Adrienne Dellwo, at About.com’s fibro and chronic fatigue site, recently wrote about her frustrations with her hair:
The picture of me on this page (which is badly in need of updating) shows what I call my “too sick to do my hair” hairstyle. As my functionality improved, I changed it to something that takes a little work, but not much. And still, I have a wide selection of hats for days when I’m just not up to styling it. I have a huge problem in the summer, because my forehead sweats excessively when I’m warm (another fibromyalgia symptom) and undoes my do in a hurry.
Do I ever know the feeling . . . and that’s to say nothing of the excess hair loss we fibromyalgia folks sometimes experience.
I’ve been there, done that, gotten the frizzy and thinning mess of tresses to prove it.
Fortunately, there are some alternatives for those bad pain/bad hair days.
Stop Fighting Mother Nature
One of the worst offenders when it comes to hair-related pain is the insistence on fighting our natural textures. Wavy- and curly-haired girls want to go straight. Straight-locked women want waves or curls. And nobody likes frizz.
Talk to your stylist about good haircuts and styles that work with your natural texture and face shape, instead of requiring multiple “products” and sizzling straightening or curling irons.
It might take some time to grow out into a longer length, or a commitment to go much shorter. Be open to the possibilities. After all, it’s just hair — it will grow back.
Treat Your Hair and Scalp Gently
Another pain-inducer is rough treatment: brushing, combing, yanking back into too-tight ponytails.
Ease up on the heavy brushing. Nobody needs the old “100 strokes every day” treatment, certainly not us. Comb your hair only when it’s really wet. And if a ponytail is the best way to get your hair looking presentable without overstressing it or you, then choose the snagless elastic holders over the tangle-creating ones.
Choose Face-Framing Styles
The things we rely on to keep our hair out of our faces — barrettes, clips, hairbands, etc. — can also increase pain, even when they’re used correctly. By all means keep a few on hand for days when scalp pain isn’t a problem, but if you are experiencing tender-scalp moments, invest in a good face-framing cut that won’t require such accessories to look good.
One Word: Scarves
A vast improvement over those headache-causing headbands, a pretty scarf does double-duty. It looks very elegant and does not trigger tender scalp pain. You can use them in any number of ways as hair accessories. Get some ideas right here.
Let Hair Dry Naturally
If you know you’re going to need to put in the time and effort with a heated styling tool, such as a straightening iron or curlers, give your hair and yourself a break by letting your hair dry naturally first.
Simply squeeze out (never rub vigorously!) the water from your hair post-shower with an absorbent towel, gently comb out tangles (use a detangling or leave-in spray conditioner to help with this), create the part, squeeze water out one more time, and go about other tasks or rest until your hair is dry.
When you’re ready, go about styling as usual.
Note: This will probably mean showering earlier than you otherwise would, of course, if you’re getting ready for a particular event.
Invest In a Second Set of Arms
Something I’ve long wanted to try is this hair dryer holder (Amazon non-aff link). Placed on a counter-top, it holds the hair dryer in place, leaving your arms free to style, instead of hold the (increasingly heavy) dryer.
If anyone’s given this a try, please share your experience in the comments!
What’s your favorite hair-care tip? Share your tips and tricks below in the comments!