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The Nastiest Thing I’ve Ever Done

It’s a cold way to ring in the start of another work week. The temps today are only expected to hit -6 (wind chill -25 to -35) but then tomorrow the wind chill gets worse. I’m expecting another round of school closings…

You could say I’m a little peculiar because things that tend to gross out the average person don’t normally get to me. With that being said, if you are at all grossed out about hair – come back again tomorrow ok? 🙂

I’ve been mentioning for a few months now that my hair loss has been on the ridiculous side. My hair is very fine and losing chunks of it left and right is much more noticeable than if I had been blessed with thick, abundant locks. I have been having issues keeping my hair pulled back in any semblance of order because there’s so little you can see the balding areas more easily now. Plus, with less hair, any barette, hair tie, etc… pulls so much that it actually hurts. So I’ve had to buy all new ties, clips and other things to try to make it work.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been checking my hair loss to see if it has been slowing down. So every Sunday night I clean out my brush and set the clump of hair on a box top to compare week over week. I’ve told this to several people who thought it was the nastiest thing they’d ever heard of. Why is it that hair once it’s off your scalp, is considered so nasty? It’s not in your food folks!

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The far right is week #1. Week #4 (far left) looks a little light but I actually didn’t get a full week because I cleaned my hairbrush on Friday right before trying my nasty experiment. Anyways, that’s just 4 weeks and what was in my brush – not counting what I see on the floor in the bathroom or pull out while washing my hair…

Scary.

I’ve been doing endless research trying to identify ways to get my hair to stop falling out and start growing back. At any given time, most people have 20% of their hair in a dormant growth cycle – and that’s the hair that sheds. That’s normal and fine hair loss. But, the lack of carbs I had in my system for several months last year shocked my body, and, in short, weren’t providing certain nutrients to my hair that it needed – causing more of my hair to go into the dormant cycle. Apparently this is very, very common. Ugh. Every article I’ve read says that once you revert back to normal eating it will stop and your hair will grow back, but as each week ticks by and my hair gets less and less, I’ve been more and more worried.

I talked to a dermatologist briefly on the phone, who said I could come in and she could put me on some medication, but that the results might not be as great because this is a dietary hair loss and not a age/hormonal hair loss. She suggested reverting back to my original diet (yes, thank you). Plus, to be 100% honest, after my awful experience on Prednisone a few years back… I don’t really want a bunch of nasty chemicals in my body again.

So… there’s a few home remedies that kept popping up during my online searching. The most common, by far, is an onion pulp hair masque. Apparently onions are very high in sulfur and the sulfur provides a necessary nutritional element that is found in a lot of hair loss medications. The sulfur conditions the hair follicles and helps re-growth. The most common onion masque recipe I found involved a pureed onion, a few cloves of garlic, and castor oil. Castor oil was not going to happen, so I thought about adding coconut oil instead for the conditioning aspect.

I started this Saturday morning while Ben was at the gym meeting with a personal trainer. One onion, 3 cloves of garlic, about 1/4c coconut oil, and I squeezed 2 softgels of vitamin E as well (that’s supposed to be good for hair, right?)

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This is what it looks like all blended:

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I purchased a few cheap shower caps and was ready to go!

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I did this over the kitchen sink thinking that was the best place. If I had to do it again, I think I would have done it on damp hair. Massaging slightly gritty onion pulp into dry hair is not a great feeling I’d recommend. What hit me the most was how much the pulp made my eyes water. It was crazy!! I don’t have pics of the process because my eyes were killing me but it was me hunched over the sink, plopping the pulp on my hair, and rubbing it in. I cut a small slice in a gallon bag and slid that over my head first, thinking that might do a better job keeping the pulp in place:

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Once I got the baggie on, it was a LOT better on my eyes. Up close:

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Then I tucked the shower cap over it all:

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Now what?

A couple of web sites said to do this daily for 30 minutes a day. That was definitely NOT going to happen. Another site said to do it weekly, 3 hours at a crack, over a month. That sounded more doable. I stiffly sat in a chair and immediately noticed that the onion juice was dripping down all around my face. Folks, that was probably the nastiest part of the entire process.

Remedy? A towel wrapped all around that I could constantly wipe anything that was trickling down. I didn’t want to sit anywhere for fear of it dripping on furniture, so I sat on the floor and messed with my tablet. Ben came home to an unhappy camper…

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Three hours later, when my eyebrows seemed to have glued to my face and my neck was stiff from holding it perfectly straight (trying to minimize drippage), it was time to wash the gunk out.

I squeezed a bag of lemons in preparation (lemon juice is supposed to be key in removing the smell) and went up to shower. This was nasty too – it’s hard to get the stuff to wash out. I started with just water but really needed shampoo to remove the tiny bits. And the smell… oh my gawd. Once I got everything out, I poured the lemon juice over my head and sat in the shower 5 minutes before rinsing that out.

It didn’t work. It’s now Monday and my hair still smells like a bouquet of onion. It’s a really stomach-turning smell too. It’s not pleasant like onions and garlic at an Italian restaurant, but a nasty, horrid smell.

A couple other interesting(?) things: I wouldn’t use the vitamin E again. I think it was a bright yellow color and it stained the white towel I was using. Even after two washings and a bleach wash, the onion smell is still prevalent on the towel and the bright yellow/green stain where it rubbed around my neck still shines brightly. If I had to do it again, I’d have used a throw-away towel and the oldest, grubbiest t-shirt I owned – and tossed both out after.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking I am exaggerating on the hair loss. I had Ben take a few pictures to illustrate. Granted, it’s more noticeable with wet hair, but you can definitely see there is way, way too little hair. I see the side view every day and that’s enough to make my heart wince, but when I saw the front picture for the first time, I actually cried.

Side:

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Top of head:

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So now I’m torn. Would I do this again? Absolutely not. It was disgusting. BUT it would be worth it I guess if it actually helps, although I’m not sure one application will do much. I have found a few other things to try: one is a follicle stimulating shampoo that I ordered and another is making a rosemary rinse that you spritz into your hair. I’m planning to try both of those next.

I’m mortified to go into a salon and have them see this, but I know I need to schedule something in the next few weeks and hack a bunch off. I’d been growing it out for over a year so I could do something pretty for the wedding (It grows soooo slow) but the extra weight is probably not good. I am thinking a few inches need to be whacked.

So, there you go folks. I smell like a luscious onion today. If you see me, stand back a few feet. 😉 I’ll keep you posted on whether or not it seems like this did anything. Fingers crossed!

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5 Responses

  1. Oh Ali, I am so, so sorry you had to resort to this and that you cried over your hair. You are beautiful no matter what.

    It might be time to rock a short pixie cut. It will be fun!

    • You’re so sweet Lori! I’ve been overweight and can sort of deal with that, but I’ve never been bald and I’m having a bit or trauma trying to deal with it right now. Hopefully it will slow down soon!!

  2. I feel your pain 🙂

  3. Aww! Hang in Ali. And I second Lori’s comment – you ARE beautiful, no matter what, and inside and out!!!! Hugs

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