Her Secret Hair founder Helen Owens knows firsthand what her clients are feeling from the moment she hears their voices on the phone. She instantly recognizes their sadness, frustration and helplessness as they witness the full head of hair they have come to know as a part of them suddenly begin to fade. For millions of girls and women who are losing hair for any reason – overwhelming stress, cancer, environmental factors, or autoimmune diseases – the hair loss battle is devastating.
Often times friends and family members are the first line of defense in helping their loved ones cope with illness, and they too can sometimes feel helpless in understanding what, if anything, they can do to help. The woman battling hair loss is working hard to survive, but also wants very much to retain her dignity during this difficult time. She is looking for a safe place to share her feelings and her experience.
We can all help during this difficult time by being kind and compassionate: our actions toward those in need are priceless. Here’s 8 simple rules we can all follow to help empower a woman who is losing her hair:
…let her know you are there to support her. We may not be able to take away the suffering our loved one is experiencing, but we can be present and be a shoulder to lean on. Simply listening can do wonders.
…tell her she is beautiful. Often. A woman experiencing hair loss is fighting to hang onto her self-esteem. Keep in mind she is losing what many of us consider a huge part of our femininity. Letting her know she is still loved and cared for can go a long way in helping her retain her personal power.
…be kind. We’ve all witnessed the woman walking by with a bald spot, receding hairline or obvious bad wig. It’s what we say or do right at that moment that makes all the difference. A simple smile, handshake or hug to let her know she is important can change her outlook completely.
…offer help if you are a very close friend or loved one, but do it in privacy. Sometimes we can’t always offer advice, but we can at least keep in mind that someone is in need. If you feel compelled to provide information on her health or appearance, do her a favor: please ensure she’s in a private, safe place.
…touch her hair without permission. Particularly for women who are experiencing hair thinning, even the slightest touch to the follicle can be highly uncomfortable, even painful. Hair loss is typically accompanied by some other condition, and touching her hair puts her in position to have to answer questions of which she may not be comfortable.
…encourage any kind of bullying around hair loss, including staring, pointing fingers, snickering or any other kind of audible commentary. This is a simple practice of remembering the Golden Rule.
…approach to offer help – even if it’s just a small gesture or kind word – in the presence of others. The majority of us have the best intentions, but outing someone’s illness even in the smallest group can be painful. Wait until she is in a safe place, and then let her know she means the world to you!
…ask inappropriate questions. “Is that a wig?” or “are those extensions?” True, people today are much more open about wearing hair extensions or wigs to change-up their look or have some fun with styling, but the woman who is losing her hair is wearing some form of hair prosthesis to help manage a devastating illness. We can be much kinder by simply telling her she looks terrific.
No matter who she is, every woman wants to share with the world her truest vision of herself. Her hair is part of that experience, and we can all make the world a safer place for women suffering from hair loss. Contact us to learn more about how you can be a resource in helping to empower a woman with hair loss. Hair truly changes everything. #30millionstrong