GUEST POST ALERT: Look at this Babe...

Introduction by Dena: 
I've been lucky enough that when my hair grew back after chemo it grew back in approximately 14 times thicker than it was before. I did a little research and discovered that it may be because only about 1/3 of your hair follicles are ever active at one time. Chemo therapy damages the hair follicles (causing the hair to fall out) and also sometimes activating some of the dormant follicles. Then, the follicles that were damaged by the chemo recover and voila! Thicker hair! While this may not be worth going through chemo (j/k - DEF NOT WORTH IT) I definitely remember the pains of having thinner hair, and even a slightly receding hairline! Male-pattern baldness actually runs in my family. 

With that in mind, when I read an amazing list of cool tricks on The Listapp, I knew it would be something I should share on Leo with Cancer. Abigail was generous enough to write it up for me and let me post it here. She is the cutest! Not only are these tips amazing, I know other women who use them AND they also work great for women who are growing back/recovering from chemo hair loss, hormone related hair loss (pregnancy, hormone therapies, menopause - all can cause hairloss FML) and,  damage from over-processing hair. 

People ask me a lot about the method that I used to get extensions in my super short hair, so I also wanted to start this list with my own addition, because it's very similar to the "the fall" that Abigail talks about. However, I am a spoiled rotten princess with a mother who is a hairdresser so I got a custom one made just for me. Then, I had her attach that piece onto my head using non-damaging silicon beads, supplementing the bottom with more bead-in extensions. It also looks amazing for a shorter look, like these before and after shots I took. In addition to making the piece, a good stylist will also give you a better cut (no layers for thin hair!) and highlights to add visual weight and dimension (all one color looks flat, and can make hair appear even thinner...) The difference is startling. 


Please let me save you hundreds of hours and dollars and tears.


It took me a long time to allow myself to feel my feelings about my hair.  I punished myself for being shallow.  That’s just a lot of bad vibes. Once I allowed myself to accept what is, I got to looking for a solution.

First things first: A good cut.

We deserve to enjoy getting a haircut.  Finding a good stylist is key.  Like doctors, stylists have varying skills in terms of bedside (chairside?) manner.  For me, I’ve learned that talking candidly before the cut has improved my experience tremendously.  It’s not easy, but the moment I sit in the chair I tell them I have alopecia, my hair is thin, and I’m aware.  With that information out, the stylist has permission to openly acknowledge what they’re working with.    

After years of experimentation I’ve found a one-length bob is the best starting point.  Some stylists might recommend layers for more volume but that doesn’t work on thin hair.  Too many layers can contribute to a “wispy” look.  Cutting it all one length makes the most of what’s there.  On me, I like chin length, keeping it light and less likely to weigh itself down. 

Toppik is your new best friend

Master the little pump attachment for the Toppik

Getting the hang of this takes some practice but makes the application of the fibers more precise.  It also helps direct all of the product to your head and not the floor/counter/your face. 

Toppik makes it easy and packages all three together over at their website, here

I have it on good authority some of the best tops-of-heads on Film and TV are actually clip in! 

A lot of people love “The Fall” by HaloCouture and it clips to the top of your head.  It blends seamlessly, has a natural looking part, and can be cut and dyed to match your natural hair.  Learning about the ubiquity of this thing made me feel so much better about being follicularly challenged.  It’s important to know when we’re looking at smoke and mirrors.  It’s also important to know we can employ them ourselves if we want to.

You can find a salon that carries these pieces at the halo couture website or you can get a custom bead in version from Dena’s mom, who makes her own pieces using all natural human hair, and can make them clip in or semi-permanent using non-damaging silicon beads. 

Spironolactone might make your hair grow.

It’s a pill.  You need a prescription, ideally from a Dermatologist specializing in hair loss/Alopecia.  I tried it, my skin was ethereal and my hair grew thicker.  I didn’t experience any negative side effects myself, but ultimately decided to discontinue my use of it because of the potential side effects.  But first, I grew my hair out one more time:

Embrace natural texture if you have it!

This one is easy and free! If you have natural texture, work with it! I regret my years of striving for pin straight hair.

Abigail Katsen Toner is an actor, writer, and recovering cynic fighting existential ennui in sunny Los Angeles where she lives with her husband, Liam.  She’s definitely going to start blogging soon.