Living with hair loss is difficult. So difficult. Conceptually imagining that it was a possibility was a complete improbability for me for many years and I understand it takes so much out of us. There also can be this external pressure to feel like we need to be something or somewhere other than where we are. Which honestly, makes everything much more difficult.

I received this comment on my video, “It’s OK To Not Be OK About Your Hair Loss” and I wanted to share my thoughts on dealing with hair loss, deciding to treat it or not, wearing wigs or not and really just allowing yourself to be true to yourself and not feeling pressure to feel anything other than what you FEEL.

She wrote: I feel the pressure to be positive for everyone else all the time about this hair loss. I don’t see a day coming that I can accept this …but I’m trying. One moment to the next. Thank you for validating our feelings. Only someone else living with this can truly understand.

We need to remove any pressure we are putting on ourselves to be happy or positive for ANYONE else about OUR hair loss. You do not need to be happy about a devastating situation to make someone else more comfortable in their world. I understand the pressure to feel that way, but I want to let you and everyone else know, this doesn’t help us deal with with one of the most devastating afflictions to women.

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I wanted you to HEAR me speak The words and not just read them on the screen. 

I wanted you to take them in, I wanted you to feel the meaning and what I am saying. So I have recorded my words to this video and shared some of my love, including my baby HOPE. The male kitten I got from the Spanish Harlem shelter in 2001, and who I name HOPE because I was devastated by my hair loss and needed a reminder that HOPE was always around. I am pretty sure I still haven’t recovered from his passing in 2019, but that is a different story.

For 13 years I have communicated with women online, and I know the pain from hair loss, not just my own – but in hearing your stories. I spent over the first half of my hair loss life (of 22 years) not believing, feeling or thinking that things could get better, but it did and it is important for me to let those know, that need to know – it can better, that it definitely can. 

Often I find that women are so hard on themselves, comparing themselves to other women, which makes the process of working through anything so much more difficult, and especially in dealing with your hair loss – something that is plenty sufficient to deal with on its own.

You only have to do what feels right for you, not for anyone else.

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My 5 Failed Hair Loss Treatments

by Y on April 13, 2021

Some people have asked what are my 5 failed hair loss treatments I made mention of in a previous post. 

Important to note, everyone is different and some of these medications do actually work for other people, for me they were a no go.

There are actually a few more than this, but these are the main ones.

I separate them into two categories, ones I took, but didn’t have a negative impact on my life really, so I didn’t regret it.

And then there are the others I took that I regretted.

The three I didn’t regret and I took within the first two years of my hair loss, approximately 1999-2001:

  1. Nioxin
  2. Rogaine
  3. Finasteride (Propecia)

The two I do regret, and took from approximately 2000-2013:

  1. Ortho Tri-Cyclen
  2. Aldacone 200mg (Brand name of Spironolactone)
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I was prompted to make this video because as I was scrolling my instagram feed, I saw an ad for female hair transplantation. As a whole, in general, women with androgenetic alopecia aka female pattern baldness (diffuse thinning of hair ) are not candidates for hair transplants. 

It is important for women to be able to make informed decisions regarding the treatment of their hair loss.  While there are a lot of sub optimal things that occur online that result in disappointment, frustration, loss of money etc., this is ONE thing that is extra disturbing to see targeted to women with hair loss, because without the proper information, women who are not candidates and choose to undergo this treatment may not only lose money, but they could *potentially* be left with physical scars and in a much worse position than when they began. 

The scar of hair loss to my life is sufficient, I don’t think additional physical ones are needed. 

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This episode of The Women’s Hair Loss Project podcast focuses on moving forward through hair loss, and what that looked like for me. I know a lot of women are in a place of feeling they will not be able to accept, they will not be able to live with hair loss – but you can, I know you can. I am living proof of that. 

I share different parts of my story and journey to let you know it took different things along the way to get me to the place I am today. 

Believing YOU CAN emotionally get past hair loss is so important.  Removing the fixed mentality that things have to be a certain way – that fixed mentality kept me stuck in my own prison for over a decade, till the one day things changed. I changed. My mindset changed. I learned I could be okay even though my hair wasn’t going to come back. I accepted my hair loss, I accepted what is, I accept wearing wigs.  I found a new way to live, and I found it when I was open to it. It was there along, but I wasn’t open to it. 

I sat down today to speak to you, to speak to the woman who needs to hear these words from the person who has lived through it, and who knows deeply all the emotions and feelings that hair loss brings with it. 

We don’t always feel like we have any choices, but we do. It’s not always the choices we want, but we do get choices. Those choices empower us, and bring us closer to reclaiming ourselves and our power.

When I stopped feeling like everything was happening to me, out of my control, without any say of my own whatsoever, and began to make the choices I needed to,  and take action over how I dealt with my hair loss – everything changed. 

To the person that needs to hear this today, there is hope.

Sending much love to all!
XOXO
~Y

Follow me on Instagram @whlpnetwork

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A Formula For Hair Loss Acceptance?

by Y on March 28, 2021

I have…

22 Years of Hair Loss

5 Unsuccessful Treatments

8 Years Feeling Alone ( Started The Women’s Hair Loss Project in 2007)

13 Years Spent Feeling Helpless/ Powerless 

12 Years of PRP

9 Years of Wearings Wigs

9 Years of a Shaved Back Hair Cut

And a partridge in a pear tree…..

I wish I had the exact formula to provide everyone, that one recipe to get you to feeling better, moving forward – closer to acceptance, but the one thing I do know as well as knowing my hair is not coming back, is that everyone is so different. We all process very differently, we all need to do and try things differently, and sometimes one of those things is actually doing nothing. 

I mean that in a passive and active sense. Passively doing nothing, as in we cannot AT THIS TIME make a move, and ACTIVELY doing nothing, meaning we decided, we aren’t going to do anything for our hair loss and that works just fine. 

There are zero hard and fast rules when it comes to dealing with, living and treating hair loss. 

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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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