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So now you know that I am not good with my hair care. But I do make some effort. Of course, I am good at giving advice, it’s just that I don’t always take it myself. As I always say, “there are rules for other people, and then there are rules for me.” I do take my hair stylists advice, especially about color, cut and to a certain degree, hair care products. It is important to have a stylist who works within the boundaries of reality. At a certain point in life, you should just say to yourself—“this is me, this is the way I am, this is not a major life issue, deal with it.” I, myself, always try to work within the boundaries of reality, and so should they. The reality is that I am not going to spend time in the morning on my hair doing anything more than washing my bangs, brushing, putting it in a ponytail and maybe slicking some product in it. End of story, so work with it.

So what does this lazy cosmetic dermatologist use on her hair?

1. Cut hair every 6 weeks. When you have fine, thin hair, you need all the help you can get to make it look fuller. In general shorter styles are usually better when your hair is thin, ideally a slightly layered cut that falls between your shoulders and your jaw line. Fine thin hair shouldn’t have too much layering, or it looks even thinner. Some layering around the face is fine. Thicker, or curly hair can afford more layers. Since I always pull mine back, I don’t layer it, but for those who wear their hair down, layers around the face, starting below the ears, helps disguise a sagging jaw line. Ever notice how most actresses of “a certain age” wear this style? Of course it also disguises facelift scars so that is helpful for them too.

I always ask my hair stylist if this or that cut would look good on me and if it would work with my hair. But then I always back out and leave it at my shoulders, with no layers and pull it back. You might want to actually listen to your stylist.

But please don’t commit my pet peeve #7—aging ex hippie boomers with a long ponytail consisting of 3 hairs. Doesn’t look good on men or women.

Stylists—please don’t try to tell me cutting your hair makes it grow faster. It doesn’t. But it does make it look thicker when they ends are trimmed.

2. I do both highlights and lowlights every 6 weeks, and I have it done professionally. Hair color is important. The biggest mistakes I see are women who go too light or too dark as they age, hair getting too uniformly blonde, brassy hair, and hair color that clashes with skin tone.

You always want to make sure that your hair color complements your complexion, and doesn’t fight with your skin tone. As a general rule of thumb, if your skin tone is cool, your hair color should be as well; and if your skin tone is warm, hair color should be warm too. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but you have to start out with some basis for decision to find a hair color that doesn’t fight your skin tone.

To determine whether your skin tone is warm or cool, look at the veins on the inside of your arms in good light. If they have a green tint, your skin tone is warm; if they’re more blue or purple then your skin tone is more cool. Warm skin tones have yellow or gold undertones, and blue veins plus yellow toned skin gives you green veins. Cool skin tones have pink or blue undertones. Blue veins plus blue toned skin results in blue veins, and blue veins plus red skin gives purple veins. Not everyone falls strictly into one category. Some people have skin tones that are a combination and fall on the border, which is why they can pull off warm or cool hair colors, or neutral hair color that allows the skin tone to remain both rosy and gold.

When hair is lightened too much or is too yellow and brassy, it makes you look washed out or sallow, ages you, and usually requires more makeup than normal to create contrast. When that happens a violet or purple toner helps to tone it down.

If you highlight your hair, lowlights will help keep it looking natural and keep it from becoming too uniformly blonde.

So that is what I do, and I don’t try to do it myself. That is not part of my current skill set.

3. Of course I do wash my hair. I use our Clarifying Shampoo which uses silk amino acids, wheat protein and panthenol to give body and shine. I love the fragrance, China Green, and the fact that it rinses clean.

4. I always use conditioner. My favorite is Sebastian Collectives Moisture Base. It provides smoothness to the hair cuticle so that it is shiny and glossy, without weighing down my hair. Unfortunately Sebastian discontinued it. Why I have no idea, because it is both my daughters and my favorite conditioner. So I have to search around the internet to find someone who still has a stock of it, and I always wonder if it is counterfeit or gray market. So Sebastian—bring it back!

5. Then I dry my hair with Aquis Microfiber Long Lisse Hair Towel (18 x 44 inches). These towels “wick” the moisture from the hair so I don’t have to rub it dry. Rubbing the hair shaft roughs up the outside layer of the hair, the cuticle. When the cuticle is roughed up, the hair is more difficult to manage, and less shiny. This is the larger of their hair drying towels, and is wide and long enough that I can make a turban, tuck it in, and it stays tucked. I leave it on about 10 minutes and my hair is still damp but not soaked and that cuts drying time.

5. I always use a styling product to reduce waviness and smooth the style. I use Paul Mitchell Super Sculpt Styling Glaze.

6. Then I comb with a large, widely spaced comb that has tiny nylon balls at the tips to reduce breakage.

7. I try to mainly air dry my hair so it is smoother, and finish with a hair dryer. I really should use it on medium heat and use a brush to smooth it, but I hate drying my hair so I usually blast it on high which then makes it less glossy and smooth. I don’t dry it around a brush because I don’t pay attention and the brush gets all tangled in the hair and then I get frustrated and rip it out. Oh well.

8. Once a year or so I will straighten it with a straightener and it looks great. But again, I am too lazy to do it every day. Oh well, again.

9. I have a Mason-Pearson Pure Boar Bristle Brush. This English company has been making brushes since 1885 and Mason-Pearson brushes are considered the best. Their boar bristle brush is best for fine hair, their boar bristle and nylon brush is best for medium hair, and their nylon brush is best for thick hair. They last forever, I have had mine at least 15 years. That is good because it costs $170. It distributes the sebum (oil) from your scalp to the end of the hair which increases shine, and it doesn’t break off hair.

10. Then I spray a gloss product on top to give a little extra shine. You can use either a spray or rub in, but the spray doesn’t weigh hair down. I use different ones, usually whatever I find at a beauty supply or Sally’s.

11. Then I pull it back into a ponytail. And here is where the scavenger hunt comes into play. I can only use Goody Gentle Ponytailers. They are the terry ponytail holders that 6 year old girls wear. Not the tiny ones for pigtails, but for ponytails. I used to be able to find them but now I can’t and I am down to red and orange, my two least favorite colors. I need black for work. I have tried hundreds of other styles, ordered the cheap ones off eBay, but they all give me a headache within 10 minutes. They have to be Goody Gentle Ponytailers. So if you find them, let me know. Don’t buy them, just let me know. If they are the kind I need, you will win your choice of a free Dr Elaine’s skin care product. And if you see me wearing one with My Little Pony attached, don’t make fun of me.

So that is how this lazy cosmetic dermatologist takes care of her hair. Kind of.

A big issue for a lot of women, and for me personally, is thinning hair over time. There are multiple causes of hair loss in women, and the cause is often complex. For men, most hair loss is male pattern baldness and a less complex issue. That is a big topic, and we will talk about the causes and treatment of hair loss another day.

Next: something I do care about and actually do pretty well—skin care !!


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