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Go Rogaine for women!

04/14/2006

Hello Beautiful!

Have you all noticed that we have yet to write a single post about fitness? Don’t worry, we’re not all huge hypocrites at Beautiful Fitness, who secretly find hair products more interesting than exercise–we do really have a bunch of helpful tips and suggestions about everything from losing weight to better ways to workout that we will be sharing on this blog, but truth be told, that often feels kind of like the day job. Also, if you are one of our fortunate and delightful Beautiful Fitness clients, you are probably getting a fair dose of that stuff already, but there is ever more…

So now that I have apologized for not including more news about sit-ups, my tip for today is, dum dum dum: Rogaine for Women!

No joke. I never would have believed it either if I hadn’t tried it. since I was very young I have never had a fantastic amount of hair. You know the old, mousy brown, mixed European background kind of thing…and frankly, it never really bothered me.

My mother has very fine and thin hair too, and I had just kind of accepted that it would never be my most gorgeous attribute. In fact my hair has always been so thin that boyfriends would often complain that it made them itchy when we slept next to each other because it would get sucked into their nose when they breathed.  But then I used Rogaine.

Like with many of my beauty discoveries, I really never believed that it would work. It was really more of an experiment with a new chemical at first. A bit expensive, $25 for a one month supply (though you can buy four for $50, and there are generic brands) and some bad sounding possible side effects-hair growth in all the wrong places (like your forehead or on your ears–more about that later) or heart palpitations or increased blood pressure, but I had done some reading and was convinced that it would be fun to try.

Something I read had said that hair growth specialists had occasionally encouraged women to start with the Men’s formula, to sort of jump-start the whole business (4% minoxidil instead of 2%) but, obviously, that meant that the risks of side effects were even greater. But my life is pretty boring, I don’t smoke anymore, I barely drink, and now I am even trying to get to bed early, so buying 4% Minoxidil with the warning on the side that said  Not For Use by Women, was a bit of a thrill. I have room in my life for this kind of danger.

On the side of the lavender box were pictures of head-tops with thinning parts in their hair, suggesting that if your head looked like one of them, that Rogaine might be able to fill you back in. Cool. I was ready for a little adventure. For the first applications, I was rather tense every time I used it (you have to rub it all over your scalp twice a day with the aid of an eyedropper). I completely expected that I would either suffer from some terrible medical side effect and have to explain my use of Men’s Rogaine to the nurses at the hospital, or that I would wake up in the morning looking like a werewolf with hair sprouting out of the tops of my ears. Fortunately, neither of these things happened.

What did happen was that after three months of the warning side label making me increasingly nervous,I began to see downy fuzz filling in the widows peaks on my forehead. So I switched to Rogaine for Women. And now I am a lifer. ( Another little problem with Minoxidil use is that you can’t ever stop. If you do, all of the hair that has become unnaturally yours will fall out. Just like that. Onto the floor. I have tried minor experiments with this too.)

And I can honestly say, the sh*t works. For me anyway. Like, really works. I have more hair. Visibly more. And I seem to be keeping it. the thing about forehead hair is true (though it is peach fuzzy, and easy to get rid of), and if you are at all sloppy with the stuff (which I am) you can grow a little more sideburns than you would probably like too (again, fuzz, not fur). But nothing that a razor or some laser hair removal won’t be able to fix. (See Laser Hair Removal post in the future).

So there it is. Please remember, nothing on this site is meant to encourage use of any of these products. Just because it worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, and frankly, if you don’t enjoy the chemistry experiment end of this stuff, and your hair is not getting you down, you are probably better off leaving your scalp alone, and enjoying the hair you were born with.

breasts

04/07/2006

Boy, would I like some. It all started in the Dominican Republic, at Club Med, of all places. I went there alone with my kids thinking: nice family vacation, good kids club, a little solitude. The boyfriend was going to be meeting me a few days later, so I would actually have a little time alone. What I found there though, was a nice family vacation, and a million of the worlds most beautiful sixteen year old french girls (and their relatively invisible boyfriends) with very tastefully ‘done’ breasts everywhere. It was weird. It was like I had arrived in a nation of skinny, large breasted, beautiful French teenagers. As you can imagine, hanging out there with my boyfriend for the last few days was a little annoying.

I was both impressed, and a bit intimidated. I remember feeling this way once before when I was a teenager, going to Florence for the first time. Walking out of the hote that first morning was like stepping onto a movie set with the most exquisitely beautiful (though entirely natural) set of actors that you have ever seen. I kept thinking I would turn the corner and the ‘real people’ would appear. The ones that were not perfectly proportioned, or more appealingly dressed than any American I had ever seen in my life (mind you, this was before women’s suits had waists in America). But, in Florence, you would turn the corner and there were just more and more unreally beautiful women. It was then that I realized I wanted to be beautiful like them.

So now there’s this new kind of beauty in town. Plastic surgery. Breasts in particular. And believe me darling, more than a few people have them. I was, from my little sheltered corner of the world, sort of under the impression that this was kind of a niche phenomenon, only for women who were super flat chested, topless dancers, or the very very vain. It seemed so surreal to me that  otherwise sensible women might go under the knife voluntarily, in order to lodge a bag of saline under their chest muscles. (yes, that’s how it generally works in case you didn’t know).

But a lot do. And they look, frankly, great. And I have been a little hooked on the idea ever since. So if those of you who know me personally, one day notice that there is a bit more of me than there used to be, you can thank the french. On the other hand, my pain threshold is low, and how on earth would I explain it to my daughter. I’d feel like an idiot. I hope that this is all quite out of fashion by the time she is thinking about how she looks.

pms, boyfriend away, and home hair straightening kit

04/01/2006

Hello Beautiful!

Well doesn’t the title of this post really say it all. You’ve been there, right? (Of course, inevitably, when you ask this question to a group, you find out that no one ever has done the silly thing you are about to describe).

Slightly lonely, feeling exhausted, a little bloated from PMS, boyfriend went skiing without me ( I couldn’t go), kids at their father’s house, and I don’t want to spend the night eating ice cream out of the container in my pajamas (well, OK, I do want to do that–but I really try not to) so I decide to do something to my hair. (This is the point where all the women you are confiding in admit that ‘doing something to their hair’ when they’re mildly depressed and pre-menstrual never really occurred to them)

So I spent a good half an hour roaming around CVS after going to the gym tonight, looking for some high-school-esque exotic beauty treatment to perform on myself. Something more dramatic than self-tanner. The results there are pretty much always the same. More streaky, less streaky, yadda yadda yadda. Dye is definitely out, since I just got my hair properly (and bloody expensively) highlighted at Oscar Blandi Salon, as a sort of birthday treat to myself.

Then I spot the hair straightening box. Now, I don’t have a lot of hair (and if I didn’t use Women’s Rogaine ((with incredible success, by the way)) I’d have even less) so there’s not a lot to straighten. But it does have some curl, and it is certainly kind of frizzy sometimes (like the box promises to fix) so I decide to give it a try.

Well, now we’re live folks. Right now, I am at the second step of a three step straightening process with the Easy Straight: 1 week straightener. This is the alternative product to the same brands ‘3 Month Straightener’ which I considered trying until I read the side of the box that warned me that the product was not recommended for fine hair. That always means me.

Like with hair dye, out of the box you get an assortment of cute bottles and a comb. They recommend you do a strand test first. Of course, I don’t. Step one, the straightener, (the serious chemicals) you pour all over your head (after washing and conditioning) and comb through, leaving it to sit for either 7, or 15, or 20 minutes, depending on whether or not your hair is dyed.

Wash that stuff out (at this point I can already see strands of hair that didn’t survive the wet combing, or maybe the chemicals, falling onto the floor of the bathtub as I rinse), and head right into saturating with the ‘Sealer’, bottle #2, comb that stuff in (remember folks, combing your hair when it is wet is generally a bad idea) and wait 7 minutes. Wash it out.

Then it is on to the final sweet smelling leave-in conditioner. The stuff actually smells kind of nice, and I wonder if the odor has been designed to mask the smell of the straightener (the chemical in hair straightening products smells pretty distinct–a little sulphur-y). The directions say that you should not go to bed while your hair is still wet, which is too bad because that was kind of my plan right now, but then, really I couldn’t leave you hanging until the next post to find out how it went, so I will blow it dry.

OK, blew the hair dry, and lo and behold! It is pretty straight.  Now, the catch here is, my hair is naturally pretty straight, and more so when I blow dry it. The real test will be tomorrow morning when I wake up. Will it still be straight? I’ll let you know.

Also, my hands are all sparkly. Like, really sparkly. Clearly, the leave in conditioner deposits sparkly stuff on your hair. It seems a bit like cheating, because, of course our hair looks shiny afterward. That’s because it is coated in sparkly conditioner. Hmmm…

All in all, I’d say the entertainment value on this one was pretty high without any terrible results. My hair looks a bit nicer, maybe a little straighter, I kind of like the sparkly conditioner, and, unless my hair all falls out tomorrow, I’d say that this Easy Straight was well worth the $15 I spent on it.

Will this become part of my regular hair care routine? Well since finding time to wash my hair is not a regular part of my hair-care routine-I doubt it. But for one lonely PMS evening it was some pretty harmless fun.

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UPDATE: Next day, my hair was still looking kind of straight, but no fantastic improvement at all. Also straight doesn’t always equal better. Sleek, shiny and straight like the Madison Avenue princesses is fantastic, and makes you look like you are permanently 16, but I have no idea how they do that. And I doubt it is done at home. I’ll let you know if I ever find out.

A day later, my hair looked exactly the same as always. In retrospect, I’d pass on Easy Straight. The stuff can’t be great for your hair, and it seemed to do nothing at all. Maybe the 3 month version works better…Cheers!