Hair tips from Kala Bennett. Kala is CBSN’s Outreach Coordinator and a trichster.
Everyone who pulls their hair knows the horrors of finding bald spots, and the sheer terror that flows through your body when you realize “THIS IS GOING TO BE A NIGHTMARE TO HIDE!”
I’ve had trichotillomania for close to 17 years now and have used so many things to hide the damage I do to my hair. The truth is there are a lot of options out there, but unfortunately, as life usually allows, the costs vary wildly, what works for one might not work for another, and sometimes the functionality of these products are just awful.
The age-old, tried and true eyebrow pencil is what many of my friends have been using for years to hide bald spots or to draw the entirety of their eyebrow on. Personally, my eyebrow pulling is unpredictable and isn’t my main area of interest, so the most I end up with is small bald patches, which I easily cover up with a cheap, but effective eyebrow builder by E.L.F. called “eyebrow kit.”
It retails for about $4.00 CDN at Walmart, and you can even order it online and have it shipped to Canada through E.L.F.’s website. Really, any eyebrow pencil is going to do the trick, and it’s all in your ability to draw a great eyebrow. YouTube has a wealth of wonderful brow tutorials, and this includes starting from scratch! Anneka’s Life tutorial is one of the first videos I ever watched and I really enjoyed her candidness. She has alopecia and has been drawing on her eyebrows for years.
On the expensive front, you can always get your eyebrows microbladed on. Microblading is essentially tattooing eyebrows on your face. The pain is minimal (however, it definitely isn’t painless) and the results can last up to 3 years, but more often than not most people feel they need to touch up their brows every other year.
I can’t comment on this experience personally, as I haven’t had the procedure done myself, but I have read many reviews online from folks who have tried this method for their eyebrows and loved it. It all comes down to finding an experienced microblade artist and following their directions for aftercare.
There are many things that can make or break a microblading experience. Everything from the size of needle they use to place the pigmentation, as well as the actual pigmentation colour they use (or the base of the colour), which is why it’s very important to go to a trained microblade artist.
I don’t pull my eyelashes, and times I have, I never have to an extent where you could see the damage. But I do love some pretty awesome people who are without eyelashes. They say that the easiest way to disguise the fact you don’t have eyelashes is to simply wear black eyeliner. A liquid, waterproof one is best. Or, if you’re up to it and won’t take your eye out when applying (this is definitely my issue!), you can wear fake eyelashes.
For years I wore a high ponytail with a fake hair scrunchie (cringe factor x10) to make it look like I had enough hair to pull into a messy bun. But gone are the days where I rely on those, as I’ve gone from wigs to powders to hair systems to hair sprays to just hoping and praying the wind doesn’t blow my comb-over for the world to see. There are many products on the market, but few are made the same or give the same effect. I have tried too many to name, so I’ll list ones I know have been useful to me in my hair journey.
Toppik hair building fibres
There have been times in my life where I probably had more Toppik on my head than I did hair. This fibrous hair building product is great for small spots and thinning. It can be rather expensive if you’re trying to cover a large area and using it every day, but as far as products go, Toppik hair fibre has my vote. You can purchase Toppik products from the company’s Canadian site now, which is great considering shipping and duty of Toppik products before the Canadian site were horrible.
Pros: It really does cover spots fantastically
Cons: ….black dandruff. Everywhere. Wearing light colored clothing became a thing of the past.
Couvre Scalp Concealing Lotion
Pros: This stuff is magical! I loved using this concealer when I had larger areas to cover, and also because it was pretty waterproof, so sweating with it in wasn’t as scary as other products were.
Cons: You’re a hair puller, you can’t help but touch your hair, so get used to having dirty fingernails, because this stuff does come off if you touch your scalp enough. I liked using both these products together to make them last longer. All in all, I don’t miss using them, but they certainly helped me when I needed them.
I relied on wigs for a long time. I hated it from the moment I put it on my head to the day I threw it out. The heaviness, the itching and the heat were just always so much for me. I felt held back by it. I didn’t swim or work out or do anything that would cause too much sweating, the discomfort would overwhelm me.
I look back and am grateful for when I did wear it, because while it was uncomfortable, it did afford me the ease of walking amongst the crowd, blending in. For a while I tried wearing synthetic wigs, bought in your neighbourhood beauty supply store, but struggled with these because they were the ultimate in scratchy, uncomfortable wear. Gradually I saved and bought a wig made with comfort in mind…or at least as comfortable as one can get. I gradually said goodbye to that one too in May of this year in favour of another type of hair system.
These days I wear a hair system from Alexis Hair Experts in Toronto, Canada. The pros? This hair system is incredible. It’s real, it’s soft, and it looks like I grew it myself…but here is the downside. It was very expensive initially, and the upkeep is about $100 CDN every six weeks.
The hair systems start in the range of $1,100 CDN and up. Also, if you plan to wear the hairpiece attached to your scalp with silicone (like I do) they say that the hairpiece has a shorter lifespan of a year. Some might think it isn’t worth it, but the day I put my hairy Yarmulke on, the world changed. I changed.
I look at it this way. I have never been a girl that goes to the salon and pays hundreds of dollars to get her hair done. When I went to Alexis in the spring of this year, it had been at least 16 years since I last stepped foot in a hair salon, so now I consider all the years I saved on haircuts, dying and styling, and figure now I’m paying for it all!
Whatever you do with your hair situation, own it. It’s okay to be a bald chick or a dude without eyebrows. In the end, the hair on your head has no bearing on who you are deep down as a person. Your worth comes from within, and as hard as it is to accept that sometimes we aren’t going to have it easy in the hair department, know that there are options out there for you.
And most likely, people aren’t looking at you like you think they are, I promise.