I DON’T KNOW exactly when I began losing my hair. The first time it was brought up was when my friend gave me a haircut and saw a few bald spots. Before that, I had noticed that whenever I washed my hair, a lot more of it was falling out. Soon after, I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with stress-induced alopecia. It wasn’t too surprising; I was going through a really rough patch in my life. My cortisol levels were so high that my body was basically attacking itself, causing me to lose my hair.
I began to do a lot of research, but I also decided to have fun with my alopecia and got the bald spots tattooed. One of the tattoos was inspired by The Omen. I’m a huge horror movie nerd, and since Damien had the 666-shaped mark of the beast birthmark on his head, I thought it would be a fun tribute.
Homemade Hair Oil Serum for Hair Growth
My research led me to a recipe for a homemade hair oil serum to help stimulate the hair follicles for regrowth. I mixed a bunch of plant oils—½ cup jojoba, ½ cup grapeseed, 20 drops rosemary, 30 drops lavender,16 drops thyme. and 30 drops cedarwood—and funneled the result into an old tincture bottle. Before I went to sleep, I’d put the oil on the bald spots, rub it in, put on a cap, and leave it on for eight hours. I also took a double dose of biotin daily. Biotin is a vitamin that helps your hair, skin, and nails grow healthy and strong. Doubling up on it boosted the thing my body wasn’t producing.
I learned that rosemary in particular helps stimulate the hair follicles, which in turn helps them to grow. And there’s science to back it up. According to Dr. Rae Lynne Kinler, a hair transplant surgeon in Greenwich, CT, rosemary essential oil extract works as a protectant against hair loss with pattern alopecia. “There is a study comparing it to Minoxidil for stimulating hair growth that has shown promising results,” she says. “Incorporating it topically is a good support player in this process.” So I started using a rosemary shampoo and conditioner and making my own hair spray with 80 drops of rosemary essential oil and 8 ounces of distilled water, which I still use daily. I spray it on my hair and gently rub it into my scalp; this way I can stimulate those follicles.
How to Reduce Your Stress Levels To Regrow Hair
But one of the most important things I had to do, and definitely the hardest, was to lower my stress levels. Dr. Kinler says that the elevated stressors to our cells, both from short-term hyper-stress spikes and long-term chronic stress, trigger increased cortisol secretion, which promotes hair loss. I know lowering stress sounds impossible, especially when you are stressed about the stress. I tried many different things: yoga, meditation, walks in the woods, but the thing that really worked for me was exercising every day. I started with 15-minute workouts every morning, and then I would make a healthy breakfast and jump into my studio and make art. I developed a routine of going to bed at a certain time and making sure I was out of bed at 9 a.m. I also turned off notifications on my phone during bedtime. Just being able to sleep through the night with no distractions was a big deal.
One of the most important things I had to do, and definitely the hardest, was to lower my stress levels.
After three years, my hair finally grew back completely, but with many more gray hairs. I’m assuming the stress turned my hair gray, but I don’t know that for sure. Whatever the reason is, I’m not mad about it.
Overall, I found that what really worked best for me was managing my stress. Working in my art studio, screen printing, and making jewelry for my company, Feral Hag—that was my zen. I also did everything in baby steps so I didn’t overwhelm myself. For instance, when I started working out, I started with very simple stretches. I’d also do something for myself once a day, whether it was looking for bones in the woods for my jewelry, taking a bath, or baking cookies. I made sure I always did something that made me happy.