At 54 years old, Ricki Lake is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance. Between a mission of educating women to be proactive about their hair and scalp health via a partnership with Harklinikken and a personal project of self-acceptance, the former talk show host is talking about it all, and she’s never been happier.
Why this partnership?
They fixed my hair! Seriously, it was pretty easy decision—this is the only endorsement I’ve ever done in my entire 35-year career. Our origin story is pretty special. I met Lars [Harklinikken’s founder and lead researcher] shortly after I shaved my head in 2020, right before COVID, and he kept saying he could help me. I was super cynical at that time. I remember sitting in this chair and I had made peace with rocking a bald head. I was coming clean in a very, very big and dramatic way. I mean, it was such a scary experience, but I was so liberated, too. I looked really cute, and I felt really good about that decision I’d made…but when Lars said, “I think I can bring your hair back better than it’s ever been.” I was like, “Oh really? Where have you been?”
I take it you tried some other things?
Yes, I researched everything. I’ve done Propecia, I’ve done steroid injections in my scalp and PRP. I’ve done it all! And I was doing everything in secret. I wasn’t really sharing my hair-loss story with people, but it was something that I was constantly dealing with. I was managing it by wearing a hairpiece for five years and getting extensions…I was just trying my best to make it work.
Lars explained that I have something called androgenetic alopecia, which is so common; I think the statistic is 50 percent of women by the time they’re 50 are going to see dramatic hair loss. He explained that his line of products was natural, they’re this and they’re that, and he put me on this protocol. He was doing it for free—he just wanted to help me.
I was so overcome by his generosity and his confidence. The one thing about this product line that’s so different is that they offer this consultation and then you get this customized blend of an extract for your specific hair needs. When I met him, he didn’t put me on the protocol right away because we really needed to fix my scalp. I had been wearing a hairpiece for five years—I had not seen the top of my head or my scalp for five years because I was wearing what they call a “topper”—it was like a toupee. I was really embarrassed by it. And It was really hot. And it was really pulling at my hair as well. It was constantly itchy and I wasn’t able to clean my scalp.
So, he put me on a medicated shampoo before he would let me go on the protocol, and now I’m on my 43rd month of the extract. I use it every day; I do it exactly the way they tell me to do it. I put it on at night before bed, and I use their hair mask, and their shampoo. I just want to follow whatever they tell me to do because it’s working. I can’t promise it’s going to work for everyone, but I can say is that it has helped me and I’m grateful. I’m so grateful to be at this place.
Also, I don’t stress about my hair anymore. I’ve made peace with it, which is huge. I don’t color my hair anymore. I don’t put heat on it. I don’t do a talk show every day, so I’m not having it blown out. I think it’s all of the above, but Lars is such a dear, compassionate guy who started this brand to help people; I love that. Any woman who has gone through seeing clumps of hair in the shower knows how traumatic it can be. Of course, there’s people who say, “Oh, it’s just hair. Get over it.” But it’s really, really challenging to just get over it.
I love that you’re embracing your gray—it looks great.
Yes! My scalp was so sensitive that it would burn. It was not a pleasant experience…and then I’d see the hair shedding and, well, I hate being in a salon! I didn’t realize that a pandemic was going to happen three months after I shaved my head, but then I was sort of forced to stop coloring it. And I’m glad I did.
It’s ironic that I actually like my hair now. I hated it for so many years and I love these gray streaks that surround my face! It’s hilarious to me, because I never thought I’d ever be in this place of total peace and acceptance. It’s great.
Thank you for sharing that. I know you’re also really about self-acceptance overall right now.
All those days and hours that add up that I spent not liking what I see in the mirror or second guessing it or wishing I was something else—what a waste of time! And it breaks you down. I’ve come to a place of just really appreciating my beautiful, abundant life. Am I 20 pounds heavier now? Yes, I am! And I’m so happy to be at this place of loving myself and loving my life and all of it has fallen into place.
I’m not saying shaving my head was a turning point, but it was absolutely instrumental for me to come to a place of self-acceptance. I assumed I was going to be rocking a bald head for the rest of my days, and I was ready for the backlash. I was resigned to that. And the fact that I have a new lease on life and this is all my own hair, this is all my own natural color. I know you’re not supposed to love gray hair, but I do. I’m doing the opposite of what we’ve always been told to do—and it’s such a relief to just accept and appreciate.