Monday, January 17, 2022

My New Hair!

 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 vain 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, supplements, essential oils, castor oil, scalp stimulators, 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). Their hairpieces are beautiful and super high-quality and I felt good about this investment that I was making in myself and my well-being. 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 πŸ˜†). 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.

And looking the other way up the street there were historic churches, along with some very fancy stores. Boston is a great mix of the old and the new, the secular and the religious, the historic and the modern.

I took this picture from the front windows of the salon. The church across the street was so picturesque.

Anyway! Enough about Boston and on to the hair! This was me at the second appointment when I got the hair topper. I was waiting while it was getting styled and ready to go to its new home atop my head. 😊

Here I am in the Uber on the way home with my new hair! (Please ignore my silly too-big mask!)

When I got home I played around with it and found that at this point I liked it best with a headband (my go-to classic) and pulled back in a ponytail. It was a good style while I adjusted to having more hair.

This is how it looks on top. Very nice and natural. And very close to my real color too, especially when it lightens up in the summer. 

Because of how it had been blown out that day it was shorter and "flippier" than it's become since. It was cute though.

Here it is on its mannequin head. This is where it rests when it's not on my head. Yeah, she's hotter than me, that hussy. 😜

I blew my phone up with selfies in the weeks (and months) following. I wanted to see what my hair and my sides and front and back looked like and it was fun to experiment and play around with. Even though at first I mostly stuck to headbands and ponytails.

That's my real hair poking out at the bottom and a little along the sides. I like that I can keep my real hair down and it's still visible. All I have to do is clip this onto my hair (there are eight clips around the perimeter) and I'm done in less than ten seconds.

I love having an actual ponytail! It's been a long time since I had enough hair to have one.

Front view with a headband and ponytail. One thing I don't like about it is that the hair can't be pulled straight back since it's attached to a lace cap underneath, so it has to come down on the front sides to cover up the edging from that. So it looks a bit like a Karen cut in the front when I pull the hair back in a ponytail, but just like my genes, there's nothing that can be done about that. It's okay, I still love it!

I got some fall foliage-in-the-background shots too. Yeah, I was obsessed with myself for awhile. πŸ˜‚

This one makes me laugh because I clipped it on with the part too much over to the side, so one side was quite a bit longer than the other. I was still learning! (And still am, three months later!)

My first foray into public with people who knew me was at my church's Halloween party. I bet some people thought it was part of a costume or something. It's kind of funny that I got it and started wearing it the week of Halloween! 

The way the salon had blown it out a few days earlier made for a really nice full ponytail.

Playing around with selfies and my hair down that evening.

The next day (Halloween) I took some pictures with it all the way down. I like how these ones turned out.

But it was back to a headband and ponytail for church and for trick-or-treaters. That was a better way to transition into my new look with the public. At least the public who know me. People who don't know me (which is most people) don't know that I'm wearing a hairpiece clipped into my hair. But even if they did, and even if some of the people who do know me think I look a little fake, like I said before, I really don't care. This is for me, and it makes me happy! And I think it looks and feels natural and good. And that's really all that matters!

Many more selfies to come in future posts. Steel yourself! (For the onslaught of beauty headed your way! πŸ˜†)