Hair & Skincare for Bikers

 

Yes, we're all Aries here.

Yes, we’re all Aries here.

My ego simply adores telling people my age and seeing the look of shock on their faces. I look a lot younger than 44. After almost 30 years on motorcycles, I can tell you what’s worked to keep me from looking like  leather face in Grease.

Saving Face

First and foremost- since one year before the helmet law went into effect in California, I’ve been wearing a full face helmet every time I ride. Not only is this protective in the event of a crash, it’s also great for your skin and hair. It keeps the smog and crap off your skin and keeps your scalp’s natural oils where they belong- on your hair. Yes, hair can get a bit greasy wearing a helmet, but that’s why we have washable helmet liners! I highly recommend wearing only a full face helmet with a removable liner. Plenty of times I’ve gone too long between washings and the amount of filth that comes out is astounding. Those cheek pads absorb quite a bit of the tailpipe gunk that would otherwise end up all over your face! Most major brands have removable liners.

 

The main reason I’ve noticed the excellent anti-aging properties of a full-faced helmet is that my neck is starting to show my age. It’s the only part of my body that gets exposure to the elements when I ride, and the only part that has any real signs of aging. So now I’m faced with ever more costly skincare treatments all in the name of vanity. If only someone had told me 20 years ago to keep all that smog & wind off my neck! Now I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing a scarf tightly wrapped around it on every ride. Be sure to tie the scarf in a knot and tuck it securely into your jacket. When I find the cure for neck tightening, I’ll share it.

Taming Those Locks…

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian. (links to an excellent story about filmmaker Jack Cardiff)

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian. (links to an excellent story about filmmaker Jack Cardiff)

I’ve worn bangs for years, because I like them and it’s a hairstyle that instantly takes years off anyone’s face. They do get oily, though, being pressed tight between the forehead and helmet. A bit of baby powder or rice paper blotters can take care of that, at least for light colored hair. But all that oil has certainly kept the wrinkles at bay under those bangs.

Long hair can be a real pain for motorcyclists. While Marianne Faithfull (above) looked amazing with that mane flowing in the breeze as she sat atop her steed, we long-haired bikers know perfectly well she had a hairstylist waiting for her behind the scenes. If you haven’t seen it yet, hopefully my review of the film will convince you. It’s a masterpiece. I always tie my hair into a ponytail at the nape of my neck, twist it, then tie the last loop of the elastic. If I’ll be on a long ride, I also use a clip to hold the last bit in place.

Shelina at her awesome Fast Girls Dirt Camp, with a braid tucked neatly into her roost. Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Voltaire.

Shelina at her awesome Fast Girlz Dirt Camp, with a braid tucked neatly into her roost. Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Voltaire.

Some racer girls, like Shelina Moreda, put theirs in pigtails, but I have to have someone else do the braiding on that. I hate styling my hair, but that’s really the best trick for a track day, or something where you’ll be riding all day but taking your helmet off often. Or if your hair is too silky to hold with the French knot type ponytail I mentioned before. A single braid ponytail works too, if you’re into braiding. As for haircare aids, I use sulfate-free shampoos because sulfates and alcohol can really dry your hair out. I’ve found a lot of decent conditioners, but my favorite shampoo is John Masters Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo. It’s amazing. Their conditioner is great too, but so are a lot of cheaper ones.

 

tangles smI wish I’d learned earlier what type of brush to use! After decades of nightmares dealing with tangles (this is my hair after a couple days in bed!) I finally met the stylist who explained to me what to do:
1) never brush wet hair, it will only pull it out and/or break it.
2) fine, tangled hair needs a boar bristle brush.

I bought the Sephora brand ones and looooove them. A mini for travel and the maxi for home. It’s astounding how much easier it is to brush my hair now.

 

The boar bristles are said to help move the oils down the shaft better than any other type of bristle. Which is probably where the old “brush your hair 100 strokes a day” idea came from. The more you brush it from scalp to end, the better the oil is distributed. With boar bristles, of course. As for brushing scalp to end, that’s another thing- tangles need to be handled with caution! Start at the bottom and work your way up, never try to detangle from the top down.

 

My other favorite haircare products are Ouidad and Number 4 Detangler sprays (Number 4 is better, but Ouidad is cheaper and easier to find). I also love Aveda’s new Dry Remedy oil for lubrication. Just a few drops make my hair a bit silkier. I still haven’t found the perfect ratio, or the perfect smoothing product, though. My hair wishes it was curly (so do I!) but I think decades of helmet use have beaten it into near submission.

 

When I wear a helmet first thing in the morning for at least 30 minutes, the frizzies are dramatically subdued. But on days when I don’t have that option (walking to work, etc), I have to find another way to control the frizz. Naturally, of course, as I prefer the more natural, plant-based products. I also never use heat styling products- hair dryers, curling irons, all that stuff is bad for your hair. So I don’t know what products are good for protection against heat styling. I’d love to hear recommendations! Also, what do you do to control the frizz?