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Navigating Menopause: A Salon’s Guide to Supporting Women’s Health and Well-being

Navigating Menopause: A Salon's Guide to Supporting Women's Health and Well-being Bridgeen King & Loretta Dignam

As we approach this year’s International Women’s Day, we wanted to create awareness about an issue that all women will eventually face, menopause!

For what was once a taboo subject with a lack of awareness and education, with misconceptions and myths about menopause, we thought this was an essential blog to create to help hair professionals promote Menopause support in salons.  We decided to catch up with 2 leading industry experts Loretta Dignam and Bridgeen King to hear what they had to say.

Loretta Dignam has pioneered menopause in Ireland.  Loretta is the founder and CEO of The Menopause Hub, Ireland’s first and only dedicated menopause clinic opened in January 2019. She is an award-winning Marketer of the Year, Women’s Health CEO of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year runner up in the Image Businesswoman Awards, and HI HI FemTech 2023 Winner and is participant on the EY Winning Women Entrepreneurs EMEIA Programme 2023.  Anne Butterly, CEO and Founder of Easydry is also part of the EY Winning Women Community after her participation in the 2019 programme.

Bridgeen King is a Multi Award winning Hairdresser and she is also a Hair Loss and Scalp Specialist Educator and Trichologist lead.

 

This blog will give you the opportunity to gain insight into this fast-growing demographic and what you can do within your Salon to support both your staff and your clients.

Topics covered include:

  • Menopause in Ireland & The UK
  • Menopause & the Hair
  • Menopause, Misconceptions & Myths
  • Creating a Salon that supports Menopause
  • Meeting the Hair needs of Menopausal clients
  • Menopause Education in the Salon
  • If you are experiencing Menopause Symptoms

 

Menopause in Ireland & The UK

To set the scene, the menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms that can last for several years.  Bridgeen advised that “It is estimated that there are around 13 million people who are currently peri or menopausal in the UK, which is equivalent to a third of the entire UK female population. The latest census figures show the number of women in the menopausal age bracket of 45-64 in Ireland is now 651,845, up from 571,411, with 418,989 of these women still in employment, up from 331,291 in the previous census.”

Loretta shared insight, that from a global perspective it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 1.1 billion menopausal women which will equate to 12.5% of the global population.

In September 2023, The Menopause Hub conducted research* among 3,044 peri/menopausal women in Ireland.

Menopause & Symptoms*:

  • All women will experience peri/menopause
  • 70% are unprepared for peri/menopause
  • 79% still think that peri/menopause is still taboo
  • 80% will experience symptoms
  • One third will experience severe / debilitating symptoms
  • There are 40+ symptoms
  • Symptoms include psychological, emotional, mental / physical and genitourinary (pelvic, bladder and genitals)

 

Menopause in the workplace*:

  • 84% say peri/menopause symptoms negatively impact performance at work
  • 38% say they have taken time off work due to symptoms, with 18% taking 3 or more days
  • 34% considered giving up work
  • 7% gave up work
  • 90% wanted menopause training for managers/ HR
  • 90% wanted a menopause workplace policy

 

Check out the Menopause Hub Symptom Checker

Menopause & The Hair

We asked Bridgeen how does menopause specifically affect the hair and what are the most common hair related concerns that she regularly sees?

“Most women find that their hair loses volume and length around menopause. This is because menopause causes your oestrogen levels to decrease, and oestrogen is a hair-friendly hormone, helping to keep your hair in its anagen (growth) phase for longer. You may also find that your hair breaks more easily after menopause.”

“Some of the most common issues I hear about are hair shedding, thinning, drier feeling hair but also greasy roots,’ this can be very depressing, and clients get overwhelmed. Perimenopausal and menopausal hair loss happens slowly, but once it’s noticed, it seems like the hair has thinned overnight.”

Loretta supported this by saying in the Menopause Hub “we do hear from women about how their hormonal fluctuations brought about by peri/menopause has affected their hair. This can be very upsetting for some women as their hair is very much intertwined with their identity and self-esteem. The decline in oestrogen is one of the key reasons for these changes. The impact of hormones on hair growth is well documented. In puberty females can experience changes in hair colour, texture and growth. And post pregnancy hair can thin and fall out. I remember my own hair falling out in clumps after the birth of both my children. So, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that peri/menopause can also affect some women more than others.”

 

Menopause, Misconceptions & Myths

From Bridgeen’s perspective there are 2 main misconceptions about menopause:

  • It’s Just Ageing. Contrary to belief, menopausal hair loss is more linked to hormonal imbalances than simply the passage of time.
  • There’s Nothing You Can Do. Incorrect. Although hair loss is a natural part of menopause, there are effective natural solutions for symptom management. There is so much can be done when giving a good hair loss plan.

 

Loretta feels that there are so many misconceptions about menopause, here are some Menopause myths busted:

  • Menopause is for older women – whereas in fact the average age of perimenopause is 45 years and menopause is 51 years.
  • Most women ‘fly’ through menopause. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, 80% of women will experience symptoms.
  • Menopause symptoms are all about hot flushes. Not so! There are 40+ symptoms.
  • Menopause symptoms last about 1 month. I wish it were so. On average menopause symptoms last 7.5 years.
  • There is nothing positive about menopause. Well, if you suffer with symptoms that are bothersome, that may be the way it feels. However, once your symptoms are under control, which mine are due to my HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) regime, then life can be really great. No periods, no risks of pregnancy and much more even moods as there are no longer a monthly menstrual cycle.
  • Your sex life is over once you reach peri/menopause. Definitely not. Once any vaginal dryness or pain is treated, women can continue to have great sex if they want to.

 

Creating a Salon that supports Menopause

Bridgeen is an experienced hairstylist with over 20 years experience and runs a specialist hair loss and hair replacement clinic has some top tips for stylists on how they can create a supportive environment for menopausal clients.

“When it comes to perimenopause and menopause is that it affects people differently. Help clients feel listened to by providing personalised consultations before every service or treatment. This allows you to understand the unique needs of your clients while also ensuring they feel understood before a service or treatment.

Some examples of questions that are appropriate to ask clients at this stage of life during a consultation include:

  • How are you feeling today? Are there any specific concerns or areas you would like to address during the treatment?
  • Have you experienced any changes in your skin/hair/nails that you would like us to consider?
  • Are there any particular products or ingredients that you prefer or avoid for your skin/hair/nail care?
  • How would you like to feel after the treatment? Relaxed, rejuvenated, or focusing on specific concerns like hydration or addressing fine lines?
  • Is there any specific scent, music, or ambiance that helps you feel more comfortable and at ease during your treatment?
  • Is there anything I can offer, like a blanket/cup of tea/ snack/glass of water/breaks/open window, to help you feel more comfortable during your treatment?
  • Do you have any medical conditions or allergies that I should be aware of before starting the treatment?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share or discuss with me to ensure I provide the best possible experience and results for you?

Other areas that could be improved on to offer a supportive client experience for those experiencing peri/menopause symptoms from Loretta’s perspective include:

  • Temperature control options. As salons can be very warm places at times, having small individual fans can help, or larger fans or being able to regulate the air con.
  • Access to bathrooms as urge and frequency bladder issues are common for women.
  • Access to an area where the individual can discuss in confidence their hair and scalp issues caused by peri/menopause. This can be a consultation area.
  • Gentle hair care products, e.g. brushes, towels and hair care products.

 

Easydry towels are great option for clients with menopausal hair concerns, as they are kinder and softer to the hair and skin than cotton towels.

 

Meeting the Hair Needs of Menopausal clients

Other top tips from Bridgeen to support top client experience:

Offer Menopause-Friendly Services

Make sure your professional beauty business is one that includes everyone by creating menopause-friendly services that target the unique concerns of those experiencing this significant life change. Menopause-friendly services are often designed to target and alleviate the changes caused by fluctuating hormone levels, which can have a huge impact on skin, hair, and nails as well as emotional wellbeing.

Depending on the type of business you run, why not consider:

  • Soothing scalp massages & treatments designed for thinning hair.
  • Moisturising facials that combat dry skin.
  • Relaxing massages to clear the mind.
  • Aromatherapy or other sensory treatments to aid stress.
  • All-in-one spa packages designed specifically to treat related symptoms.
  • Investing in menopause-friendly products for sale in-salon.

Bridgeen’s Tips for Styling Menopausal Hair

  •  A good cut is very important and getting regular trims to prevent split ends.
  • In terms of tools and products to use; using a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush, using a hair oil or serum is recommended. Ideally try heatless hairstyles, such as braids or buns, to avoid damaging your hair with heat styling tools.
  • If you colour your hair, vegan colour is kinder to the hair and scalp.
  • A Hair loss plan is essential – assess your options.

 

Menopause Education in the Salon

Loretta feels that “Salons have a huge role to play in the education about peri/menopause and in educating women that there is no shame in discussing this natural life stage. And that there is plenty of help available to ease the symptoms of peri/menopause.

The key to demystifying and de-stigmatising peri/menopause is through education. Our hormones, particularly oestrogen can affect so many areas of our bodies and minds as we have oestrogen receptors all over our bodies.  The hairdressing industry can have a significant role to play in advancing the peri/menopause conversation. After all, we know that women trust their hairdressers and confide in them. They share lots of details about their lives. Plus, their hairdresser is best placed to notice and discuss any changes in hair growth and/or texture. And it would be great if clients could discuss this with a knowledgeable hairdresser.

There is a myriad of other symptoms that women experience in the peri/menopause transition. What better place to learn that they need not suffer in silence and that there is help available for many of the symptoms, including hair changes.

When we asked Loretta, how can we encourage an open dialogue to destigmatize menopause-related discussions in the beauty industry? She feels that “educating salon staff about peri/menopause is by far the best place to start. Salon staff need to feel confident in the information that they are passing on. It needs to be from a trusted source. And will speed up the ‘normalisation’ of peri/menopause and will accelerate smashing the menopause taboo, which is well overdue.”

The Menopause Hub offers menopause education and training, so check out the Menopause Hub Academy and request a call back

 

If you are experiencing Menopause Symptoms

Do not suffer in silence.  There are plenty of options available to assist you, check out these great resources from the Menopause Hub

  1. The Menopause Hub Website
  2. Symptom Checker
  3. Book an appointment with one the dedicated peri/menopause doctors at The Menopause Hub
  4. Check out the FREE Menopause Hub App will be available later in March 2024. Look out for it in the Apple or Google App Store. The App will enable women to track their peri/menopause symptoms.

 

Easydry towels are great option for clients with hair concerns, as they are made from natural fibres and are kinder and softer to the hair and skin than cotton towels.

 

To learn more about the Menopause Hub see below:

The Menopause Hub, is a centre of excellence for menopause, offering evidence-based clinical services, with two clinics in Dublin and a third in Cork. The clinics are all self-referral and offer virtual telehealth video or in-person appointments. You choose what suits you best.

Website: https://www.themenopausehub.ie/

LinkedIn:  https://ie.linkedin.com/company/the-menopause-hub

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/menopausehub/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themenopausehub/