I’m Laura and I started losing my hair aged 13, during my parents divorce. It was my hairdresser who first spotted the small bald patch at the back of my head, about the size of a 50p pence. I remember feeling really confused and worried when she showed me using a little mirror behind my head but she said it was nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately I did worry and, as my hair started falling out over the coming months, I obsessed over how much hair I lost each day and did everything to disguise it. I even asked if the salon would open early each day just so I could have my hair blow dried to disguise the ever-expanding bald patches.
I stopped going to school and leaving the house that year. That’s all I remember about it really. Clearly, the whole thing, my family situation and the hair loss, was all a bit too much. I was only 14 at this stage and it’s a lot for anyone to handle, let alone a teenager.
I finally took control of my hair loss about a year after discovering that first bald patch. I went back to school at the start of a new academic year using headbands and hats to try and disguise my thin hair - it wasn’t working. So, on the coach ride home after a school trip where I had been asked to remove my hat in a church we were visiting, I called my mum and said, “ I think I need to get a wig.”
Fifteen years later, I have now been wearing wigs longer than I’ve had ‘bio hair’. That’s a scary thought. I’ve had some really awful experiences with wigs and custom made orders - expensive, timely and deflating experiences when trying new brands and companies. Wigs that cost over £1,000 and yet were totally unwearable because they didn’t fit, the hair quality was terrible or the hairline was unsightly. It’s enough to put you off ever trying to find a wig that actually works for you. There are many businesses out there that treat hair loss like any other business but I think it’s so important that, in the wig industry, the owners genuinely want to support, educate and help their clients. Having alopecia can be tough, we need people rooting for us and helping us to find hair we’ll feel proud to wear.
Since lockdown, I’ve started sharing more about my alopecia experience on Instagram. I have found an amazing community of fellow alopecians to chat with. It is amazing to find this support, even this far into my journey, and it’s making a massive difference to how I feel about myself and managing my alopecia. I still randomly go through months of no eyelashes and brows and then they come back again for a while. It’s the absolute unknown of alopecia that makes you feel out of control and miserable. Having beautiful friends who understand that this can be just as traumatic now as it was when you were 13 is a game changer.
Now I’m being more open about my hair loss, I’ve been wanting to be a little more experimental and finally decided to try being a redhead – that’s where my impulse purchase in the sale at Valentine Wigs came about. The Sentoo Poppy in ‘Red Chestnut’ fits me like a dream and I feel so glamorous in it. It’s not a wig that I would necessarily have as my ‘daily wear’ but I love how when I put it on I feel beautiful. That is worth every penny.
Any questions about this gorgeous Poppy wig or my experience, please feel free to reach out to me on instagram at @RelightAlopecia – I would love to hear about your experience. I’m still learning tips and tricks for living with alopecia, every day and I'm always happy to share them and learn more.