A girl just wants her hair to look good

Living in the world of environmental illness/chemical sensitivity puts a lot of restraints on women and their hair.

I have let my hair go gray (started back in 2002) because I cannot use hair coloring.  I have since thought about trying henna.  What if I react to it?  What if I don’t like it?  Worse yet, what if I don’t react and do like it?  Do I have the energy to keep it up?  I find it difficult at times  to keep my hair trimmed in the timely manner it needs to keep me from feeling like a hag.  I can just imagine the disappointment of getting color back in my hair and thereby my face only to have it slip away because I didn’t have the energy to keep it up.

I have a wonderful lady that cuts my hair outside of her salon.  There are styles I would love to try but I have thin/fine hair.  There just aren’t a lot of hair products out there to give volume and holding power for chemically sensitive patients.  I have a gel but it mostly just leaves my hair sticky and stiff.  I had a hair spray that I tried not realizing that although there is no added fragrance, it has alcohol.

I use a basic shampoo and hair conditioner from Magic Botanicals.  I am still looking for products that act like those I used  in the “old days” but are safe for me.  I am curious what others like me are using.  What are your opinions on your own hair?  Do you find that while you want your hair to look nice that you don’t have the energy to fiddle with it like you used to?  Is it easier to just put it in a pony tail and forget about it?

I recently cut my hair shorter than I have had it in a very long time.  The back lays perfectly with its layers and I don’t have to do a thing to it.  I quickly dry the front and push it behind my ears.  I would love volume in the front and on top.  I have done a little gel at the scalp but haven’t been overly succesful with getting fullness.  I am still working on trying to figure a way to get some volume.  Overall, I like the cut but wish there were more products out there that I could use.

Any suggestions from those of you that are struggling with the same dilemma?

13 responses to “A girl just wants her hair to look good

  1. Have you tried the Shikai products? Whole Foods sells this brand. You need to know that the shampoos are slightly scented, but the scent disappears when the hair is dry. Also the fragrances are mild, lovely and fresh smelling. This was the first brand I tried after using AFM and Magic Botanicals. You can open the top to sniff, but remember the scent will be stronger than what you smell from the small amount you use on your hair. And, yes, there is a volumizing shampoo. The shampoos are predominately organic.

  2. Jennie

    I will be near a Whole Foods store in a couple of weeks. I know they have a very good policy if things don’t work out. I will pick up a bottle to try. It will only be a week after my LDA so will probably wait another week before giving it a try. My daughter was telling me recently to check there.

    Thank you.

  3. Hey, this post resonates right to the core of my being. My hair colour is something I gave up for four years, until I recovered that is; then I began using Aveda hair colour in a salon, where the owner did my hair outside too. She then bought me inside to wash it out, using my unscented shampoos and conditioners (Akin by Alchemy). I was so happy to be able to colour my hair again. (It was sans mask too!) Then she changed hair colours, and silly (vain) me, let her use them on me. Of course I got sick for weeks afterwards. Last year, i found another salon where they use Aveda products, and I have an even better situation where the lady does it when there are no other customers about, and again, washes my hair with my own products. She has the air-conditioner on high for me. And I take my own towels, to sit on, to wrap around my shoulders and dry my hair as well. The Aveda colours have essential oils (not fragrance) and claim to be 99% chemically free and naturally derived, having said that, I need to wear my mask, and I use pollen filters in my nose so as to protect my eyes (I think I’ve told you that when I inhale chemicals, my eyes sting, burn and/or itch, and stop producing tears, which is painful?). I can smell an ammonia-bleachy type smell, even through my double filtered face garb, and I can feel the fumes externally on my eyes. The lady tries to not get it on my scalp and only on my hair, she then washes it twice for me. Afterwards, i go down the beach and walk in the wind and fresh air; then I go home and wash my hair many times. And I use a spare pillow for a week, instead of my usual organic wool one. (Kim, I know you are probably thinking I’m off my rocker for doing all this, but hey, you asked! And, you are so right, “A girl just wants her hair to look good!”)

    The shampoo and conditioners are amazing http://www.purist.com/products/al-chemy/shampoo/ the conditioner is better than the expensive fragranced ones I used to use before I was chemically sensitive.

    The Aveda products http://www.aveda.com/index.tmpl that I use are the one’s used in the salon: blonde and that’s it, nothing else. The essential oils wash out really well, but I would not recommend this for someone with MCS or sensitive to any chemicals. I probably should not do it, but I can’t stop. Although, it’s now been six months and I’m overdue by three months but because I’ve been so ill, I’m going to wait until I feel better.

    I’ve tried Magic Botanicals; actually, I’m waiting for the conditioner spray in the mail any day now. My seventeen year old daughter, uses the hairspray of the same brand (I can’t use it at the moment though).

    Back in 2004, when I first stopped using everything, I used to sit in the sun with lemon juice in my hair, this worked. I also used 3% peroxide, and chamomile tea (a really strong mix). My hair was lighter, but had an yellowy-slight orange tinge to it.

    As for cutting my hair, I’ve let it grow long and only have a trim when I get it coloured. At the moment, it’s quite long (middle of my back), and as I’m now 42, I kind of want to grow it longer in defiance of the idea that older women shouldn’t have long hair! (Or so I’ve been told.) Also, I find that long hair, for me, is easier to look after, I can put it in a pony and forget about it. One day, I will have grey hair, and I will keep it long then too! Embrace it. When I see ladies with long grey hair, I think they look beautiful!

    Good luck and let us know how you go, if you try the Henna!

    • I think this resonates to the core of most women, especially those of us who are chemically sensitive. I checked out the Alchemy site but these products are only sold in Australia. Too bad.

      I dont think I could use the Aveda colors and, alas, have become accustomed to my gray hair. I have talked with my hairdresser and she doesn’t think Henna would be a good idea for me but I am going to ask again because I can’t remember the reason why. I am also afraid that if I color it and don’t like it I am stuck until it either washes out or my hair grows out. At least where I am now, I know what I have. Back in the old days if I colored my hair and didn’t like it, I would just go back and have it done again. Those days are gone.

      Jennie posted a comment about another shampoo that our Whole Foods carries (Shikai) and I am going to check it out when I go to get groceries next time. I have found with this cut that life is easier at the moment because I just wash, dry the front a little and let the back just do its own thing.

      Thank you for sharing.


      • I forgot to mention that after my daughter read this blog post, she sent me two links for alcohol free hairspray. The first link turned up to be alcohol free but had fragrance/parfum in it by a name brand. The second link sent me to a site that listed the product had essential oils but didn’t list them. I phoned the company yesterday, Honeybee Gardens, and they returned my call today. The essential oils are orange and lemon. I think I may be able to tolerate them so I plan to order a bottle this weekend. They offer other cosmetics that I want to check out before I make my purchase.

        A friend recently commented on losing hair and wonders if it isn’t in part from the mold exposure. My comment is that nothing about mold exposures surprises me any more. I have had friends complain of suddenly having teeth begin to crumble so why not hair loss. I think I will do some research on this. There is a way for me to do a poll on this site. I just need to figure it out. If any of you would like to see if others have similar symptoms as you (hair loss for example) since their mold exposure let me know what questions to ask and I will see if I can come up with one.

  4. I too have had “great” changes in my hair style due to my mold exposure. I feel so very old now and haggard looking because I have not been able to “afford” the beauty parlor mostly. Also I do not seem to have the MCS to the exent most mold survivors have, but I do have it enough that I made the decision right after I got sick to quit getting my hair permed due to the chemicals getting into my body through my skalp and the fumes during the perming process. I did not want to risk a bad reaction and scare my beautician half to death since I had no way of knowing what would happen if I tried to get a perm. So for the past 4 years and first time in 50, I have not had my baby fine fly away hair permed. I also have not gotten it styled or cut in a salon in all that time. This was due to my money situation from losing my job prevented me from getting the perm when the time came a few months after I lost my job. In all my life, I had never had a pony tail till the past 4 years, due to keeping my hair short, permed and layered. Now I wear it all one layer, long and straight down my back and cut an inch or two off myself once or twice a year. Recently however, due to it getting thinner, I have been back and forth about having it cut into a bob right above my shoulders, thinking this might make it look fuller again but am waiting to get the money for a professional cut as I don’t think I trust myself to cut it that short. My husband gets his hair cut in a sports cut place that does not do coloring or perms but they do cut women’s hair there. They use mostly natural herbal products and I never smell chemicals when I go in with my husband, so when I go in there I don’t get any reactions and I think I can trust them to cut a bob. I currently use John Freida products because research on the Web stated that these products were one of the few that actually did what they professed to do for your hair and again no reactions from them. My MCS is spotty….things like spray cleaning products, spray lysol products, bleach, scentcy candles and some perfumes will get to me yet other things like shampoo and hairspray do not cause reactions. I also don’t use perfume anymore….as synthetic smells get me the worst.

  5. Patricia
    Thank you for commenting. I am glad your MCS is not as bad others. Once again, it goes to show that not all MCS sufferers are equal in terms of sensitivities.

    • I agree, it is funny how we all vary.

      I’m glad you’ve had success Patricia. Was it always like this for you, or did you improve over time?

      Kathryn (I got your name right this time, my apologies for my previous attempts), if you did a poll, i’d love to know if mould exposure causes sensitivities to other chemicals. For me, after mould exposure, or eating mould affected foods, it hurts to breathe through my nose, and breathing all smells hurts. It took me years to work out what was happening, I’d say to my doctor, “all smells hurt, including cooking.” He’d look at me blankly and say, “Well, that’s not an allergy.” One doctor that I’m seeing now, says it’s my bodies way of saying it’s detoxing and there are too many chemicals coming out , another says it’s inflammation of the sinus area.

      I’m starting chelation next week, and I’ve had some gene testing, which i’ll blog about too.

  6. Miche

    I will start keeping a list for a poll. I will also comment on what I was told regarding mold and chemicals in a future blog. I think I need to keep a folder on my desk top of what I am supposed to remember to do. In fact, I paused here to make a BLOG folder because I am always saying that I will check things out or respond and then forget.

    I would love to hear about your gene testing and how you do on chelation.

  7. I have a blog folder, it’ s massive. Not everything in it will go up on my blog, but it helps to write about it. You know, I’m supposed to be writing about other things, but this condition is all I think about, therefore write about. I’m having problems attending Uni at the moment, so I have to sort that out too.

    Here is a link to how to do a poll http://en.support.wordpress.com/polls/ Hope its helpful. Have a great day!

  8. Thank you for the link. I hope you figure out why you are having problems.

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