Hair-care can be daunting for anyone, but it can be an especially big challenge if you suffer from an illness that causes your hair to be a bit different from everyone else’s. I have an autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or lymphocytic thyroiditis, which causes my immune system to attack my thyroid. This causes my hair to grow very fine, thin, and more fragile than most; I call it my “toddler” hair because that’s exactly what it feels like – soft, easily breakable, and pin straight.
Shockingly, there is very little hair-care education out there for women with “Hashi’s,” even though it’s the single most common autoimmune disease found in our population today (fun fact: supermodel Gigi Hadid has it!). When you’re allergic to yourself (literally), you find that the common beauty methods that work for most women no longer apply to you-you're too sensitive, too autoimmune, to fit into a box.
But never fear, your autoimmune fairy godmother is here!
Below are nine tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along my health journey that has benefitted my fine hair greatly. I hope they help you, too!
1. Ditch the Heat
This was the first step I took in taking back my hair health and boy was it a big one. To put it simply, if you have fine hair, you do not have hair made for heat. Heat damages, fries, and breaks healthy hair, so it’s best to wear your natural, whatever that may be! If you simply must curl or straighten it from time to time, do it less than twice a month, and use heat protection products.
2. Olaplex it Up
This stuff is expensive, but it is so worth the investment. When I do my weekly (or bi-monthly) wash, I soak my hair in Olaplex number 3 overnight. This isn’t a protein treatment – it’s a re-bonding chemical formula that works to rebuild your hair from the inside out. This process starts in the salon, however, so make sure your stylist is applying the first Olaplex steps at the bowl.
3. Wash Once Every 7-10 Days
I can’t stress enough how much we do not have to wash our hair every day. Other than heat, this is the second most damaging hair habit in my opinion. Shampoos are full of sulfates and alcohols that dry out your hair and damage it further, so going 7-10 solid days “no-poo” is the best option for healthy hair. Let those natural oils build up!
4. Dry Shampoo is Your Best Friend
For those long stretches in between washes, I grab a big can of Batiste dry shampoo and go to town. Dry shampoo can’t hurt your hair – it literally just gives you more texture and volume (I also enjoy this, because most days my hair is flatter than paper).
5. Take a Quick, Cold Rinse
When you’re done showering, make sure to always reseal your hair cuticles by dousing them in some cool water. Hot water opens the hair cuticle and leaves it vulnerable to further damage, but ending your shower in cool water helps to close those tight.
6. Pour on the Dasani
This may sound weird, but pouring some bottled water on your head before you get in the pool can help keep the chlorine and chemicals out of your hair. Think of your hair like a sponge – it can only soak up so much. So by soaking it in regular water first, there’s less space for the chlorine to move in.
7. Take Your Vitamins
I take 5,000 mcgs of Biotin every day to maintain a healthy amount of hair growth. That being said, always consult your doctor before starting any new supplements. I’ve found that a lot of these “hair, skin, and nails” vitamins can have thyroid boosting components, which can hurt some Hashi’s sufferers.
8. Talk to Your Doctor
Sometimes we can be battling hidden illness and not even know it! If you’re showing signs of thinning hair, weight changes, body rashes, or fatigue, make sure to talk to a specialist. Half the battle is knowing you’re fighting it in the first place!
9. Leave Your Hair ALONE
This one’s pretty simple – and trust me ladies, I’m a big offender when it comes to number nine. We all love changing our hair color, getting our roots done, and going to the salon for a good ole fashion bleach and repeat. But, at the end of the day, our hair is healthiest when we don’t touch it, and with an autoimmune disease, it’s even more sensitive. That’s not to say you can’t have your hair makeover fun if you want – but always see a specialist and go slow.
So there you have it folks! A quick list that has helped me grow my super fine hair long and healthy. No amount of good hair care will ever change your hair type, but these simple changes have helped me embrace my natural hair and love it in its healthiest state.
Written by | Ashley D. @Lapin_studios
Autoimmune & Beautiful
A weekly blog from an autoimmune beauty guru