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Donna can't believe the difference that an upgraded routine made to her menopausal hair

This $75 hair mask transformed my menopausal hair

Find out what happened when Beauty Editor Donna Francis, 48 upgraded her haircare routine 

Donna Francis
Contributing Editor US
5 days ago
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I first noticed that my hair was thinning about six years ago, when unbeknownst to me, I was in perimenopause. It was a sunny day and I was waiting to collect my son from school. My contact lense had dislodged in my eye and while I was trying to move it back into place I caught sight of my scalp in my car’s rear view mirror. 

I was shocked that all I could see was my scalp. Not my hair. Just my scalp. Yes, the sunlight shining brightly through my car sunroof made the skin on my head appear more visible than usual, but I was shocked that I could see more scalp than I could see hair. I’d never had thick hair to begin with, but I always had lots of it. 

The image taken on the right is 3 months after Donna upgraded her haircare routine
The image taken on the right is 3 months after Donna upgraded her haircare routine

After the sunroof incident I noticed that my hair appeared thinner not just around my hairline, but around the rest of my head too. My blow-dries were flat and my ponytails felt feeble and thin - I had to wrap my Invisibobble around it way more times than before. 

Perimenopausal hair loss wasn’t on my radar at the time and I assumed this sudden change was down to stress. However, looking back and now that I’m two years period free, I realised that it was a symptom of perimenopause. 

Many peri and postmenopausal women complain that their hair feels and looks thinner, sheds more and just appears way more lacklustre during this hormonal time in their lives. And it’s no surprise when you consider that as estrogen and progesterone levels drop, hair texture and volume can suddenly or gradually change.

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Due to my job as a Beauty Editor, I began researching the best products to help improve my hair. I’d always used cheaper shampoos and conditioners as I figured you just washed them off down the drain, but after listening to numerous hairdressers and trichologists explain the importance of using quality ingredients on peri and menopausal hair, I was intrigued to try more expensive brands and products. 

I was advised by my local hairdresser to try a brand called K18. I had heard of them before and had seen some great reviews about their Leave In Molecular Hair Mask on Tik Tok. I was a bit sceptical, thinking the salon was just pushing the product for profit. And I really questioned whether its $75 price tag was worth it. I've been a Beauty Editor long enough to know that spending more on a product doesn't always mean that you'll get better results. 

But I was desperate to reboot my menopausal hair, and so I paid $75 for the mask and followed my hairdresser's instructions to use it after every shampoo instead of my regular conditioner. He guaranteed that by the time that I visited him next, in about six weeks, that I would see and feel a difference. 

I went home and applied a couple of squirts of the mask to my towel dried hair, just below the roots to the tips. You have to wait four minutes for the product to activate before blow-drying. Easy! 

Donna credits this $75 hair mask as one of the upgraded products that transformed her hair
Donna credits this $75 hair mask as one of the upgraded products that transformed her hair

Even after the first time that I used it, my hair felt so much softer and smoother. The frizz was almost non-existent and it felt healthier. And then each time after that, the texture just kept improving. Six weeks later, my hairdresser was full of ‘see, I told you’s’ and gloated in his glory. And I’ll admit, I was impressed. The improved texture helped my hair appear thicker too. 

READ: How I'm learning to love my meno belly

It wasn’t until I unexpectedly returned to London from my home in Florida and booked a blow dry with my British hairdresser Alice, that I really knew the mask was a game changer. Alice had been cutting my hair for over fifteen years before I moved to America, and she was there for the start of what I now know was my menopausal hair journey. She even applied extensions to the front sections to help it appear fuller.  

Alice was genuinely shocked at how much thicker and healthier my hair looked and felt since she last styled it almost three years ago. I told her the only thing I had been doing differently since seeing her last was using the K18 hair mask instead of my regular conditioner. 

The mask is formulated with a patented peptide technology that promises to repair and strengthen hair from the inside out, making it particularly suitable for aging and damaged hair. “Our K18PEPTIDE™ is biomimetic, which means that it mimics hair’s biology, so it remains in the hair and won’t wash out,” explains Jordan Alexander, K18’s Global Education Ambassador. Basically, it is constantly feeding the hair back to health 24/7. 

Since discovering this hair mask, my haircare regime has had a full upgrade, with quality-first haircare being my priority. I’ve upgraded my shampoos with products like Champo Pitta Volumising Shampoo and I’ve also introduced scalp care to my regime. I massage 3 More Inches Exfoliating Scalp Treatment directly to my scalp once a week. As I live in such a humid environment, I’ve also rediscovered Moroccanoil Treatment which uses Argan Oil to smooth out any frizz caused by air moisture in between washes.  

Menopausal hair changes can be challenging, but finding the right products, and of course having regular trims can make all the difference. I’m testimony to that! 

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