Hair Loss Journeys – Charlotte Freeman

August is Hair Loss Awareness Month. At A Special Place, we know that hair loss isn’t limited to one month. For some it is a temporary condition, caused by hormones, medication or cancer treatment. For others, it becomes a permanent situation. Hair loss has many causes, and affects each person differently. This month, we would like to highlight the stories of some of our many clients – to learn how hair loss has affected them personally, and how they are coping with this condition.

Our first story belongs to one of our own…A Special Place office manager, Charlotte Freeman.

I was diagnosed with a serious health condition in 2009. Shortly after that, I began to notice hair loss on my arms and legs. Then I lost my eyebrows. The hair on my head began to come out in patches. As you can imagine, this was very distressing…and the doctor’s couldn’t really tell me why it was happening or how long it would last.

I visited a hair stylist who would spend hours styling my remaining hair in such a way to disguise the hair loss. I was spending over $200 a month trying to maintain this look. I really didn’t have the time or money to continue this…so I looked into wigs.

I went online and ordered some inexpensive wigs. Since I couldn’t try them on first, I was very disappointed when they came. They looked very unnatural, not at all like the pictures. So I went to a beauty supply store. They wouldn’t let you try the wigs on either. I bought a wig, and after 1 day of wear, the hair was shedding so badly, I tried to take it back, but they wouldn’t accept it back. Over the next few years, I continued to try wigs – I found several that worked for me.

In 2011, I accepted a front desk at Second to Nature/A Special Place. They specialized in post mastectomy wear and “cranial prostheses” or medical wigs. At first I was skeptical…the wigs seemed expensive and I didn’t think the styles would work for me. I was afraid of trying something different.

My workmates kept encouraging me to try on some different styles in different colors…I had never worn anything other than a 1B (Off Black). Finally, I agreed to try some on. That was a turning point. I discovered I loved color – especially dark auburns! I tried on long styles, bobs and pixie cuts! My first wig from A Special Place was full of bouncy curls. From that day on, I became the Wig Queen!

I now have my own private collection of wigs – from long styles to bobs to pixie cuts, in all different colors. I can match my hair to my mood. Because I change my style so often, my friends all know I wear wigs. They can\’t wait for me to show up at gatherings just so they can see what style I\’m wearing that day. They are almost as excited as I am when I get a new wig!

Having good quality wigs has definitely changed my outlook on hair loss. I still have some hair, but it is patchy and grows at different lengths, so I keep it shaved. Some days I wear a soft hat, like the Flipside Weekender, but most days I wear a wig. I don\’t care who knows I wear a wig – I say, you don\’t have to be embarrassed if it\’s a good wig! When strangers find out I\’m wearing a wig, they are shocked at how natural they look.

If I had any advice to give to someone experiencing hair loss, it would be to keep an open mind. Don’t rule out a style or color until you try it. Make sure you get a good quality wig from someone who knows what they\’re doing. Who knows, you might be able to be as cute as me!

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