The oldest story in the book of women and jiu jitsu might just be about the relationship between us and our hairs. The topic of how to contain and restrain one's hairs has been analyzed exhaustively by many excellent writers, including:
Patricia at JiuJitsuAddict: includes how-to videos for different hair lengths
Meg at Tangled Triangle: dealing with African American hair
Discussion on Jiu Jitsu Forums
The jiu jitsu hair page on Facebook
But I'm not here to talk about preventing the inevitable attrition with braiding, bunning, ponytailing, shearing, etc.
I want to talk about recovery and taking care of what's left so it grows back faster. This was motivated by the discovery a few days ago of a ginormous patch on the back of my neck/skull about 4" x 5" with hair only 2-3" long... whereas the rest of my hair is bra-strap length. Not to mention the frilly curly tendrils alllllllll around my face like a false-advertising halo.
I have a dear friend who is fighting breast cancer and has lost her hair (twice now) through chemo and radiation. I started googling regrowing hair for cancer patients and the lightbulb went on... maybe this works for patchy-baldy BJJ babes like me.
So here's what I'm trying:
1. Prevent further losses as best I can: try not to use just a ponytail as the elastic hits the strands right about where that short patch ends. Try to just do a single braid down the back, not french. Tell all my training partners please stop and let me get my hair out (I'll give up any collar grip you want, and I'll lift my head for any crossface you want. Good practice for me being in a bad position too.)
2. No more shampoo with sulfates. Watering down my shampoo half and half. Using conditioner for shampoo lots of times. And air drying when the weather and time permits. (Works well when I train at night and shower before bed.)
3. Biotin. A "B complex" vitamin also known as Vitamin H, anecdotal evidence indicates it makes your hair grow. Usually hair grows about 1/4" a month, but with biotin supplements it can be twice that. It's cheap too, like $2 for 100 at Target and you can find it at any drugstore pretty much.
4. Minoxidil: I haven't decided whether to try this. Usually it's for men but the FDA has approved the 2% version for women, and I know cancer patients who use it. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some women, it's not a quick fix, either. You won't see results until you use the drug for two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer.
Anyway... that's something rattling around in my head.