Cholesterol: It Almost Killed My Dad, But It Makes My Hair So Pretty

Put too much cholesterol in your mouth and it'll send your arteries into disrepair; put it on your head, however, and it'll have the opposite effect.
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Publish date:
September 20, 2013
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ingredients, hair masks, conditioners, deep conditioners, bargains, queen helene, cholesterol

The week before my 12th birthday, my then-49-year-old father had a heart attack.

This shook up my family in all sorts of ways. Dad was in the hospital for two weeks, which scared the crap out of me enough to not even care about my postponed birthday party (which was kind of a big deal to a sixth-grader); it shifted attention away from my sister's pending nuptials; we had to turn down the partial scholarship I'd won from Rutgers Prep because we didn't know if my father would work again; and it made us all a little more health-conscious.

Specifically, we started paying attention to cholesterol. Even though we didn't have terrible eating habits and made decent nutritional choices, it turns out that my mother, father and I all had naturally high cholesterol (both of their fathers had died of heart attacks before I was born). I got my first cholesterol test at 12, following my father's ordeal (he has since gone on to retire, shoot multiple holes in one, and survive throat cancer), and I "scored" a 225: borderline-high, especially for a child.

That series of events left me with a pretty indelible impression: Cholesterol is evil.

It wasn't until I became an editor many years later that I started noticing cholesterol in beauty products. Initially, based on my only-negative experience with it, I assumed it was one of those not-so-necessary-evil ingredients, like parabens--that it served a purpose, but not one that could actually do much to impact results.

I finally figured out how incorrect that assumption was when I saw that Queen Helene, the esteemed monarch behind the beloved Mint Julep Masque, makes a hair mask that just puts it right out there in the name: CHOLESTEROL Hair Conditioning Cream.

So, how can cholesterol kill you and make your hair more beautiful? Well, it's all about where you put it.

When your LDL cholesterol carries fat and whatnot into your artery walls, that's when bad stuff goes down, like atherosclerosis. Booooo. But when you put cholesterol on your head, it makes you pretty. Yaaaaay!

Specifically, cholesterol is an essential component in cell membranes, so when it's globbed all over damaged hair, it helps strengthen it. This only works from the outside, though, so don't go on a cholesterol-ingesting binge expecting your hair to get repaired.

Instead, if you're not completely convinced (I wasn't), you may want to do what I did: go to a pharmacy like the weird one in my neighborhood, Neergaard--seriously, this place has a life-size Gremlin dressed as Nicki Minaj in the front window--and buy the little two-ounce bottle for $2.

I used the entire thing this morning, wetting my hair, applying it at the start of my shower, and leaving it on for 15 minutes, as indicated, while I did all of my other shower-y things. You're given the option of using it with a "heating cap," but I don't have one, didn't know what one was, and am now terrified of them post-Googling.

The results probably would have been even better with one of those doohickeys, but I'm pretty happy with what just one go-round in the shower did.

My hair dried with less frizz and puffiness, and it was generally easier to style. I definitely think spending less than $2 more for an additional 13 ounces is worth it to treat my hair on a regular basis. If all goes well, I may even splurge on the 80-ouncer!

Although my father has gotten a pacemaker and three stents in the 22 years since his heart attack, I think it's safe to say that, thanks to Queen Helene, I've forgiven cholesterol and we're on good terms now. Hugs.

Have you tried the Cholesterol deep conditioner? I hear mayonnaise can serve pretty much the same purpose--anyone do that?