they express in everyday life unless challenged. The same goes for care-givers, who are also thrust into difficult positions by way of caring for loved ones.

So pace yourself for the long game of life, however long it is granted. And know there are many people out there ready and willing to be of help.

Dealing with Hair Loss Before Chemotherapy

Donna Kim-Brand

In the last post we looked at general hair loss issues and psychology when faced with the prospect of chemotherapy treatment. As mentioned, in most cases your hair will grow back within about three to six months after stopping treatment. So what we want to look at today is how you can set yourself up for dealing with the potential of hair loss before chemo as well as during and after treatment. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I will refer to women in this post, but much of the information also applies to men.

Number one, in my mind, is to consolidate your internal resources for the arduous journey ahead, remembering how precious and beautiful you are right now, as you are. Your true identity goes far beyond how you look and feel on any given day, and ties to your spiritual lineage, however you perceive that. You are also resourceful beyond measure, especially when you factor in the support your family, friends and others who are sympatico want to provide alongside you.


  • In practical terms, do your best to educate yourself with correct and up-to-date information. Lots has changed in recent years which gives you more options than ever before.
  • Discuss a wide range of issues with family, friends and selective co-workers who will be directly affected by your treatment. Set up support structures and new arrangements as appropriate.
  • Decide if you want to pursue methods to prevent hair loss (taking into account the side-effects), such as cryotherapy (Scalp Hypothermia)- where you use various methods to keep your scalp cool during chemo, or Rogaine (Minoxidil) to speed eventual regrowth.
  • Check with your insurance company what options they will cover, from wigs to specific types of treatments. Your doctor may be able to write prescriptions to facilitate this.
  • Consider cutting your hair now, or changing your style, so that possible future changes due to hair loss appear less drastic.
  • Treat your hair gently and with more TLC by air drying rather than using a hair dryer and reducing or eliminating the use of hot rollers or hair straighteners, stop coloring unless the formulas are all natural, and use shampoos and conditioners that nurture your hair.
  • Assemble your ‘Well-being Team’- doctors, alternative therapists, hair stylists and head-fashion advisors, and support buddies available for all sorts of needs that arise. Be open to meeting new people who ‘magically’ show up and become an important part of your journey.
  • Look into a variety of relevant support groups and try out a few ahead of time to see where you feel most comfortable.
  • Take up meditation to reduce stress, as stress alone can cause hair loss.
  • Try out a range of different wigs, scarves, hats and head coverings before you need them so it’s actually a fun outing. Go with friends so you can get their feedback when you are less sensitive to it!

Hair Loss and Chemotherapy

Donna Kim-Brand

Have you ever realized that we often don’t notice things until we are at risk of losing them? In this case, I’m referring to our hair, that mass of protein perched atop our heads that we naturally maintain as part of our self-care and self-image.

A cancer diagnosis throws most people into a tailspin, thrusting us under duress into rearranging our life priorities and daily activities. When chemo-therapy is called for, the prospect of losing our hair may not be the first thing on our minds. But when the time comes for actual treatment, fear of hair loss and how it makes us look and feel becomes a real concern for many. Why?

Of course everyone has their own reasons, but a common issue is that hair loss is an external signal to others that something is not ‘business as usual’ with us. We are then put into a position of having to explain uncomfortable things, like the precarious state of our health, to inquiring people- friends and strangers alike. Or often worse, we have to endure looks of pity or discomfort from people who have assessed that we are, in fact, undergoing chemo. They don’t know how to handle the situation, sometimes causing mutual awkwardness.

On the other hand, an even trickier issue is that of dealing with our own self-image; how we think hair loss makes us look weak or ‘ugly’ at a time when we need to be strong and positive.

Here’s the good news. Not all chemo treatments cause hair loss, so it may not happen to everyone being treated. But if it does, most hair loss from chemo is temporary, with hair growing back within three to six months after treatment ends. You see, the drugs used in chemo are a potent cocktail that attacks rapidly growing cancer cells along with other rapidly growing cells in your body. Hair cells all over your body happen to be among them, including eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic, arm and leg hair. So once the bombardment stops, your hair follicles tend to regroup and kick in again, although sometimes with hair a slightly different color or texture.

I am in the position, even as I write this, of supporting a close friend and colleague who is undergoing chemotherapy. In fact, as a result of his diagnosis six months ago, we are now writing a book on ‘healing energetics’ and how to ‘Heal-thy Self Now’. He was almost more upset that his hair only thinned rather than losing it all. Why? It was more noticeable on a man used to having a full head of hair. Being bald is considered trendy and virile in our modern culture, at least for men. Except for hats worn to certain social functions or caps to prevent sun exposure, head-coverings for men are less common than for women. So hair thinning or loss is harder to disguise.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the topic of hair loss due to chemotherapy features prominently in discussions among women. It’s just one aspect of the considerations faced when diagnosed with breast cancer. What we now know is that with early diagnosis and treatment the disease can be cured. In the same vein, pre-empting the possibility of hair loss gives a woman more a sense of control over her body, appearance and self-image during the process.
In the next post we’ll discuss how to set yourself up for success, under the circumstances, pre-chemo, during and after chemo-therapy in regards to hair loss. Please join us next week!

Life as a Hair-Raising Experience

Donna Kim-Brand

Priming for autumn, in many regions October air takes on a definite chill, causing shivers in the more delicate of our species. (I am one of those). In addition, by the end of the month we host Halloween, which causes shivers of the scary sort. And as we discuss all things hair here in the HairChatter Blog, let’s tackle the question everyone really wants to know but doesn’t think to ask: “What makes your hair stand up when cold, scared or deeply emotionally moved?”

When I was a kid, I used to spend several weeks each summer with my grandparents on their dairy farm. I got the sensory-rich experiences of mucking out the cow barn, shoveling fermented feed grasses so acrid my nostrils burned, milking Bessie udder by udder into a pail from a 3-legged stool placed at her hind legs while holding her tail under my arm to prevent a whipping, and having to pluck the feathers from a chicken whose head I’d watched getting axed off on the tree stump.

Quite the intake for a girl from the suburbs! But what still gives me the heebie-jeebies is remembering the bumps that stuck out on the leathery chicken skin in each spot I’d had to pluck out the feathers. No wonder we call those funny bumps on human skin ‘goose bumps’- they look just the same as those chicken bumps.

Human design dynamics are utterly amazing. As a response to feeling cold, our hair stands-on-end and we shiver. This piloerection, as it’s called, is caused by contraction of the muscles surrounding hair follicles which forces the hair to stand upright. In turn, the rising of the hair creates an expansion of space filled by air underneath the skin. This provides an extra layer of insulation and warmth, rather like a vacuum.  Shivering is our body’s way to literally shake our way to generating more body heat, so we get a doubly whammy response!

Animals with more fur than humans have hair also gain additional warmth from their fur coats, which puff up when cold and also when frightened. Hmmm, so what’s the connection here between cold and fear?

As with many things human, physiology connected to psychology plays a key role in why our hair sticks up, and why we get ‘goose bumps’ and shiver when cold or afraid. It’s the same for animals. The puffing up made the animal look bigger, which served to scare off attackers. What a great defense mechanism! Notice how when afraid, we often get the proverbial ‘chills or shivers down our spine’? Hair-raising and the biological response is a reaction to both cold and fear.

There’s another element at play. When we perceive a threat, either physical or psychological, blood transfers from our brains to our pancreas and adrenaline kicks in. That’s why we have a hard time thinking straight in high stress situations. We immediately experience a rapid heartbeat- for getting the body ready to fight or flee, dilated pupils in our eyes- to allow in more light for greater safety, and hair standing up- revving up our metabolism to be ready for action.

But wait, there’s more! Haven’t you also had hair-raising experiences when deeply inspired or moved emotionally in ways that aren’t necessarily fearful: seeing the perfection of a newborn baby, in prayer or when touched by the divine, on hearing meaningful notes or words in a song or being moved to tears in a movie. This is really just an extension of the fear response on the emotional scale. What’s amazing is that these types of responses never get lost through habituation, though we can be trained to handle them more effectively as police officers, soldiers and nurses do.

In other words, getting chills and goose bumps reminds us we are alive, and keeps us primed for when we really need the hair-raising experience to serve our well-being to keep us warm, keep us safe, or keep us inspired on our life journey.

October 12 / 2015

Ways to Ease into Gray

Donna Kim-Brand

Going gray is usually a natural process that comes along with healthy aging coupled with a genetic predisposition towards gray. Other factors that can lead to someone going gray early or going gray even if they weren’t otherwise likely to are certain types of trauma, illness or a vitamin deficiency.

Whatever the reason, at whatever the age, some of us are just not ready to sport the look of a ’Distinguished Professor’, ‘Silver Fox‘ or ‘Granny Hair’, even if it happens to be the hip new hair color now. Why? Perhaps it’s the illusion (or reality!) of aging we want to hold off a little longer either for vanity reasons or to prevent ageist treatment in the workplace. Or, as in my case, not only does the mousy gray peeking through not look attractive on me with my fair skin tones, but I still feel a whole lot more like the vibrant redhead I have been most of my life.

Since hair is so much part of how we express who we are, how we show up with our hair (or lack of it) matters. Just be aware that changing one element of your looks, like going gray, will affect other aspects of your image, so be sure to update the total package: lipstick color, shades of eyeshadow, even clothing colors or styles. You might consider booking an appointment with an image consultant for professional advice on your makeover.

Aside from hiding your new gray growth for several months with updo’s or hats, the first response is usually to ‘grow it out’. Well, sure, but what about the telltale roots meanwhile? Since gray is actually unpigmented hair, you can’t easily color it gray. In the past, attemps tended to turn out more purple or blue, though nowadays one hears advertisements for true gray color treatments. Or, you can use a temporary gray-cover up with specialized pencils, mascara, crayons or spray-on powders which will wash out with each shampoo.

You can also try out ‘low-lights’, instead of ‘highlights’, by applying your base color to a smattering of strands rather than all over your head. The salt and pepper effect will ease yourself and everyone else into seeing some gray peeking out a little at a time.

Of course, you can shorten the time frame of easing into gray by cutting your hair shorter so less of it has to grow out. Meanwhile you’re introducing a new look, so people can get used to one change at a time.

An odd fact of nature is that gray hair tends to come in a slightly courser texture with a matte finish, so you will want to be sure to use additional conditioners and hair shine revitilizers. And update your style to fit the new look and feel of your hair.

Over all, ‘going gray’, at least for those who have colored for a long time, is ultimately a liberating process. Since this is a process that requires transitioning over time, be smart about when you choose to go through the change-over. You probably won’t want to be in the middle of this transition when you have a big event like a wedding, key presentation or job interview coming up. In terms of going relatively unnoticed, perhaps winter months work for you since you always wear a hat. For others, summer might be perfect since you are gone traveling for a few months, allowing you to leave minimally gray and return wholly gray!

Going gray is an outward expression of internal change. You can embrace it and ease into being gray. Or maybe you will choose instead to take a more drastic approach. My plan, as of now for when I make the leap, is to shave my head before attending a yoga detox retreat. Then, whatever grows in will be the hair color I live with. Then again, you’ve heard that quote about the ‘best paid plans…”

Finally, remember that gray as a hair color (or lack of color) runs the spectrum from ash blond-gray to bronze-gray to purple-gray to mousy brown-gray to salt and pepper, to silver to pure white, each of which responds differently to specific hair care products. Give yourself time to know which shade of gray yours will be before you write it off altogether. You just might like the new you!

“Loose and Easy” – Runway Autumn Style Preview

Donna Kim-Brand

As is the way the fashion world tends to work, what shows up in pre-season runway shows is a preview of the styles to come, in clothing, hair, makeup and accessories. So let’s take a peek at what hair is rockin’ the runway for fall season.

Go Low-

Gravity is winning out there, as back and side pony-tails are showing up as low hanging and even saggy and pouchy. In other words, let that hair hang loosely, even though swept into controlled masses. The whole feel shifts from prim and proper to easy yet sophisticated.

You can add in variety by splitting your hair in two sections and either twisting from the crown of your head down the back of your skull to the nape of your neck, afixing a tie, then sliding it down… or gathering the two split sections of hair and twirling at the nape of your neck, then adding your elastic tie and sliding it down.

Go Rawhide-

Leather is showing up big time this season, including in hair accessories. Use leather ties, clips or wrap rawhide straps to secure your pony-tails, sport the more casual leather headbands, or use leather covered barrettes. You are likely to find both natural and dyed versions in retail stores, but in muted autumn colors.

Go Sideways-

Whether in a pony-tail or hanging loose, style your hair with a deep side part. Your hair or bangs will then drape low across your forehead for a sultry look, or you can pull your hair off your face for the look of an ingenue. Either way, you can also tuck your hair behind your ears, a look that’s back, and popular, this season whether hair is cropped or flowing long.

Go Behind-

There are a couple of options with this pulled back look like the low pony-tail described above, or a casual tweak to the classic French twist with hair secured more loosely. The ease and messiness of this up-do gives off a cool, modern feel. You can also do a twist and spritz for a more professional urban style, a braid and twist for variety or even a series of bobby-pin curl-twists down the back of your head which will unwind by evening into a burst of light curls.

Go Atop-

Here’s a new look for autumn. A ‘knot’ perched on top of your head, but drastically forward, just above the hairline. This requires all the hair to be brushed up and forward, with a dramatic sense of flair. A half-hair knot or fully secured bun is more high glam while ends of your hair sticking out reek of creative ‘je ne sais crois’.

Go with the Flow-

Lots of style options here, fitting in with the trend towards a more casual look and feel. Some are self-explanatory.

  • Asymmetric blunt-cut bob
  • Scattered long layers on shoulder length cut
  • Flipped up 50’s look, tickling the shoulders
  • Bohemian waves of long hair, thick and textured (as if just let loose from a braid)
  • Rumpled waves atop and free-falling straight hair, or its opposite, straight hair atop your head then artificially crimped hair falling over your shoulders
  • Parts either clean-lined or messy, middle or to the side
  • Hair left to flow naturally, but tiny braids extending from above your ears adorning the back of your head- straight across the middle or draping towards the nape of your neck

All in all, you have many options, but the overall autumn trend is ‘loose’ and ‘easy’. So whether you are sporting a casual or more professional look with your hair this season, don’t over-engineer your tresses. Why not play around with some new looks and strut your stuff on your own life’s runway!

Rich Colors lead the Charge!

Donna Kim-Brand

Rich Colors lead the Charge!

It’s just around the corner- colorful autumn leaves, low lying sunlight and brisk evening breezes. Add in the nip of fresh, chilly air that prompts us to yank out our snuggy warm sweaters and fuzzy textured scarves.

And with it comes a new crop of rich, warm, fall hair colors and a return to the use of highlights. Tell me more, you say?


Well, have you heard the one about the two ‘brondes’?  Actually, you wouldn’t have.  Bronde takes the sexy stance associated with blonde and adds in the gravitas of bronze. This shade blends light brown with caramel and buttery hues that glisten in the autumn sunlight. Bronde even sounds yummy!

Rusted Copper-

As an auburn red myself, I’m often baffled by the multiplicity of shades of auburn lined up on the shelves – light, warm, medium, dark, rich….wow! The last color treatment I applied must have changed the formula because my auburn ended up bold and brassy, not quite the look I wanted or was used to.

The good news, in my view, is that the autumn trend is muted auburn for those who want a more subtle look, along with bright copper for you who prefer a dash of showy sunset pizzazz. Ooo la la!

Rich Chocolate-

Continuing our sensory feast of autumn hair colors, allow me to introduce deep, rich chocolate brown. Tending towards either blue-black or deep mahogony-brown, this shade picks up sultry, mysterious nuances that ooze mature sexiness. You will be taken seriously when strutting your stuff.

Moving into the trend back towards highlights, you have a few options.

Natural Roots-

Can you believe it? The current suggestion is for you to space more time between touch-up appointments, allowing your roots to show as a fashion statement. Not so sure I want to show off my gray just yet, but for most of you, go ahead and let it all hang out and let go of the guilt!

An alternative is to use lowlights on your roots with subtle highlights to the end few inches of your hair.

Full Highlights-

The wonder of full highlights is that it gives your 2-dimensional hair the illusion of being 3-dimensional. The magic is achieved by weaving in slightly brighter or lighter shades in thin strips of highlighting amidst your regular color.

You are best off letting a professional stylist assist you with this look for optimal effect.

Dark Highlights-

Owing to the autumn trend towards darker shades of hair, you can create yet another edgy look by easing in warm brown highlights which are scattered along the lower reaches of your hair, whatever your length.

Coloring your hair is either a regular aspect of your self-maintenance routine, or a new option you might be considering.  It won’t hurt to have a look at the rich color palette options now trending which could ease you into a new sense of self expression. New season, new look, and possibly a new phase of your life. Go ahead, take the leap and rock it!

Waiter, there’s a hair in my soup!

Donna Kim-Brand

How would you react if you found a hair in your food while dining out? Ask for a refund for that item or for the meal to be free? Order a replacement and continue with your dining experience? Blame the waiter or pay an angry visit to the kitchen? Make a scene and leave? Or eat the meal anyway, having removed the offending hair?

Despite the sudden gag reflex a hair in your food induces in many people, to the point of choking or vomiting in some, scientific evidence indicates that any contamination that would make you sick is extremely rare. The main culprit would be a hair carrying staph bacteria or other toxic substances which could cause gastro-intestinal problems in some sensitive stomachs.

The rate of likely contamination is so rare that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code doesn’t even place a limit on strands per plate as a violation since they have not received any reports of people getting sick, according to Popular Science Magazine. Because of this, you have no legal grounds to sue a restaurant for a hairy meal, should you be so inclined. (Not the case in all countries, like the UK).

Perhaps the low rate of ‘hair-in-food’ occurrences is due to the Food Code requirement for all food workers to wear ‘complete-capture’ hairnets. This is to keep their hair out of their face for their own safely, as well as to prevent free falling hairs. Another reason is that restaurants tend to be highly sensitive, and thus responsive, to upset customers, knowing how much damage they can cause to a business. The underlying issue with a little hair in your food is that it makes patrons suspect there may be worse hygiene issues lurking in the kitchen. Having owned and worked in a deli-restaurant years ago and having been certified in Sanitation Management, I am aware of the range of nasty possibilities that food handling, preparation, serving and storage present. It’s a wonder we don’t have more upsetting experiences, frankly.

Back to the hair element, hair is made of a protein called keratin, which is chemically inactive in hair and won’t cause any problems if digested. You’d have to ingest a whole clump of hair to cause intestinal troubles, and not many people could get that much hair swallowed to allow that to happen.

We talk about the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. So this is a crazy hair topic to consider as the sun blazes. It’s a great game question to ask among a group of friends – what would you do if…? And it just might make you think twice about brushing your hair at the table, in case you ever gave that a thought!

September 08 / 2015
Author adminhc
Category Events, News, Tips
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Back to School Hair Styles

Donna Kim-Brand

Quick and Easy Back to School Hairstyles for Long Hair

Your best bet is to start with clean and healthy hair, no matter what the style. But sometimes you have to dash from one activity to another;  informal to more formal or sweaty gym hair to presentable classroom hair. Or maybe you just stayed up too late studying and don’t have much time in the morning to fuss with your manic mane. Here are a range of style ideas to try out, all quick and easy.

  • Bedhead side braid- all hair hanging down, with one small braid down one side. To keep hair out of your eyes braid on the side with more hair and include bangs if long enough.
  • Side ponytail- simply gather your hair in an elastic band or split your hair above the elastic band and flip all your hair through one time to dress up the look.
  • Faux Fish tail side ponytail- same as above, but every 2-3 inches add another elastic band and flip the hair through 3 or 4 times down the length of your hair. Messy chic!
  • Side Pony Tail, place an elastic band  2-3 inches from first one, puff hair out like a bubble, place another elastic 3-4 times down the length of your hair for Bubble Hair (Remember Jasmine, from Aladdin?).
  • Let your clean, shiny tresses hang freely, either straight, slick & sophisticated, funky with chalk coloring to the front strands, or full and bouncy (with mousse or volumizer).
  • Cute or funky stretchy cloth headband (tuck bangs or leave them out) with freeflow hair down the back or a pony tail to the back or side.
  • A half-hair style with two sides of your hair pulled back and literally tied into a double knot at the nape of your neck then all hair gatehred into a pony tail- quite dressy.
  • Lightly tease the top of your hair for volume, then pull side hair to the back and twist into a girlie knot and secure with an elastic band.  It will adorns the back of your head with the rest of your hair hanging freely.
  • Two small messy boho side braids with bangs tucked in if they are long enough, the pull those braids to the rear and bobby-pin at the back, out of your face.
  • Divide hair into 3 sections & braid (2 sides & back hair)- pull to the rear and twist into braid-a-bun at the nape of your neck and pin it up. Looks elegant and dressy all tucked in or leave ends spritzing out for a more casual look.
  • Divide hair into 3 sections & braid (2 sides & back hair)- now pull the braids up over the crown of your head and pin. The style looks like a braided headband and makes you want to yodel. (Haven’t you heard the Heidi story?)
  • Divide side hair in front of your ears into top and bottom- one section at a time, twist and pull them to the back then use 2 bobby pins criss-crossed to hold each bunch of hair in place. You’ll end up with 8 pins in 4 sections across the back of your head. Quite attractive if you pin with precision.
  • Brush your hair upside down to add volume, then as you stand upright, pull into a ponytail at the crown of your head. Before putting an elastic band on it, start twirling your hair, then twisting the twirled strands into a bun. Now apply a single strand elastic band over the top of the knot of hair. Poof out hair in the topknot and top of your head so it’s not too tight. Your knot will be a little floppy. If you prefer a sturdier topknot, use a wider stretchy headband instead of the skinny elastic to secure your hair.
  • Use a curling iron and create long loose curls turned back away from your face. Brush out for soft waves or let the individual curls hang down; very sweet and feminine.
  • For a ‘next day’ do, take the above style with long curls from yesterday and add a stretchy headband slung across the top of your hair from the top of your head to the nape of your neck. Criss-cross bobby pins behind your ears to hold the headband in place. Take front hair and pull it backwards over the band, then tuck under the headband, and either leave back hair down or continue to tuck the rest of your hair up and over the headband in loose sweeps. Your updo will look boho, casual chic.

Wow! That’s fifteen quick and easy back to school looks that will provide you or your daughter with a variety of styles in a few minutes! Practice ahead of time if you want to, but each style is quite simple with just basic accessories required; a stretchy headband, bobby pins and elastic bands. No more pulling your hair out or wasting time trying to decide what to do, so you have time to eat a healthy breakfast before dashing out for another great day at school!

September 01 / 2015

Travel Hair Care I

Donna Kim-Brand

Travel Hair Care

Summer time is travel time, which can turn into a very hectic time.  To ease the burden in regards to travel hair care, at least, let’s do a little inventory. Of course, what you need to pack will depend on where you are headed in terms of weather, expected temperatures and customs, what activities you plan to get up to, and what fashion sense is called for day and night. And, you may simply have your hair care routines that dictate some basic supplies you always have with you.

Should you be staying in hotels lower than 3 star or alternative housing such as a Bed & Breakfast Inn, plan on taking everything you need for hair care with you. I would advise the same if staying as a house guest in a friend or family member’s home. Some people are very generous with guest amenities, and others don’t seem to give it much thought.

Also remember that airport security (TSA) regulates the size of your liquids for carry-on-items, so make sure your bottle size or the amount in your bottles is 3 ounces or less, or they will literally toss your bottles or tubes in the garbage right in front of you. In one instance I had bought a regulation size bottle in Italy, which meant that the words on the packaging were in Italian, except the word ‘shampoo’, in English. On my next trip out of the US, the TSA agent tossed my expensive Italian shampoo, because he couldn’t tell what it was, he said. Grrr! In checked bags, anything (legal) tends to go through without size restrictions.

Here are some other items for your consideration:

Hair drier-  Nowadays, most hotels 3-star and above tend to have hair driers available in the room or on demand. In North American hotels, they provide plugs in the bathroom. Driers are either fixed on the wall, in the closet, in a drawer or on a shelf in a little cloth bag. Did you know, by the way, that in England and Europe, laws prohibit electric plugs in bathrooms (except for special mini-sockets for shavers)? This is to prevent injury or death by electrocution caused by accidentally dropping an electronic item such as a hair drier in the sink or tub. So be prepared to dry and style your hair in the bedroom, not in front of the bathroom mirror.

You will need to bring any curling iron or hair straightening iron you want to use on your trip.

Remember as well that if traveling to England, Europe and numerous other countries, you must bring an adapter to fit both their socket shape and voltage. Do look it up online or ask your travel agent (if you have one) to find out what you need as it varies widely. Your safest bet is to buy a universal adapter, ahead of time online or at an electronics store or at the airport shop. They are compact and very handy for charging all electronic devices you might have toted with you.

Lotions and Potions-  Most hotels 3 star and above provide shampoo, but not all provide conditioner. Some hotels have luxurious brands, which pamper your hair. Others, however, seem to provide shampoos so harsh they could strip the paint off a car! So if you are not assured of a high quality shampoo and conditioner where you are staying, it’s wise to bring at least small bottles of your own just in case. I always carry conditioner.

Dry shampoo, is back on the market as a legitimate product these days. So this might be something to test out ahead of time, then bring along in case you need a quick fix. Gel or mousse are other ‘could be useful items’ when on the road.

If you intend to spend a good amount of time in the sun, in salty sea water or chlorinated pool water, you’d be advised to bring along extra moisturizer and conditioning product for your hair and waterproof high-SPF sunscreen or after-sun cream for your scalp and skin.

If you regularly use relaxers or hair coloring and the treatment timing hits while you are traveling, you are better off having what you need with you unless you are sure you can access what you need locally. Some resorts might have shops, but they charge two or three times the normal prices to their captive audience. Or if in a rural area, your country store might only have out of date hair coloring in leftover colors, if any, whether you are worth it or not!