I don’t think there’s anything on earth that makes you feel as terrible as hair loss.
It happened to me for the first time when I was 24 and got the wonderful gift of a cancer diagnosis. My hair, which was long and black at the time, started to come out in stringy handfuls. At the time, it was like “Fantastic. I already feel the maximum amount of terrible. Now I have to feel ugly, too?”
Fortunately, along with the rest of my body, my hair recovered with time.
Until this week. Last week, I was trying to repair the damage done to my flowing Rapunzel locks by too much heat styling.
This week, heat damage became the least of my hair problems.
I washed my hair on Sunday night like I always do. I’m used to seeing loose hairs come away in the shower, and I know that’s normal.
Suddenly, I’m standing there clutching CHUNKS of my hair. And more is going down the drain. This is not normal. Visions of The Craft danced in my head.
Yep. My hair had started to fall out. The perfect end to a really spectacular month.
The problem is stress. I always forget that stress isn’t just some nebulous buzzword or something that only affects your emotions; it has actual, physical effects. But I don’t realise that right away. I attribute the broken-out skin to my period, the sudden weight loss on too many meals from a hospital vending machine, the lack of sleep on a busy life.
It’s not until my hair is coming out in clumps that I think “COULD this all be stress-related?”
I can be really dumb for a smart girl.
I decided to take action. I wasn’t going to sit around and feel miserable about my stress baldness, no sir. I was going to take control of my hair, and therefore my life.
So I texted my friend and stylist Lorelei to see if she could cut it all off ASAP.
And she did.
Even though I decided to do this very calmly and logically--I am a Vulcan after all--and the cut is beautiful, I will admit to being a wee bit emotional afterwards. Not only was I feeling raw about my thinner hair, it’s a big change!
But of course, my friends saved my emotions. “More room for scarves and dramatic coat collars this winter!” said Charlotte.
“More room for big earrings!” said Lorelei.
And they’re right.
Now that I’m used to it, I’m really into having shorter hair. It looks adorable, and it feels RIGHT.
My ends are unsplit, it takes 10 minutes to wash and dry, and my entire head feels about 10 pounds lighter. I don’t get tangled up in it at night and wake up every hour when I roll over and pull it. I don’t have to worry as much about pulling it back out of my face all the time.
I’m also really excited to learn how to do cool styles with it--I haven’t had hair this length since college, so this is a brave new world for me!
Most importantly, I don’t look like I’m thinning/balding from the back. I know that I made the right choice for me and my head here.
So, how am I taking care of my hair now so as to encourage it to grow-back-slash-not-to-keep-falling-out?
As usual, I’m keeping it really simple. I’m taking a multivitamin every day to make sure I’m getting everything--especially B vitamins--that I need for healthy hair (and everything else). I’m getting an appropriate amount of fat in my diet to keep my coat shiny. I’m drinking tonnes of water. And I’m taking it easy with heat styling, even though my rational brain KNOWS that’s not the reason it started falling out.
I’m not sure what to believe about products that claim they’ll help you grow thicker hair, and I don’t think I’m in a position, emotionally, to make any calls about their efficacy. Right now, I feel awful about my thinner hair. I would do anything to have it thick and healthy again, so I am a prime target for products telling me that if I buy this magical shampoo, my hair will be back to normal again. Because I really want them to work, I’m way more likely to overestimate how much they help, or give a product all the credit when really it was just time that did the trick.
So I think that instead of pinning all my hopes on magical shampoos, I’ll see what time and general healthy living can do for me. That’s what helped regrow my hair before, and I hope it will do it again.
And if it doesn’t? I’ll work this bob 'til I die. Because it’s just that amazing.
So what do you think, guys? Is my new hair cute, even though the circumstances surrounding the cut aren’t the best? Should I grow it out or keep it this length? Have you ever experienced hair loss, and how did you deal with it?