Yes, it would hurt to spruce myself up a bit. (help!)

No, I don’t mean that I wish to adorn myself with evergreen twigs.

I’m a teeshirt and jeans kinda gal at work where most of the men wear teeshirts and jeans (engineers we is, me am an engineer/tech writer). But I need to spiff up my apperance a bit. Not difficult in the clothing department … a few weeks on an excercise machine or walks at night would trim me a bit enough to start wearing the majority of my ‘business casual’ attire.

The problem is my head/hair.

I’ve got something wrong with my scalp, not sure what. Working through one more kind of dandruff treatment before I throw in the towel and see a dermatologist (just picture cradle cap plus massive amounts of pain in recurring cycles).

The upshot of this, aside from horrid looking dandruff, is that I cannot wear styling products in my hair. Nothing. Nada. No gels, no mousses … not hairspray … not that I’ve found. And I’ve tried HUNDREDS over the years.

Usually, my solution is to look sloppy as my hair grows from short through mullet to longer (though people say I look better with short hair, mostly, I suspect, because I don’t style it when it is long) but I’m tired of that. I want to find something, anything, that will reasonably hold my hair in a vaguely non scruffy style without pain.

That is, all mousses, gels, and hairsprays seem to burn straight through the protective layer of dandruff and make my scalp burn and smart after wearing said hair styling products for longer than a few hours (if I have to spiff up and go to something fancy, I style my hair last and shower the instant I get home … it helps).

Any natural-like products (aside from Crisco) that I might use for some mild taming of my hair (short as it grows out) that won’t give me that “burning skin melting” feeling?

Depending upon your preferences and the time it takes to get ready, have you ever thought of putting your hair up in a twist or perhaps even a clip? I have really curly hair. Whenever I’m having a bad hair day, I either twist my hair up, tuck in the top and secure it with bobby pins, or twist it up and clip it, letting some curls bounce around on top of my head (it actually looks better than it sounds). That way you wouldn’t have to deal with stying products as much, and it might be a good way to hide any scalp problems, unless you have some spots on your forehead or hairline.

Another vote for “long hair worn up.” I have straight, fine hair, and I look terrible with it worn down. So I twirl it into a chignon and throw in maybe five or six bobbie pins and voila—chic and sophisticated! It’ll take practice to get it right, but I can put mine up in three seconds without even looking, now.

Maybe a doctor, such as a dermotologist, could help figure this out? (Or did I miss that in the OP?)

Well yeah, once it gets there.

But for the 'mo I’m stuck with hair about this long:

Yeah, if this Nirozol or whatever it is doesn’t clear up my cyclical dandruff problem, I expect to see a dermatologist.

But even when I’m down cycle (no dandruff, crusts, etc) I get pain from using hair styling products.

I think you should go see a dermatologist now and not try another over-the-counter fix. It might be a simple thing for a dermatologist.

You could try clipping the sides back and slightly up, with pretty barrettes.

I agree with the stop the over the counter fixes…

Sounds like an allergic reaction to something…

Go to a good dermatologist or allergist…

I have found that many cheap plastic hair “thingies” make the growing out process much more tolerable.
(and I go through it every couple of years or so, as I insist on cutting my hair off, leaving it short for 6 months and then growing it out again)
Not sure whereabouts in the world you are - but Claire’s or Ardene (these may be unique to Canada) have all sorts of different clips and barettes and hairbands and general “stuff”. Maybe grab a few things and start experimenting.

Is it the alcohol in the styling products that hurts? Have you tried any of the hair “waxes”?

What’s wrong with natural long hair? Forget more than basic styling! Be sure to brush it hard so the oils from your follicles coat your hair and create a luscious glow. There’s something very attractive about long hair.

Alternatively, you could keep it close-cropped and wear a wig.

I had waist-length hair, then chopped it to about the level of my chin, and now it’s growing back out. It is dead straight in the front and tends to curl – a lot – in the back. I also refuse to wear styling products. I get many compliments on how healthy and nice-looking my hair is… I insist it’s because I don’t use anything with alcohol in it, which seems to be in most styling products. It’s been a while since I embarked on a search to find stuff that doesn’t have alcohol in it.

Besides seconding the suggestion to wear your hair up/back whenever possible, while it’s still short, I have another suggestion. See, I think it’s all about the quality of the cut. Do not go to Supercuts or any franchised chain like that. Find a frou-frou salon, and once you find a stylist you like, stick with him. (Warning: Sweeping generalization coming up. I seem to prefer gay men for cutting and styling my hair, but that is not to say that I haven’t also found quite capable female stylists.)

I tell the stylist: “I’m lazy and do not even own a blow dryer. I brush my hair wet in the morning and go to work that way. By the time I’ve finished my morning coffee, it’s dry and I comb it again with my fingers.” It usually looks pretty good, because I have a great cut – that still works while it’s growing out. Once they know how I’m going to deal with it, they’ll make sure to give me a cut that will cause my hair to “lay right.”

Now, this is definitely a case of Your Mileage May Vary… I have a lot of body in my hair and with different textures and whatnot, I have no idea what will work for you. But a stylist should, and should be able to give you a great, low-maintenance cut that will still look good as it grows out. Also, I live in a place with very high humidity most of the time, which greatly affects what you can and cannot do with your hair.

Just avoid the stacked-in-the-back, asymmetrical bob. Looks like crap while it’s growing out. Or… can you get away with hats, or a baseball cap at work?

Finally, your scalp issue sounds like it might be psoriasis (spelling dubious). I’d have that checked out.