From Hair Loss to Hair Goals – or how the Wildcat got her mane back!

It can be said for so very many things in life that you “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”- and for me, sadly, this once upon a time included my hair. As a child I had long, thick, and quite frankly unruly hair, and as a teenager I did as most teens do and experimented with several different hair colours. I always looked after my hair though, which is why the shock and stress of suffering hair loss a few years back hit me so hard. So just how did I go from finding handfuls of hair on my pillow to getting my thick mane back?

Photo taken at Dannie and Carrie Hair, Askew Road

As mentioned above, I started experimenting with my hair colour as a teenager, but in my early 20’s settled on blonde – which the colour I’ve had for over 15 years since then. Lightening my hair didn’t cause me a single issue for years and years – and back when I worked a corporate office job I was blow drying it and using hair straighteners several times a week – but again with no lasting damage to my hair. Even during several months in Dubai and my hair being exposed to extreme heat, it remained thick and healthy.

I was also loyal to the same salon in London for many years, which made their permanent damage to my hair back in 2015 even harder to take. To cut a long story short (maybe not the best analogy when talking about hair loss…!) a former hairdressers started to take bleaching my hair way too far. I had a feeling my hair was being damaged and raised this several times, but was reassured that my hair was fine – even when I felt my scalp burning during root retouch treatments. I’d literally have to ask for something to scratch my head with as the bleach was taking effect as the sensation was so uncomfortable, and at the end of colouring sessions when I would tell them I thought my hair was too yellow I’d be told it would “settle down” with a few washes. Which of course it never did.

It was during our first wedding anniversary trip to New York that I knew something really wasn’t right – I was straightening my hair for a night out, but when running the GHDs through my hair, sections of it were breaking or falling out. You can see below how thin my hair was actually getting at the back.

I thought maybe it was something to do with the straighteners, but a couple of weeks later back in London when I attended a fitness event and saw the photos of my tiny, straggly ponytail (which was once full and bouncy) that I knew I had lost a significant amount of hair.

Shortly after that, when washing my hair I noticed handfuls of it were coming out when I rinsed the shampoo, and at that point I knew I had to speak to another hairdresser, so I visited the salon most local to me in a desperate attempt to try and save what was left of my hair. The hairdresser told me she wanted to cry when she saw my hair and that there was no way at all that any of it could be saved and the likelihood was if I left it I would lose even more, so the only option was to cut it all off and start again. My hair had been damaged beyond repair and was effectively dead. A few heartbreaking hours at the salon later and I left with the shortest hair I’ve ever had in my life. Whilst I did grow to like my short bob, it was never what I planned or wanted.

Since the “forced bob” incident at the start of 2016, I vowed to take the best possible care of my hair. Obviously my lifestyle and diet are pretty healthy, but eating a varied diet full of nutrients as well as high protein where possible has most definitely helped with the health of my hair. I have been using Hairburst Shampoo and Conditioners (not sponsored, I have just seen great results from using their products – and they’re vegan!) and probably the biggest contributing factor has been my amazing hairdressers and their commitment to helping me restore and then maintain my healthiest hair possible.

Dannie and Carrie is a local salon to me (situated on Askew Road, Shepherds Bush in West London) – when I first visited they were literally a two minute walk from my old flat – and I’ve been using them ever since. I love the fact it’s an independently owned, genuinely local small business – but I love even more that they really, really care about my hair. Dannie spends so much time with me discussing exactly what I want, what I don’t want, my lifestyle, what I do with my hair, how much time and effort I want to put in…. she genuinely really cares that I get the exact style and colour that will work for me – without any risk of damage whatsoever. For anyone based in West London, I couldn’t recommend this dream team any more highly (and if you enter “LISA10” at checkout when booking online they’ll give you 10% off any service booked – this doesn’t earn me anything, it’s just a little treat for my followers from my favourite salon!) – but if you’re based elsewhere then my biggest piece of advice to anyone doubting that their current hairdresser has their best interests at heart….. find one who does! If you have even a tiny doubt that your hair isn’t in the best condition it should be, that your colour doesn’t suit you, that the haircut you’ve been recommend is too high maintenance for your lifestyle…. then you’re not with the right hairdresser for you! Please don’t make the same mistake I did and didn’t listen to my gut feeling that something wasn’t right – if something doesn’t seem right with your salon that will be because it’s not. Do some research, find a new salon and move on – before it quite literally costs you your hair, just like it did for me.

Three years on, I am happy to say that Dannie and Carrie are still in charge of my locks, and that it’s back to full health – this photo was taken at a wedding last month.

So with a little help from a healthy diet, Hairburst shampoos and my incredible hairdressers Dannie and Carrie, finally my hair story has a happy ending. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this it’s that when it comes to your own hair, truly only you know what’s best – and if you’re being recommend something that doesn’t seem like it would work for you then there’s only one thing to do – quite literally use your head to find someone who will take good care of yours!

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