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I have so many women sitting in my chair, and every day I hear them say, “I don’t want to be vain” or “I feel bad that I don’t want to embrace being bald.”

Honestly, I hear this every day. And this applies to all the clients I see who are experiencing hair loss due to both Alopecia and chemotherapy. My answer is that it has become a necessity, not vanity. Please don’t feel bad or succumb to societal pressure to do what Karen down the road did. Just do what feels right for you – for yourself alone. Forget about anyone else. It’s not their journey; it’s 100% yours. Do this for yourself.

I lost my hair at the age of 14 due to Alopecia. I don’t wear wigs to cause a stir, to be different, or to stand out. I wear wigs because I simply want to do my grocery shopping without being stared at, without receiving double takes, whispers, or points (yes, this really happens!). I want to blend in. This makes me feel confident, and for me, it’s my normal.

Amanda suffered from Alopecia as a young teen

I have a small selection of good quality, luxury, natural-looking wigs that I alternate between. They are all in similar shades, lengths, and styles. I also have semi-permanent brows and eyeliner. I like wearing lashes and makeup daily. It makes me feel like myself, simply the version of me that I choose to be.

I admire the “No hair, don’t care” girls who rock it well, as well as the girls who have loads of wigs in every colour, length, and shade (they are my best customers!). But that will never be me, not even at the gym. I’ve tried going bald on holiday a few times, and I hated every second of it. Never again!

To be honest, I would rather be naked than without my hair. I don’t hide behind a wig; I embrace it. Wearing beautiful hair gives me the confidence boost I need. Without it, there’s no chance I would have had the confidence and drive to have the life I have had so far.

When I went to college and then moved away to university, I met lots of new people. At 18, when I moved away, I chose not to share that I have Alopecia. I wanted to go and not be defined as ‘Alopecia Amanda.’ I went and kept it a secret. I’m not saying this was right, but for me, at that time in my life, it was great. Those three years at university helped me process my hair loss and finally grieve for my loss privately. This was just what I needed to find the new, grown-up version of myself.

I couldn’t hide it at home in my small town of Ware. As a teenager, everyone knew because I lost my hair in just two weeks—everything! I had no idea about Alopecia, makeup, medical wigs, or the internet, YouTube, TikTok, and the awesome influencers, advice, and support that exist today. Fourteen-year-old me was so alone and scared. I had been called a freak, laughed at, pointed at, and ignored by people who didn’t know what to say to me.

Fast forward to age 40, I own my Alopecia. I’m part of a great community. I love wigs and makeup so much that I now own my own successful hair loss salon. I have a dream team of caring professionals with the ethos to help as many people as we can every single day through their hair loss, supporting them every step of the way.

I still hug 14-year-old Amanda tightly every day and tell her it’s okay; we’ve got this, kid! I think I always will. There will always be triggers and bad days. But now, I like myself. “Love” is a strong word; maybe if I had a bikini body or had what 21-year-old Amanda was blessed with, it could be love. But the hair loss part, I totally own it. I have it, and I like being myself, which always includes wearing good wigs, having on-point brows, and fresh makeup.

Alopecia will never control me. It’s a very small part of me that I now control and accept.