Today I’m going to start what will hopefully be a new series on my blog. I’m going to call it: You ARE Beautiful. It’s a series of posts in which I’m going to talk about things to do with body image and the way you view yourself. Not only this, I’m going to try and help you cope with things that may affect your self-confidence – things that I have been through or I am going through and that have affected me, that I now know a little bit about and want to help you with.
Today, I am going to talk to you about coping with hair loss. Whether you’ve lost your hair due to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or any illness, you will know just how awful it is. And if you know that you will soon lose your hair in the near future because of upcoming treatment you will know just how daunting it can be.
I’ve had the misfortune of losing my hair twice – I mean, I don’t do things by half. In the first instance, throughout my 9 month period in intensive care, I was simply so sick and weak, that my body decided to focus all of its attention into making me better (rightly so), so got a little bit distracted when it came to the hair department. As a result, over a long period of time, all of my hair fell out. I was never completely bald (as I was the second time) as I refused to shave of the last stubborn peices of hair.
Just as my hair had grown again to the point were it fell half way down my ribs, I was diagnosed with my tumours and it was “bye bye hair” once again. After the initial shock of the illness, the worst thing about the tumour quickly became the fact that if IV treatment failed, radiotherapy would be the only option and I would lose my hair again. As a young girl of 14, who had just regained her hair, this was my biggest fear about to come true – again!
BUT, now my hair is back and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Especially the second time. The first time around, I found that I was so consumed in getting my health back after my transplant that I didn’t focus much on my hair – I was younger too, at the age of 11, it didn’t bother me as much. However, I do have some tips for you to help you cope with hair loss due to long term illness or treatment. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Make Sure You are Prepared
Most of the time, before starting treatment, it is likely that you will be told if there is a risk of your hair falling out. So my first tip is to prepare yourself. You should familiarise yourself with the process so it doesn’t come at a huge shock when it does begin. Most likely, your hair won’t fall out all at once so do expect to find clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower. Secondly, it may happen quickly. My radiotherapy took place over a week, once everyday, and it was only a week after my last session that I noticed my hair was falling out. Don’t only prepare yourself for the process, prepare yourself for after it has all gone. Treat yourself to a hat shopping spree or maybe even browse some wigs.
2. Take Control
My second tip is to take control of the situation. Of course, as most of you know I did exactly that. Finding out I was going to lose my hair was a devastating blow but within an hour I had decided that I was going to shave it off. I decided that I couldn’t bear to sit idly as my hair fell out in clumps, bit by bit with no power to stop it. I was going to take control of my hair loss, it wasn’t going to take control of me. So maybe if you’re feeling brave enough, you could do the same and shave your hair off. Make a day out of it. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing – it can be a truly beautiful thing. Think of it as shedding the old you, allowing space for the new you to grow. I was lucky enough to have my two best friends shave their hair with me but of course we can’t expect all best friends to sacrifice their hair for us. Gather together some friends and family, organise some sponsorship for charity and if your locks are long enough, donate them to a wig charity to help someone just like you. Grab that razor and show the situation who’s boss!
3. Makeup for That Hair Loss (Literally!)
With all your hair gone, you will have to make the most of all of the contours and shapes of your beautiful face. With no hair for distraction, all the attention will be your face. Something I learned was to wear darker and slightly more eye catching makeup to compensate for the lack of hair. Consult the famous beauty gurus on YouTube or Blogs and learn just how to bring out your best features. Dark eyeshadows like gold, black and brown and red and deep purple lipstick can create a dramatic and gorgeous look whereas silvery and coloured eyeshadows along with bright pink and orange lipstick create a refreshing and pretty look. Fake eyelashes and thick and sharp (natural looking) drawn-on or filled-in eyebrows – my natural ones became very thin when my hair loss began- can really complement your beautiful bald head!
4. Dress Up
Not only does losing your hair change the way you see your face, but it changes the way you see your body too. It shows it in a completely different light. So if you’re able to, treat yourself to some new clothes. You may find that styles that have never suited you before now become your new favourite. Dresses are something that I found really completed my non-hair style. You can really explore your style without the shape or look of your hair to distract you. Go for it! Switch up your look and show everyone you don’t need hair to look incredible!
5. Remember One Thing : You ARE Beautiful (and don’t ever let anything or anyone make you think different!)
Lastly, who needs hair? I mean, really? Who needs small fibres growing out of their head? What I’m trying to say is that I really can’t express enough how liberating and refreshing it was to be bald. Hold your head up high and show off your unique look. Show off your true beauty and prove to the world that it’s going to take a lot more than hair loss to break you. You’re gorgeous, perfect, locks or lockless. Choose to define being bald as simply something else to add to your list of “Things I Rock At!” Who else gets the chance to say “I lost all of my hair and still look like a superstar!”? So my lovely friend, believe in yourself and face the world with a smile on your face. Hair loss doesn’t have to change you, you can change hair loss. Make hair loss positive, make it a struggle you have fought successfully. Never give up, be proud of who you are and remember: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
I really hope that this helps. Please feel free to ask me any questions about my hair loss experiences in the comments.
Lots of Love,