Saying Hello to Hair Loss
Hello! I'm Eva (@effing.good.hair).
I’ve always had thin hair that was smooth and straight. Always reaching for those volumizing shampoos and telling my hair stylist before every cut, “Just a trim, and can you make my hair look thicker?” I envied my mom’s thick Asian hair and always wished she had passed those genes to me. Instead, I got my dad’s hair texture, before he lost most of it to male pattern baldness. I always joked that when I got older and became a granny, I would be bald like my dad but have the best hair thanks to wigs. Little did I know, I would be entering the world of fabulous hair much, much earlier.
My hair loss started really gradually. When I started birth control at 18, I would shed and leave hairs everywhere. I didn’t have any signs of hair loss at the time and attributed it to normal shedding. I Inspired by the dreamy ash-coloured balayages I saw on Instagram, I also started bleaching my previously box-dyed hair about twice a year.
Things started to change in December 2018. I was 22, and under a lot of stress from my new part-time job and being in the last year of my undergraduate degree. The signs of hair loss were discrete but noticeable; bigger hair clumps in the shower, a smaller ponytail diameter, and oh my god, I can see my scalp when I tie my hair up?!
April 2018 (left) and March 2019 (right), featuring my boyfriend's dog, Mia.
I panicked and took it to myself to do some good old internet research and learned about the different types of hair loss, and other women’s experiences on Reddit and The Hair Loss Project. I found out many women had experienced hair loss due to birth control and it made me realise my birth control or existing hormonal imbalances must be one of the factors attributing to my hair loss in addition to stress.
I went on Instagram and searched “hair loss” to see if there was anybody else publicly out there with hair loss. That’s when I found Kellie (@hairlossboss) and first learned about toppers. I was in shock at how natural hair toppers could look, and I was relieved that the solution to hair loss was so simple: alternative hair. As I kept digging deeper, I also found Kim (@kimdubs_) and Suran (@the_strandie), and lurked in the community while trying to come to terms with my hair loss.
I had doubts about my hair loss at first. My hair loss pattern wasn't like other women's and I'm not losing nearly as much hair due to stress. Are my concerns still valid? I tried to convince myself that it wasn't so bad. Eva, you've always had thin hair! It'll grow back. That's what everyone says about hair.
But I couldn't deny the everyday experience with my hair.
When I run my fingers through my hair, there was less hair to run through.
When I tie a ponytail, the hair tie now goes around 3 times comfortably, when it only went around twice before.
When I push all my hair to one side of my head, I have half the amount of hair than before.
When it's windy outside, more of my hair flies because there's less to hold it down.
I decided to visit the doctor in hopes of to validating the reason for my hair loss. This is what he said:
If it’s alopecia areata, you would have bald spots but you don’t. If it’s androgenic alopecia, you’ll see your part get wider, but it’s not. If it’s telogen effluvium, if I pull your hair, a lot should come out but only 1-2 hairs came out after I pulled so many. When I look at your head, you still have a lot of hair. So no, I don’t think you have hair loss or it’s not that serious.”
My brain just kind of shut down at that moment and I left the office feeling a little more hopeless. Did I have to lose more hair before I would be taken seriously? After a blood test, I found out I was iron deficient, but my hormones and thyroid were all fine. I hoped that after taking months of iron supplements, my hair would revert back to what it used to be. But it didn’t.
I slowly started opening up more to my friends about my hair loss. I had initially gotten comments of: "Your hair looks fine! I don't think it's thinning." But when I told them I would start wearing alternative hair, all they said was: “Cool! Let’s see it when you get it.” Their acceptance and support helped me so much in accepting my hair loss. It made me realise that no matter what my hair looks like, I am still Eva and people still love and accept me for who I am.
I’m also so grateful I am a part of such a supportive and empowering community. I decided to start my own hair loss account on Instagram and took up the opportunity to write blogs here on Silk or Lace to engage with other women and also give back to the community that’s helped me so much.
It's through the hair loss community that's empowered me to take back control of my hair loss. By changing my thoughts around hair loss, I'm able to see the options moving forward. Rather than mourning what my hair once was and shying away from cameras, I'll be able to wear hair better than my hair ever was and could be and carry on with life.
Thank you for taking your time to read my story! Feel free to slide into my DMs to share your story with me on Instagram (@effing.good.hair).