The Day I Was Kinda Sorta Found Out

If you’ve been a reader of mine for awhile, you know that I’m very much so in the closet about wearing hair in my real, non-blogging life.

(Yes, I know I have a blog. Yes, I know this is the internet. Yes, I know I could be found out at anytime. But, I figure if anyone is searching out “hair loss” or “toppers”, they probably are in the same predicament as I am and likely would not spread the word—lest they expose themselves. At least, this is what I tell myself!)

Absolutely no one knows I wear hair. Not my parents, not my siblings, not my coworkers—no one.

I don’t really care if people find out…I wouldn’t mind their questions. Heck, I bet I’d hear a lot of stories from women who are losing hair themselves (maybe they just haven’t gotten to the point of my hair loss, obviously).

What I don’t want is their pity.

Because of that, I’m not forthcoming about the fact that I wear hair. It’s really not anyone else’s business anyway, is it?

So far, it hasn’t been a concern. No one has looked at me funny. No one has asked if I wear hair.

Ladies, no one has suspected a thing!

Until that one day at the salon.

Ugh.

I haven’t been to the salon in over two years. As most of you know, I cut my own bio hair—no big deal as it acts like a bottom layer to my overall style with my helper hair.

I may not go for my hair, but I do still go to get my eyebrows waxed.

I’d gone a few times while wearing hair, and while it always made me a little edgy to have someone’s hands so close to my hair (and in the early stages, my part line! Now I don’t think twice about it.), I always made it through with nary a story to tell.

Except for the last time.

Usually the girls waxing my eyebrows have their hands on my forehead or on my temples while they do their job. No big deal, right? Seven or eight minutes in the chair and I’m done.

This last girl had her hands all over my damn head, and I was in there for no less than 20 minutes.

I appreciated her thoroughness, I really did. And my brows never looked better. But with every touch of my head, I broke out in a cold sweat.

If you read my post about getting my boudoir photos done, you might recall that I’m fairly open with strangers when I need to be, but this situation was a little trickier because there was a definite language barrier.

It’s pretty easy to explain away when someone understands your language (if you’re willing to explain), but all I could think about was, “What is she thinking?!”

And no matter what language you speak, you know something hard all over someone’s head is a bit out of the ordinary.

After she finished up, she walked me up to the front to pay.

She processed my credit card, and then looked up and me and in broken English asked me if I had something on my head.

What did I do?

I did the same thing I always tell you I do. I looked her right in the eye, gave her a big smile, and told her I was wearing extensions.

I have no idea if she understood, and I don’t care.

I figure as long as I acted like it was completely normal, she’d have no choice but to think it was indeed normal.

Right?

Even though I made it out of there alive, I never went back. I admit, it rattled me a little.

If you like getting your eyebrows done as much as I do and this story has now officially freaked you out, fear not. There are alternatives!

I now get my eyebrows threaded. I highly recommend it for nervous hair-wearers.

If you’re not familiar, the technician (is that what they are called?) uses thread to pull your hair out. It’s a bit more painful, in my opinion, but, THEY USE BOTH HANDS ON THE THREAD, PEOPLE!

Bottom line: this means no crazy hands all over your head.

Crisis averted.

51 thoughts on “The Day I Was Kinda Sorta Found Out”

  1. By contrast… I’m very open about wearing my hair! To each his or her own, but personally, I like setting an example to younger women or even girls. Women and girls are all bombarded with so many crappy messages about how our only value is in our physical appearance, and something like hair loss can be so hard to deal with. I like to give an alternative view to other ladies–you can have fun with something like thinning hair, and even turn it to your advantage. (It takes me so little time to get ready in the morning! And I can change my hair whenever I like!!)

    I also have really nice pieces, so people are invariably surprised when I “come out.” 🙂 It’s fun. I’ve never had anybody give me pity for it–but that could be because I have an attitude of “Isn’t this cool?! Check out my clip-on hair! Look at my bald spot underneath! Can you believe it?” I think it’s all in the way you present it.

    My dermatologist might actually be on to solving the mystery behind my hair loss now, but I kind of don’t want to stop wearing hair. I’ve grown to like it so much.

    I love your blog!! I’ve sent all my friends your way who are struggling with hair issues. Of course, I think the solution for everybody is to just wear an awesome hair-hat. 😀

  2. If you’re brave enough, maybe try doing them yourself to avoid the situation altogether… that’s what I’ve been doing and I will never go back! Got them done one final time to a shape I liked and now I maintain with tweezers and tiny wax strips (just peel n’ stick) from the drugstore. It’s easy to tell what to get rid of because the hairs that grow in are shorter. Not only do I have the best eyebrows I’ve ever had, I don’t worry about awkward situations now.. and I save money 🙂

  3. Lauren — I read this post with great interest because I have eyebrow issues. Mine are light blonde and very thin. I’ve endured more than a few rude lectures from brow “technicians” at pretentious salons. “You really shouldn’t tweeze, etc.” I left one Beverly Hills salon in tears, after being literally browbeaten. You know, the kind of place where they play soothing new age music in the background, then reprimand you like a misbehaving child.

    So glad you made it through your ordeal. I’m like you and never return to salons where stylists make me feel self-conscious about my appearance.

  4. I too was so worried about wearing hair for the first time, but now I laugh about it. When I first started wearing hair people would ask what I had done as I looked so much younger. A few mentioned that they liked my new hair style, but no one ever came out and asked if I was wearing a wig. Now I think it’s funny to see people’s expressions when they comment on my hair and I lift up on the top and say “thanks, you can get the same look yourself very easily.” Being open about it has been very freeing. I know longer worry if anyone knows, I just worry if the color or style looks good on me, just as I did when I had a full head of bio hair when I was younger.

  5. In the African American community everyone gets weaves and it’s totally normal. No one thinks anything of it. I think in the white community there is something shameful about wearing hair, unless it’s extensions. I’m not sure why. Men get made fun of for wearing hairpieces. Wearing a wig is something you should keep hidden unless you have a legit reason like cancer. The whole situation with my hair is totally embarrassing and I’m so afraid of people noticing if/when I start wearing hair. I might be taking the leap and getting a topper soon. I’m nervous I won’t be able to match my curly bio hair and I don’t really want to straighten it, so I don’t know if it’s going to work. I don’t feel ready to wear full wigs even though in some ways it would probably be easier. I also get the pity thing. I feel like if you’re a young woman losing their hair, everyone assumes you’re sick or there is something wrong with you. I started losing my hair noticeably when I was 24. I’m 33 now and I have less hair than most 60 year olds. Thanks PCOS! At least if you’re a man balding, people just assume you lost the genetic lottery, they don’t try to microanalyze your diet and assume you must be doing something wrong to be losing your hair.

  6. I am new to wearing hair. I just started wearing a topper about two months ago. The color and length are a good match to my hair and I wear it pulled back on the sides with barrettes. That works great for me since I wear a phone headset at work. I have only received two comments from my co-workers who said my hair was really getting long (I’ve been growing it out from a short style). I can tell that no one knows my secret.

    I went to my massage therapist on Sunday and decided to tell her since I wanted my head and neck massaged!! She was very professional and didn’t say a word about it. It was no big deal to her, so it was no big deal to me. Now I can relax each month when I see her for my massage.

    It is such a great convenience wearing hair. No bad hair days, no worries if my hair is a tad bit oily, and I save so much time in the morning. I feel youthful again (I’m about to turn 60). I wear Jon Renau Top Notch and it has a smooth, double monofilament top. I just purchased the Jon Renau Top Level which is longer and wavy, which I plan to wear in a claw clip as my bio hair continues to grow.

    I love wearing hair!!

  7. Casey I understand how you must have felt. About 10 years ago I went and got a topper made for me. The hair stylist that worked for the place that made my topper cut it in layers and too short. When I wore it to work, I overheard the girls talking about it. I never wore it again. Finally at 64 I decided to retire. That is the best thing about retirement, getting away from those kind of people. I really want to try to get another topper. This time I will cut it myself like I do with my own hair.
    Lauren I so enjoy your blog. You bring a smile to my face as I read it.

  8. I can completely understand that feeling of “oh God, please don’t touch my hair!”. I wear a hair piece (Noriko Milan which I absolutely LOVE!) and I recently made a major transition that has changed my life. I love to laugh and have a decent sense of humor so o decided that instead of hiding behind my hair I was going to be loud and pride (well, maybe not so loud but proud and confident). I have found that the more nonchalantly open and honest I am ( gotta fake it till you make it), the more incredible feedback I’ve gotten. Literally every person that I told knew someone struggling with hair loss and was able to pass on such encouragement. It was so hard for me to accept my hair loss, but if I can help encourage others…well, it’s almost a blessing.

  9. Hi, I have recently suffered sudden hairloss, like in May, June and July 70% of my hair dropped out. I had already booked a trip to the US for a month ( I’m in Las Vagas now). I bought a wig a couple of weeks before leaving and wore it every day to get used to it. On this part of the trip I am nearly at the end of a guided tour, where I have been with the same 30 odd people every day on a bus.
    Now during the day I have worn a tube scarf and a number of different hats, it was too much to get up real early and very warm in some places for the wig. At night I do wear it but haven’t had much of a reaction from the few who have seen me in the evening ( we don’t eat together). There’s been a few stares and puzzled looks but no one has said anything, until last night!
    We were on a guided walk about and one of the ladies reached up, stroked my hair and said “you really shouldn’t hide your hair it’s so lovely when it down”. I was gobsmacked that she’d touched it, mumbled about early mornings and heat and carried on.
    We part ways tomorrow, thank goodness.

  10. First, thank you so much for your site! You are beautiful, and have offered so much help to us who experience hair loss, temporary or permanent. It was quite rude to ask you if you had “something on your head.” Perhaps it’s cultural, but good business people do not question paying customers, nor do “friends” put their hands on your hair! I began wearing helper hair two years ago after a bout with intense stress, hormone, and thyroid issues. I went to countless doctors and left feeling hopeless. Finally I found a dermatologist and a reproductive endocrinologist who started me on treatment, and I am so thankful for their compassionate help, and that understanding of how emotionally devastating hair loss can be. I pray I can continue to wear my bio hair without a topper often, but to avoid heat styling and breakage, I wear mine to work and important social occasions. To be honest, it takes less time and looks good with much less effort. I don’t want to go too far off topic, but before I found toppers, I purchased two very expensive wigs – far too much hair and looked so unnatural – at least to me. I almost gave up completely, until a nurse helping to care for my stepfather who was on hospice care talked to me. She always wore wigs are weaves, and thoroughly enjoyed them, and also proudly wore her beautiful natural African American hair proudly. She encouraged me not to be ashamed – that it was fun to change your style, and to try to enjoy it. She looked beautiful every single day! Bless her, she basically counseled me through this! We discussed how it was not socially acceptable for Caucasian women to wear hair, while it is accepted and admired in other ethnic groups. I want so badly for us to feel that it’s okay to wear extensions, toppers, whatever we would like to wear or need to wear! An advertisement for a local salon appeared on my FB feed last winter – toppers and hairpieces from a local salon, and the catch phrase was “a push-up bra for your hair!” This lovely and talented stylist wears a topper often because her hair is fine and she doesn’t want to damage it. She has erased so much of the stigma! She will say, “Oops! I forgot to put on on my hair!” and pop her topper in place. She is gorgeous either way. Her business is growing, and I pray it continues and this stigma can be eliminated! These two ladies have been such a blessing to me and countless others. I am so hoping with time the stigma will be eliminated, and everyone can enjoy wearing hair if they need to do so, or simply want to do so! Thank you for your site, and helping to eliminate the feeling of being alone and desperate. Word also needs to get out to physicians that hair loss is emotionally devastating to women, and negatively impacts psychological and emotional well being and causes women to hide in their homes and not enjoy life. I always thank my doctors each time I see them for helping my hair, and helping me to get back my life! I also highly recommend Dr. Geoffrey Redmond’s book concerning hormonal issues and hair loss. Women should be celebrating their options and diverse beauty, not hiding in shame! Please, anyone who is reading, do not lose hope!

  11. I decided to wear my topper to work. My co-worker walked in my office and says “oh my god, are you wearing a wig??” And started laughing. Talk about unnecessary humiliation.

  12. Threading is better all around! Waxing can pull your skin and over time you lose elasticity. I love threading!
    I have had one person call me out on my hair. It made me very angry. I didn’t like it at all when she did it. I kind of wanted to cry and punch her in the face. It was rude of your technician and it’s rude of anyone to point out something like that. Funny enough, I’m a teacher and I was really nervous to debut my hair in front of my students. Not one single kid has said anything! And they stare at me all day every day 🙂 even the ones that had me last year haven’t said anything and I look quite different. I have no idea why, but i’ll take it!

    • Even if you notice someone is wearing a wig, what weirdo would say anything about it? Unless of course it was someone you are really close with, or a little kid that doesn’t know better. That’s just crazy to me. Since my hair loss began, like many other ladies experiencing the problem, I have become obsessed with looking at other women’s hair. I have noticed a lot of wigs, but I never would ask anyone about it. Even if I wasn’t losing my hair.

      • high school spanish 10,11,12th graders. and they are HONEST.
        On the topic of wearing hair down, I was really nervous to wear my hair down lol, and not one person said anything. i prefer it that way!

  13. I first noticed hair loss in my early 30s and 25 years later, I started wearing hair. Now 7 months later, I am happy I took that leap. I was so nervous to wear my topper to work the first day. Several people said they liked my hair cut, or hair color. I am a redhead and it is a little challenging to get a good red in helper hair. I told the first several people that I was wearing helper hair because I felt some ego-driven need to be overly honest. Anyway, I just started saying thank you. I think being my age, 58, does help, because I have already gone through other things with body aging that I was not prepared for…like cellulite…I never had it before menopause – what does it want NOW? What I have come to know about my life, about who I have been, is I don’t appreciate me in my current manifestation. I can look at photos of me 25 years ago and think “Gosh how gorgeous was I?” Okay I was no model, no starlet but I looked pretty wonderful. And what is wonderful NOW is how much more accepting and comfortable I am – in this skin of mine. Something I didn’t gain until my 50s.

    PS. I have actually found threading to be less painful, as well as more satisfactory results. I also have found that the quality of the technician is of utmost importance for a pain free experience.

    Love and Peace, Lauren.

    • It is always funny to look back at old photos, isn’t it? I remember this one pic from high school where I looked at myself and thought that I looked chubby. Of course, fast-forward 15+ years (and 20 pounds!) I think I looked really good.

  14. It’s so funny that this came today. I started wearing my topper this past May and I love it. I have so much more confidence. When I started wearing it, it was an obvious change. My hair had gotten so thin and I had trouble covering the bald spot in the back. So when I started wearing hair, I just told people that asked that I was wearing extensions. Everyone seemed to accept that explanation. I’ve pretty much gotten use to wearing hair and have no problems except for when it comes to getting my bio hair cut. Which I have an appt today to do just that. So I’ve been having anxiety. My hair stylist has a semi private area but still there is a chance that someone else will come in while getting my hair done. I have no idea how to cut my own hair or I would. Oh the challenges of hair loss. It’s so nice getting your blog updates. It’s just a comfort to know that others are struggling with the same things.

  15. I just came back to work after maternity leave and wearing my topper for the first time. I work with a bunch of women and we’re all pretty close and every single of one of them said “your hair is so cute! what did you different?” and one of them even asked if I could give her the number of my salon so she can get the same haircut! I told them I just got bangs (which is true – topper has bangs, I do not). I wore it for the first time in front of family and friends too and no one said anything or noticed. I’m still too chicken to wear my hair down though, so as of right now it’s always in a ponytail.
    Maybe I’ll send you an email with my hair story and share a photo.

  16. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older (64) but I just don’t care who knows. In fact, I believe it might go a long way to bring us hair helper people out of the closet. Make it no big deal, like getting older!
    On a few occasions I believe I’ve helped women to know there’s another option besides suffering in silence with their hair issues. They were excited and asking loads of questions about how they could get their own! In all cases, they were surprised to find out I was wearing a wig.
    I too have gotten the pitying looks (please, it’s not the end of the world) and would be mortified if my wig came off in public, but I’d also be mortified to appear without any make-up. A wig is an important part of my identity, the way I present myself to the world. People know I wear foundation and lipstick. Heck, maybe even a padded bra once in a while.
    Possibly 20-30 years ago I wouldn’t have been so casual about wearing a wig, so I’m not judging. I would still love to see more openness about it. I would love to talk “wigs” with more people.

  17. Lauren… I just want to start by telling you how much I love you and you always bring a smile to my face. But you know that already;). I have my beautiful wig and my beautiful topper all ready sitting in my closest, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. I am trying to make the best of every day I have without wearing hair, but I know it is coming soon. That being said, I can finally say I think I have gotten through the denial and anger stages and am entering the acceptance stage. And you know what, it feels pretty good:). For me, I have dealt best with my hair loss by telling EVERYONE I know that I am going to start wearing hair soon. But I have always been a very open person. But Lauren, I agree with you. I don’t need anyone’s stupid pity. But most of the time, my friends tell me no matter what I will still be the same great person I have always been with or without my bio hair, and that makes me feel good. In the end, while hair loss for women, especially younger women like us (I am 38) sucks, there are SO many things that could be so much worse. So now, instead of always focusing on what I may not be able to do because I have to wear hair (like diving into a pool…well, I never really even liked to swim when I had hair;)), I try to focus on what I CAN still do. I am blessed to still have all my limbs, a great career, two beautiful daughters and a loving husband!! Heck, I have it pretty good, hair or not;). Thanks again Lauren. U really are an amazing person. Xoxox.

    • You’ll get there! It took me over a year to become comfortable with wig wearing. I think you’ve done well to prepare your friends. That will be a very good place to start, and once you’re o.k. with that, you will be able to branch out.

    • Wearing hair is SO incredibly liberating. I can’t tell you how awesome it is not to have to worry about how your hair looks. You will LOVE it when you start wearing hair.
      No, we certainly don’t need pity. We’re not ill or pathetic in any way. it’s something that we deal with and accept and as a result, I would like to think, we are more kind and understanding people. The other thing I’ve come to realize is that we don’t owe anyone an explanation. If I could go back I would tell less people about my new “hair”.
      But on the other hand, those conversations have been good for me, it’s allowed me to be more vulnerable and it has gotten my friends to open up about themselves losing hair or a family member. So who knows? To each his own 🙂

    • Thank you, Courtney! I loved what you had to say about your topper and your wig. (I, too, have a topper that is waiting for me in my closet when I am ready to use her.) Thank you for counting your blessings out loud. You are right… there is so much to be thankful for.

  18. My hair is thinning and I’m tired of dealing with it so I’ve got an appointment to talk about getting a topper tomorrow and I’m having the same feelings – I don’t want anyone to know I’m wearing one! The funny thing is that I see women everyday with fake breasts, nails, eyelashes, on and on and on and I don’t judge or think twice about it. And as you said, it’s completely acceptable to say you have hair extensions because, thanks to Hollywood, everyone knows about those now. So why are we feeling secretive and embarrassed about wearing a topper? I don’t understand but I know I will feel that way, at least initially. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog Lauren!

      • On that note, I was in LA this past weekend and saw two beautiful black women walking with completely bald heads and, they both had nice looking men on their arms. Anything is socially acceptable in LA;)

      • I got my topper on Friday and I’m beyond thrilled with it!! My boyfriend tells me I look 10 years younger and couldn’t stop looking at me. I literally can’t feel it when I’m wearing it. Thank you soooo much Lauren for your blog. You were really my inspiration for doing this and it’s literally life-changing! Wearing it to work for the first time today…

  19. Those moments are definitely sweat inducing! I have had 2 friends (separate instances) ask what I did to my hair, and I told them both I got extensions (so much more socially acceptable for some reason) and they put their hands IN MY HAIR and asked to see them. They are not my bff’s, and I can’t believe they touched my hair. Both times, I kind of took a step back and said they were attached underneath. It was very awkward. With one of them, I explained that my hair was just getting thinner as I got older, and I liked the body that the extensions provided. She went on to tell me that I should just get my thyroid tested, take medication, and I wouldn’t have to wear extensions. Gosh…thanks! Why are people so crazy sometimes? Is there nothing that is private anymore?

  20. I don’t wear toppers (yet) but I do wear bun and ponytail hair pieces and I am just waiting for the day it fall out or droops and I’m caught! I suppose you can’t do anything but laugh if that happens.

Leave a Comment