'90s Icon Ricki Lake Loves Her Grays, SKIMS, and Colorful Muumuus

The former talk show host also shares how she recovered from severe hair loss.

Ricki Lake x Harklinikken interview
Photo: Courtesy of Harklinikken

In a society where long, thick hair is so often associated with femininity, it can be devastating when a woman begins to experience hair loss and thinning. For producer and talk-show host, Ricki Lake, this feeling hits close to home.

In conversation with InStyle, she shares that her first encounter with hair loss happened when she was 26 years old. "I noticed my hair was dramatically thinner after making a film called Mrs. Winterbourne. I went on a crash diet for [it] and I attribute my hair loss to that shock to my system I lost about 35 pounds in nine or 10 weeks," she says.

In addition to the quick and dramatic weight loss, Lake also attributes her initial hair loss to the fact that she was on hormonal birth control. "It was traumatic," she says. "I was beside myself." (She'd later go on to co-produce a documentary titled The Business of Birth Control that dives into topics such as this.)

For over two decades, Lake hid her struggles from the public and tried countless hair loss treatments, every type of hair extension, and religiously dyed her hair to cover up her grays, which she also started battling in her late 20s. However, none of the treatments worked long-term, and the constant hair coloring processed damaged her scalp. "I don't think I'll ever color my hair again," she shares.

Her decision to stop coloring her hair isn't just based on her improved scalp health, Lake genuinely loves her grays. "I love how freaking ombré it is!" she shares, adding that a friend and hairdresser told her it's impossible to get that look at the salon. "No one could bottle that up and make it."

Plus, embracing her grays goes hand-in-hand with her emphasis on comfort right now. "I have my on-camera persona where I wear SKIMS and a fitted outfit, and then my MO is wearing colorful muumuus," she says. (Honestly, what a vibe.)

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Lake tells InStyle that coming out of the pandemic, though, she's looking forward to dressing up again. And even though she felt empowered when she finally shaved her head in 2019 — and calls it a "badass move" — she's happy to have a full head of gray hair again, thanks to the Harklinikken system she's been following. She has previously said that after years of treatments, this was the pot at the end of the rainbow for her. "I finally found the simple protocol that genuinely works for me," she said on Instagram.

Her love for herself isn't dependent on whether or not she has hair, but she has always had a deep appreciation for hair in general. She tells InStyle that her favorite segments of her '90s talk show were the Weave War shows. "I was obsessed because these women, these artists, would create elaborate hairdos that didn't seem plausible — it was just otherworldly," she says. "It was super fun to celebrate art and Black culture."

When asked if she would consider doing another talk show in the future, Lake says no. However, she says that the people who grew up watching her show — which ran for 11 years and accumulated to roughly 3,100 hours of on-air time — will appreciate the new show she's working on. "I'm exploring avenues of using my voice — that's all I'll say."

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