In October I fulfilled a lifelong dream and got new hair. And when I say "lifelong," I do mean lifelong. And when I say "new hair," I do mean new hair! I'll explain. I've been cursed with super-thin hair my whole life. It's a genetic thing and there's nothing I can do to change that since it's genetic. It may sound silly or like a first world problem, but those who have suffered from hair problems can relate to the sadness and self-consciousness that it can cause in your life. "Hair despair" has been a very real thing for me for much of my life. Hair is supposed to be a woman's crowning glory, right? It's something that's so visible and noticeable and identity-defining, which makes it even harder to accept that no matter what you do or how much money you spend, you can't really fundamentally change your hair type. You just can't. Trust me, I've tried. I've done everything with it that I could--highlights, different haircuts, a wide variety of shampoos and different styling products, extensions, and even a few wigs that I bought online over the years (none of which ever came close to being a feasible solution). I even looked into hair transplants if you can believe it (an even less feasible solution!).
And my hair problems have only been getting worse as I grow older. My hair won't grow past a certain length anymore, and it's thinning out even more and getting more stringy and stiff. And horror of horrors, my hairline is starting to recede in the front. It's turning into old lady hair, and I'm only 41! And with the stress of my divorce and related trauma last year, I lost a lot of hair--it was coming out in clumps in the shower, which is particularly devastating when you don't have a lot of hair to lose in the first place. I had to do something.
Google-searching came to the rescue. One evening I came across a salon in Boston called The Salon at 10 Newbury that specializes in wigs, hair toppers, and other hairpieces for women with hair problems like mine, as well as more serious problems like alopecia and hair loss from chemotherapy. I didn't want to get a wig but I was intrigued by the idea of a hair topper, which clips into your hair and blends in with it. I had heard good things about these, but they're hard to find. So I definitely wanted to go to this salon and see what they could do for me, even though it would mean trekking into Boston to do it (I ended up using Uber because I'm a wimp at driving in cities). The salon looked really nice and it had great reviews and had been in the news and in business for years, and it was in a very upscale part of Boston. I was sold, and I made an appointment.
Making that appointment has turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done for myself. My consultation was with the owner and she was understanding and sympathetic to my plight and she found a hairpiece that matched my simple style and my natural blond color. I could have gone with longer wavy or curly locks but that's not me. I wanted something that would look more natural where I'd still look like me, just with slightly longer, thicker hair. Fortunately they had just the piece for me, and it was in stock (otherwise it could have taken months to come in due to manufacturing and shipping delays). I returned the following week after they'd cut it and sewed it and gotten it ready for me. They taught me how to put it on and take it off and how to use it (no sleeping or swimming in it, no dry shampoo, etc.). When they first put it on me it had been blown out and styled and was a little too much of a difference from my usual look, so I felt a little overwhelmed by it, but in the hours that followed as I smoothed it down and pulled it back into a ponytail and played around with it, I became more and more comfortable with it.
It took some getting used to for my kids as well. I was hoping it wouldn't be that noticeable but people who know me could definitely tell there was something different about my hair as soon as they saw me. That made me feel self-conscious but not enough to not wear it, and once people get used to it they don't really seem to think about it anymore. The kids teased me at first but now they don't think twice about it. And even if they or anyone else thinks it looks weird or funny or fake, I honestly don't really care what anyone thinks about it. I'm doing this for me, and for me alone. It's not a mid-life crisis sort of a thing. I would have done this years, even decades, ago if I'd found a solution like this then. It's not a response to my divorce or to try to get a man (or scare one away 😆). It's purely for me and for how I want my hair to be. I can now, finally, be happy with my hair. And it is my hair--it may not grow from my head, but it's 100% human hair (and it had the price tag to prove it) and I paid for it, so it's mine. And I love it. I wear it most days, although if I'm just going to be home all day I give it a rest and go au naturel with my own actual hair.
I returned to the salon a third time a few weeks after I got the topper and they taught me how to wash it (every two weeks) and style it and care for it. I can always go back if I have a problem or if I want a special hairstyle for a wedding or something like that. I'm still getting used to it and it doesn't always behave the way I want it to, especially the first few days after I wash it when it's super silky and kind of disobedient, but overall, I love it. I love it for me, for the confidence it gives me, and for the head of hair that it gives me. I love that it's so comfortable and that I often forget that I'm wearing it. I fully believe that someday when I'm resurrected I will have a great natural head of beautiful hair. But until that happens, I've got my wonderful hair topper, and I will wear it with confidence and happiness. I'll wear it for me, and for me alone. Because I'm worth it!
These are views from Newbury Street in Boston as I waited outside the salon for my Uber to pick me up after my first consultation appointment. It was right near Boston Common--that's what those trees are at the end.