How to look after your hair when you’re having a flare

by Jessie-May Gattiker

I mentioned in my last post that I am a hairdresser which should mean my hair always looks good, right?

Nooo.. For a start I have lots of it, it’s bleached (which means lots of detangling and brushing.) And it’s long and wavy. Team all of that with having constant arthritis in my fingers and wrists and you’ve got a recipe for shaving ya head.

So that I didn’t feel like doing a Britney whenever it came to thinking about my hair, I came up with a few handy tips for looking after my mane.

Hair washing

This has to be one of my biggest chores, which is why I try and avoid it as much as possible. A good scrub and condition every 5/6 days is enough for me. Luckily I have pretty dry thick hair so I can get away with it. But if you feel the need to wash it more often then by all means scrub away sister.

I have realised my hands have stopped being able to squeeze bottles very well, so I always decant my shampoo and conditioner into bottles with a pump…so I can pump away pain free. I picked my bottles up in Superdrug. This works well with shower gel and other liquids too!

After hair washing

Once I’m out of the shower I’m usually too knackered to bother with a blow dry so instead I pop some oil in my locks and give it a good brush through.

Now.. as a general rule you shouldn’t be using a hairbrush on wet hair. It’s super damaging and will rough up your cuticles causing breakage and frizz – ewww.

However if you get yourself a “wet brush” then I’ll let you off. The wet brush’s bristles are designed to glide through tangled wet hair and the ergonomic handle makes it a dream for sore hands. – clever eh?

Once I’ve got all the tangles out I usually whip my hair up into a microfibre turby towel and let that do the work. The “Aquis” ones are amazing.. They cut drying time in half and prevent frizz. Sometimes I’ll chill with my hair in the towel for a few hours and go to bed with damp hair or if I’m off out I will give it a bit more attention and blow dry it.

Try and use a lightweight powerful hairdryer. I’ve just managed to get my hands on a Dyson and have to say it’s the best I’ve used yet when it comes to drying speed and having poorly hands

If you want something that will blowdry your hair with half the work though, go for a hot brush. It’s basically a round brush with a built in dryer system so you only need one hand. The Babyliss Pro hotbrush is incredible and will give you bouncy smooth hair in minutes.

If I can’t be bothered to style my unruly locks though I will usually throw it into a messy bun.. Invisibobbles are the best for this simple style. They don’t dent the hair due to the spring-like design and they are super elasticy without being too tight, so you can pop them over your hair without hurting your hands.

Another thing I do if I’m really struggling is get my mum or someone capable to French braid my hair. Once the braids are in I can usually leave them for 2 or 3 days which means one less thing to worry about during a flare.

Lucky for me I work in a salon so I can grab a babe to do my barnet if in need but if you have a local salon give them a call… They normally have a junior who would jump at the chance to practise shampooing, blow drying and styling – and normally for a fraction of the price. Meaning you get to forget about hair maintenance and read a trashy magazine with a coffee instead.. Winner!!

Now for the final and most important piece of advice I will give you as a hairdresser, an arthritis sufferer and a friend.


Really it is! This clever stuff comes in a few forms but is usually a slightly chalky/powdered spray that soaks up all of the oil from your roots, freshening up your do for another few days.

There are loads of different ones of the market and which you choose is really a personal preference. Get yourself down to your local Boots or Superdrug and check out the huge selection.

My old faithful favourite is, of course, classic brand Batiste, but I’ve used loads of other brands depending on how fancy I’m feeling. Aveda do a lush squeeze application dry shampoo which smells amazing and is easy on your fingers too. There are also some on the market which will cover up your roots with a slight tinge of colour, so you can put off that visit to the salon for a bit longer.

You can probably tell I’m a very low maintenance kinda gal when it comes to my hair but I think when I’ve got 20 jobs to do and a flare up is rearing its ugly’s OK for your hair to go to the bottom of the priority list and for rest and relaxation to go to the top!

Until next time

Jessie x

Meet Jessie-May and other friendly folk on Arthur’s Place Social, our Facebook Group

(Any opinions expressed in Jessie-May’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Jessie-May’s blog constitutes medical advice.)

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