Any time the body goes through hormonal shifts or imbalances, the hair changes.

The hair and scalp can be affected by anything from stress or cancer to pregnancy.  After cancer treatment, hair can become fragile, thin, dry, fuzzy, and brittle.  Not only can this be difficult to work with, it can also be downright devastating, especially if you’re experiencing hair loss. Your hair and scalp recover can from these treatments, and you can keep your hair looking great through any of these hormone transitions.

Hair Color 

Hair color can be great for thin, brittle, or dry hair.  Find a salon that uses a color line free of ammonia.  Ammonia is not only toxic to the body but also damages the hair and scalp. Ask your stylist to make color suggestions that fit your skin tone and hair texture and density. Opt for colors in the mid to dark range, as darker colors tend to make hair look fuller and thicker.  Some salons also offer a glossing service that can be fantastic when restoring shine and life back to hair.

Haircut

It may seem counterintuitive to cut your hair if it’s very thin or just growing back after cancer treatment, however, a good haircut can work wonders when it comes to making hair appear thicker.  Find a stylist who is familiar with classic haircutting techniques such as Vidal Sassoon.  The Sassoon technique is particularly focused on analyzing hair texture and density and customizing a haircut that will fit your needs and leave your locks looking great.

Styling Products

For fine, thin hair, invest in a water-soluble organic volumizer free from alcohols, plastics, silicones and fragrances.  A great volumizer will be buildable so the more you use the more hold you get, without weighing hair down. Most styling products on the market contain cheap plastics and silicones that coat the hair and clog the follicles, making hair even more dry and brittle as well as increasing hair loss.  Some plastics on the labels are: PVP, PVA, acrylic copolymers, polyacrylamide, silicones and any ingredient ending in –methicone.  Watch out for those.  You’ll thank me later.

Protein

Brittle hair lacks proteins. Many salons offer protein building treatments and products containing protein building ingredients. This will strengthen the hair by decreasing dry, weak strands.

Massage and Essential Oils

Increasing circulation to the scalp is a great way to support hair growth, whether it’s a scalp massage from your stylist or an at-home routine using a brush or your own hands.  Massage increases circulation and blood flow to the scalp, and relaxes the follicles, creating the best possible environment for re-growth.  Essential oils can also be used to increase circulation.  Some essential oils particularly good for circulation and hair growth are: rosemary, sage and sea buckthorn. Mix six drops of essential oil to one ounce carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, apricot kernel, etc.  Massage into scalp and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes, or even overnight.  You can also mix a few drops into your shampoo or conditioner and use as directed.

Diet

Having the right kind and proper amount of high quality fats and oils in your diet will greatly affect the condition and appearance of hair and skin. Without healthy fats (i.e. coconut oil, cod liver oil, flax seed oil), hair can become dry and brittle, and skin dry and flaky.  During the winter, when the air is especially dry, increase your healthy fat intake until your dry skin is gone. This usually means an extra tablespoon or so of oil per day, or as directed by your doctor.

There are so many effective ways to guide the scalp and hair back to its proper balance to achieve beautiful hair and skin. Finding a stylist who understands these changes will be a huge asset to you as you and your body recovers from cancer treatment.