#MakeupMonday: Old Hair/New Hair

[Updated! See below]

I mentioned last week that in the last year it has suddenly come to my attention that my hair has, at some point, transitioned from its previous shiny glory to well on the path to shapeless old woman frizzy poof.

Because my hair is so short, and I don’t color it, and it’s such a perfectly equal salt-and-pepper mix, I think I didn’t notice this fact as quickly as I otherwise might have.

But once I noticed it, I was horrified.

This is what my hair used to look like.

This is what I realized it’s been looking like lately.

Here’s another:

Oh dear.

Even when I was working hard to look cute it STILL looked all dry and frizzy….

Once you see something like this, my friends, you can’t unsee it! I leapt into action.

First, I found a Living Proof Timeless Anti-Aging Shampoo and Conditioner trial set (unfortunately discontinued) on sale at TJ Maxx in NYC. I bought it, used it, and right away, I could see a difference in texture.

Then, after some initial reading and one very long afternoon browsing the previously never-visited hair section at Ulta testing loads and loads of products for their texture and smell, I got a Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Spray trial size, and an Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Trial Set (I ADORE the former and dislike the latter). I also found a $5.99 Rusk Thermal Protector Serum at TJ Maxx that has become a great love. I started seeing results right away. My hair was instantly smoother.

I’ve been hedging my bets, as I do, buying things cheap and small until I find my way among this forest of new products.

FYI: Just like with cosmetics and skin care (and honestly I think even more so), hair care products really do perform differently on everyone. Ratings and reviews will get you started, but in the end you have to depend on trial and error. I don’t know why Rusk works for me and Alterna doesn’t… Oh and BTW the standout product line for me in all this is Living Proof. I’m heartbroken that they discontinued the Timeless Anti-Aging line, at least for shampoo and conditioner, but I think I’m going to be happy with their newer Frizz line.

Sadly, I also immediately realized that my new true love, Surfer Girl Dry Texturizing Spray, was undoing all the shine I was adding in…. And that texturing sprays, which I adore, MATTIFY and DRY! Ughhhh…..

I need a texturizing spray for my spiky haircut!

Luckily my hairdresser came through with a Davines salon product (“This Is A Dry Texture Spray” is actually the name) so I could get some spike without losing sheen:

Convinced about the impact the right products can make, I finally sprang for full-priced Olaplex #3 Hair Perfecter and #6 Bonding Oil, which seem to be cult items (people on Sephora kept raving about them in discussions of flatirons), and did a treatment:

I also replaced my old no-name damaging flatiron with a GHD Gold Professional Performance Styler (I tried out the Bio-Ionic 10x Pro Styling Iron at the same time, but returned it).

Good lord, did THAT make a difference! (but see those stubborn pokey flyaways!)

Then I went to NYC and scored that totally ridiculous deeply discounted Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Hair Mask and Bonnet System (entails a giant black bonnet on ur head that’s attached to your blowdryer on low for a 30 min heat treatment, lol) at Ricky’s going out of business sale (mentioned last week), and tried that (while doing the Glamglow mask, natch!)

I was definitely seeing a dramatic change at this point. Not just in smoothness and shine, but also the color and feel of my hair. The color was brighter: my dark hair was returning to a rich brown, and my grays were starting to sparkle! Even more so, my hair felt soft and pliable. I could run my fingers through it without a single tangle. It started taking the flatiron instantly on a single pass, and best of all, holding its shape all day without frizz, even in humidity! Even my cowlicks (I have 7 of them!) were a little less stubborn!

Randomly I found a DryBar Sparkling Soda Shine Mist trial size somewhere, which added an amazing final shine without weighty oils or dampness. (FYI: I notice most shine sprays are so oily/wet that they instantly undo any styling you just accomplished… very annoying!)

And last night, I went back to the Olaplex #3 and did an overnight treatment as I saw mentioned on Sephora comment threads.

Check it out! Pleased I am!

Look at the shine! Even my cowlick side is smooth!

I realize there are three things that will keep my hair from ever glowing the way it did in decades past: 1) I don’t color it, and only salon color really brings frizzy graying hair back to a truly youthful sheen; 2) its salt and pepper combo means I will always have two textures competing up there; 3) my spiky short style and texturizing products means I will never have a totally smooth surface to work with.

But working within those parameters, I’m so glad to see my softness and shine returning!

Here’s the thing, though: it takes a LOT of product! First, Timeless Shampoo and Conditioner. Then, a smoothing/conditioning leave-in cream (I’m trying out a Living Proof No-Frizz sample I got just now). Then Olaplex Oil, and Kenra Blow-Dry Spray. Then the Rusk Thermal Protector Serum and a high-end straightener. Then a non-mattifying texturizer, and finishing with TIGI BedHead Masterpiece Shine hairspray and a final spritz with the Drybar Shine Mist.

I’m going to assume (hope) that with repeated deep treatments some of these temporary fixes can go by the wayside, but right now I am just piling it on and my hair is slurping it all up! The amazing thing is, so far, nothing has been too much. Not a single thing has weighed down my hair or made it greasy or flat or heavy… which for me indicates JUST how dried out my hair has actually gotten, and how thirsty it is for oils and moisturizers, etc.

UPDATE: I decided to leave the Olaplex #6 Bonding Oil in overnight last night. Wow–another upgrade!

(different lighting)

So that’s my old hair update! If you are someone with gray hair who has found products that work, share them on the FB thread! I’ll gladly try them out! I particularly want to hear about Kerastase–give me the 411! (And I’ll do another drawing.)

About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

Comments

#MakeupMonday: Old Hair/New Hair — 2 Comments

    • This is in my series of the make up Monday posts. They don’t relate directly to the job market. If you go back to the first ones I explain my motivations in starting the series.

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