Eight months ago, I finally opened a box that had been sitting my bathroom for years. I couldn’t remember exactly when I bought the box of Women’s Rogaine, but I had a rough idea. I counted the years in houses: we had lived in three houses since I made the impulse purchase off a Target clearance rack. The box moved, unopened, from bathroom to bathroom. Occasionally I would remove the box from its shelf and check the expiration date, then place it back. It was not quite ready to expire. I was not quite ready to open it.
In my mind, there was a commitment with minoxidil. I casually picked up thickening shampoos or biotin supplements, but those were fleeting romances. Minoxidil was a marriage. If I stopped Rogaine, I would lose the regrowth. Starting the treatment meant accepting I would apply it daily, forever. Opening the box meant accepting my thinning hair was not a problem that could be cured, but rather managed.
I may not have fully accepted my thinning hair, but I reconciled with its inevitability. In my childhood, my grandma got perms to disguise her hair loss. The curls were a brief distraction, but her visible scalp was obvious. Some of her female relatives, facing a similar affliction, switched to wigs.
My hair loss was gradual.
There was no drama, only slight inconveniences. I deleted pictures where my scalp peeked through my hairline. I back-combed over a thinning spot for a full-looking ponytail. I moved my part. It was easy to hush any growing concern, especially during pregnancy. I didn’t have the thick, shiny hair others reported, but was thrilled to find my existing hair hung on for dear life.
Unfortunately, postpartum made up for lost time. I commiserated with fellow new moms about our wimpy ponytails, but I knew my situation was different. I wondered if a wig waited in my future. I would loiter in the shampoo aisle and consider my options. The Rogaine, however, stayed sealed. For the time being, I would back-comb and delete pictures.
Eventually, I noticed a trend.
I would mention my thinning hair, and stylists would concur. They tried to problem solve with me. I slept with a satin pillowcase. I bought products to improve growth, volume, or thickness. Then: a shift. Last summer, my stylist suggested a root cover-up that would camouflage my white scalp as it peeked through my dark roots. The brief supportive conversation was enough to move my mindset from seeking cures to managing reality. It was time to accept I was not one magic product away from Kardashian-levels of thick, strong hair.
I went home and opened the box of Rogaine.
After years of avoiding commitment, facing reality was surprisingly trauma-free. As I’ve found time and time again with procrastination, the hardest part was taking the first step. There’s a new product on my bathroom shelf, a new step in my evening routine.
I don’t know what I was making such a big deal about.
My long-suffering first box of Rogaine was drops, used twice daily. After that stash was exhausted, I switched to the foam once daily. I’ve continued my hair and nail vitamins, and use a thickening shampoo and conditioner. Has it made a difference? Honestly, I’m not sure. Either way, I feel better knowing I’m no longer suspended in a perpetual state of procrastination.
It feels good to accept my hair loss for what it is, and exercise whatever control I can have over genetics.
When it’s time to buy my wig, I’ll know I gave my hair my best shot.