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While we know what hormonal changes does to our skin, are we as clued-in to how our menstrual cycles affect the condition of our hair? We simplify the science into three easy-to-remember tips. Find out how you can tame your unruly mane when the reds come a-visiting!

period and hair

1. Just before your period

Let’s break things down into a before-during-after view. One to two weeks prior to your period, your estrogen and progesterone levels are very high, leaving you with lots of sebum. Bad news? Perhaps, but for those who already experience dryness in their scalp on normal days, this may actually be a good thing. For those who fall under the normal-oily scalp category, this is the time we notice a slight increase in oil production in our scalp.

Here’s what you can do:
Your body is going through a phase where it produces the luteinizing hormone – the one responsible for the slight rise in your body’s production of oil. In this time, take frequent showers, and take special care to wash your hair thoroughly. Your usual shampoo at this stage is good enough. Hair experts say this is the best time to colour your hair.

2. During your period

Now, what happens when you actually go through your period? Think of it this way: estrogen levels start to fall, and her good friend progesterone follows. What this means for your body is that your testosterone levels are at their all time high. Your skin and scalp react most noticeably when it comes to the production of sebum. That only spells one thing when it comes to your hair – greasiness galore. For many, the height of the oiliness happens the week before or the actual week of their period. This is the time you feel extra sensitive, and your hair feels or even looks duller. Science points to the culprit: the excess prostaglandins circulating throughout your body.

Here’s what you can do:
Don’t fret! This is where we salute the inventors of dry shampoo. In particular, the ones who came up with this citrus-scented, fresh-smelling one. Toni & Guy’s Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo (available at selected Watsons stores, for SGD15.90) is something we’d keep handy.

Toni & Guy’s Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo

At this point, the best you can do for your lovely locks would be to get generous with the dry shampoo. In Singapore’s humid weather, we recommend dry shampoo by day, and a good wash by night. Unless you want to go to the office smelling of yesterday’s grease.

Alternatively, if you’re into DIY and home remedies, we’d highly recommend grabbing a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar on your way out the supermarket next time you’re there. Using the diluted apple cider vinegar solution, you can wash the unwanted excess sebum and oil from your hair. Keep it to a maximum of twice a week, because the last thing you’d want is to dry out your scalp.

3. After your period

Had enough of oily and greasy hair? Good news! After your period, you’d find that you begin to look your best, and your hair and skin are at their prettiest. This is due to the body’s rising estrogen levels. Conversely, testosterone begins to decrease at this point, and your body produces less oil. This is great news for your skin. You may notice dryness in your scalp at this point, and while we rejoice that oily days be gone, it’s crucial to protect your hair from drying out.

Here’s what you can do:
This is a good time to use hair masks, and deep-conditioners. Hair serums and keratin shampoos are your best buds, helping your parched hair follicles regain their shine. Some ladies swear by organic almond oil, which other than being good on our salads does wonders for our hair at the “after” stage of our menstrual cycles. A small teaspoon of warmed almond (some prefer olive) oil massaged into your hair ends will ensure they look luscious and healthy.

John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Strengthening Internsive Masque

We asked around, and discovered that John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Strengthening Intensive Masque (available at Guardian, at SGD13.90) received positive reviews: an intensive hair masque with a pleasantly refreshing scent.