Alpoecia made me a natural black woman
By Jennifer Macmillan. Oh my God I thought. What am I going to do? My hair was just coming out in droves. Separated and now a single parent, I thought who is going to want me? I am on the shelf at 30.
I eventually plucked up the courage and went to see a trichologist, one supposedly experienced in Afro-Caribbean hair. I was told that there had been damage to the hair roots and the bald patches that had started to appear would remain bald.
This was the worst thing I could have been told. Well, I told myself, this specialist did not know what they were talking about. I saw another trichologist and again I was told the damage to the hair roots was possibly alopecia.
Still not satisfied I went to Harley Street. I was told the damage could be repaired. Finally someone who knew what they were talking about. I paid good money for treatment and medication for my scalp. What a waste of money. They definitely saw me coming.
I had to accept the inevitable – my hair was never going to grow back.
I had kept my hair natural until the ‘curly perm’ hit the UK. It did not really work for me so I let the perm grow out. It was not long after this that I fell pregnant. My hair grew and grew. Wow I thought.
I was busy with my new baby and slow to see the changes that were happening to my scalp. I remember clearly being out just walking along the street feeling good. My figure was almost back. I got whistled at. I thought ‘I’ve still got it’ and smiled. As I walked past one of them shouted: “She’s bald mate,” and laughed. I wanted to cry.
That was it. I went out and bought a wig. I remember wearing it to my sister’s wedding. It looked okay but I did not feel myself in it.
A salon in central London was looking for models for a trainee stylist for afro hair. I went along to see what I could do with my hair. The stylist told me that I had a lovely face and I should cut it really short. I took a leap of faith and let him cut my hair short – a number one.
The next day getting ready for work I was scared. Scared people would stare at me. But I had no choice – I had to go to work. The response I received was totally unexpected. I felt like a catwalk model. There were loads of compliments and people staring at me in an admiring way.
I have not looked back since. I do not own a brush or comb and have not bought shampoo or hair lotion for years.
I am not afraid to be different and to stand out. In many ways it has worked to my advantage!
NHS Choices Factsheet on Alopecia
I felt sad reading your story it is truly horrible to be confronted with losing your hair. I’m glad you came out the other side a happier person. When I went natural I cut all my hair off and kept that style for about a year-it was the most liberating hairstyle I ever had. I’m glad you made the leap and embraced yourself.