What If…. 

To avoid confusion, wigged up. All images are wigged. Except the obvious shaved one.

What if we accepted as truth, that this life isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is it, our one shot.

What if we realized our misfortunes, our angst… Is just that, our misfortunate and angst, but it does not define us, nor has to.

What if we accepted that we can actually live, despite not having every single thing we expected in our lives – like our hair. 

What if we could honor our feelings while simultaneously moving forward, without judgment of self.  What a concept. Abandoning judgment of self, and any real or perceived judgment from others – abandoning that too. 

If our happiness is relying on things we cannot control, we are surely in for a rough road. My suffering in hair loss came from just dealing in loss…. constantly, that and a loss of control, loss of self, and no matter what I did, an inability to get back “what should be.” 

Who’s to say what should be? Simply because I was born with hair doesn’t entitle me to have it forever. Everything on us is potentially on loan, including life.

If we focus on our loss we can lose gratitude for all that we do have, perpetuating a cycle of self-erosion. 

What if we focused more on some of what we have, what is good, rather than reminiscing the loss. 

If there was a sport for “Reminiscing The Loss” I would be a top contender, a front runner for sure. 

I am truly skilled in the art of living backwards.
Truly skilled.

Over analyzing what left me or what was taken, and to further detriment, thinking of it in those terms actually sets up the mind, and every facet of your constitution, to automatically be on the losing end, from the start.

That’s like starting towards the race of life, not a little behind where the line starts – but rather in a ditch.  It is our race, we race against ourselves, but who wants to start in a ditch?

What if we accepted, this was just life, not all great. Accept the past, live in the present, look towards the future. I know, it’s not always so easy, but what if.

What if I told you, you are stronger than you think.

2016 – The incredibly talented Sophie Hafner created this color for me for a photoshoot, and also dying her own hair pink for the shoot as an effort to help me to de-stigmatize wig wearing, showing what hair wearing CAN be.

What if we strive to not excel in the sport of reminiscing the loss, but work to build our now, and our tomorrow with the cards that are dealt, have been dealt and work with what is within our control. 

What if….

I have often been asked how I managed to accept and move past hair loss, and it’s worth noting, I don’t think I’ve necessary moved past it, more accurately stated, I learned to adapt and live with it.

No longer be a slave to it…Accept what I thought was impossible and change my preconceived notions that began with, “I could never…”

I could never wear wigs – I can
I could never live unless all my hair came back – I could
I could never be accepted with hair loss and wigs – I was and am.

Most importantly, I accept myself, which lends itself to the rest falling in place.

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I received this email and am posting the question, and my response in case it can perhaps help other women confronted with the same situation .

Hi – I just came across The Women’s Hair Loss Project. We are desperate.  My daughter’s situation sounds similar to yours. She’s been on Loestrin for 4 years – since sophomore year in college. Her hair has started thinning, and lately, it’s accelerated to where her part is very wide, her hair is very thin, the top of her hair pretty bad.  All doctors said blood work fine, it’s female pattern hair loss, start rogaine 5%. She’s so desperate that she finally agreed to listen to me and go off the Loestrin but wants to start ortho tri cyclen (sp?) because doctor [Doctor name removed] said it’s a hair protectant. So she’s planning on starting that and the Rogaine at the same time. We are so scared. Something doesn’t feel right. I’m afraid for her to do both at the same time because if something goes wrong, we won’t know which. I think she should get off BCP pills completely. Just want to hear your opinion. Please.  Look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you!!! -S

21+ years after my hair loss began – wigged up. My story is long, but this is the relevant part. I hope it helps.

Dear S – 

I should state what I think is already known… but just in case, I’m not a doctor – My experience with hair loss is living with it for 21 years and going to great lengths to find an answer to this problem, treat it a number of ways, and along the way deal with the sufferings it brought, disappointments and regrets and having it be one long ass journey to trying to find myself again. 

It has been awhile since I have answered an email as post, but yours stood out to me and I wanted to provide my thoughts as you had asked for, and in the process put this as a post so that others may be able to potentially benefit from it as well. 

This is a tough situation, as I think many situations are when dealing with hair loss and any decision seems terrifying and also we get to a place of desperation where we can allow that to cloud what may be (or not) the right judgement we need for making the best decision for ourselves. 

One thing about hair loss is there is no one size fits all, although I think most doctors just treat it that way. It is very typical for a woman with hair loss to have all blood work come back as normal, frustrating, but super common. I think it’s the one time in our life we are praying something appears on that blood work panel that we can point to, treat and get this uncontrollable situation, under control again. It is disappointing to find out we are (on paper) seemingly normal.

Who knew normal could be a disappointment, it is. 

My thoughts on treatment are based largely on what I did, but also what I wish I would have done differently – and the knowledge that in sharing my story on my site, and what I wish I would have done years ago, I know some women read my story, took the road I wish I travelled, and it worked out for them. Not in massive numbers (that I am aware of ) but a couple I can think of, and that was enough for me to wonder if I really did screw myself over and realize there is legit validity in waiting before rushing to treatment. 

I think I sighed and did an eye roll simultaneously reading that birth control pills are still being offered up as a hair protectant. Again, I’m not a doctor, but in my desperation, I fell in this trap and regretted it – big time. 

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As a person with hair loss who wears wigs for that purpose, I strive to always have them feel as natural as possible, and as much as “ME” as possible.

I probably get more questions about this wig than most any other due to how natural it looks. Where this wig started and where it is now are two very different places due to age and the evolution through time with coloring and also a perm. I recently got this piece back from my beautiful friend and and Master Wig Stylist, Sophie Hafner and before even putting it on, I decided to film a bit to talk about it, then put it on for you, and also share some pics from the life it’s had from 2015 – Present. It’s been colored several times, and permed in 2017.

In this video in addition to showing the renewed wig, I also discuss the reasons I think that contribute to this being such a natural looking piece (Spoiler Alert: cut, coloring, perm – and also due to the age, it has less density, which adds to a very imperfect natural look).

I think once you are ready to move on to a new piece, you may want to consider renewing your existing one and have it as a new look/style for the wig rotation. I actually was fairly convinced that this wig had reached the end of its lifespan, but turns out I was wrong, she’s got some more life left.

Initially when I started wearing wigs in 2012 I wore them out of the box, with just hair cutting (which in itself is magical for a wig), but once custom coloring entered into the equation, my wig wearing life enhanced 10 fold with how natural the pieces looked and came to life. Here is the video, I hope you enjoy!

Sending much love to all!
XOXO
~ Y

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Here is a cautionary tale of doing something to our wigs, without really knowing what the thing does and the method of which it does it. I just accepted at face value, “Oh purple shampoo is suppose to make it brighter” Without the next thought, of “Andddd how would it be doing this?” Had I found this out BEFORE ever using purple shampoo, I would have saved myself a lot of stress.

This video originally was suppose to just share conditioning the lower portion of the hair and not having to wash the whole wig. Fail. It took a massive turn when I was completely confused and in panic at the thought that I destroyed my wig. At times, when I don’t feel like washing the whole wig, but the end is dry. I just put it in low pony and condition the ends. Don’t do it often, but it happens. I’ve done this before with zero issue. Difference here, is this wig was washed and conditioned in purple shampoo the day prior. I woke up that day feeling like the ends were still dry and wanting to condition them. I felt the purple shampoo was a bit drying itself, so I chose to use a non purple conditioner, to condition the lower half of the wig. Big mistake.

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I sat down with the intention of answering one of the questions I received through my survey I sent out to the mailing list about a couple weeks ago, but I realized there is so much back story to my story that it veered so off topic I felt I should maybe make it a little mini series, a collection of blog posts of my life with hair loss. I’m still flirting with this notion, so I’m starting with Part One, and you let me know below if this is something you’re interested in.

While I’m fairly sure this can be located here and there on this blog, it’s not in one straight forward series of before the fall (prior to 1999) to dealing in the isolation, devastation and confusion that came after, and living with hair loss… to starting The Women’s Hair Loss Project in 2007, to starting to wear wigs 2012, to present day. I’m getting Grant chart vibes from that. Visualize Grant chart. Or I could make one. Maybe not Grant, it’s more of a timeline chart, but I digress.

My hair loss began in 1999, and I didn’t start wearing hair until 2012. I bottomed out, meaning…I thought life was over in 2007… which is the year I started The Women’s Hair Loss Project. I cite that as an at-a-glance reference point to anything I say onwards in this post.

Wigged Reflections
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When wearing wigs due to hair loss/ thinning hair, I think there are certain things that are best known ahead of time, which is that at the end of the day… the “Right” way is ultimately going to be the way that allows you to live most comfortably and enables you to adjust to the process with the least about of stumbling blocks and stress that can occur.

Down the line, when you feel comfortable in wearing hair, the hair world is your oyster, but I’m a believer in sticking to the basics when getting your first piece. There’s time to live your best mermaid life… later. In the present, you likely just want to feel like yourself, natural and comfortable in the hair you wear. When I sat down to film this video it was to answer a question I received about Tips & Suggestions when first starting out wearing wigs, however, I ended up getting rather tan on my roof top because I went on all kinds of tangents. This is actually a small clip for a long ramble, my suggestions made the video super long, so I think I have to break it down into smaller segments.

Much Love To All!
XOXO
~ Y

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This is me, and the story behind The Birth of The Women’s Hair Loss Project. Before I continue, just a note, I’m wearing a wig and have been wearing wigs for the last 8 years. I state that because I know sometimes if people don’t spot the wig, they are confused by what I’m saying when they see hair on my head, but it is a wig.

My name is Y. Just Y. I was born with more letters to my name, but was reborn as a single initial when I started The Women’s Hair Loss Project in 2007. I felt a life destroyed by my hair loss, which is what led me to start my site and The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network 13 years ago. I started it at the lowest point of my journey, when I felt there was no hope left, and I was done for. What followed was unexpected, in beginning to blog about my journey dealing with hair loss as a twenty something girl, eventually women found me and they wrote back, connected and no longer alone, the process of my own healing began. It’s a continual journey and evolution. This is a part of my story. WHLP = Women’s Hair Loss Project . WHLPNETWORK = Women’s Hair Loss Project Network. This is me, I am some of you, and we are connected.

Much Love To All
XOXO
~Y

Follow me on Instagram @whlpnetwork

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This video really won’t provide you one solid Yes or No answer as to whether or not you should tell people about your hair loss. I want to just state that off the bat, so no one feels like they wasted their time watching for that actual answer…. What It does provide is a rather long story of my personal experience, and surrounding thoughts and reflections  in sharing BEFORE the point I started wearing hair and acceptance of that and also the importance of managing your expectations of what others can and cannot provide because that can end up causing us hurt or being let down if we make the leap to tell someone while we are at our most vulnerable and that person does not seem to “get us.” 

Definitely within the first year of hair wearing (2012) I began to get more comfortable telling people I wore wigs and then that prompted the question of why, and I’d tell them, hair loss. Over time that process has become quite easy to do, and it certainly was liberating for me,  but that is a very different story than when I wasn’t comfortable with how I looked and was very self conscious about my hair loss prior to my wig wearing life. 

I hope this video helps someone needing to hear my mind ramble and also I hope others share their experience in telling people about their hair loss PRIOR to the point of acceptance, (really at the stage of wanting to tell a friend, spouse, mother etc for support ), as that is a pocket many women are living in, and I hope when someone that finds this video and is in that space and time frame, that they can hear a collection of viewpoints, not just my own to help guide them in their own personal choice of choosing whether it would be the right time with them to share with someone in their life.  

Thank you guys for watching and definitely please share your thoughts below, would love to hear from you! 

Much Love To All!
XOXO
~Y

Follow me on Instagram @whlpnetwork

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This episode is raw and personal.  In this podcast I share with you in more detail the cause of my hair loss, and provide a deeper look into my hair loss story/ journey. Last week I had posted a video on my YouTube Channel that was meant to really just share the cause of my of my hair loss, and open the dialogue for others to comment on the cause of theirs or if they didn’t know what the cause was, to share that too.

The link to the YouTube Video I spoke of in the podcast: What Caused My Hair Loss?

While I cannot advise what others should or should not do, I think there is benefit in sharing my story so that others can get a deeper look into a 21 year journey of hair loss, beginning at the age of 21,  and caused by the birth control pill Loestrin FE.  The podcast takes a few tangents, but my journey is like one giant tangent, so perhaps it works. I share some of my hair loss treatment regrets, and the things I tried over the years.  It took me a very long time to accept anything and get to the place I am at. It didn’t happen over night, and I think it’s important for others to know that, so they are more patient and kind and loving towards themselves when dealing in what can often seem like the impossible…. Hair loss. 

I post all over the place from YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and my Podcast, so I’m providing the links to all those, to make it accessible and easy for you to choose how you’d like to follow the things I post and share.

I hope everyone is staying safe.
Much Love to All !
XOXO
~Y

Follow me on Instagram: @whlpnetwork

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What Caused My Hair Loss?

by Y on May 29, 2020

What caused my hair loss? What caused your hair loss? Me and my wig sit in the sun to discuss this topic. I’d love to know what caused your hair loss, and would love to also know if you don’t know. I think often many women live their whole lives not knowing, I think that is pretty common, but the more we share, the more we can learn from each other…. and sometimes it will just forever remain a mystery. It’s hair loss, it’s complicated, so that’s a thing.

In this video I discuss the cause of my hair loss, which was getting off the Birth Control Pill, Loestrin FE in 1999. I also discuss my own regrets in jumping the gun on treatment and not allowing my body to maybeeee have a chance to resolve the situation on its own. Things I’ve pondered in the past a million times over. Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn’t. I’ll never know, and while we can’t look back or go back, I can certainly share my story so that perhaps it helps another. Would love to hear from you with what caused your hair loss and also if you don’t know, definitely share that too!

Sending much love to all!
XOXO
~Y

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