Helping Women With Hair Loss and Wearing Wigs - An Interview With Yomo Castellano
Yomo Castellano is a female hair loss coach and advocate who uses her Instagram to spread positive, uplifting and empowering content to women who struggle with hair loss. She started sharing her hair journey on Instagram in 2020 and just recently started a hair loss/life coaching business. Learn more about her past and how she was able to take a situation that seemed hopeless and turn it into positive growth.
Interview conducted via email on August 16, 2023
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born to teenage parents in the projects of San Juan, Puerto Rico, I paved my path to become a proud first-generation college graduate with the love and support of my community. I've been calling Milwaukee, Wisconsin home since I was seven years old. My passion: challenging beauty norms and rewriting generational narratives.
In my early 30s, I began noticing a change that many women experience but few discuss: hair loss. Over a decade later, with a recent diagnosis of Androgenic Alopecia, my personal journey with hair loss became the driving force behind my purpose. As the founder of Hair Loss Bonita (HLB), I wanted to send a clear message: our beauty isn't defined by our hair. Through this brand and movement, I am dedicated to empowering women experiencing hair loss to reclaim their confidence, self-love, and power. As a certified coach, I provide personalized guidance, support, and a safe space for women with hair loss to embrace their unique beauty and navigate their journey with strength and resilience.
In addition to my hair loss advocacy, I've navigated a 17-year journey with alcohol abuse. Proudly, I've reached a significant milestone this year, celebrating my fourth year of sobriety on June 28th. Life, with all its ups and downs, has taught me the value of community, understanding, and perseverance. When I'm not connecting with the amazing HLB community, you'll often find me modeling, acting, running, traveling, and volunteering.
When were you diagnosed with alopecia? What was that like?
About a decade ago, I began spotting those first signs - more hair on my pillow than usual and seeing more scalp than I cared for, which led me to see a dermatologist. My hair was thinning and I needed answers. The doctor said that I had "Telogen Effluvium," temporary hair loss due to the stress that I was under at the time. He assured me my hair would grow back, and I clung to that hope. The reality was that it never did.
Fast forward to 2019. I noticed that my hair was super thin so I went for another consultation. Even before the dermatologist spoke, I kinda knew. All those late-night online searches had already hinted at 'Androgenic Alopecia.' When the doctor finally said the words, it felt like a sucker punch. The room seemed to close in on me. It was hard to breathe. My thoughts spiraled out of control: Would my partner still find me attractive? Would my family be embarrassed to be seen with me? Would my modeling and acting end? I felt helpless. I felt alone. I felt defeated.
It took me a while to share my diagnosis with my partner and loved ones. I found solace in the hair loss community on Instagram. Seeing women thrive with their hair loss gave me hope that life could be better even with hair loss. It felt good to know that I wasn't alone. This was the beginning of my hair loss healing journey.
How did you find wigs & hair toppers?
In January 2020, I embarked on a Minoxidil treatment, hopeful for positive results. However, the shedding was far more intense than I had anticipated. Hair was everywhere: the carpet, living room, kitchen, and it even began to clog our bathtub. The distress was so real. By mid-March, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic added another layer of stress, making my hair loss even more pronounced.
Searching for answers, I sought advice from fellow Androgenic Alopecia warriors in the Instagram hair loss community. Among them, Suran (@the_strandie) stood out. She asked if I had considered wearing alternative hair but at the time my circumstances were so overwhelming that I did not have the bandwidth to dive into this world. To my surprise, she generously offered me a topper she had that was collecting dust in her closet. To her this was probably nothing, but for me it was more than just a piece of hair—it was a glimmer of hope, a gesture of sisterhood, and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
That topper shifted my perspective. Instead of obsessing over hair loss, it allowed me to delve into deeper, transformative inner work. With support from this compassionate community, work with my therapist, journaling, and my own self-discovery, I uncovered self-love and confidence like never before. Gratitude to Suran for her generosity and for encouraging me to explore the world of hair toppers and wigs.
When did you start posting about your hair loss online? How has the response been?
I took my first step into the online hair loss community by launching my Hair Loss Bonita Instagram page on October 27, 2020. My motivation behind HLB was aimed to share my journey with alopecia, create connections with empowered women navigating similar experiences, and ensure that Latinas and other women of color realized they weren't facing this alone. When I initially delved into the IG hair loss community in January 2020, I was disheartened not to find any Latina-focused hair loss pages. Knowing the millions of women grappling with Androgenic Alopecia alone (30 million in the US to be exact), it was clear to me that many were likely feeling unseen. I felt compelled to create a space where they could find a reflection of their own experiences in mine.
The response to HLB has been transformative. From the moment I began sharing my story, I was met with an outpouring of support and heartfelt messages from women who, like me, had been searching for a platform that resonated with their experiences. I've been deeply moved by stories from Latinas and women of color who, upon discovering HLB, felt seen and recognized for the first time. Many have shared their personal stories of courage, resilience, and the challenges they've faced — be it from the societal pressures tied to beauty standards or the emotional toll of confronting alopecia.
Every day, I'm reminded of the incredible strength and spirit of this community. While my hair loss page began as a personal endeavor, it has grown into a collective movement. A movement that champions acceptance, shatters hair loss stigmas, and most importantly, celebrates every woman's unique journey with hair loss.
You recently started one on one hair loss empowerment coaching. How did this business come about? What has been your favorite part so far?
As someone who lives with hair loss, I know how hard it can be to feel like you’re losing control over your appearance and your sense of self. But I also know that with the right tools, mindset, and support, it’s possible for people to reclaim their inner beauty and show up as the confident, empowered version of themselves. This is what led me to get my coaching certification.
After 17 years of alcohol abuse, I hit many rock bottoms and knew I needed to make a change. Through many years of therapy, inner work, and commitment to my sobriety (I celebrated 4 years this past June!), I was able to not only heal and transform my own life, but also find a passion for helping others do the same.
And now, as someone who has also struggled with hair loss for a decade, I’m passionate about using my experience and training as a coach to help women navigate this challenging journey and emerge stronger, more resilient, and more confident than ever before.
My favorite part about coaching is my clients - strong, magnificent women - transform before my eyes. Watching them go from feeling vulnerable to embracing and celebrating their inherent strength is beyond rewarding. Their trust, their progress, and their stories - they've given this journey purpose and meaning.
How can people book a consultation with you?
If you're ready to take the brave first step toward reclaiming your confidence and transforming your relationship with hair loss, let's work together to make it happen. Schedule a free clarity call with me here: (https://msha.ke/hairlossbonita).
In our conversation, we'll talk openly about what you're going through, the goals you hope to reach, and how my 1:1 Female Hair Loss Empowerment Coaching might support you on this journey. By the end of our chat, you'll have a sense of what working closely with me feels like. We can see if it clicks for both of us, and where we might go from there. I look forward to chatting with you!
Top piece of advice for people first entering their hair loss journey?
The hair loss journey can be emotionally taxing, but I want you to know this: you're not navigating it alone. Here's my advice for you:
- Embrace Your Emotions: Your feelings, from uncertainty to deep frustration, are valid. It's okay to experience them fully.
- Prioritize Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness, focusing on the resilience and beauty within.
- Seek Knowledge: Understand hair loss causes, solutions, and self-care routines. Being informed gives you a sense of control and empowerment.
- Consult the Experts: Before making decisions, consult medical professionals. They can provide insights tailored to your situation.
- Find Your People: Surround yourself with supportive people — be it through online communities, support groups, or understanding loved ones.
- Value Your Inner Self: Remember, your worth is more profound than physical appearance.
- Stay Hopeful: Challenges might arise, but trust in your strength. You're not just coping with hair loss; you're learning to thrive despite it. And always remember, there's an entire community, including me, rooting for you.
Current hair trend you love?
The hair trend I’m currently most drawn to is embracing one's personal hair journey, in whatever form it takes. In the midst of hair trends that go from super long locks to bobs, what stands out to me most is the celebration of each individual's unique path.
Navigating thinning hair has been part of my personal journey for the past 10+ years. While it's a reality many face due to genetics, health, or just the passage of time, it's heartening to see the many solutions available today. From toppers and wigs to treatments, the choices are expansive. While I'm at a stage where I'm learning to embrace my hair's natural state, I recognize that this journey is deeply personal. Everyone’s comfort level varies, and that's absolutely okay.
We are so lucky to live in a time where we have a ton of fabulous alternative hair options available. Whether it's extensions, toppers, or wigs, platforms like Silk or Lace provide a plethora of choices for those seeking a change. Some days, I'm all about the wig life, and on others, I’m loving my thin hair pulled back into a cute baby bun. I love the freedom to switch things up and embrace versatility. Ultimately, it comes down to feeling empowered by your choices. There's no room for judgment — only deep respect for each person's hair journey and the unique ways they choose to navigate it. After all, it's not just about hair, it's about self-expression, self-acceptance, and the joy in finding what makes you feel most vibrant and true to yourself.
What is one beauty product that you’re loving right now?
I'm absolutely in love with JVN Hair's Nurture Intense Hydration Hair Mask! My alopecia journey has been a rollercoaster of trying various products that often don't live up to their claims. But JVN's Hair Nurture Intense Hydration Hair Mask stood out. It worked wonders right from the first use. It not only brought back the shine to my hair but also added a vibrant and lively energy to each strand. I genuinely recommend this product to everyone, especially those dealing with thinning hair like me. It's been a game-changer on my journey.
Through community, inner reflection and outer self love, Yomo has found a place where she feels like she can be herself, make a difference and support women just like her.
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