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26 'Hacks' That Can Make Styling Your Hair Easier With Chronic Illness

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Fixing your hair may be a routine part of the day for most people – something they do automatically without much thought. Or perhaps it’s one of your hobbies, and you really enjoy spending time styling your hair in new, creative ways each day.

But for those with chronic illness, pain and disability, doing your hair can be more of a challenge. Maybe you have limited mobility in your arms or shoulders and have difficulty reaching your hair, especially in the back of your head. Perhaps you have intense chronic fatigue and are completely worn out after showering, leaving you with zero energy to deal with your hair. Or maybe you just have so many health-related concerns on your plate that styling your hair is at the bottom of your priority list. Whatever your situation, no one understands better than your fellow chronic community.

That’s why we asked our Mighty chronic illness community to share the “hacks” that make it easier for them to style their hair. Whether it’s their favorite low-maintenance haircut or the trick they use to quickly get their hair in line each day, our community has some great tips that can help your hair look super stylish, even with minimal effort.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. I gave up and decided to shave mine. Best decision I ever made, I swear! Super low maintenance, I don’t hurt my neck or get knocked over when I wash it anymore, and no more ponytail headaches! Plus when my hair hurts there’s less of it to torture me.” – Vanessa B.
  2. A bar stool or chair to sit on while styling. It helps reserve some energy to be able to sit.” – Penny T.
  3. I ended up cutting my hair super short because of the maintenance and hot flashes. Now I sometimes can just spritz some water in my hair, maybe spray on a little product and I’m good to go. Showering is also 1,000 times easier.” – Emily G.
  4. I do pin-up bandanas. It’s really cute and sassy, gives you that retro ’50s pinup look and it take almost no effort.” – Hmarie H.
  5. Get a cut that works best with your hair texture and is optimal for ‘get up and go’ styling. I have wavy/curly hair and once I found the perfect style that includes the right layers for the way my hair naturally is, I let it air dry with one product that I throw in when wet and I’m good to go, no worries! Talk to your hairstylist and explain your needs, that’s what I did.” – Alane P.
  6. I keep a TV tray next to my bed along with a mirror – makes getting ready so easy on days I don’t have strength!” – Lauren K.
  7. Teach your significant other how to do your hair (especially if it’s long). My husband dyes my hair for me and when it was long (recently cut off waist-length hair) he would help me brush and curl it.” – Shayla F.W.
  8. I keep my hair long with bangs so I can have it up in a funky bun or clip. I don’t have the energy to wash and straighten it every day anymore. Funky messy bun hides a three-day flare perfectly.” – Nicole P.E.
  9. I bought a travel hair dryer. It weighs less than the one I was using. It helped out tremendously!” – Melodie L.B.S.
  10. Cutting it short is good, but getting an undercut is even more helpful (for me, anyway). You can keep some length if you prefer it that way, but your hair is as much as 50 percent thinner, which means 50 percent less to brush/wash/dry/style, and the undercut can be completely hidden when your hair is down, if you want! Also much much cooler in the summertime, which is a necessity in the Midwest right now!!” – Katherine O.
  11. Wigs are looking like the route I am going.” – Jennifer H.
  12. I have long thick hair that I love and refuse to let my chronic illness force my hand and cut it short. I’ve found two things that are instrumental for making that possible. 1) A really good conditioner (the battle of brushing my hair when wet is so exhausting). With a really great conditioner the job becomes 100 times easier and my hair is softer and healthier. 2) A wet brush, these babies can brush through after-shower tangles so painlessly and effortlessly, it’s like magic, especially when combined with an excellent conditioner. For styling I have different levels of styling based off good and bad days, but I always am sitting down when doing my hair, not standing at the bathroom counter which saves a lot of energy for me.” – Jessica R.
  13. I have rheumatoid arthritis and when I’m flaring and can’t lift my arms up, here’s how I do my hair: Flip your head over so your hair is laying on the bed, your arms only have to move to the height of the bed. From there slowly brush and/or put into a pony tail. It sounds silly and like it wouldn’t do anything but being able to put your hair up, when your arms are killing you, is awesome. I do this all the time.” – Kristine H.
  14. Dry shampoo but if you don’t want people to see it or you don’t want it on clothes, put it on the night before so it has time to absorb the oil from your scalp and in the morning, voilà! You look like you’ve showered and washed your hair.” – Jess L.
  15. I’ve found that I get overheated in the shower, so I do my shampoo and actually clip my hair up with a claw clip when I put conditioner in it. It makes a world of difference for me not to have my long hair making me hotter while I wash my body, and I also don’t accidentally wash the conditioner out immediately.” – Amanda P.
  16. Sea salt spray. I have wavy/curly/thick hair. I spray it in my hair when it’s wet. I then separate my hair into two pieces and twirl them. I leave my hair to air dry and when I tip my hair upside down and fluff it with my fingers – I have all these beautiful waves and curls.” – Nancy M.
  17. I can’t use dry shampoo products. So on days when I can’t wash my hair, I use bobby pins to pin a bun on top of my head. Using hair ties can cause a headache. So I just gather all of my hair at the top of my head, then twist it around into a bun. Use three to four pins, with each pin on a different side of the bun to keep it in place. Simple, but still looks nice.” – Rebecca J.
  18. Because my hair literally hurts due to having both chronic migraine and intracranial hypertension, I have learned that growing my hair out due to it falling out all the time helped because I can put it up and take it down when the pain needs easing. Claw clips without metal hinges and rubber grippers on the inside are amazing when you have head pain.” – Melanie L.V.
  19. Sit on toilet. Tip head upside down. Fluff with hot setting on hair dryer. Sit up. Spray that crazy style with a bit of hair spray. Wait a few minutes (usually brush my teeth). Then brush my hair. It now has lots of body and fullness and no one notices the thinning patches.” – Vanessa D.J.
  20. Longer hair is easier to throw back in a braid. I’ve found a basic ponytail can give me a headache but a simple braid keeps my hair out of the way and easy to maintain.” – Christine S.
  21. “Find a simple style that requires no curling iron or stuff like that. I wear mine shoulder length now. Because I get cotton head overnight, I use silk drops and really good conditioner to prevent knotting, and comb out carefully in the morning. A little curl lock or mousse, a brush out, and I am out the door. I air dry, and I shower at night so I can rest better. Morning means brush and go!” – Lona S.
  22. I love hot rollers but can be difficult depending on your physical limitations. Once you chuck them in and spray them, then comb them out the next day you’re left with hair that looks nicely styled for three to four days. I find they’re worth the effort when I have the energy to put them in [because] it saves me having to style my hair for the week.” – Janelle F.
  23. “Cute messy buns for the win. I love my hair down especially when my pain gets bad, but I also hate my hair in my face so a loose messy bun with a headband or a loose half pony are my go-to.” – Katelyn B.
  24. Straightening hair brush. It’s so much faster to use and doesn’t require me to hold my arms up nearly as long as with a traditional straightener.” – Maria E.K.
  25. I love Lush (or other) shampoo bars. I can’t pick up the heavy shampoo bottles or easily work the shampoo into a lather. This bars are light and easy to use with one hand. They last for so long and really clean your hair. The other product I can’t live without is dry shampoo. When I can’t shampoo my hair due to POTS, the dry shampoo keeps my hair manageable.” – Neisha K.
  26. “Grab a sock, any sock, put your hand through the sock, gather all your hair in the middle of the sock and turn it inside out. Instant hair bun.” – Abigail S.

Getty Image by Jupiterimages

Originally published: June 18, 2018
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