There is still a shame and stigma attached to the issue of female hair loss, despite how widespread this condition is. Many affected are often told “it’s just hair”, and it may seem that way when compared to the many physically painful or debilitating health issues that people go through. But female hair loss can have a serious impact on our mental health and self-esteem, due to the silencing shame and stigma that surrounds it – something which doesn’t exist as strongly for male hair loss.
MONPURE London is the first dedicated scalp and hair health brand. Their team of dermatologists and scientists are dedicated to providing results to enhance scalp health and for conditions such as hair loss and thinning. HAIR loves their luxe, high quality products designed to change the way we think about our hair – by focusing on the very foundation of it – the scalp.
HAIR magazine truly loves MONPURE London’s new campaign #ItsNotJustHair, which brings this issue into the spotlight. With the help of five incredible women they hope to be a force for change and encourage others to talk about female hair loss more openly and not feel the need to cover up. Because no one should have to go through female hair loss alone.
HAIR magazine was delighted to meet the women disrupting the hair loss landscape. You too can support this campaign at #ItsNotJustHair
Beth Finlay – Alopecia Areata
When Beth started losing clumps of her hair, she hadn’t even heard of alopecia. After years of documenting her experiences via social media, she now heads up MONPURE London’s upcoming support group for women experiencing any type of hair loss. “It’s so hard to have that hair taken away if you don’t choose for it to go… Hair loss can definitely make you feel less feminine. I always make sure I have earrings and make up on, otherwise people think I’m a boy and you don’t want anyone to think you’re not a woman.”
When Beth’s hair first started falling out, the misconception was that she was stressed. A diagnosis even given to her by medical professionals. It started as an initial small patch on the back of her head, which then progressed. The front of her hair started falling out and Beth lost her eyebrows and lashes, as so many with alopecia do. In 2017 she decided to take matters into her own hands and shave her head. A decision, which at the time, not everyone understood.
People now stop Beth in the street to compliment her style, but she doesn’t always disclose why she shaved it. She now thinks of her hair loss as the best thing to have happened to her, allowing her to show her real self and not ‘hide behind’ anything. Beth says: “Having no hair for me now is just my style and I don’t regret any of it.”
Dominique (Mimi) Drew – Alopecia
As an aspiring actress, Mimi is deeply concerned about the lack of representation of hair loss, particularly for females, across all forms of media. She told Hair, “There’s hardly any representation for hair loss, particularly women in film culture and TV culture. It’s not talked about… It would be amazing to see someone on screen without any hair.”
Mimi first noticed the difference when she was getting ready with friends. Her ‘going out’ routine being very different to those in her circle. Friends would ask if she had a spare mascara or eyebrow pencil, despite having lost both her lashes and eyebrows to the condition. Sometimes she wears wigs on a night out, which even to this day, makes her feel self-conscious, “I think not how will I do my hair tonight, but will anyone notice I’m wearing a wig.”
Rima Theisen – Alopecia Areata
Rima’s hair loss journey has been far from straightforward. She had dealt with Alopecia Areata previously, but had remained hair loss free for two years. After giving birth in 2017, she noticed her hair had started to fall out again, but initially believed that this was postpartum hair loss. Yet, when it did not seem to stop, she realised it was Alopecia Areata and decided to shave her head. This was particularly difficult for her as her hair was a huge part of her identity.
“Before my hair fell out, it was a really big part of who I was. It was my thing on nights out. The focal point of my outfit would be my hair…. I was terrified to get in the shower, as every time I would wash it, chunks would fall out.”
Like many others, Rima found that the medical help she received was inadequate and she felt dismissed by the dermatologist she went to see.
“I remember going to see my dermatologist, she just wrote me a prescription for a wig and went ‘well there you go’,
I felt like no one wanted to know my backstory, or how I felt.”
Christala Fletcher – Alopecia
In her own words, Christala was the ‘Houdini of hair’. Her hairloss started with small coin size patches of hair falling out, which became worse in secondary school. She would try to hide it with different hairstyles, but when she fell ill at 17 and 95% of her hair fell out, she took the brave decision to shave the remainder off. This impacted not only her self confidence, but her relationships and identity too.
“Every Sunday evening in our house we used to have a tradition where our mum used to get our hair ready for school the following week. I missed that connection so much. I think I’m pretty, but I don’t feel pretty, because the media is telling me that I’m not pretty because I don’t have this one thing. And if you don’t have that, you feel like you don’t fit in… You have to be careful about what you’re consuming.”
Harriet (Hattie) Gilford – Tricholtillomania
Hattie suffers from a condition called trichotillomania, also known as trich, which is a condition where you can’t resist the urge to pull out your own hair. Despite having this condition for 18 years, she has never received the help that she needed from medical experts, in part due to a lack of understanding about the condition.
“The most outrageous thing I’ve been told is ‘to just stop’. I’ve been told this by many people and doctors too. Which could seem like a very obvious solution to somebody, but trichotillomania is an uncontrollable urge, you just can’t stop.”
Monpure London products are available www.monpure.com