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!

Related Links

NHS Choices Factsheet on Alopecia

One Comment On “Alpoecia made me a natural black woman”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    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.

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