HAIR & SELF ESTEEM
They say a women’s hair is her crowning glory. For any woman who has had thin hair or hair loss, they will most likely relate to how hard it is on your self-esteem.
Recently I had a hair extension client who had very fine, thin hair. She said she noticed it happened around age 35. The gradual thinning of hair for women is called androgenetic alopecia. Women who have this condition are the reason I became a hair extension artist in the first place. There are a lot of different hair extension methods available, but through almost 20 years of research and having thin hair myself, I found that silicon lined microrings are the safest method and best for women with thin, fine hair. (I also found that they are great for women with thick hair as well, who just want length.)
I got into doing hair extensions because I had thin hair and felt extremely unhappy about it. I am a proactive person. When I have a problem, I try to find ways to make the situation better. When it began for me, I was only 23. Hair extensions for Caucasians were still hard to come by and were not widely accepted or known about in society. Not many people did them. I saw a few dermatologists and tried Rogaine, pills, vitamins, shampoos and serums, and nothing worked. I was told I should join a support group for other women with the problem. That made me sit and cry alone, quite often. At 23, I was afraid my hair would continue to thin and I’d eventually look so bad and feel so bad about myself that I would not be able to handle it. Was it really possible that things could get worse? I cried a lot over this, feeling helpless.
At 23, I began trying out various types of weaves and extensions. I tried almost all of them, for about 10 years. It was a very expensive and long learning process, but it finally led me to using silicon lined microrings for clients, and doing my own extensions with shrinkable heat tubes. I learned to take matters into my own hands and do my own hair extensions, which was both stressful and freeing.
I told my client that because I do my own extensions, the method is not as permanent as what I am able to do on my clients since I also have to remove them on myself with no damage, which isn’t as easy as doing microlinks on a client. She said, “Don’t you have a friend to do them for you?” I told her I’ve been doing them for 17 years and am a control freak at this point! (“If you want it done right, do it yourself” is sort of a way of life for me, wherever I can apply it.) Since the method I use on myself applies and removes using heat, things like daily blow-drying can gradually loosen them. Because of this, I don’t do this method on clients, and I spend at least an hour doing maintenance on my own hair extensions each week. It’s time consuming and I truly wish I had no vanity, so I could stop putting that time in. I told her I probably could have written a novel or two by now.
She had a great insight; one I hadn’t thought about as someone who has been wearing extensions for 25 years. She said, “But think about all the opportunities you would have missed, and all the people you might not have met because without your extensions, you didn’t have self confidence, and that self confidence you get by having hair extensions opens things up to you that wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Sadly, she’s right. When you don’t feel confident or good about yourself, you hold yourself back. Most of us in American society have a sense of vanity, and if we have to do certain things to feel better about ourselves, it’s just a part of life in this society.
I learned how to do hair extensions to solve my own problem, but one of the best parts about it is that I have met other women who have the same struggle, and we understand each other. I can actually help other people because I learned how to help others through my own struggle. (I’ve also made a lot of friends, who were clients.) Having and doing hair extensions actually opened up opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to see when I was that 23 year old girl crying about my problem. I am so grateful that I found a solution to a problem that I have the opportunity to share with others. It is the classic case of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” however that phrase is missing an ending. “When you make lemonade, new friends and opportunities will come your way.”