Tag Archives: wigs

Hair loss

10 Dec
men's hair loss

When faced with hair loss, a man’s confidence may suffer, but it doesn’t have to be this way

When the weather turns cold, my hair falls out; I think a third of it is gone by now. My hair is long and it’s everywhere: under every sleeve of every garment, laced into every towel, caught on every textured surface, and sometimes found  on my plate.

This isn’t just annoying, it causes a certain amount of stress in me because every time I wash and comb out my hair, I pull out what feels like a fistful of strands from my head and from my comb, and it’s something of a shock. Fortunately for me, I know that when the spring comes, the hair will grow back like it always does. That’s for me, a woman, but this isn’t necessarily the case for men.

While women tend to lose their hair from all over their head, men lose their hair in a pattern. According to the American Osteopathic Association, male pattern baldness affects 2 in 3 men. “Despite the fact that male pattern baldness is very common, many men who are faced with hair loss feel embarrassment and have low self-esteem.”

If the AOA is correct and 66% of men experience hair loss, one might think that a brotherhood would form to support other men who lost hair. Instead, I see sad statistics: “60 percent of all bald men are teased at some point in their lives”. Hair loss can be a self-esteem issue to the man in question and a demeaning point of ridicule. eMed Expert lists 16 ways balding can affect people–all negative and some terrible, except for one: bald men are perceived as more intelligent than haired men. However, one positive point out of 16 is not encouraging.

Factors in hair loss

male pattern hair loss

Male pattern baldness

Hair loss usually has a genetic origin, but there are many other factors that contribute to it. Male pattern hair loss happens when hair follicles become smaller and smaller and produce shorter, finer strands, until eventually, no hair grows from the follicles at all. Dr. Philip Ginsberg, a Philadelphia osteopath says that while genetics play a role in male pattern hair loss, the gene can come from either parent (not just the mother, as the myth goes), and that men with hair loss “usually have a high presence of endocrine hormones.” Male pattern hair loss comes in several forms: thinning hair, a receding hairline, hair loss at the crown of the head, and loss in an “M” shape.

“The average person loses 80-100 hair strands a day,” says Jason Kearns of Kearns & Co.hair dressing  in Toronto. He says that besides genetics, there are many factors that affect hair loss: diet, health, hair care routine, and hair tools.

Diet

Kearns’ Colour Director, Aaron O’Bryan, says that everything comes from the inside, and stresses the importance of diet. In his hair blog, he lists some beneficial foods to encourage hair retention:

  • Salmon: Rich in protein and vitamin D which are key in promoting stronger healthier hair;
  • Walnuts: Contain Biotin,vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids–all three help to save your locks;
  • Eggs: Are full of protein and have key minerals like zinc, sulphur, and iron. Iron plays a major role in hair retention as it helps cells carry the oxygen to the hair follicles;
  • Spinach: This has iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C which helps keep hair healthy and scalp oils circulating.

Other dietary suggestions:

  • Gelatin strengthens hair and nails and can be found at drug stores or health food shops. Gelatin is made of boiled animal parts like bones and hooves. Gelatin rhymes with skeleton, says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and if this doesn’t sit well with you, alternatives to animal gelatin are kosher gelatin (which may or may not contain fish as I just learned), agar, and carrageenan (a seaweed);
  • Essential fatty acids support healthy hair and are found in walnuts, flax seeds, fish, and avocado;
  • Biotin encourages hair and scalp health and is found in nuts, brown rice, and oats;
  • Silica is a natural compound that contains biotin and helps maintain and repair connective tissue, collagen, and promotes bone and wound healing. It is recommended for clear skin and healthy hair. Silica is found in leafy greens, cucumbers, whole grains, beets, and root vegetables, and can be taken in capsule form.

Read more about natural diet options here.

The right tools for the jobhair brush

Gentlemen, be honest about your hair type; its condition has nothing to do with virility. Whatever state your hair is in, treat it right. If it’s fragile (i.e. brittle or thin), be gentle with it and use the right tools for it (i.e. shampoos for fine, thin hair, and a suitable brush for your hair type), if it’s oily, use shampoo for oily hair, if it’s dry, use a shampoo for dry hair, etc.

Kearns suggests to speak to your stylist about the type of brush to use for your type of hair, and keep it clean. Cleaning your brush may seem daunting, but Kearns offers a tip: use dishwashing soap on the brush and rub another brush into it; the hair, dried styling product, and dandruff will come right out.

Brushes with too-close bristles will pull at the hair and pull more strands out. Like a wide-toothed comb, a wide bristle brush is best for wet hair because it won’t snag the weakened strands.

Shampoo

O’Bryan recommends sulphate-free shampoos because sulphates can dry out the hair and scalp. One of his favourites is  Bain Stimuliste in the Kerastase range for thinning hair “to make it look more fabulous and full”. For the more naturally minded, he recommends shampoos that contain biotin like Mill Creek Biotin Shampoo that gives thicker, fuller hair.

He says that regular cleansing is important to keep pores and follicles clean and open for hair growth. In the shower, massage the shampoo into the scalp to increase blood circulation and encourage hair growth. Scalp massages aren’t only for the shower–you can do it yourself while you watch TV or listen to music. A rush of blood to the scalp feels great–dig your fingers right in.

Styling recommendations

Blow-drying your hair can really damage the hair and scalp. Stylists recommend to keep blow-drying to a minimum and air-dry hair if possible. If you do blow dry, keep the heat on medium so as not to damage the hair.

Chemical options

O’Bryan  recommends Rogaine for men (there is also a Rogaine for women, so buy the right one), a foam to be used on hair twice a day. However, as Kearns says, it can be “a very expensive addiction” (i.e. over $100 each month), and  if a man stops using Rogaine, whatever hair he gained during the time he used it will fall out once he stops.

Like Rogaine, O’Bryan suggests Finasteride/Proscar for genetically-inherited hair loss. This drug is taken orally and the treatment provides about a thirty percent improvement after six months of use. Like Rogaine, Finasteride only works as long as the drug is taken. If this option for you, gents, learn from O’Bryan’s experience: “I absolutely noticed a major difference with this tablet which was way more affordable than other options, but I was one of those unlucky ones who lost his sex drive–definitely not worth the risk in my book–but only a small percentage of men suffer from this.”

Permanent solutions 

For those of you who can afford it and want to do something permanent about your hair loss, there are options like hair plugs and transplants, but these are expensive (i.e. several thousand dollars) and may not be feasible for everyone.

Wigs and hair pieces are not popular with the stylists (nor image consultants like me). Hair pieces are not frivolous accessories like a bright pair of socks or a cool man bag to go with different outfits; when people see you, they assume your hair is real, so if you have a full head of hair one day and a bare pate the next, this is quite a shock to people. Some may even consider it dishonest.

Jason Kearns isn’t so hung up on proactive hair loss measures. As a man who has lost most of his hair by now, he stands by the idea of aging gracefully and owning the fact that your hair is gone. “The consolation for men who lose their hair,” he says, “is that he’ll never have to go through it again.”

Watch the Sirius XM video of Kearns and O’Bryan on hair loss here.

Guess the era!

5 Apr

This week, we’re going to test your spacial-temporal abilities and see if you can visualize the gentleman’s coat from the pattern pieces below and match it to one of the coats below:

Your choices:

A. A two-piece fitted doublet with lower tabs worn with “bag breeches” from 1630, Flanders.

B. Men’s frock coat with deep back pleats from the 1830s.

C.  The Justaucorps, a French coat from the early 18th century.

If you chose C, you’re correct! The Justaucorps, an excessively pleated, stiffened, and decorated coat of French origin,  worn during the late 17th and early 18th century period when aristocratic men were at their fanciest and most extravagant. This period for well-to-do men was completely over-the-top, putting women’s costume to shame in Europe.

This coat was collarless and heavily trimmed in  ribbon, braid, and embroidery, and covered with dozens buttons connecting the back skirts, a line in front to fasten the coat, and useless buttons adorned the pocket flaps. The enormous cuffs, running the length the wrist to the elbow, into place on the “pagoda” sleeve.

This heavily-adorned, deeply-pleated coat topped a long, stiffened, skirted sleeveless waistcoat – the first three-piece suit! Shirts made of linen or silk had showy lace cuffs, worn with a loosely knotted 7 -8′ long neck cloth (forerunner of the tie).  Sometimes a sash tied around the waist. Breeches and hose  covered the trunk and on the gent’s feet were heeled shoes or boots with red soles and heels. Men wore long, curly wigs and carried tricorne hats (with three points) under their arms because the tall, curly wigs prevented the hat from sitting firmly on the head.

Men carried ribboned walking sticks and took to wearing fur muffs to keep their hands warm in cold weather, often with little pockets inside to carry their snuff boxes. Colours of the period were bright – yellow, green, and red, getting away from the dark, dull colours of the Commonwealth era.

Both men and women painted their faces with powdered lead and/or arsenic to make their skin white, and applied rouge and lipstick – sometimes a false beauty spot was applied to the face for ornamentation and in some cases, to cover facial scars from ailments like small pox. Whitening the skin signified the class of the wearer – the aristocracy didn’t work / didn’t outside where his skin would have become darkened by the sun’s rays. However, a pristine, lily-white face didn’t come without a price.

Although this era was known as the Age of Enlightenment, most fashionable men and women poisoned themselves with red and white lead make-up and powder.  The make-up they used caused the eyes to swell and become inflamed, attacked the enamel on the teeth and changed the texture of the skin causing it to blacken, it was also not uncommon to suffer baldness… It was known that heavy use of lead could cause death. (Source.)

The simple two-button suit that modern men wear is an extremely boiled-down version of the grossly elaborate 300-year old suit that required assistance to put on. Attendants dressed the gentry in coats and waistcoats made of heavy satin, silk, and velvets which I imagine must have weighed a ton and no doubt affected the joints of the wearer.

In the modern era, we might have our wardrobe problems, though they’re miniscule compared to the lengths that men of the early 18th century went to in showing themselves and their wealth off. The excessiveness of this period is a shining example of the human ego knowing no bounds.

Note – Immediately following this post, In the Key of He is scaling back posts to release every two weeks.