Liz our 'Model for a Day' shares her thoughts and experiences of those initial few months when she was first diagnosed with alopecia. What can women do when they have too much hair to wear a wig comfortably but not enough in places to do nothing at all? Hats may initially seem too 'drastic' with patchy hair loss or simply not appropriate in certain situations i.e. the office or out with friends for an evening. There are alternatives available and the good news is that they are bang on trend right now. Accessories have never been bigger - with the current financial situation there is no better way to revamp an existing outfit than with a new belt, necklace or scarf, rather than buy new! So items such as alice bands and headband scarves can blend right in, particularly if you go for colours that suit your complexion and that you know suit you well. I'm sure you'll find Liz's insight useful and inspiring whatever stage of hair loss you are currently experiencing.
I never would have thought I’d be relieved to lose all of my hair. But looking back now at the months I spent with partial hair loss, that’s exactly how I feel. That time was so full of angst on many levels - my first real encounter with alopecia, I had to come to terms with it emotionally, as did my friends and family. And not least I also had to figure out practical ways to deal with it – I certainly wasn’t ready to think about wigs, hats or full headscarves, but I didn’t really want the whole office noticing my newfound predicament.
I was working as a test engineer at the time, testing jet engines on an outdoor test bed situated on an old airfield. Initially I just kept dashing off to the bathroom to ‘re-do’ my hair to try and hide the patches from my colleagues, but there was no use - you can imagine how the wind whipped across that place! When I look back now I smile at how ludicrous the situation was – could it get any worse?
The good news is that there are lots of ways to cover up partial hair loss, as people naturally assume you have a full head of hair if they see glowing, healthy hair flowing from underneath a partial head covering. I found it helped to use a good thickening shampoo on my hair and blow-dry it specifically depending on the accessory I was choosing to wear. I often chose to wear a wide head band at the front of my hair, or a folded silk scarf a little further back. As the hair loss progressed I moved on to bandanas or scarves covering more of my head, but still, as long as some hair was showing, people rarely realised the reason for my change of style. Granted – it’s possible that the cardigan clad engineers I was working with were not the most observant, but still, the accessories made me feel more confident and stylish.
I’ve had total hair loss now for the last 5 years (this is my second time around) and from this vantage point I reflect on the younger Liz who suffered partial hair loss with sympathy and a little pride. It’s a tough world out there – you are bombarded with marketing for products which claim to slow your hair loss or trigger re-growth – in my experience these rarely work and serve only to give false hope. My advice is to take control of your own well-being by accepting the way your hair is right now, and finding a way to look and feel fabulous. And if you’re having a bad hair day reading this, just think of me on that airfield!
Until next time...