Saturday, 28 February 2015

#100HairFreeDays - The Silver Lining Game

When I first lost my hair, I didn't know ANYONE who had been through this, and I struggled to cope with the emotional and psychological impacts of hairloss. How do you handle losing something which seems so much a part of your identity and helps define who you are?

In fact, many days I didn't cope; many days I thought I'd never get through it and I'd always be sad, every day for the rest of my life! For me, my turning point was the day I took back control, handed my mum a pair of scissors and urged her to snip off the remaining straggly locks! From that point on, I determined I'd be positive and started playing what I then dubbed 'The Silver-Lining Game' - a challenge to myself to come up with at least one benefit of losing my hair every single day! It wasn't always easy (and sometimes became very obscure), but I managed it and it became a big part of my acceptance of my alopecia.

Now, inspired by the #100HappyDays trend, I'm going to be running my #100HairFreeDays from tomorrow. I'll be putting one out on Twitter each day (follow us here) and doing a round-up on the blog each weekend! They'll start off fairly normal, but I have no idea if I'll be able to think of 100 so they may become pretty odd or tangential! Also, if you want to chip in, feel free and we'll make sure we name-check you!

Watch out for the first post tomorrow...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 27 February 2015

Real Life Hairloss Experience: Meet Angela

Last year, me and some of the girls from the Pretty Bald Calendar appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about the calendar and to raise awareness and educate. Not long after our interview, I received the loveliest email from Angela, who got in touch to tell us her story and also say thanks for helping her realise she's not alone! I was really touched and nearly cried! Anyway, back to the story, I asked Angela if we could share her story when the time was right (we didn't have anywhere to share it at the time) and she said yes! So here goes...

In October, Angela was not long into her alopecia journey, having been diagnosed with Alopecia Areata just eight weeks before. She had a naturally thick head of hair and watched as it initially started thinning at the crown, leaving the middle of her head bald within two weeks and forcing her to shave it off! The Doctors told her it was down to stress, which Angela attributed to her job.

Angela says " I love my bald head now, and I really didn't think it would look this good. I had cried every day for six weeks thinking I was going to look awful but yes you're correct, BALD IS BEAUTIFUL. I love it so much and love when people stop and stare. Here's a picture, and I'm so so glad I'm not alone."

When asked if she would be happy for her story to be shared Angela said "I would love for you to use my picture and my story; I want people to know it's not all bad and that doors can open in other areas. I'm now getting modelling jobs since and loving it. I have noticed doctors always put it down to stress, when I feel that it's other things that contribute, I was also told by my dermatologist that my hair cells are dying which is why now I have to have injections in my head every two months, but I'm happy the way I look anyway whether my hair grows or not."

Thanks so much for getting in touch and sharing your story Angela! Remember, if you have a story of hairloss that you would like to share, or are interested in joining the Pretty Bald bloggers network, please do email us!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 26 February 2015

How do you dry yours?

Washing wigs is a commitment! On the upside you never have a bad hair day, have to wash and care for them considerably less than natural hair, and don't have to worry about greasy roots; but on the downside it's a bigger commitment of time when you do wash them and if they're synthetic, they need time to condition and enough time to dry naturally! Hmmm! Brings new meaning to the phrase 'I can't come out tonight I'm washing my hair'!

That aside, there are generally agreed guidelines for the washing of wigs, but are there really any for drying them?! I've met those who use a polystyrene head, a wig stand, a hat stand and lots more random places! I on the other hand favour an upside-down approach! I love the way it adds volume to the wigs, ensures any curls are nice and springy and enables the cap itself to dry quicker as that always takes the longest! How then to hang them the wrong way up? Well personally, I engineered my own hanging system (I promise it's not complicated). Take one triangle trouser hanger and hold it upright, then take one shirt hanger (not triangle) and tip it upside down! Thread one through the other and voila a ready made wig hook which will hang basically anywhere!

I've used that very technique tonight when washing four wigs (The Amber, Two Codis and an Amore - all synthetic):

Getting some deep conditioning:

Drying for the morning:

We'd love to know how you all dry your wigs (there are some great tips out there) so please share them with us via Twitter or email. Even better if you can post a pic!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A spot of #Gatsby inspiration - recreating a 1920s style #Wigs #Hairloss

So, you have a theme night, but you don't have hair, and often, that lack of hair can make or break your outfit! If you're going for the Zombie look at Halloween, your shiny cranium will be an asset, but if it's Disney Princess, you're probably going to need a wig! Last year, I went to a 1920s inspired Awards night, and I started to panic about what to wear! I had to look modest because it was a client event, but I also wanted to look classy and sophisticated; just what the 1920s is famous for!

The 1920s was marked as an era of post war change, the start of a more liberated society and for many ladies, a time of short bobs, pin curls, dark lips and a touch of rouge. Skirts got shorter, frillier, and covered in beads, while hair was flirtatious yet tightly controlled.

I nailed the dress with a purchase from Debenhams - a flapper dress isn't appropriate for a work do, so instead I opted for a monochrome number which uses art deco shapes to evoke the 1920s style. Not 100% perfect, but I was pretty happy with it! Then, on to the (obviously) more important bit... The hair - how to recreate a 1920s inspired style with a wig - unless you've invested in a human hair wig, this is not necessarily an easy task.

For this one, I selected the Haute wig by Jon Renau; it's one of their Smartlace Heat Defiant range, designed to be styled, heated and moulded to suit your mood; or worn as it comes - a chin length bob with lots of sophistication. I selected it for its medium length - not too much to work with because the 1920s is famous for short crop bobs, but long enough to enable me to style it and hide the edges at the nape.

The Haute HD Smartlace Wig from Jon Renau...

Haute HD SmartLace Wig

On to the styling...

I attached my clamp to the table, popped on a polystyrene head, and pinned the wig using 'U-Pins' - available online and hopefully soon through Pretty Bald:

Step 1:
It might sound obvious, but first thing to do is brush through the hair, add any leave in conditioning spray and make sure all the fibres are separated and loose. This will be important for the actual styling.

Step 2:
Separate one third of the hair and tie it up out of the way. If you have a fringe, choose the opposite side to the way it sweeps; if you have a centre parting, pick whichever side you prefer.

Step 3:
Leave the first section free; in this case the fringe - you'll come back to it later. Pick up the beginning of the next section about one inch thick. Start to twist, keeping it tight enough to hold its shape, but loose enough not to create a false hairline. This is important so that you don't make it obvious you are wearing a wig, but how tight you pull it will depend on your individual wig. Twist it towards the back of the head.

As you twist, gather up more and more pieces of hair, bringing them into the twist. Do this until you reach the end of the hair.

Step 4:
When you reach the end of the length of hair, twist it into a bun and attach it with kirby grips to the nape of the neck. It should be at least halfway around the wig / head so that the style is mostly on one side of the head.

Step 5:
Take another piece of hair about two inches thick, twist it gently and create another bun; fix it with kirby grips next to the first.

Step 6:
Split the remaining hair in two, leaving a small amount by the face; mine was about one inch thick. Twist the remaining piece to the bottom, curl the end round and pin in a loose bun next to the other two; preferably slightly higher as long as it doesn't expose the wig band.

Step 7:
Take the final exposed bit at the front of the face, twist it loosely and wrap it into a tiny pin curl. This is where you wind the curl around inside itself to create a visible, decorative spiral. It's harder to do in a synthetic wig because the fibres are much stiffer, but it'll still make a lovely decorative piece. Mine ended in a figure of eight shape, which wasn't so historically accurate, but still looked pretty.

Step 8:
Return to the first side and the piece of fringe that you left; take the end and tuck it behind the original twist, creating a loose, sweeping fringe.

Step 9:
Add a headband, an outfit, some darker shadowing around the eyes and a slash of deep red lipstick and you're done!

I hope you've found this one useful and if you've used it, we'd love to see some pictures!

One more point before I go... I wear a slightly less complex version of this to work - it looks fab! Also, the great news is I've been invited to a "Roaring 20s" ball later this year, so learning this style will come in handy once again!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

What a difference a wig can make...

Just because I love them, doesn't mean I wear wigs all the time, nor do I feel that everyone has to wear them. Nope; instead I believe that 'looking on the bright side' of alopecia, it gives a great deal of flexibility! I go bald as often as not, have wooly hats for winter and cotton headwear for summer, own 12 different wig styles (all in chocolate brown) and generally mix and match as the mood takes me!

One thing I have learned about wigs is that just like natural hair, different styles can change your mood, but it can also affect your choice of outfit...

Last year, I headed out with my best friend for a night of retro tunes at a local night club. I stood in front of the wardrobe and selected a dress I hadn't got round to wearing yet; a grey and black fitted number with block panelling. On it goes with my favourite pair of heels in a silvery bronze colour, then in walks my boyfriend. 'What do you think?' I ask. 'It's alright I suppose, but you've looked better!' he replies. Now I know many of you will have audibly gasped at that but one thing about my boyfriend is he is always 100% honest! Sometimes it drives me bonkers but actually it means when he compliments me (which he does often) he actually means it. Anyway, back to the story and I said 'give me a minute to finish getting ready and then if you still don't like it, I'll change'. Off I pop into the bathroom and I stand in front of my wig collection and pick out the Spicy from Jon Renau HD Smartlace Collection. It's long, curly and very glamourous and looks really sophisticated. On it goes with a pearl necklace and back I go to my boyfriend. 'Wow he says! You look absolutely stunning!' Phew!

Now as I said, I'm all for going bald, but sometimes, you just need hair to pull off an outfit. I have different outfits which go with different hair and some dresses do not suit some styles! All I can say is 'what a difference a wig makes' and isn't it nice to have the flexibility!

A bald move...

Rocking the spicy...

Excuse the sticker on the mirror

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 23 February 2015

Bloomin' Hair!

Welcome !! today's date is 22/02/15

Ah ! So, this is my first blog. I  must say I am dead excited to be one of the new bloggers for That aside , I've have never written for anything like this before, especially something that involves me sharing my deepest, darkest thoughts. Here's hoping I do a good job.

So, as Victoria mentioned, in the lovely introductory blog about myself , I am a newbie when it comes to alopecia totalis and  tomorrow is the day I shave away the last remains of my 'hair'. I'm currently sporting a 'Gollum' ( from lord of the rings ) look, so I'll be happy to see it go.

 I gotta say that the last week or so I've been putting on a brave face. I knew this day was coming so I am well prepared for it. I am a little worried, that I shall be looking like a look-a-like for Shrek with my one ear that sticks out and my other which is practically glued back due to old surgery's! Never the less , it will be a whole load of my mind.
The worst thing about Alopecia for me is that I've had to watch my hair fall out on a day-to-day basis. Coming back from my Cyprus adventure into the arms of my current boyfriend ( who I met out there) and family, I couldn't of been happier. So what happened? Maybe something in the universe is giving me a lesson? or maybe its a sign.....a new door opening for new opportunities? I guess that's how I like to see it anyway. I believe that sometimes in life you just need to try and shrug things of. (coming from the person who has cried hysterically , for almost 2 months now.) Thing is, you can't sit around and think  'why is this happening to me?' 'Why me, why me ?' Because ,you will only drive yourself crazy.

So.... going from big hair to...

...This mess, I think its about time to just say.....OK..  'Time to say goodbye' in what is obviously a dramatic Sarah Brightman style of send off, I wouldn't have it any other way!!

23rd Monday February 2015 .
A matter of minutes after the head shave.

Well iv done it , the hair is off ! I must say , running my hands through my new found stubble , it feels as though I have load's more hair than when I had those 'gollum' strands.
I did have a cry , I won't sugar coat that however I do feel liberated by what I have Achieved. As it's only been minutes since the shave , I shall leave you with a picture of my new look, whilst I go and celebrate with a bottle of win and a Chinese with my incredible family.

All the best
Danielle x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 22 February 2015

New blogger time! Say hello to Danielle who's not far into her Alopecia Totalis journey...

We're really pleased to announce that Pretty Bald is growing, and as well as myself (Victoria), Jenny and Kayleigh, we have a new blogger joining the team; meet Danielle!

Danielle has always had Alopecia Areata, however it is now progressing towards Alopecia Totalis as she loses more and more hair. Up until now, her Alopecia Areata has been treated with steroid injections in her scalp and she has sported long, curly, auburn hair which covered the patches.

She is a singer and dancer, training professionally at the world-famous Italia Conti theatre school; she says singing is a way of life, and has not long returned from a singing contract in Cyprus. Her next position will be in Devon in the UK enabling her to become a Pretty Bald blogger.

Speaking to her of her alopecia, she says it began falling out in earnest in January and she's watching it lessen day-by-day. She has plans to shave it off tomorrow (wish her luck everyone) and stop her looking quite so much (in her words) like Gollum; she's hoping to post her first blog about it too! Her ambition for participating in this blog is to help raise awareness and inspire and if she can help just one person come to terms with their hairloss, she'll know she's done a good job!

Welcome to the team Danielle! In the meantime, here is her favourite picture of her natural hair!

Don't forget; if you are suffering from any kind of hairloss and want to tell your story OR become a regular blogger, please email us!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 21 February 2015

"It's Just Hair"

That god awful line people use time and time again in an effort to support those experiencing hair loss! If it's just hair, why don't I see more men and women walking around with dodgy buzz cuts, replicating a patchy alopecia areata type do? Why aren't more people going for the one-eyebrow-missing style?

Because the hair on our bodies is precious (some parts more than others, ey?!) and by downplaying the importance of our missing 'fro, our family, friends and acquaintances think they're helping us. It's not their fault really though, is it? It's one of many awkward situations where we just don't know what to say to comfort somebody going through a difficult time.

However, while those three little words do infuriate me, I can sometimes look at the bigger picture and I hope I can inspire you guys to do the same.

I have alopecia. I have something wrong with my immune system which has caused me to lose my hair but otherwise, I'm well. I have a loving family, supportive (although mental) friends, a job I love and I'm filing my life with as much enjoyment as possible.

I've discovered others with the condition that have completely enlightened me. They've given me advice, shared their experiences with me, we've raised awareness together, supported each other and they've become my friends. People I would have never have met had I not lost my hair!

In a twisted turn of events, this condition has made me a more thoughtful, more considerate, more resilient and understanding person. I see life from a different perspective than I did before… and that's crazy!

What would my life have been like if I were ordinary? What kind of person would I have been? I don't even care to think about it.

Be it divine intervention or not, everything that has happened to me – and has happened to you – has done so for the greater good. When you're feeling down, remember all the positives because I can guarantee you there are more than you think!

If any of you reading this need any advice, support or a simple chat about your hairloss, don't hesitate to get in touch with any of us here at Pretty Bald (twitter below). Reaching out and seeking help could be the beginning of something great for you.

Much love, Kay x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

'Do I look like an Action Man?' #Hairloss #RealLife #Cancer #Alopecia

With lines such as 'Do I look like an Action Man?' and 'I'd rather lose my other breast than my hair', My New Hair is certainly an interesting watch!

My New Hair is a documentary filmed and aired on Scotland on STV. It follows a hair salon which offers replacement hair services and more importantly gives an insight into the lives, trials and tribulations of different women, with different types of Hairloss!

Whether going through cancer and chemotherapy, or losing your hair due to Alopecia, this documentary offers a very real, very raw insight into the fears we all have about losing our hair! Every minute of it, I identified with at least one thing each woman said, AND was able to relate their thoughts and feelings to part of my own journey past and present!

Despite a lot of positive feeling about this documentary, and it being definitely worth a watch (STV has done a really good job) it's not all thumbs up from me! In fact, the parts / people I have an issue with are those not experiencing hairloss at all - it's the hairdressers! Let me clarify...

I really and truly appreciate why hair salons opt to offer wig services; there's an inherent level of trust someone has with their hairdresser, people automatically assume they are qualified and then the commission isn't too bad either! Many do a good job, but unfortunately however, something which often happens is that despite being well-intentioned, the hairdresser try's to be 'normal' and ends up coming across patronising or blasé. For example, phrases like 'You'll be fine' and 'It's only for a wee while', which both appear in this programme, seriously underestimate the emotional and psychological impact of Hairloss. What's more, it makes it seem like 'something to deal with' much like a cold or flu, and that somehow, it'll all go away if you just grin and bear it!

One final point and that is don't settle for a wiggy wig! Some of the ones in the programme do little to flatter those wearing them and also, there are plenty of options that you can swim in, before you opt for a headache inducing suction-cap!

The documentary is available to watch on the Pretty Bald YouTube channel here, so don't forget to subscribe! Alternatively click play below.

One final point, no matter which Internet or PC we used, we couldn't get rid of the buffering, but the audio is pretty clear throughout!

Victoria x
Twitter @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Happy Anniversary #hairloss

This won't be a long blog post, but it is a personal one! Running Pretty Bald and this blog has put me in quite a reflective mood and whilst thinking about my hairloss journey, I realised it's my Alopecia Anniversary! Four years ago today, I found my very first bald patch, running my fingers through my hair at work!

I absolutely cannot believe it is four years since my journey started and whilst in one way four years feels like forever, in another, I am amazed at just how far I have come in what feels like a short time!

I'm not going to labour the point, but want to say to anyone having an Alopecia Anniversary or even another hairloss anniversary this month, use it as a time to reflect how far you have come and also what you still have left to acheive! You'll most likely be amazed if you look back on the last year!


Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 16 February 2015

Not guilty, but it felt like it...! #Hairloss #Emotions

Dealing with hairloss is difficult! In fact calling it difficult is probably an understatement! It's challenging, sometimes terrifying, often upsetting and takes time to come to terms with. Although I've become more comfortable with my hairloss and am confident going out with or without a wig, along the way I've had some traumatic and sometimes downright odd experiences! 
I have lost my hair through alopecia rather than cancer, but a lack of awareness of the different types of medical hairloss mean that one of the most common things I've encountered is an assumption that I have cancer. What's more, cancer is apparently a green light for people to comment; some of the ones my bald head has triggered...

'You're looking well considering!'

'What's the prognosis?'

Thankfully, these comments are few and far between and even though they're a little odd, they're usually well meant. In the same way some people feel able to put their hands on a pregnant lady's bump, so too does a bald head give people something to talk to you about or comment on; it isn't meant badly.

Now, I brush these or similar comments off, or carefully and patiently explain my condition and what it means, working to ensure they aren't embarrassed but at the same time introducing one more person to the condition. After over four years of baldness, this is second nature and I've stopped worrying about it. Rewind to February 2010 however and it's a totally different story...

My hairloss took a total of nine months, starting in small patches and growing millimetre by millimetre until all the patches blended together. About four months in, when I'd stopped denying what was happening to me, I remember being so angry and depressed about what was happening. One month later and that anger was replaced by an immovable wall of guilt; guilt that I was upset about something non-life-threatening; guilt about what I was putting my family through; guilt about not being able to 'pull myself together'; guilt about almost anything you can think of. No matter what I did, I couldn't shift it; ignoring it, talking about it, even wallowing in it; nothing made a difference.

Forward another month and the patches had become more ocean than island. As I left the house, and the patches become more noticeable, I began to spot the initial puzzled looks and shortly the sympathetic ones. That's when I hit a guilty rock bottom. My guilt was no longer inwardly focused on my own condition but instead shifted outward to others going bald. I began to carry guilt about people with cancer; feeling somehow the assumption I had cancer was in some way disrespectful to those who really did have it - that in some way this misconception was my fault.

It was when I finally went totally bald that I was able to shift the guilt. As I came to terms more with what was happening to me and what that meant, so too was I able to get clarity and realise it was a reasonable assumption by others. Time also gave me the clarity to realise that I have an opportunity to educate and to help foster better understanding with people I meet. Now, I work to explain the condition, help others to understand it and generally garner more awareness.

Anyone else had a similar experience? We'd love to hear about it!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 15 February 2015

#Trichology - what is it...? #Hairloss #Alopecia #Cancer @MarkBlake

Trichology is the branch of medical and cosmetic study which deals with the hair and scalp and primarily with hair and hairloss problems. From the hairloss specifically, to the side effects of it, and potentially the underlying cause, there is much that Trichologists are able to achieve cosmetically with hair. Individuals can opt to see a trichologist - most commonly privately - for excessive hairloss or thinning, weakening hair that breaks easily, scaling problems of the skin on the scalp and either excessive oiliness or dryness of the scalp.

Trichologists can help slow or reverse a lot of hairloss problems and can also provide solutions to help encourage hair growth or cure specific ailments of the scalp. They are also qualified specifically in the anatomy and physiology of the hair and skin and will look at blood tests for example, specifically with this in mind; as a result, they can often identify underlying issues which relate to the condition of the scalp or hair such as vitamin deficiencies. These insights can also help encourage hair regrowth after cancer when intense chemotherapy has resulted in total hairloss.

What a Trichologist cannot do however is treat or cure hereditary baldness or alopecia for example. It is possible that they can identify many underlying conditions which may contribute to the extremity of the alopecia, but it is unlikely there will be a cure.

Many people suffering with hairloss will often visit a Trichologist, or may even be referred by a Dermatologist. Speaking with others suffering from hairloss, the reviews of Trichologists are mixed; I myself visited one who palmed off a lot of expensive products that had little or no success link alopecia at all (this included make-up for the patches!).

Since then, I've met the very lovely Mark Blake in Cheltenham who runs a successful chain of hair salons. Meeting many of his own clients struggling with varying forms of hairloss, he decided to train in Trichology to help provide solutions where possible. He's outgoing, dynamic, interesting and very upfront about what can and can't be achieved through visiting a Trichologist. Next week, we'll be interviewing him about him, his business and Trichology in general and will post it up on the blog. What we'd like most of all however is for you to email us your burning questions about hairloss, so that we can put them to him! Mark may not be able to cure our alopecia, but he will be able to help answer questions and provide advice on the issues you most want answered!

Victoria x

Saturday, 14 February 2015

My little love story... #Alopecia #Hairloss #Love #ValentinesDay

Two days ago, Kay wrote a love themed blog post talking about her personal experiences, her fears now that she's single and whether or not she'll spend Valentines alone... She hasn't let us know either way which it will be tonight, but she has inspired me to tell my own love story for those who want to hear it!

My alopecia started in February 2011 and was fairly slow initially! I was single and while it might be the first thing on many people's minds, I wasn't too worried it would hinder my love search, particularly as it was only a patch or two!

In the March, I met a boy while out clubbing one Saturday! He was not my normal type, but he was cute and more importantly was from a farming family (odd thing about me - I've always wanted to own a tractor!). Anyway, we went on a couple of dates, the first being incredibly nerve-wracking and things were progressing nicely! I made him laugh, him me, and I was happy to be dating him! What's more, I'd told him about my alopecia and he was fine with it! A few dates later and we snuggled up to watch a film, curled up together on the sofa! My hair shifted, despite my effort to hide it, and he stiffened! It was only a second but I felt it and inevitably, the worry set in! He left as planned later that evening, and cue radio silence... for four days! Despite a couple of texts and even a phone call, nothing! I decided in the grand scheme of things, it was pretty unimportant, but man did it feel rubbish! A few days after that and he crawled out of the woodwork, giving me a sheepish call! He told me he'd spoken with his mum who told him not to be an idiot, and that the only reason it freaked him was because the little bald patch he saw reminded him of cancer, which he'd lost his dad to. Now, despite the rational explanation, unfortunately the damage was done and I knew that to continue dating him would put me at risk of heartbreak if I lost my hair completely and he freaked again! I broke it off officially and that was that - straight back on the shelf.

Forward almost a month and I went to a colleagues housewarming - she'd just moved to the area to join her boyfriend and they'd started renting a new place together! Cue a number of new guys I'd not met before, in a house party environment which was perfect for a chat! They were all cute (albeit in a geeky manner), but one in particular caught my eye - a lovely chap that I'll refer to as 'T'. T and I caught eyes a couple of times and had the odd chat, we competed at board games and at the end of the night went our separate ways. A few days later and a text appeared from an unknown number; a very polite message from T who had got my number through a friend of a friend. He politely introduced himself, and asked if I'd consider going on a date with him? I accepted and we went out a few times enjoying his company to a point. The problem? I was scared! How could I let myself go and commit myself to something, when I didn't know if he'd still like me with no hair. What happened if he reacted just like the first guy and broke my heart when I was already struggling emotionally? How would I cope?

I broke it off again and though he wasn't happy about it, he was committed to staying friends!

Roll forward another couple of months and I was having a particularly bad day; I'd lost more than 50% of my hair and it was getting more and more difficult to hide. I had an awful synthetic wig which looked nothing like my natural hair and that in itself was destroying my confidence! None of my friends were in town that particular weekend and despite a supportive family, I was feeling decidedly sorry for myself! I text T (we were still in touch) and asked for his company. An hour later I appeared on his doorstep, he opened the door, I took one look at him and burst out sobbing, tears streaming down my face and worst of all a dribbly nose! NOT my finest moment!

T held me, cuddled me, comforted me and generally cared for me. We chatted at length and he promised it was me he liked, not my hair; bald or not he'd like me he said.

Between that point and now, there's very little to tell, but suffice to say my fear was unfounded and I've found the man of my dreams! He's intelligent, kind, funny, if a little grumpy and in August of last year we bought our first house!

What I've learned from my own personal experience is that:

  1. The men who care more about your hair are the wrong 'uns anyway!
  2. It's about you and your confidence and the fears are with you too! You've got to dump the negativity and get a handle on yourself!
  3. Let yourself go; let yourself fall in love and don't expect the worst! It won't always work out, but if you don't try, you won't know!
Want more positive hairloss love stories? Alopecia UK has a great facebook album of happy couples, which is worth checking out!

Happy Valentines Day folks and if you feel able, please share your story with us!

Victoria x

P.S. Sorry we missed posting yesterday! Ran out of time, or maybe it was just Friday 13th! Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Meet Miss February #PrettyBald #Calendar #Nude

It's February (duh) and we really cannot let it pass by without a little look at our gorgeous and photogenic  Miss February...

Miss February is Yorkshire Lass (Lady), Amy, Communications Manager for Alopecia UK. She is bubbly, outgoing and truly gorgeous, with obsessions for Unicorns, Rainbows and Will Ferrell! She is 31 years old and has Alopecia Areata, giving her what she calls her 'patchy' look.

Amy was 'happy' to take part in the calendar to help raise awareness (although she needed plenty of gin) and says her aspiration for the charity is that those suffering with alopecia find the charity far sooner than she did so that they don't have to struggle as long as she did!

You can read Amy's full story here...

I'd like to say a personal thanks to Amy for supporting this calendar idea so much and more importantly fuelling us all with retro sweets!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Love Is In The Air?..

Well hello there!

I'm Kay, your new blogger here at Pretty Bald and I'm delighted to be part of it! As an absolute novice in the field of blogging and writing my thoughts down in any kind of coherent way, here's hoping I do a good enough job and keep you all interested, entertained and informed!..

So, with this new post being so close to Valentines Day and so soon after the lovely Jen appearing on TLC UK's "Too Ugly For Love?" (#TeamPete!), I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts and experiences on the minefield that is dating.

Now, I lost the hair on my scalp around 6 years ago (2009). During that time, and for around 18 months after, I was in a relationship so I never had to worry about revealing myself to a new love interest and having that awkward encounter. However, when I became single I suddenly thought.. ah, this is going to be tricky. My self esteem was at an all time low back then and not a soul knew about my alopecia minus my parents and a very select couple of friends. I dated boys and kept my bald head a complete secret and as a wig wearer, that was very easy to do.

Let's jump to 2012 when I finally met others with the condition at the first BeBold conference in Durham. Finding BeBold, and through their event discovering Alopecia UK, I've gained a confidence within myself I never thought I'd have. I'm comfortable in my skin. While the condition isn't pleasant, it isn't convenient and was soul destroying in the beginning, I can't change what's happened to me and the way my body continues to attack itself... but I can change my outlook and I have!

However, while I'm happy in myself, the fear I have of how others perceive me has never improved, or at least how I feel the male sex will perceive me.

We all want to look like Jennifer Aniston, right? I can't be the only girl to have walked in to a hair salon (albeit many moons ago for me personally) and asked for the latest Rachel Green do! We all want to feel attractive and for whatever reason, be it due to social media or whatever, beautiful flowing locks is a part of that.

So for the last three years (crikey, I've been single three years!!) I've experimented with different approaches towards men and the Big A (alopecia, just so you know).

Guys I haven't really been bothered about - gone on a date with just to pass the time - I've told, if it came up in conversation, because their opinion of it didn't matter to me..

"Your hair looks nice".        "Oh, thank you. It's a wig.  Yea I have Alopecia. Yes it's real hair, it's just not mine. Thanks for dinner!"

A boy I particularly liked I kept it from, for fear of  him rejecting me because of it, however, I was gazumped and he found me out! Bringing it up very tactfully he said his mother was a hairdresser and he noticed my hair line around my ears. Bugger. After that I actually didn't hear from him again.. Am I being paranoid?

And finally, and please don't be offended by this, I even told a boy once to try and put him off me! Because I have this thought ingrained in me that no man wants a bald girlfriend, so by telling him he'd go away without me having to tell him the actual truth - that he was just plain boring!

But that's not right, is it? I have many alopecian friends who are in relationships, who have met their partners after their hairloss and as we've seen from "Too Ugly For a Love?" being bald makes no difference to how attractive we are as a person. And that's what matters isn't it, our personalities and our souls. Nobody wants to be, as my Nan would say, a "good looking nothing".

So, what would you all recommend? How do you/have you gone about telling potential boyfriends/girlfriends of your condition? What can I do to boost my confidence in this area? I'm completely baffled and, ideally, would like the answer before Saturday so I can nab myself a fella and don't have to spend Valentines Day alone, in my onesie, watching Take Me Out!

I look forward to reading your comments. I apologise for writing a book ;)

Much love, Kay x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

It's time to introduce another regular blogger... Kayleigh / Kay

Last month we introduced our very first regular blogger, Jenny to the Pretty Bald blog and now, we're really excited to announce our second!

Meet Kayleigh (Kay)...

Kay has had Alopecia Areata since the age of 11 and lost all of the hair on her head at 20. Talking to her, she says that since she was very young she's always had a penchant for tattoos and piercings and has quite a collection of them.

One of her hobbies (awesomely) is playing the glockenspiel in a marching jazz band (which she's done for around 14 years) and when she was about 15 years old she became Northern and World Champion!

After conquering Mount Kilimanjaro last year and raising over £4,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, she is now training to take part in the Great North Run in September and in doing so, raising as much money as possible for Alopecia UK! Well done to Kayleigh and she'll be posting her first blog very soon! In the meantime, we'll make sure to post a link to her sponsorship page so everyone can get behind her Great North Run! I can safely say I'd rather you than me Kayleigh, but well done!

Before we go, here's Kayleigh's favourite picture of herself...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Measuring your #eyebrows; sleek chic not clown frown...!

Now, eyebrows are a devilish fiend and it can be really difficult to create them! There are plenty of shapes you can create and plenty of products to use, but first things first, you need to work out where they should go and how big they should be. There's a really simple three step trick which can show you where they need to be on your face. You can choose style, thickness and colour as you like, then apply them as follows:

Step 1:

Take an eyebrow pencil or something with a straight edge and place it at the side of your nose, vertically up your face, past the inside of your eye like this:

This gives you the start of the eyebrow. Mark it with a little dot where your natural brow line would be. You need to position the dot either at the top, middle or bottom of where you want the brow, then remember where you put it.

Step 2:
Take the eyebrow pencil again and line it up with the corner of your nose (edge of the nostril) and the outside corner of your eye like this:

This gives you a mark for the end of the eyebrow. Again, mark it with a little dot as a reference - put it in line with the dot on the left; i.e. if you marked the bottom of your brow last time, do the same this time.

Step 3:
Measure the arch and find it's highest point. To do this, take the pencil again and hold it vertically to your face. Look straight ahead and line it up with your pupil, straight through the centre of the iris. Place a third dot slightly higher than the others so that you have the arch. Like this:

The third marker simply provides a reference point for where the highest part of the arch should be; where it should rise to and fall from. As before, position it in the same way as the other dots - if you picked the bottom of the brow, make this the bottom of the arch and so on. How high you make it will be personal preference and you can try a few different points to see what works best. 

Finally, using the three dots join them up in your chosen style, colour and shape. I promise we'll do another post with some fab products and styles when we get a chance! Using the above method however is the perfect guide to the positioning and size so that you can concentrate on the style and application! 

In this photo, I have exaggerated the eyebrow - I don't normally wear them this harsh or dark but I wanted you to be able to see it in the photos! Also not wearing any make-up which is scary ;-)

A very good friend of mine taught me this and she's a make-up artist! I use it all the time, particularly now my eyebrow tattoos are fading! 

Hope it helps!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald