My “Re-Birthday” at Follea – Lina’s Journey

by Lina on August 7, 2014

Hi girls. I was planning on making my first trip to Follea in the fall but I had an incredible opportunity to go last week – so, hello, I went! Our lovely admin is piecing together a video on my visit so that I can share that with you (stay tuned). I’m going to post a few more blogs on my visit to LA and how it has helped me with my acceptance and growth but I want to share my Follea visit because it is about, well, hair (mostly anyway, haha).

Without going through my l-e-n-g-t-h-y journey to finally get to the hair wearing phase (cuz, you’d be missing at least a week of work!) I’m going to go straight into why I travelled almost 4,000 km to go to Follea.

I am two years into wearing hair and I would say one year in completely being used to my new normal, normal being wearing wigs full-time. I have been through a number of pieces that, looking back, were great to start but as I grew in my journey, I felt my hair-wearing needs changed. I would have to say to finally get to the stage of accepting that my hair was leaving me and that I needed to re-gain my life, was a very long, painful, sad, arduous journey. Phase 2 of the journey was getting used to wearing hair, any hair – it was just as difficult in its own right but thankfully not near as long. I know that lots of women here on the WHLP have echoed the same sentiments but I cannot stress it enough, cut yourselves a break ladies, hair loss sucks and she’s a tough one to plow through.

Fast forward, so I am at the hair wearing stage and what has happened in two years? Well, I went from toppers, to shaving my head, wigs, letting the hair grow in (cuz, somehow it was going to re-grow in thicker and much better, pfff) to shaving, to regrowing to finally shaving and keeping it shaved as I feel, in my case, I’m not fooling anyone and I look “healthier” in a shaved head. So, accepting my shaved head I began to think why not try a gripper and get rid of the wigrip? I never would have heard of Follea if it wasn’t for WHLP and let’s face it, Y rocks some killer locks, so I began to investigate. The more I stalked the Follea web-site and watched pretty much all their gripper videos – I decided, well if this is my fate (to wear hair), let’s see if I can get THE hair and THE comfort to take me through life.

See how I ramble? Let me get to it (insert a fast forward zip noise here) it’s Thursday, July 24th and I’m in Beverly Hills and walking up the Follea Stairs – they were expecting me. The salon has a waiting room, it is brightly lit and on the table in front of me is the current Follea catalogue that I downloaded a hundred times at home, haha. I get ushered into one of their private rooms with 2 chairs and windows showcasing the street, oh, oh, and oh, they have a little wee dog in there that was hair dyed blue and I almost forgot about the purpose of my visit and was on my hands and knees telling him how much I loved him (I know…) I’m in the chair and 3 grippers are brought to me (I had asked for 3 colour samples). I felt like Goldilocks, cuz the third one was “just right”. Just right? Hot dam, the cap fit like a glove, the colour was the old me and the hair? I have three words for you: OOH-LAH-LAH! Pfff, you think there was any way I was leaving that salon without that vixen on my head? Not a chance. All light heartedness aside, when I put “the one” on my head I was overcome with emotion. I used to never wear bangs and with my current wigs I wore bangs because I felt the hair line was too blunt and “obvious” but the wigs were pretty good and I eventually got used to and liked the bangs. Seeing myself with no bangs really brought me back to the “old” me. My grandma is one of the most important people in my life and I talk or see her every day, she has been amazing with my wigs but I know she found my wigs a little too heavy and they swallowed my face a bit. I thought of her immediately and how she would be so happy to see my face again (I know, excuse me while I get a tear wiping tissue). By the way if that didn’t get you, this will – she teared up when I got home.

Let me tell you about the staff at Follea, Michael, the amazing “Vicka-Scissor-Hands” and all the girls were so fun, kind, funny, compassionate, awh-mazing (I almost stole the dog, ssssh). Follea had a photographer there that day as they were photographing new hair on mani’s for their current catalogue, they completely embraced me and I got to play hair “dress-up” with Vicka as she was feeling creative and silly, I got to try on different wigs (damn them, I want them all – hahaha). I want to share a pic here of crazy run-way hair, if you look closely, the hair band is an actual wigrip! So funny. I had one of the most memorable days of my life, honest to goodness fun and I felt 100% normal and like wearing hair was no biggie.

I brought my gripper home and it’s been a week now and I am over the moon with how the gripper feels – or should I say, doesn’t feel. I have to double check the mirror when I leave my apt to see if it’s on. I am so happy to be able to not wear bangs, to be able to comfortably wear sunglasses and put hair behind my ears. I did try on the aero and lifestyle caps there as well (why not, I travelled so far) and was equally happy with the cap and hair quality and the low-profile of how it sat on my head. I thought Follea was out of reach for me, but I take care of my wigs really well and I have learned that in most cases the wigs at Follea can be repaired (as in more hair added to them, caps altered, and hair dyed).

There are lots of different types of wigs out there, and each work differently for everyone. I have three types of wigs at home and they serve different purposes for me. I wanted to share my Follea visit because I know some of you may be contemplating Follea and I just want you to know that you should have no reservations about visiting them, they are welcoming and kind, not the least bit pushy and completely compassionate. My stage may be further along than you are in your journey but I am here to tell you that you can do all – be all – and conquer all, all while wearing hair. I do believe our needs change as we travel through all life throws at us, don’t be afraid to seize opportunity and realize you deserve everything your heart desires. We are all more than our hair but our hair bonds us. I am forever grateful to all who get our journey and let us travel at our pace.

Thank you ladies, WHLP, and Follea for infusing me with passion, hope, laughter and the resources to get the old Lina back, but only this time I have a new zeal, new hope, new hair and new friends. Thank you for my re-birth.

Forever grateful xo

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

JoAnn O. August 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

Such an awesome story! I am currently trying to work my way to the shaved head. What you said about looking “healthier” shaved, as opposed to your hair—Ding! That’s how I feel I will look. I’ve very recently started wearing hair. (Still enjoying the bangs, because I haven’t been able to have them since I was a kid.) Someday I will have a Follea wig and your story really encourages me to consider the Gripper. Thank you for sharing your experience. Congratulations on loving the new hair that brought back the old you!
What you shared about your grandmother really got me, too. My 95 year-old grandma is the only female in my family who also lost most of her hair. She wore a wig for special occasions, but doesn’t anymore. I wish I could have given her a Follea wig years ago. I think she would’ve loved it.

Lucy August 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Follea helped me to continue my life as normal as possible. I lost all my hair in one month almost 2 years ago. I went from wearing hats, to ugly horrible fitting cheaper wigs and still wore hats with them.
Since I got the follea I have not worn a hat, just beautiful hair that brought me back to myself and life goes on as if I never lost my hair. I draw eyebrows everyday though. Things could be worse.

Lucy August 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I am smiling and really happy for you because I share those feelings myself.
Enjoy life we only have one, you know!

Anne-Marie August 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Isn’t Follea great?! I have two identical grippers now and love them! Before I was introduced to Follea by one of their reps, Peggy Knight, I wore wigs that I wasn’t comfortable in. Only when I started to wear Follea did I feel myself. I even put beautiful waves in one of my grippers and it’s so beautiful!!! Vicka is my stylist and she’s great! Congratulations on your new follea journey!!

Jennifer August 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I have been wearing Follea since Feb. I started with a topper that clipped in. When the clips cause additional hairloss, I went to tape. Tape didn’t work too well so this week I went to a bond that required I have the top of my head shaved. To say it was difficult is an understatement. So far I have done ok with it but then out of nowhere the reality of being a woman with a shaved head and hair that isn’t my own hits hard and I feel disgusted. I know that this is ridiculous. It’s just hair and it shouldn’t define me. But saying that and always feeling it are two different things. I’m trying to learn how to not have these feelings and to have full acceptance of myself … shaved head and all. It’s stories like yours and all the others on this site that help me do that. Thank you!

Naomi August 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

What exactly is a gripper? How is it different from the typical $250 wig which seems to be magic number?

Cheryl August 8, 2014 at 5:10 am

Great story…I cried.
There’s a mom at my school who has very little hair left and I feel for her and another woman at the bank too. I lost 3/4th of my hair and it consumes me worrying about my hair loss. I wear my hair in a pony tail all the time to try to cover up how thin it really is but I’m grateful I still am at that point and no further.

My daughter donated her long red hair many times….too bad family members can’t donate to Follea to offset the cost of a wig because I’m sure most people can’t afford one.

Ciella August 8, 2014 at 6:53 am

Oh I just LOVED this…thank you so much for sharing!! Gosh….Y and Lina…you two were two of the greatest inspirations to me at the start of my journey. Lina, you and I were on parallel journeys and started wearing hair at around the same time. (within those few months)…following your journey was such a huge help to me. Y, I started wearing hair about 3 months after you did…both of you really helped to give me the mental push I needed.
And thank you Y for heeling us to discover Follea! I can so agree with all that you and Lina say about how wonderful they are…they TRULY want to help people! My first contact with them was by writing to Michael…I did not know who he was at the time but had found his email on a hairloss forum somewhere where he had responded to someone’s question. When I saw he was from Follea, I wrote to him and he was soooo wonderful and compassionate when he wrote back. All of my correspondence with Follea ever since has shown how helpful and wonderful they are. They have worked with me to create pieces I really love, and they always want to make sure I am happy, even tho’ everything has been done from a distance since I have not been able to go there in person:)

Lina, you look SO SO beautiful oh my gosh…I am so happy for you!! You are beautiful inside and out and I am so very honored to know you on WHLP….you are such a dear and special person and you have SOOO much love, compassion and warmth for others:) Thank you for sharing more of your journey with us. This was really wonderful to read!

Love and hugs xx

Lina August 8, 2014 at 7:59 am

Hi JoAnn, thank you for your comments and kind words. It’s funny as in funny strange that I was most afraid to shave my head (I think I just said it out loud to see if I could scare my bio hair into smartening up) was the most freeing and best thing I could of done for my spirit. It’s not for everyone but it was right for me no matter the few people in my life who seem to have difficulty with it. Your grandma sounds wonderful and my grandma is the universe to me – I completely understand your love. Enjoy your hair and your bangs (they help hide my forehead wrinkles – haha).

Anne Marie, yes Follea is great and Vicka is a doll. They have a really nice product but the compassion and genuine-ness (I just made a word) is what I really appreciate. I am so happy you love your hair and maybe one day I will be able to actually style my hair – it’s been so long, I don’t know how to style any hair. That may be Journey – part III.
Thanks for taking the time to comment, have a happy day my sister. xo
Love to you. xo

Lucy, thank you so much for your energy and positive comments and sharing – I can “hear” inner strength in your comments and I love that and it inspires me. Yes – we only have one life and I lost a lot of time to get to where I am today and am forever grateful for all you girls who helped me move and live forward. Hugs my sister. xo

Naomi, a gripper is a wig designed for women with little to no hair. It is still human hair but it is the cap that is different. It has a perimeter of medical grade silicone that grips your head without needing tape or clips or any other type of attachments. There are many nice hair pieces out there, I am just at a stage where I cannot even pull off a short hair cut, so I shave and this is a very comfortable solution for me.
Let me know if you have any other questions. thanks for commenting, have a wonderful day my sister. xo

Hi Cheryl, I hope those were happy tears :-)
I am sorry about your hair loss and consumed is the perfect word for how this can take us over. You seem very compassionate (as I find all the women here) and still grateful which is a testament to your spirit. Yes, Follea is an investment but I have learned a lot and practiced on different hair and I believe I can do my best to help my wigs get an extra long life. I found that as my case is permanent, my needs changed a bit and wearing them all day long pushed comfort to the top of my list which I found with the gripper. But the hair I purchase has always come at sacrifice to me, whether it be no vacation, no clothes shopping, no eating out, taking a year to pay it off on my credit card… but it has given me a huge part of my old self back and made me hopeful of the future which to me is hard to put a price on. I have other wigs at home that are not Folleas and I like them and still wear them. Just wearing hair and learning to wear hair and see myself in hair is where the true transformation lied. Thank you for taking the time to comment, love to you. xo

O Ciella,
You my dear are always so sweet, compassionate and complimentary. I am touched to think I was an inspiration to you and any woman here. Please realize what a font of information, compassion, kindness and inspiration that YOU, yourself are. I too found Michael and his staff very customer service oriented and kind and compassionate and that is a big deal on this journey. We have so much to deal with and companies and people that would take advantage of women like us who are so vulnerable are just wrong and mean and can really halt our journey (boy did I meet a lot of those).
Gee, I’m red faced with all the compliments and they are still hard to hear and accept but I thank you, for all you’ve done and continue to do for me and for our forever sisters here. Love and hugs. xo

Lina August 8, 2014 at 8:14 am

Hi Jennifer (sorry I missed you earlier?)
Oh honey, big hugs. I too went with a topper but the clips were too painful for me and my hair loss continued to accelerate. I understand your feelings about being a woman with hair loss, the thing is – this is just so so hard. Then there is the learning to wear hair phase. Please be patient and realize that this is hard and a very long process, we are by far the harshest on ourselves. I truly do believe that we can be feminine with thin hair, shaved head, wigs, toppers, whatever. I do believe sharing our stories is what helps all of us here and for that I am forever grateful. Much love. xo

Janet August 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

So happy for you Lina! You look stunning! Thank you for sharing this!

Angie T August 10, 2014 at 7:20 am

Lina,
YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!! And of course you are, inside and out. But us here who love you already knew that.

Happy Hear Wearing, Rock on with your Bad Ass Self Girlfriend!!

Love, Angie

Lina August 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Hi Janet, thank you for commenting . I just wanted to share so people can see that with all the love and support here, we can push through. I love you girls. Hugs my sister

Angie! Hey girl, I love you too! Please check your home email, I messages you? We need to catch up. Here’s a big hug. Xo my sister.

Laura August 14, 2014 at 5:08 am

Dear Lina,

You wrote a very poignant story.
I hear you loud and clear.

My hair loss is an arduous journey, but I learned there is no cure, and if I want to live my life I had take action, not sit and cry. The beginning of my journey was very scary like any illness or change of life situation.
I admit I do get down and frustrated at times, but as I get older, I realize….life is short, tomorrow is not promised….do the best I can and be grateful for all the blessing I have.

Sincerely,
Laura

Lina August 15, 2014 at 4:42 am

Hi Laura,
Thank you for taking the time to comment here. Oh yes sister the journey is very scary, life changing, arduous and yes super frustrating. I will always deal with the fact that I hardly have any of my own hair and wear hair on a daily basis. Yes, sometimes I get down but you will see, those times will get less and less as time passes. Tomorrow is not promised, you are so very right. It is through the support and sharing and riding along on other’s journeys that will give us the strength to get through this.
I wish you a very happy day my sister.
xo

Cindy August 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

Lina, I’m new to this site. But it sounds to me that you’ve tried everything in your past to help save your hair. Medications, Hair treatments (PRP) and most everything worthy of trying. But in the end you decide to shave the hair you worked so hard to hold on to and restore over the yrs. I’m 52 and have just been diagnosed with AGA on 8/14/14. I’ve been losing my hair for the past four and a half years, due to what I thought was hormonal and thyroid issues. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid and prescribed synthroid in Sept. 2013. I was considering Laser therapy or PRP treatments, but after scanning your site for the past 24 hours, I’m really wondering if it’s worth the effort and cost – emotional turmoil? Should I jump ahead and start to wrap my head around the fact that nothing really can be done for AGA and save that money for a trip to Follea and purchase of a gripper? You’ve come so far and experienced so much as documented on this site. It’s been such a wealth of information for someone like me and at my stage of learning. I live in Austin, TX – does anyone out there know of a Dr that specializes in womens hair loss and is compassionate on this issue in our area or surrounding area? I’d truly appreciate the recommendations. I’m at a loss, just devastated and so confused at to which way to turn or what to do next. Thanks for any and all advice or suggestions.

Cindy August 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

I addressed my last email to Lina, but actually thought I was sending it to Y. Sorry about that, I’m interested to hear back from any one at this point. Thanks again!

Lina August 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

Hi Cindy, I cannot tell anyone what is best for them. This is a very personal and difficult road and decision. I do know that Y continues to do PRP so maybe you should just send her a message as she would be able to answer those question. I understand that you are devastated but some people need to try every single thing in order to get their minds to accept and others are like, see ya – you don’t want to play nice – I’m getting some hair. I suffered for many many years. Just know feel free to ask away on this site. The women here are amazing and can share their personal experiences. I wish I had the answer for all of us – me included. Lots of love.

Lauren @ Corner of Hope and Mane October 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Oh my, another beautiful Follea. I can’t think that I’ve ever seen one that is anything less than perfect, honestly! I would like–strike that, LOVE–to travel to CA to visit Follea someday.

I was happy to hear how comfortable the Gripper was for you. The name has always made me wonder.

You look absolutely gorgeous and you and Y make me want to check out Follea more than ever. I’m currently only wearing synthetics but I do miss being able to style my hair like I used to (although, I live in the humid South so it will be nice to switch between the two).

Thank you for your story – I’m bookmarking it because I actually LOVE the style of your hair and may just use it for inspiration someday!

Lauren

Bernadette November 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thanks for sharing your story Lina. I actually have the Follea fitting caps right now! Trying to determine what size. I am also trying to determine what lenght I need. Deciding between 8″ & 12″ in the gripper. I desperately want to be able to wear it in a nice pony tail & I’m not sure the 8″ is long enough. What length is yours?

Ali December 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hi Lina,

Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been bonding for a few years now but I still don’t feel like I look normal or natural. I like being able to swim, workout, sleep, etc. though. I’d LOVE to be able to just take something off my head and feel my scalp so I’ve been considering other options, but I don’t know if I can go through with it. I’m still young-ish (30) and single, so dating and hair is always an odd topic. Can you sleep in your gripper or would you feel like you were damaging it? Can you/do you work out with it on? Can you share your routine with us? Do you take it off at night, etc? How much did it cost?

Thank you for sharing your story! <3

Lina March 12, 2015 at 6:51 am

my apologies – no idea how I missed these last messages?

Lauren, thank you for your lovely comments. Follea hair is very very nice hair – for sure. Shucks – you like the style (I’m blushing).

Bernadette, 12″ is my length, I don’t find it too long at all.

Ali, I understand about all you said, swimming, working out and sleeping. I am very OCD so I have to be able to take my hair off whenever I want or need to, it is in my head but I cannot have anything attached to it – just me.
you can definitely workout and sleep in the wig – but the harder you are on it, the less life expectancy and more repair it will need. I wear a cheaper wig to the gym – always under a buff. I have never slept in my Follea but I have napped in my other wigs.

My routine is wash my head and put on my wig. I wash my wigs myself and to date I mostly air dry them and have done no curling or straightening – I don’t think I know how but I actually want to start.
I take my wigs off every night and to this day still put them on their styro heads. I use no sprays or mousses, just shampoo, conditioner and occasionally some oil on the dry ends.
My gripper was just over $4000 American but I got slapped with the exchange (I live in Canada).

As far as dating? Yeah – hurdle I need to jump over still, sigh…

Susan June 23, 2015 at 6:30 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m contemplating getting a gripper so your story helped a lot. I have had Alopecia Universalis now for 35 years and I have worn just about everything out there. I always get synthetic, and lately lace fronts that I sew elastic into the back of the wig (for a snug fit that doesn’t move), and they’ve been comfortable. So I’m not really sold *completely* yet on human hair.

The deal is I’ve tried human hair on many, many occasions and the problem I always have is they tend to tangle, and then things go horribly, horribly wrong. Humidity behind my neck, boating, etc. will cause a rat’s nest back there. So my question for you is, “How does the Follea hold up?”

I would love an honest review of this in terms of longevity, as it is an investment. I’ve worn RPG show human hair wigs that were okay….but I hated the glue situation. What is the longest you’ve gone without needed to get repairs?

I’d love to hear back from you. When I see stories like yours I am inspired by you younger generation. You look so gorgeous and I would never guess that is a wig. I am surprised at how many people are going through this because growing up I felt all alone. It started for me at age 7, screwed around with me for five years, then eventually progressed to complete body hair loss and now here I am at age 47.

Thanks again for your story!!!

wanda December 23, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Hi Lina. Did you need to shave head for the gripper?
Thank you for sharing.

wanda December 29, 2015 at 7:43 am

Thank all of you ladies for sharing. This can be a lonely journey.
I would like to ask why the decision to use a gripper instead of lace with a wigrip?

wanda December 30, 2015 at 9:08 am

Hi ladies. Thanks so much for sharing your journeys.
I would like to know if the hairline in both gripper follea and follea lace look in the wind or just a breeze. Does it look natural? Are there any mature ladies out there wearing these wigs? I’m 65 and cannot pull off these long wigs. Would love to hear from you ladies. I cannot find any photos on the Internet.
Thank you

Jaime February 23, 2016 at 8:17 am

I wear a gripper wig and worry about the hair line on the sides (forehead to ears) looking unnatural. Any tips? I do not have hair that I can pull through in the sides. Thanks!

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