Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sometimes it hurts...!

Before you jump to conclusions, I'm not being emotional here; I'm referring to the oft-times physical pain that comes with medical hairloss! This isn't the same for everyone, but as a rough estimate, about 45% of people I meet also experience pain as they lose their hair, same as I do. Ironically, roughly the same number also experience a burning / painful / itchy sensation as it grows too!

On the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being excruciating, this pain would probably be better described as discomfort and would be graded a 1 or 2. In fact, it's probably comparable to a papercut; BUT that's not the point! Right now, I am sat on the sofa with a sore, pulsing, hairfree eyebrow, and a tender, painful to touch scalp! Initially, when this first starting happening, I remember thinking - you have to be kidding me, but now, I'm more simply resigned to this added discomfort!

From the little research I can find, it appears the pain is a result of the auto-immune attack, where the immune system is attacking not only the hair, but some of the healthy cells and the follicles themselves. The result is this minor level of discomfort, which is apparently entirely normal, but nevertheless a frustrating side effect! In the meantime, it's a bit of a joke my eyebrow hurts BEFORE the hairs even grow, but I guess that's what they call life!

Anyone else get this problem?

Victoria x

Monday, 30 March 2015

Can Chemotherapy cure grey hair?

Now before you gasp in horror, we're not advocating you undergo chemotherapy as an alternative to hair dye! No, instead, we're considering a story posted on a forum in Australia which claims that following chemotherapy treatment for cancer, one guy's hair grew back in his natural colour, without a grey in sight! He was previously totally grey, and until undergoing chemotherapy had never experienced hairloss.

Certainly an interesting story, but not one that has much grounding in science unfortunately...

Chemotherapy causes hairloss because the chemicals target rapidly growing cells, which include the unhealthy cancerous ones, as well as healthy hair cells for example. This means that during chemotherapy, hair growth and production can be effected and these effects can be partial or total, temporary or permanent. Chemotherapy and the ensuing hairloss will be different in each individual person and in fact, whilst I've met people with an almost immediately restored head of hair following chemotherapy, I've also met individuals with limited growth five years later. What's more, scouring the internet, this success case seems isolated and there seem to be more stories of chemotherapy removing the pigmentation and actually causing greyness. Your Doctor will be the best person to tell you what to expect, so it's worth talking it through with them to see how specific dosages and target areas will affect the outcome.

In the meantime, it seems a few people may be able to expect additional stimulation resulting in increased pigmentation in the hair following chemotherapy (a very small silver lining), but I'm not sure they'll be using it as treatment any time soon!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 29 March 2015

#100HairFreeDays Part Four

The heat is on and finding more #100HairFreeDays benefits is getting challenging! Here is the round-up from Week Four; nearly a third of the way there!

  • Means no nits or lice when they are going around the school!
  • No grey hairs when all our friends get old 
  • My highlights come ready designed - no expensive trips to the hairdressers every six weeks to get them redone
  • No roots - alright some people like them, but personally they're not my thing! No hair means no roots!
  • Dandruff is a thing of the past! Period!
  • Avoid the £15 price tag on a bottle of home hair dye
  • and on the same theme, no dye stains on your hairline where you forgot to apply Vaseline!

Don't forget, if you have any suggestions, send us an email or tweet us and we'll make sure we include them!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Did he see me? Do I look ok?

Break-ups can be hard and as well as a feeling of devastation that often occurs at the end of a relationship, there's also at least some element of hurt pride too! What's more, once the initial sting has passed, that feeling of humiliation also diminishes, yet somehow, us ladies in particular struggle to shift the need to impress our previous partners.

You surely know exactly what I'm talking about - the feeling that whilst we wouldn't touch them again with a bargepole, if we do accidentally bump into our previous boyfriend / girlfriend / jumped up idiot / cringe-worthy mistake, we'll be looking perfect and glamorous and they'll realise what a mistake they've made! It's definitely a derivative of hurt pride and one which will last an unspecified amount of time according to variables like how long you dated, whether you still see them, whether you've bumped into them yet and ultimately how bad / humiliating the break up was!

Why am I rambling on about this I hear you ask? Well over the weekend, out of the woodwork comes a Facebook invitation to be 'friends' with my ex boyfriend. Initially, I hovered over the button to view his profile, trying to resist the temptation to stalk through its content and find out what he's up to these days. Next came the momentary panic that there's something on my profile that makes me look less than a 10/10 or reaffirms I'm the biggest mistake he ever made, and then came this overwhelming moment of clarity - why on earth did I care?

D is my most 'recent' break-up i.e. the serious one before my current relationship with T. D was my first crush at the age of 11, who made me blush like a tomato and giggle so much in the queue at the cinema that I nearly wet myself! We met again at 16 and had a short 'romance' before he went crawling back to his long-term ex girlfriend (alarm bells here people) and then met again randomly at Uni when I was 20. For the first time ever, I felt there was a real chance for us - he was still a fitty, just my type, he made me laugh, spoiled me rotten and most importantly didn't run a mile at my personality. We saw each other nearly every weekend and then when I finished Uni, saw each other several times a week when I was back home in the same town. Just over six months in, everything seemed perfect and to top everything off, I went to pick up my new puppy from The Dog's Trust - I was on top of the world. 'Text me when you are home' D said 'and I'll come and meet her'; so I did. 'I'm on my way he said, can't wait to see you.' Twenty minutes later, he still hadn't arrived (he lived five minutes away) and then I remember word-perfectly the text that arrived to say 'I can't do this anymore; I'm sorry.' That was it - no explanation, no answer to my text messages and rather a dampener placed on my new puppy day! I was gutted!

A month later, D text again 'I'm sorry' he said, 'I owe you an explanation'.' Don't bother' I replied, 'I'm over it!' Bravo me I thought - cue no more contact ever!

Eight months on and I started to lose my hair (it's worth noting here, these two points aren't connected) and a month after that I met T. T has supported me through everything, and even waited patiently after I told him 'we'll never work'. We've been together nearly four years, own a house together and have a very happy, very real relationship together. My hairloss doesn't worry him, and we've even reached the stage where he rubs my bald head 'for luck' the cheeky sod!

Back to the Facebook request and whilst I'm pretty please with my moment of 'I don't care clarity', I can't help but wonder how D, or for that matter anyone else from my past would react to the news of my hairloss. Thanks to support from friends, family and Alopecia UK, I've come to terms with my hairloss being a part of me, and I'd even go as far as saying I'm proud of my new luck; yet, even though this is true, there's still a small part of me that wonders how I'd be judged and whether I'd still make them question why they didn't keep a hold of me tightly, with both hands!

It's safe to say I'll never know and ultimately I'm OK with that, and I should probably also mention, I didn't accept the request either - D can crawl back where he came from and I can go on happy that none of it actually matters!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 27 March 2015

They just wouldn't be the same without hair...

Over the last few months, as I've become aware of more and more hairloss stories, I've noted that a lot of children suffering from hairloss have become the proud owners of some rather delightful bald dolls. The toys, which are like any other doll except naturally without hair, seem to take pride of place on the toy shelves, in part because kids can relate to them and in part because frankly they're pretty cool!

Originally designed to support those suffering with any form of hairloss, they're a lovely awareness raising tool too - and they've got me thinking...

I often see comments about people struggling with 'society's expectations' that we should all have hair; the fact that actually individuals can come to terms with the hairloss itself, but not with the perceived or actual comments and feedback they receive. This in itself is a sad fact, but does society really expect us to have hair or are we simply projecting our own insecurities. In a previous blog post, I shared the frightening statistic that 57% of the teenage girls and 44% of the adult women believe that their hair defines who they are, which underpins the assertion that actually somehow, we are being programmed to believe that hair is more than just a biological entity made of keratin, but is in fact a contributor to our self-worth.

So bearing this in mind, I started to think about where this comes from? Is it in fact perpetuated by storytellers like the Brothers Grimm, and further perpetuated by businesses like 'Disney' who develop stories and films dedicated to hair - Repunzal just wouldn't work without her luscious locks facilitating her rescue; is it organisations like L'Oreal who tell us we're 'worth it' when it comes to glossy manes that we can swoosh round our head; or is it simply nothing other than the fact we all (nearly) have hair and therefore it is a natural human expectation? Looking at it another way, if the roles were reversed, would we feel threatened by a 'Planet of the Apes' style takeover if everyone was bald and suddenly random people started sprouting hair? I'm not sure we'll ever know for sure, short of removing all these influencers and isolating the next generation for testing, but one thing I do know is that slowly but surely, dedicated campaigns, non-conforming toys and a group of us with bucket loads of confidence can raise awareness and educate, potentially changing the future for someone else losing their hair...

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Would you date a bald girl?

In order to keep up to date with everything that's relevant to Pretty Bald, I'm subscribed to a number of alerts that send me updates on anything and everything. One that caught my eye this week was a link to a forum post on the My Fitness Pal forum, which was entitled 'Guys (or girls) would you date a girl that was bald?'.

I of course had to read it and it's quite clearly a conversation starter as there are currently three pages of replies!

Delving into the story, the original poster starts with her own story, highlighting her Alopecia Areata, which has recently been getting worse. In the last shedding she lost 80% of her hair and despite regrowth is curios to see whether the other followers would consider dating a bald girl. In her words she writes "I came across a post on a different website of women showing how afraid they were to take off their wigs or to tell their dates of their issues when I feel like it's nothing to be ashamed of. I've already accepted the way I am and happy with myself, if people can't see your inner beauty then what's the point? I'm genuinely curious though to see how most people view it considering that it's not really "socially acceptable" for women to not have any hair."

The responses to this post were overwhelmingly positive, but whether this is the reality or born of the desire not to appear 'horrible' on a forum, there were very few negative comments at all. There are a couple of really interesting comments worth a mention too...
  • "I would, I have known a few women who lost hair due to chemo, etc. and it didn't change their personality, just their looks. A woman can wear a wig, a scarf, or go out with a bald head -- it is her business, not mine."
  • "I think with treatment being so common that causes hair loss, it is socially acceptable (whether that matters or not is another story). I'm accepting and I actually like what some would consider 'different' hairstyles on women."
I know this is a question many new baldies ask, and often fear if they're not already in a relationship; whilst I'd like to say my own experience was totally positive, in fact I had to kiss my fair share of judgemental frogs before finding T.

At the end of the day, hair 'is just hair', even though it doesn't always feel that way and worrying too much or letting it affect confidence is more than likely the contributing factor rather than that actual hairloss. Remember, try to be confident and rock your hairloss the way you feel most comfortable (covered or not) and hopefully this question won't even need to cross your mind! Don't forget, Too Ugly For Love followed the very gorgeous Jen on her dating journey without hair and is available to watch on our YouTube channel...

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Your chance to see a baldy strut her stuff... @MuskehoundFinn on stage with @KatiePiper_

A few weeks ago, a website link was shared, pointing everyone in the direction of an opportunity to be on stage with Katie Piper, taking part in the first ever Diversity Catwalk, showing off the best and most gorgeous 'normal' people.

The show, which is happening at The Ideal Home Show in Olympia, London is being launched and run by Katie Piper and her charity The Katie Piper Foundation under the title "Confidence - The Secret". Hopeful applicants were encouraged to email or tweet their story and a picture to Katie in the hope of being selected to challenge current Fashion and Beauty Ideals and help change perceptions at the Live event.

Here's the biog...
"Proving how proud we should be of ourselves, Katie is giving you to the opportunity to grace the catwalk and reveal your true insecurities - these insecurities are things that aren't always the obvious insecurity that people assume, for example people would assume Katie's insecurity is her burns but actually she wishes she had longer legs!"

We're really pleased to say that one of the chosen few is none other than Brenda, a fellow baldie! Having already completed a few of the shows, you can still see Brenda and her fellow participants over Easter on Good Friday. She'll be strutting her stuff on stage at 11.30, 13.30 and 15.30 on Friday 3rd April and will be publicly representing us #BaldHeadedBeauties. Tickets to the Ideal Home Show are available here, giving you the chance to see it live...

Good luck to her and in the meantime, you can watch a little snippet of Brenda's moves here...

Good Luck Brenda and well done!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How to lose friends, or at least ditch the bad ones...

Sorry for the total lack of blog posts over the last few days! We've had people staying three weekends in a row and unfortunately, the clock beat me when it came time to write and share updates! The rest has however been welcome and has me all fired up to share a whole heap of new posts! I hope you like them.

I'm aware the title of this blog post sounds really negative, but in actual fact it's not! Over the weekend, I bumped into an old 'friend'; someone I'd grown up with, socialised with, considered myself close to, yet ultimately ditched when the doo-doo hit the fan! Still sounds negative I know, but let me explain...

There are many types of friend in this world; those you enjoy a coffee with due to mutual / shared circumstances, those who you'll be inseparable with for a couple of years, and hopefully, those friends who'll last a lifetime no matter how long you go without talking or how far apart your lives become. I am grateful to have had all these different types of friendship and they've definitely had a positive influence on me and helped shape me to become the way I am today. In my bid to be positive, I have however neglected to mention the not-so-positive 'user' friends; the ones we all have who are happy to take, but perhaps not give back in return - great for short periods, but will your friendship really stand the test of time?

It's worth me mentioning that as a person, I am like marmite - people either love me or they hate me, and frankly I'm OK with that! What's more, if you are a lover, and I love you too, then I'm an incredibly caring, loyal and dedicated friend who'll go out of my way to help others. Unfortunately, this has meant that along the way, I've collected my own fair share of 'users', who I've not always noticed aren't good for me, until rather too late.

A hugely positive aspect of hairloss for me personally, is that it's given me the opportunity to 'weed' and 'prune' my friendships, in a way nothing else has. Don't get me wrong, I didn't sit here and write the pros and cons of each friendship, allocating points and failing a certain percentage of my friends; but when my hair started shedding, so too did my friendships. They say that when the going gets tough, you'll find out who your friends really are, and I can safely say that for me, Alopecia was that catalyst.

As you'd expect, at times I was angry about my hairloss, at times devastated and I also of course went through pretty much every other emotion you can think of. Friendships should be two way, albeit skewed one way or the other at times, but no matter what, your friends should be there when you're finding it tough. During my journey, I had those who didn't bat an eyelid, and adapted from 'a get over it' attitude to a deeply empathetic one in response to my moods, as well as those who picked me up, dusted me down and dragged me back onto the dance floor; but I also had those who were too wrapped up in their own (at the time seemingly trivial to me) problems, with little or no time to support me with mine. I also had one friend who recoiled a little at the thought of my hairloss as if disgusted, totally unsure how to handle the fact I might soon appear as a different version of me. At this stage, I started to lose patience; going through perhaps one of the toughest times of my life ever, and there were those who couldn't avoid the subject more if they tried. As a result, I stopped texting, emailing or calling just to see how they were and I certainly didn't allocate the precious minutes of positivity to those particular friendships. Surprise, surprise, when I stopped putting in the effort, pretty much all the contact stopped too! As a result, my friendship pool probably halved over the course of about six months, and at first, realising I wasn't that important to certain people hurt like mad! Now though, I've ditched the drains on my time, effort and energy and am left with a fabulous support network, who I can rely on and who in turn can rely on me.

It's worth a note, that I am very aware that some of my own efforts during my hairloss were poor when it came to my friends, and there were definitely times when I was too inwardly focussed and wallowing, to notice when someone else needed me. I am definitely not the 'perfect' friend, but the great news is those friendships that were built to last are still going strong in spite of my then, and ongoing shortcomings.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's more important to have a few good friends than loads of not great ones, so use your own journey as an opportunity to generate a positive group. Some of it will undoubtedly be a bumpy ride, but at the end of the day, my life is way better for it!

One final point I will leave you with - I met a new colleague a few months ago who summarised every relationship in his life as 'taps' and 'drains'. He said to me 'There are two types of people in this life - taps who'll help fill you up even if at times it's just a trickle, and drains - those who'll suck everything from you and make life a bit less vibrant!' I absolutely adore this as a sentiment and for the record, I passed his test and am now someone he considers a tap! Phew!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 22 March 2015

#100HairFreeDays Third Part Round-Up

Just in case you haven't seen it already, I've set myself the #100HairFreeDays challenge to come up with 100 positive things about losing your hair. Don't get me wrong, this challenge isn't designed to make you embrace your hairloss, but it is designed to highlight the silver linings so it doesn't seem quite so bleak! Challenge yourself to find the positives and see if it helps make things more bearable!

As promised in the first blog, here's a summary from the third week of posts on Twitter! The reasons are getting less obvious now, but I'm determined to do it!

  • means I never have a 'bad hair day' - at least not in my opinion! I just change wigs instead!
  • gave me the opportunity to take part in a magazine photoshoot for Cosmpolitan Magazine which you can read here http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/body/news/a33154/my-amazing-body-alopecia/ and also my personal experience of it here
  • stops me having to pluck stray eyebrow hairs that just won't stop growing
  • gives me an opportunity to make a difference, at the same time doing something I am totally passionate about
  • hairloss has connected me to people in every corner of the globe, from Jamaica to Australia, Brazil to Sweden
  • helped me find the man of my dreams (aaaaahhhhh), someone who loves me for me, not for what I look like!
  • allows me to join a great bunch of people at Alton Towers this year, all thanks to Alopecia UK
These posts mean I'm officially one fifth of the way there with #100HairFreeDays! Let's hope I can think of another 79 days! Don't forget, if you want to help me out with a suggestion or two, you can Tweet me or email me with a suggestion...

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Video Blogging... What would you like to see?

A short and sweet post this Saturday morning...

In the next month or two, we're planning to launch a series of Video Blogs to review useful products for us baldies, talk on some of the key issues and share things we think you might find interesting...

While the plan is still a couple of months away from fruition, we're asking you to submit specific products, product types and any other topic that you would like us to cover or would find it interesting for us to investigate. They can be specifically hairloss related e.g. wigs, turbans etc., or they can be a more personal topic e.g. finding love without hair; pretty much anything you are interested in or worried about! The reason that we're asking you to submit ideas so early on is so that it gives us time to line up experts on specific topics, make sure we have a good range of specific products or source any additional support to make it more useful!

Got a good idea? Pop us an email or tweet us and we'll do our best to cover your chosen topic!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Looks like @KarenGillan may be rejoining the #BaldHeadedBeauty ranks

A couple of years ago, Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan shaved her head for a movie role. Starring in the film Guardians of the Galaxy, Karen was forced to shave her hair for her role as Nebula. After the shave, she kept her own hair and had a wig made from her natural hair for between takes and after the show; she has since spent two years growing her luscious locks back, only to have to face doing it again!

We think Karen Gillan was a truly gorgeous #BaldHeadedBeauty, but apparently she's dreading it! She said "I have a physical and emotional attachment to this hair. We’ll have to see if I have to shave it. Maybe CGI will have developed further by the time we shoot it.”

Losing your hair is tough, but we think Karen rocks the bald! It's a shame she's so worried about it! You never know perhaps she'll shave her head, embrace it and come along to the Alopecia UK Alton Towers event!

I'd love to interview her about her fears; if I could ask her any questions it'd be:

  • What's the scariest thing about losing your hair
  • What was the worst thing about being bald?
  • We're running #100HairFreeDays - what was the best thing about being bald?
  • What advice would you give someone going through hairloss?
Good luck to her!

Victoria x

Watch her shave her head for the first time here:

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A really sad problem for #BaldHeadedBeauties

Losing your hair is tough and anyone that tells you otherwise probably hasn't experienced it first hand. There are things which can help, like wigs, headscarves and hats, but not everyone feels comfortable using these! There are then those who elect to become a #BaldHeadedBeauty, braving the bald come rain or come shine*!

A very interesting side-effect of losing your hair (at least in my opinion) is society's reaction to it; some people take it in their stride, some will stop and stare, but for some reason, for many, baldness seems to come with a sign that says "Talk to me; I'm dying to hear your opinion!" Whether you are male or female without hair, your lack of luscious locks seems to generate a talking point. Meeting one chap a few weeks ago, he said in his experience losing his hair opened him up to bald jokes and people pointing out he was going bald; in his words, whilst he doesn't particularly mind nowadays, he knows he is balding and if you advised someone they were fat, there would be uproar! Personally, I don't have a huge issue with the comments, because I have taken a personal stance to take the time to explain and educate, raising a little bit more awareness, but I really appreciate those who find it difficult.

On Facebook, I am connected to many suffering with Alopecia and other forms of hairloss. A couple of days ago, I saw a story from a friend who had been approached in a public place (with her young daughter) and told her hairloss was all her own fault and she needed to look after her health and diet better. Nope; pretty sure that's not what's behind the alopecia! Unfortunately, this is more common than it sounds and I recently read an article about a young lady in New Zealand with a similar experience...

As a hairdresser, losing her hair was pretty traumatic, but something she took in her stride. Straight away, she opted to be a #BaldHeadedBeauty, embracing her hairloss and going hair free. Four years later, she's taken the very tough, very personal decision to start wearing wigs; whilst many people go the other way, her decision has been born and triggered by the sheer level of comments and feedback she received. In the article, she described the fact she doesn't want to be accused of 'hiding behind her wigs', but she's struggled with the number and variety of comments; it wasn't that they were even negative, just the number of times a day she had to explain her look and her condition! Whilst on the one hand, this approach has meant she's spent four years educating and raising awareness of the condition, just because of how she looks, I can also empathise with the amount of energy and time required to make all these explanations! What a sad and very tough choice she's had to face!

I totally get the fascination - as a species our curiosity seems naturally endless, and I bet if people thought they were creating a problem they'd be mortified - but it's hard to imagine the endless questions the #BaldHeadedBeauty face!

Sometimes, I wish there was a simpler way to explain that didn't have require so much effort and energy!

In the meantime, for those who do want to opt for the bald, don't be afraid - I've regularly gone out bald and whilst I don't do it all the time, my experience is that the comments aren't that common! I think in part, a job like hairdressing makes it worse, putting you in the limelight!

What about your own experiences? How have they been?

Victoria x

*We advise you gorgeous baldies to wear suncream if the sun is shining! A tomato head is not comfortable - trust me, I know!

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Raising awareness of Alopecia...

Today, I've had two lots of good news...

First, you may remember that I'm in the March edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine; we'll I had lots of lovely compliments about it, but possibly the best was an email to ask if they can run it again, this time in the dedicated quarterly Body edition! To say I'm chuffed is an understatement, and whilst it's a lovely personal compliment, I'm even more pleased that they're rerunning it, because it's great for awareness and help changing perceptions! The Cosmopolitan Body issue will be out on the 28th April, so if you haven't read the article yet, or just want a second go, don't forget to go out and buy it!

The second piece of news is that straight after producing the calendar last year, I was interviewed about what was involved, why I was doing it and what the important message was. The interview was for a magazine in Dubai and understandably, they couldn't include any of the calendar photographs! Instead, they talked to me for a long time, but that was about eight months ago - I honestly thought it had been pulled! Today, I received an email to say it's been published in the magazine! Not only that, but it's been placed online and included on the website homepage - great for Alopecia awareness! If you want to read it, you can pop online here...

Doing your bit for awareness? Please let us know if we can help by promoting your fundraising, magazine articles or anything else to our followers...

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 16 March 2015

#WigWorry? Nights out...

A lot of people have a #WigWorry, from whether it looks good, to whether it's secure! Along the way, we'll try to avert your wig fears and tell you of our own experiences! If you've got one you want to share, or want us to talk about, please tweet us or email us.

My first #WigWorry is appearance...

Is a wig realistic? Will people notice? Will I still look as nice? Now obviously, I can't comment on the wig you are opting for / actually wear, however wigs are definitely something you should invest time, money and effort in; a good one will look ultra-glam and it's unlikely that ANYONE will notice it's a wig! Most people will simply comment on how nice your hair is and where you had it done - the biggest challenge you'll face is how to answer this and how much you're prepared to reveal!

This weekend, I went out clubbing with the bestie - I opted for my red fitted jumpsuit (think Wonder Woman or The Incredibles), my sleek brown bob and a fairly natural make-up look! In I strolled in my four inch, silver killers heels, feeling confident and glam and uber swish!

About halfway through the night, a particularly bubbly and happy chappy started staring at me! The stare went on a few seconds longer than was comfortable; I started to be concious - had my wig slipped, was it obvious, did I look somehow odd? A quick glance in the mirror confirmed it was still in place and looked as I expected, so did it just look fake? A few seconds later, all was revealed - over he strolls and says how lovely look (*blushes*), then he has the cheek to ask my age! Being the honest person I am, I tell the truth (the grand old age of 25 folks) and he looks at me in astonishment - "I didn't expect that" he says "I'm 19. Good on you for still being out at your age!"

So there you have it folks; my worst fears about my wig weren't realised! Nope, it's not about the way my wig looks; it's not that I didn't look like me! Instead, now I have something new to focus on - the fact that frankly, I'm apparently too old to venture into a club!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Questions questions questions

When i lost my hair my son was seven. He found it funny more than anything (which made it easier for me to explain as he wasn't really bothered by it,  he just wanted to know i was ok).
When i first shaved off the remainder of my hair i wore hats and i could do this with ease as it was winter and cold.

A few months later i decided to branch into wearing scarves. It was a massive step for me and a lot of my friends didn't like it as they said it made me look ill (way to go for the confidence boost eh!) .
When i started wearing wigs my friends would want to touch them and comment on every single wig i wore.

One thing i noticed though is my sons friends never seemed to notice.
Even to this day one of his friends sisters (who compliments me weekly on my choice of hair) didn't know until my son told her i wore a wig as i have alopecia and once she asked me i explained that it was because of alopecia and i had lost my hair she said "oh well that's a big shame but you still look very pretty". She's 9

The stark difference came a week later when i was in superdrug and the woman serving me (who knows i have alopecia)  asked if my hair was a wig still. It was because she had seen me in the same one a few weeks running and thought my hair had grown back (it was short so would have been plausible).  I explained that, no it was still a wig, and she was shocked. She then launched in to a story of a woman who had gotten one made and how fake it looked and didn't look good as mine. She then asked how much chemo I'd had.
I was really taken aback. This lady knows i have alopecia and i didn't get why she'd even ask that.

Come to think of it i don't see why anyone asks that. I don't understand why women who choose to go without a wig or covering on their bald head get stared at or questioned by strangers. We know we are bald. We see it every day in the mirror and i really do admire women who have that confidence.

No person should ever made to feel like they are there to be stared at because of their appearance. There is no need for random questions or assumptions.

But the biggest bugbear of mine is that it's from adults. Kids don't react like adults can do. They have such innocence and accept people no matter what.

The only hope i have is that as the awareness of alopecia grows that the ignorance of some people dissappears

Jenny x

#100HairFreeDays Part 2 Summary

On the 1st March, I started my #100HairFreeDays challenge, working to list 100 positives about having no hair. You can read more about it here...

As promised, here is the second summary of my #100HairFreeDays Challenge

  • means I've pushed myself to do new and unusual things, mostly in the name of charity!
  • ensures that I never get shaving rash
  • means I can't use mascara and therefore it doesn't dry out
  • without my hairloss, I never would have launched my own business - PrettyBald
  • gave me the chance to take part in my very first (and second) flashmob, and not only that, but take part in ones that were essential to support national education
  • means I never get hat hair! I either don't wear hair under my hat, have a wig dedicated to my woolly hat and also have a hat with hair trim although I don't wear it very often
  • you never get ingrowing hairs because they don't grow in the first place!
There'll be another update next week and in the meantime, you can keep up to date with the next lot of #100HairFreeDays reasons on Twitter!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Gotta love statistics...

Since launching Pretty Bald, I've started following feeds which point me in the direction of all sorts of things hairloss, alopecia and baldness! Whilst much of it is useful and sparks ideas that get incorporated into the Pretty Bald blog, sometimes I come across a little gem which just has to be shared as a story in its own right!

One such story is a survey from People's Daily, which discusses the growing issue of baldness in men in China; apparently one in four (25%) of men in China are now going bald, but the gem of this story is the fact that...

If you combined these bald patches, they would equal 4,725 square kilometres, covering London three times over!

Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the survey looking into male hairloss in China, which is growing in correlation with increasing incomes and changing working habits. What I cannot fathom is the idea that it's someone's job to work out this bald pattern equation! Bonkers!

The only thing left to comment on this story is that if this question ever comes up in a pub quiz, you've nailed it! Other than that, it's probably a pretty useless piece of information.

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 13 March 2015

#FoodForThought - First up it's fermented foods

As promised, we're taking a look at the foods that can potentially help or hinder your hairloss! Whilst there is limited evidence in support or otherwise of these claims, we are only considering natural food groups (not manufactured supplements) so we figure including these in your diets won't hurt!

First up, we're considering Fermented Foods...

Foods which have been fermented, literally mean those whose properties have been naturally altered by bacteria. Examples include yoghurt, which is fermented milk, and alcohol, which is sugar that has been fermented using yeast as well as many international products like sauerkraut and lassi. Now not all of these products are inherently good for you (we all know what happens with too much alcohol), but newly emerging evidence suggests that regularly eating fermented products is good for you, and helps keep the good bacteria in your gut happy! In fact, fermented foods are said to 'heal and seal' your gut, helping to repair existing damage and protect it in the future, simply because they are packed full of probiotic bacteria which are instrumental in physical and mental well being!

So why fermented foods?
  • Immuno-support! Believe it or not, 80% of your immune system is actually linked to your gut! Given the connection between immunity and hairloss, having plenty of fermented foods in your diet has been linked to a more healthy immune system.
  • They have high quantities of many vitamins and minerals like b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin K2. These vitamins are instrumental in maintaining a healthy body, enabling it to repair and heal itself from the inside out!
  • Bacteria - you know the adverts which encourage you to give your tummy a little TLC? Well that's because of the good bacteria that your body needs; fermented foods provide nutrients that the good bacteria love (and indeed help introduce good bacteria into your gut in the first place), helping improve your levels of these good guys!
You can try opting for pro-biotic drinks for a similar range of benefits, however fermented foods are a more cost-effective and health-improving option; they cost less and give your body the opportunity to take the nutrients it needs.

Who knows if it will actually help with hairloss (there's no clinical studies that we can find), but given the general health and wellbeing benefits they potentially include, there's no harm in including more in your diet!

Victoria x

Please note: we're looking for experts in nutrition etc. but aren't them ourselves. All of the above is based on extensive research, but clinical trials weren't found, so the potential effects are unknown. More information on topics such as these can be found from your doctor, nutritionist or dietician so it's always worth an ask!

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

WANTED: Are you the next Pretty Bald Blogger?

The Pretty Bald blog is growing and we're in need of some more bloggers, case studies and real-life stories; could you be the next guest poster, interviewee or regular columnist?

At the moment we have four bloggers (Myself, Jen, Kayleigh and Danielle) and we all happen to have Alopecia! We're now looking for individuals with other types of hairloss to tell us their stories or to become a regular columnist. We're also looking for Hairloss experts to write one-off blog posts.

Got what it takes? Please email us to tell us about yourself and apply...

Want to be a regular blogger? You will:
- have something interesting and unique to say
- suffer from a short or long-term Hairloss condition; at the moment, we're not looking for female alopecians (although we're of course happy to consider you) - our followers are asking for people with chemotherapy hairloss, trichotillomania, female pattern baldness, male alopecians, male pattern baldness and other forms of hairloss. We're getting emails asking for insights to support these conditions
- be able to commit to a minimum of one blog post per month, preferably more
If you don't have hairloss, but are an expert in a specific field, we'll also be happy to consider you!

Want to be a case study / real life story?
Please send us an email with some information about you... Some pictures would be great too and we'll email you back with any additional questions we need answering. We'll then write it up and post it out on the blog!

The reason?
We're working to make Pretty Bald a unique resource that offers support and advice through real-life experiences, not just expert opinion. Through this, we hope to support others, and also work to change perceptions within society, making it easier to thrive in spite of these conditions, not just hide and hope for a cure!

The reward?
Initially, we're working to raise as much money for charity as possible, so this is a voluntary opportunity; long-term however, our bloggers will benefit from free products to review and hopefully some other exciting things too!

If you do have anything else you want to contribute or of course want to see us write about,  please let us know! There's a lot of exciting things coming up and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it! 

Victoria x

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

An eyebrow-raising story! Beauty blunder leaves girl with four eyebrows - how to avoid the same problem

A story doing the rounds in the newspapers this week features the real life story of Delsha Campbell, a girl left with four eyebrows after making the wrong choice when it came to her cosmetic tattooing!

In a bid to make her eyebrows neater and more defined, filling in gaps in her natural brow, Delsha decided to use an online voucher for cosmetic tattooing, having the treatment at a bargain £100 instead of £350. She left her natural eyebrows in place as a guide, and visited the therapist appointed to carry out the work; the therapist outlined the brows, carried out the aesthetic treatment and then waxed off the original brow leaving what should have been a gorgeously shaped brow that's perfectly defined.

At this point, Delsha looked in the mirror and knew something was wrong as she spotted the shadows of her natural brows beneath the tattooed ones. The therapist reassured her that the distortion was a result of the swelling from the treatment and that they would go down. Regrowth of the natural brow three days later showed how wrong this was, as Delsha was left with four eyebrows in place of two, and wobbly, sub-par tattooed eyebrows. The traumatic experience left her in need of counselling and two years on, the eyebrows have yet to fade, despite £400 spent trying to lessen their appearance.

Delsha's 'clown' brows:

Embarrassing: Delsha Campbell wanted to give her eyebrows a boost by having them filled in with tattoos but was horrified when the beautician drew another set on above her natural eyebrow line

Now, despite horror stories like these, cosmetic tattooing or semi-permanent make-up is actually a viable, realistic choice for women, particularly those suffering with hairloss. It's something I personally opted for (as have many people I know) and although I haven't got round to having them redone, it isn't something I've ever regretted - thank god!

Eyebrows have two key functions; first, to keep dust and dirt away from the eyes and second aesthetically they add definition to the face. Whilst cosmetic tattooing cannot help with the former, with the latter its great for those who have little or no eyebrows and want facial definition. What's more, they can look really natural when done by an expert!

So how do you know if you're picking the right expert?
  • Do your research - start by researching experts in the field and look for recommendations from others. Good reputations have to come from somewhere and the same with bad reviews. Obviously this won't be definitive, but if you opt to look for an expert, rather than the cheapest price or the best voucher, you're more likely to end up in safe hands. 
  • Start with the training - semi-permanent make-up is complicated but safe when carried out by an expert; to become an expert however the therapist needs proper training. Unfortunately, there isn't a definitive list of training courses that people can take (the Government is working on changing this at the moment), so you need to use a little bit of initiative here; ask questions about who they trained with, how long the course was, whether they had to submit case studies, were supervised during training etc. Someone who has done good quality training will be confident talking about their qualifications, will be able to answer your questions and what's more, you'll be able to check out the academy they've trained with. You can also then ask how often they revisit their training to make sure they're keeping up with the latest information and guidelines. Therapists whose training isn't up to standard will most likely struggle to answer your questions, may start to act uncomfortably and won't necessarily check out.
  • Ask for testimonials and before & after images - people who've had a good experience will be happy to talk about it, so look around for testimonials, online reviews, ratings etc. and also ask the therapists for their before and after images. If possible, also ask for 'after' shots that are taken after six and 12 months to see how they look and last; not all therapists will have these, but if they do, you have extra reassurance! 
  • Consider the price - again, this will require you to make your own judgement, but price should be a factor in your decision! Rather than opt for the cheapest, go for the best value - it's about those that will look after you and understandably, some of the more expensive ones will be better! Now this isn't an exact science, but the price they are charging should be fair and prices should be consistent in the area. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is! Cosmetic Tattooing isn't cheap for a very good reason!
  • Ask about insurance - this isn't just something you should ask when it comes to cosmetic tattooing; you should ask about it for any beauty treatment even waxing. Whilst the insurance itself doesn't stop the treatment going wrong a) a professional won't be without it - it's a good sign and b) it will cover you in case of any repair work required.
Once you're happy with all of the above, you should also feel personally comfortable with the treatment and the therapists; there should always be a consultation BEFORE you go ahead and you should be given time to think about it (a few days) before the actual treatment happens. 

What can you expect?
Personally here I can only comment on semi-permanent eyebrows because they're the only thing I've had done; eyeliner, lip liner and other areas of the body may be a bit different!

Once you've chosen your artist, you'll be given two appointments (for eyebrows), usually two weeks apart. You'll have a consultation and 'before' pictures taken. You'll chat through the options and what you are specifically hoping to achieve; I opted for a 'feathered' look where individual strokes are used to create the appearance of individual hairs, rather than a block colour approach for really defined brows. You'll also discuss size and shape at this point. (For a guide, don't forget to read up on how to measure your brows).

Numbing cream will be applied in advance to help lessen the pain in the area and then the tattooing will be carried out, with cosmetic-specific pigments. The second treatment will be used to fill-in any gaps, darken the pigment and make any small changes. Personally, as a result of my alopecia and the effect it has on my skin, it actually took a third application in a few spaces, but that's a personal experience!

I hope this helps. If you do have any questions you want us to get answered, please email or tweet us and we'll be happy to answer them or get a reputed expert to help with any technical bits. If you've had semi-permanent make-up done, please send us your pics and we'll share them and add them to the blog!

Victoria x 

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 9 March 2015

How a $10,000 wig helps save this TV programme money...

About a year ago, I discovered the addictive TV series that is 'The Good Wife'; an engaging blend of American politics and law, following Alicia Florrick as she is forced to re-enter the world of work, juggling being a lawyer with family life and a politician husband in prison! I could NOT stop watching it and was uber overexcited to find they'd added Season Five to Netflix about three weeks ago! I devoured it and then to my delight discovered they're showing Series Six on TV at the moment! Cue record!

Core character Alicia Florrick is played by Actor Julianna Margulies' who I must say sports the classiest, most gorgeous hairstyles ever! She's like the Princess Kate of the legal world and I've often envied her perfectly coiffed tresses!

Alicia Florrick:

Anyway, a few days ago, during an interview on CBS on The Late Show with David Letterman, Julianna revealed that her luscious locks are in fact a wig... a $10,000 wig! Not only that, but she has more than one of them, changing her style each season and keeping the others 'on file' for flashbacks. Her natural hair is more naturally curly and the Directors wanted to achieve, sleeker, more refined look.

The wig is beautiful, human hair and clearly has a lace front to keep the hairline as natural as possible. In fact, each one is perfectly measured and created for her by hand, For £10,000 it should be! Apparently, this investment does save the show thousands of dollars each series in hairstylist time, but it's still pretty bonkers!

In the interview, she does have some odd opinions on 'cheap' wigs - by that we presume she means anything up to $9,999  - but it's pretty funny! We've added it to the TV / Documentaries playlist on our Youtube channel or you can watch it here...

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 8 March 2015

#100HairFreeDays Summary Part 1

Last Sunday (1st March), I started my #100HairFreeDays challenge, trying to list all the positives about losing my hair (which I know might sound counter-intuitive!). You can read more about it here...

As promised, here is the first summary of my #100HairFreeDays Challenge, including the first seven reasons...

  • means no more waxing or shaving
  • requires a lot less shampoo and conditioner - only 1-2 bottles a year
  • spend a lot less time getting ready - a pre-styled wig means a lot less time in front of the mirror
  • has introduced me to a lot of new people that I'd never have met otherwise
  • gives the option to change hairstyle on a whim; long, short, straight, curly, blonde (not really), brown, pixie... The possibilities are endless!
  • provides perfect extra ventilation on a hot day (I told you they got obscure)
  • an escape from water running down your neck off wet hair! Just change it and pop on another one
I told you they'd be a little strange some of them, and you might not agree with them all, but they were important for keeping me positive!

Got a suggestion? Tweet or email us and let us know if you have any suggestions!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 7 March 2015

It's ok to be angry

Alopecia is a funny condition. It can come on suddenly and for the most part doesn't hurt.
And yet emotionally it can be awful.
I've had so so many days where i have sat and cried and got angry and frustrated. This has been because of a mix of things from just wanting my hair back, not feeling confident in a wig or not being able to draw my eyebrows on properly (i spent an hour once trying one time).

At the time i had a counsellor who had been seeing me for years and was still seeing me when i lost my hair. I would get so wound up in sessions as i felt bad about being angry.
You see i had been told so many times that it was only hair and it could be a lot worse by so many people. People would make jokes,  not in a horrible way but a way to lighten the mood i guess.  During all of that i guess what happened was that i became conditioned to feel that way.
My counsellor would tell me it was like a grieving process and i never really understood it.
It was only when i was in a lecture at uni and we were talking about the grief process i understood it all.
I had every single textbook stages of grief except for the acceptance.
From that moment i let myself be upset, angry and everything else inbetween. I had lost a huge part of me and especially for women it's a huge thing.

Now I'm not too bad. I have my days but they are far a few between. The key is to let yourself grieve for what you have lost.

And remember we are all gorgeous no matter if we have hair or not!

Jenny x

Friday, 6 March 2015

#FoodForThought - Foods that might help or hinder hairloss!

I'll start this blog post by confirming I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST - I'm not qualified in this stuff, I don't know a lot about diets and nutrition and I'm not about to claim I can help reverse your hairloss! If I could, I wouldn't still be bald, and those who are trained would have cured all baldness too!

What I am however going to do, is look at some of the foods which will apparently help reverse hairloss, and those that apparently cause it! Of course, they could do nothing at all, but as we're going all natural here folks, they're not likely to hurt you either!

Over the coming weeks, I'll reveal some of the things I've read in my own research, and I figure even though they haven't necessarily helped me, they might help others - every one of us is slightly different and what doesn't work for one person, might work for another!

If you try eating any of these foods, and see anything change, please email us and let me know!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Strength in Numbers

Often when going through a hidden condition, like hair loss, we can feel isolated, paranoid and embarrassed. From my own personal experience when I lost all of my head hair to alopecia, I felt all of these emotions. I was too embarrassed to speak to my friends about losing my hair, I was paranoid that everyone knew I was becoming bald and in turn I felt isolated from those around me, as I thought nobody could or would understand what I was going through.

A turning point for me was attending the first annual BeBold conference in Durham in 2012 and meeting lots of others with alopecia. Having kept my secret for so long, it was amazing to finally feel at ease with those around me – I didn’t even have to explain anything, they knew what I was going through. Since that date, and meeting people I now consider good friends, I've gotten involved with many Alopecia UK awareness events, reached out to other alopecia sufferers via social media and, most importantly, opened up to friends and my wider family about the condition. I'm not afraid.

With this in mind, I urge anybody suffering in silence to do the same. I know it's a scary HUGE step but it's one that could change your life forever, for the better! The more people who know about your condition, the more that can support you, and the bigger the weight that is lifted from your shoulders. You're never alone – there's strength in numbers!

One thing I always found awkward while I was "in hiding" was invites to theme parks! What did I say?! I LOVE adventure parks and the like but I couldn't risk it as my wig would most definitely fly off.

Alopecia UK solved that for me when last year they hosted their first day out in Alton Towers. Surrounded by others with the condition, I felt I was comfortable enough to bare all in the theme park and enjoy a fantastic day out free from the worry that wearing wigs can bring. I cannot describe the feeling of freedom you get from being around those who know your struggle. I was in my element.

The charity are hosting this event again this Spring and will be heading to Alton Towers on Saturday 11 April 2015 – and I strongly urge you all to join us! Whether it be your first meeting or you're a seasoned AUKer (do you think that'll stick?) it is a guaranteed BLAST!

So, head over to http://www.alopeciaonline.org.uk/altontowers.asp and check out the details. Sign up to the Alopecia UK newsletter so you are never out of the loop (doing this can also help you access discounted tickets for Alton Towers!) and I'll see you on the Smiler ;)

Much Love, Kay x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Too Ugly For Love? Or is it a happy ending?

At the beginning of January, you may have seen our post about TLC television programme 'Too Ugly For Love?' and our take on the controversial title! The programme, which features Alopecia UK Charity Manager, followed ten singletons as they embarked on dating adventures, all the while hiding secret medical conditions. For Jen, this was Alopecia Universalis, the hairloss condition which means she has no hair anywhere. Jen appears in Episodes 1, 2 and 4 alongside others, telling her very personal story!

Many people have mentioned the fact that unfortunately, they didn't have access to the TLC channel to watch the programme, so for ease we've added Jen's excerpts to our YouTube channel for you to watch! Don't forget to subscribe to the channel!

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 4:

Victoria x

P.S. Sorry the recordings aren't perfect!

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

#StopThePress Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has a brave?! new haircut... Open letter to the press

#StopThePress, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has opted for a '70s inspired 'lop' in what's being described as a brave haircut.

Credit to Cheryl, as always she looks gorgeous and her latest hairstyle is as stunning as you'd expect...

What I'd like to take a minute to do is write a post for the wonderful UK Print and Broadcast Media who are describing this move as brave?!?! True, it's an unexpected change, but is that really the same as being brave?

To me, when it comes to hair, brave is...

  • the six-year-old girl I met who gets up and goes to school everyday without hair because an under-researched condition made all her hair fall out. Even braver is that she goes with a smile, despite being teased for her lack of locks
  • the ten year old lad who shaved all his hair off to support his friend with cancer
  • the lady climbing a massive mountain to raise money for AlopeciaUK specifically because she struggled to cope when her own hair fell out through Chemo.
Brave is not shortening your hair by ten inches knowing that even if it goes wrong, it'll still grow back!

Sorry guys, but it's sloppy articles like these where the focus is on the appearance and not on the person, and which link changes to that appearance with an act of courage, that means we have teenagers in this country battling to overcome anxieties about their appearance, with their body confidence at absolute rock bottom! It's articles like these that lead us to define a person by what they look like and not what they can do or achieve! It's exactly why brands like Dove seek to redress the balance with Real Beauty Stories, and Sport England are forced to create an emotive and can-do advert with the hashtag #ThisGirlCan. 

Reading an American article the other day I was dismayed and disappointed to spot that in a survey conducted at the end of last year, 57% of the teenage girls and 44% of the adult women questioned said that their hair defines who they are. Not just contributes to their confidence, but actually defines who they are. Does that somehow mean that because I personally have no hair, I'm somehow worth less or should believe I am worth less than those who have it?

I understand people consume this kind of story and that to an extent it's born from our society attitudes, but come on guys, please opt for a word other than brave! It's a thoughtless and demoralising choice of words for many people and really, you can do better!


www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Meet Miss March #PrettyBald #Calendar #NudeBald

This is the 'model' intro I have been dreading writing since I started this blog, simply because Miss March in the calendar - well it's me! I've already told some of my story on this blog, plus there is a whole profile of me on the website, so what can I say that's interesting...?

I guess instead of telling more about my story (I've written up all the good bits), I'll tell you instead about the calendar...

For me, the calendar represents and opportunity to educate the public and change perceptions of the 'right' body image, as well as fundraising for a cause close to my heart! It was an incredible learning experience for me, not least on the organisational front where everything took twice as long as expected! I always said it would be a one-off; just one year, to make an impact and create a difference; then... I got the bug and now I'm looking at doing it again this year, but totally differently!

We will be looking for people to take part and whilst this isn't the official shout-out, if you do want to do it (no nudity this year), please send us an email...

Next month's profile will be a proper profile, but that's because you probably haven't met Miss April yet!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Pro wigs.Co.UK reveiw.

Welcome one and all !!

On January the 30th , I took the plunge and decided, right let's get me a wig !

Now, as anyone who knows, the process of actually loosing your hair and watchin each strand  fall out is very distressing, as it was for me. I became desperate. I didn't want anyone to find out. I just wanted to get a wig and cover up my balding head.

After googleing and searching the Internet I came across a website called
I looked at all the reviews and they were all fantastic !
So, I searched as hard as I could to find a wig that mimicked my natural hair and colour . I had found the perfect wig. Or had I ?

I purchased the wig then and there. According to the website I would see my wig in a week and a half, so I was relieved and very excited!
The website also had a tracker , which let you follow were your wig was , for example when it was being sent to quality control and when it was sent to a courier.

When my wig had passed 'being made' and 'quality Control' it then told me  'sent to courier , you will be sent the tracking Imfomation soon' in under a  week . This was great, I fully believed my wig would be here in under two weeks .

Three weeks had past since my purchased. I patiently waited, but I was getting desperate . I emailed the company , i searched and searched on their website but there Was no contact number to ring . It turns out the company is actually based in China.
3 long days later, I received a blunt and frankly very unkind emailed stating that there 'system' was down and that my wig is still undergoing process. Whatever that means. I was getting very upset,they were quick enough to take my money, but couldn't inform me about there, apparent system failure. 
I was beginning to get stressed and worried, because I thought that I had been scammed.
I continued to email the company everyday asking 'were is my wig!' With no reply.
Eventually over a month later ( after given up and assuming I'd lost money to a scam) my wig turned up .

It was awful ,it did not look anything like the picture presented . The tracks were so thin , and there was hardly any hair on them .
I had ordered the colour to be a 28r , which is a slightly auburn colour. The ends of the wig were purple and there were patches all over the wig were it was missing colour .
Overall this wig was a mess , there was no shape ( like the picture) and the quality of the hair (human hair) was dry .
The wig also shedded alot, there wasnt alot of hair on the tracks anyway it was NOT good.

I emailed the company demanding a refund because the quality was shocking . Iv emailed everyday with no reply . I am still in process of trying to get my money back.

Overall , if you are searching for a wig!  
I do not recommend this site at all .
Avoid prowigs.co.uk at all costs.

Till next time
Danielle x

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

An inspiration?

'Inspiration' and 'Inspire' are words we see more and more regularly nowadays, as the internet puts us in touch with unique, interesting and wonderful stories of people helping people. In a country where 'love thy neighbour' was an everyday mainstay of post-war society and saw people helping people, it is somewhat odd to see us heralding an individual giving a sandwich to homeless person (and filming themselves while doing it), or girls posting make-up free pictures as an excuse to give to charity!

Now don't get me wrong here, I am not meaning to sound scathing of charity giving or to diminish the importance of these philanthropic acts; in fact the aforementioned #NoMakeUpSelfie raised big bucks for charity and was a phenomenal mechanism for engaging people all around the world! My purpose isn't to decry those who need to be inspired to do something, what I am pondering is when I personally consider someone or something an inspiration?

What prompted this reflection? An email or two which described ME as an 'inspiration' - probably the thing I least expected! Four years ago, I unsuspectingly entered a client meeting where I ran my fingers through my hair, starting a domino chain of events that would temporarily collapse my world! At that point, I never thought I'd get through what was happening to me, let alone come to terms with it, but with the help and support of friends, family and from those who understood the condition first hand, I came to terms with my situation enough to start helping and supporting others. Now, I'm happy in my own skin and as a result I opted, in turn, to help and support those going through the same things I did. To me, that decision wasn't one I made to purposely inspire people or to gain acclaim for my philanthropy but was made because I wanted to give to others what others gave to me - a support network and a bucket-load of experiential sympathy!

As you might have spotted, this month I feature in Cosmopolitan magazine, talking body confidence and helping to explain and educate about my hair loss condition. I didn't do this to inspire but probably the single most common comment that I have received states what an 'inspiration' I am; both from sufferers and non-sufferers. Now I'm going to be honest here, I loved the comments and they were great to receive but in a bid to stop my shiny cranium becoming enormous, I've tried not to re-read them too much! In fact, whilst it's been nice to think that I have inspired people, it isn't something I feel totally comfortable with and here's why...

When I was offered the chance to take part in the magazine shoot (thanks Alopecia UK), I had three main goals 1) to raise awareness, 2) to educate and 3) to enjoy myself - because it's not everyday you get to do something like this! I was treated like a princess, thoroughly enjoyed every minute and very selfishly would have point blank refused to switch places with someone else! Yes, I did it for others in my position but I also did it for myself too and it would be wrong to claim otherwise! When I first started receiving comments about inspiring people (particularly when they came from people I'd never met), I felt a little like a fraud - I almost felt they must be talking to someone else. Do I really consider myself someone 'able to fill others with the urge to do something' when actually it was simply the telling of my story? No I don't! Yet do I feel pleased that people see me that way, that telling my story has helped people on some level? Absolutely!

Tto say it hasn't inflated my ego would be a lie, so please excuse and indulge me as I sound like a big-head! Here's some of my favourite comments I was sent:

"Wowsers! Where are your trousers?"

"Wow! She makes Alopecia sexy!"

and finally...

"How cool is this. Splendid!"

 (sorry if I sound like a big-head picking those ones but they each made me chuckle!)

I'm a pretty blunt, stubborn and opinionated person and I used to be fairly scathing of those who threw themselves in the limelight for their 'charitable' acts. Yet now the boot is on the other foot and I'm in a tiny spotlight, I can definitely say this experience has helped change me and make me a more tolerant, empathetic person! It's made me realise the importance of doing things like this and whether a person chooses to be anonymous or blatant in the way they do things, any method is fine as long as the end result is the same! Reflecting personally, I'm proud to have inspired people and urge other people to do something, anything, which can make a difference, even if it is just for one person! Go inspire!

To finish, I'll say this blog post is really important to me, so please let me know what you think! I hope you enjoyed the read.

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Having a BALL !

Welcome one and all !!

On Saturday the 28th of February , I was invited to a very classy charity ball by my partner, whose sister had worked very hard in organising.
So, a charity ball means looking your best. Beautiful dresses , fabulous stillettos, flawless makeup and the perfect  hair.......Oh boy.

Not only did I have to look the part, but it was the first time meeting a lot of friends/family of my other half's. So looking good was important ..... no pressure then.

At this point all I was concerned about was my hair,well lack of it. When I had my own locks, I would of most likely, flipped and clipped and curled and twirled it everywhere . But now ... I'v got a standard brown wig to play with. Yay.

To start with ,i was lucky enough to get myself a hair cut by my boyfriends mother. She cut me a stylish fringe and then thinned out the ends of the hair , to make it less wig like and more like real hair.
After, I took the straightners and started going over the hair to defrizz the synthetic curls. (Which were not attractive) making sure Im flicking the ends to shape my face.
As someone who absolutely hates having hair in their face, I pulled back a few strands of hair from the front and clipped them to the side . Given me ,what I like to call , my ethereal look . ( don't ask.)
Feeling pretty proud of myself , I looked in the mirror ...... 'This still looks like a wig' I moan to partner in frustration.

Kieran, who is my partner, being the clever man he is ,came up with the idea of trying to create a parten! 'Yes!' I squealed. Using a concealer stick , he parted the hair to the side , (how I like it). He then dabbed a few spots of concealer on to the lace which was now on veiw. Then, using only his fingers, blended the concealer onto the lace and the hair line, creating  a realistic parten........It worked ! It looked so much better.

Knowing I had the hair just the way I wanted ( with what I had. ) I felt confident to walk down the stairs and show of my look with a smile !

I will add a tutorial soon .

Danielle x

Monday, 2 March 2015

Challenge yourself to change your perspectives...

Our perceptions of things is formed over time as we grow, develop and experience things. In fact, we'll start to categorise things from a young age, based on experiences, simply to enable us to make decisions faster and more efficiently. Many archaeology-anthropologists will argue that it's a safety mechanism evolved to protect us in potentially dangerous situations; it's why many people (wrongly) have an ingrained wariness and suspicion of anyone who is 'different' to them, born of a deep, ingrained perception or pre-conception.

These perceptions are influenced and changed by a number of factors, from our environment to our experiences, to our culture and our parents. In fact, so strongly can our own perceptions be influenced by others, we'll adopt them despite no first-hand experience; this makes considering another point of view totally alien. To give you an example, when doing my degree, we did a small amount of Anthropology, which is the study of humans and their behaviours in societies; one example which really illustrates the point I am making and has stuck with me since then is when you considered the eating habits of Romany Gypsies. According to a research study, the average white, middle-class person would never consider eating without a knife and fork, and except in socially accepted scenarios (like eating a burger), will never opt to use their hands / fingers to consume food. In fact, the majority will consider the germs on their hands and rule eating with their hands as dirty. Turn instead to the historic Romany Gypsy, and they consumed all of their food using their hands and fingers! Sounds madness, but in their culture, eating implements are considered dirty as it is unclear where they have been, whereas their hands are considered preferable as they can be assured of their cleanliness. Now, when you look at it this way, their logic is sound, meaning neither option is wrong, simply different.

I promise there is a point to this rambling, but these thoughts were prompted when cruising through one of the Facebook communities. I came across a post from a gorgeous lady called Summer from Oregan, USA. She posted "my daughter just turned three, two weeks ago and has really started noticing that others are different from me. I always thought I would end up having the "why does Mommy not have hair like everyone else" talk, however it has turned into, "why do others have hair". I never realised how normal it was to her for me to be bald, as I lost all of my hair to AU when she was a year old. She has never asked me why I am different, but wants to know why others are different. This really made me grin, I never realised before just how perfect we are to our children."

You know that saying "Out of the mouths of babes" which assures us that children can be bluntly and brutally honest? Yep! At times, it can be harsh, like the moment I was asked why I had massive red dots on my face (massive acne break-out), but it also has a fabulous side - that moment when they say something which stops you in your tracks and which you know must be true and heartfelt because they don't say things any other way? That statement from Summer's daughter is just that!

For me, what this prompted me to think about most is that whilst we each judge ourselves by our own standards, we shouldn't automatically expect those same judgements from others. They will have their own thoughts and opinions (and not all of them will be nice), but I think there's a lesson in here for us all - let's challenge ourselves to look at things differently every once in a while and see if there's a way we can make everything more positive! After all, I expected everyone to stare, laugh and point at me the first time I went out without a wig, but it simply didn't happen! In fact, the worst I got was a sympathetic look, and there was nothing at all that could be classed as upsetting; in this case, it was totally my level of expectation and my own expectations and perceptions almost made me stick to hiding beneath a wig!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The daffodils are out, and it is the first of March, which can only mean one thing...

So it's too late for a pinch and a punch; I got a bit overexcited this morning and ended up posting this story of Anthony Carrigan instead! Still it was worth it!

It would be wrong however to let today pass by without a little reminder that it's the first of March and that can only mean one thing! Goodbye bathtub picture and hello stylish hats!

To give you a bit of history of the inspiration behind this picture, I'll have to introduce my friend! Fern Bereen is quite possibly one of the most casually creative people you will ever meet! Training in costume and set design at University, Fern is a milliner (making hats) by trade and also has the ability to whip up and style almost anything; it's safe to say if I attempted the same, the decor would look like I dropped it from a great height, whereas Fern gives it a stylish purpose! Anyway, in a moment of panic about how we'd actually get the shots to look nice, AND make sure no boobs, nipples or other bits were on show, I rang Fern! She chatted to me in calm tones and promised to support me on the shoot! Out of the cupboards at her workshop came wedding crockery, afternoon tea sets, dresses, and hats, and she willing transported everything on to set in all manner of trunks and suitcases!

It was then that the girls discovered Fern's inspired hat collection, made from anything she can get her hands on including old broken jewellery, raffia table mats and even dried flowers! They couldn't stop putting them on and so a new picture was born - one which took advantage of the gorgeous colour and structures of the hats and showcased them against the cream background of the traditional Cotswold stone! They looked gorgeous!

The reason that this picture was selected for March? Unless you are one of my Cheltenham buddies, something which you may not know is that Cheltenham is often referred to as the 'home of horseracing'. Every March, there is one of the most coveted prizes of the sport up for grabs - the Gold Cup - and whilst more 'country' than Ascot, the event still features big hats and a best dressed competition! I personally go to these races often and in fact have worn one of Fern's creations, so it seemed only fitting to pop this one into March, a month known locally to me for its big hat occasion!

Fern makes affordable hats for any occasion, from the traditionally stylish to the statement flambouyant. To find out more, you can visit her website, or like her on Facebook, either of which will be appreciated! You can also buy one of the very styles we wear, if any of them take your fancy!

Happy page changing!

Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald

Don't let #Alopecia or #Hairloss hold you back! Gotham actor Anthony Carrigan certainly didn't!

If you didn't catch the Channel 5 series Gotham, then you really missed out! It tells the story of comic book town Gotham, before Batman came along, featuring a young Bruce Wayne and Catwoman, in the years before they became famous! You get to meet Penguin, Fish and The Riddler and it's engaging, exciting and a great way to spend an hour!

As part of the storyline, Actor Anthony Carrigan plays bad guy Victor Zsasz, a supervillain and future arch-enemy of Batman, who features a knife obsession. The character is part of the 'skinhead subculture' and many would say Carrigan, who suffers in reality from alopecia, was born to play the part!

In an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed, Carrigan talks honestly about his Alopecia, how it affects his acting career, and how he found body confidence! It's safe to say that despite suffering from total hairloss (including eyelashes and eyebrows), Carrigan is a superb actor, has found his own confidence and does not let his hairloss hold him back!

You can read the full interview here, but some of my favourite parts of the interview include:

"There was one point where I was doing a job and we had millions of viewers every week, it was a TV job, and I lost half my scalp and both eyebrows and the majority of my eyelashes. I was covering up in order to look like this character. It was pretty terrifying to have to keep that secret and pretend like I looked this way, that I looked normal when I just didn’t. I was doing red carpet events and putting on my eyebrows before going out there and hoping that no one would notice. It’s a really weird thing to be seen while trying not to be seen. It’s a very strange thing."

Speaking of accepting his Alopecia:

"There was one point where I was doing a job and we had millions of viewers every week, it was a TV job, and I lost half my scalp and both eyebrows and the majority of my eyelashes. I was covering up in order to look like this character. It was pretty terrifying to have to keep that secret and pretend like I looked this way, that I looked normal when I just didn’t. I was doing red carpet events and putting on my eyebrows before going out there and hoping that no one would notice. It’s a really weird thing to be seen while trying not to be seen. It’s a very strange thing."

Speaking of body confidence:

"I think there’s always the opportunity to accept yourself exactly where you are. I think a lot of people feel that they will accept themselves as soon as they go to the gym, as soon as they clear up their skin, as soon as they address a certain issue, then they’ll feel OK about themselves. I think they can always accept themselves exactly the way they are and that’s a practice. In each moment you have a choice where you can build yourself up or tear yourself down, and choosing to build yourself up is always within your power."

"I think that our culture is so obsessed with body image and with being this completely unrealistic ideal, and that ideal looks different to every single person. It’s in their head as what they should be or should look like, this ideal. Ultimately, isn’t it better to just feel good about yourself, than to try to look good first and feel better that way?"

I really enjoyed reading this article and believe it demonstrates that noone should feel ashamed of who they are or how they look! I know many alopecians / baldies struggle with adapting to their new identities, but it shouldn't really change anything, and it certainly shouldn't hold you back!

If I'd been in charge of the interview, here's a few questions I would like to have asked Carrigan... If he does manage to read this interview, then maybe he'll tweet us the answers @PrettyBald ;-)
  • Has your alopecia ever lost you an acting part, or even resulted in you being cast for a different part to the one you auditioned for?
  • If a miracle cure existed (one that had no side effects), would you opt to have your hair back?
  • Karen Gillan had to shave her head to suit her new role; have you ever been approached to act a part simply because of your unique look?
  • We've launched our #100HairFreeDays challenge; if you could share one positive of your hairloss, what would it be?
Victoria x

www.prettybald.co.uk Twitter: @PrettyBald