This blog is extracted from the article 'Living with Alopecia' posted on Cloud Nine on February 8 2017.
Alopecia is the general medical term for hair loss and it affects more people in the UK than you might think! How do you as a woman cope with the fact that you’ve lost all of your glorious hair?
Alopecia is a hair loss condition and it has various forms. From small patches to the whole hair, alopecia can turn lives around in many ways. As you know, the hair is a woman’s crown but when are told that you are losing that crown, how do you cope? Vanessa Cowan suffers from Alopecia and we had a little chat with her. Read on to find out how Vanessa coped with this diseased and how she started her own business after being diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis.
Can you discuss your journey with Alopecia with us?
In 2014, I began to notice that my hair was shedding unusually fast whilst washing. Trying to put it to the back of my mind, I came to my next wash and it was worse! Huge handfuls of my long, thick, shiny hair were coming out of my scalp. This of course, was devastating. I couldn't believe that this was happening to me, me a former hairdresser’s model. Over the next few weeks my mood, confidence and outlook was at an all time low. I travelled hundreds of miles weekly to private specialists and trichologists to seek help and treatments. Nothing worked. Within 3 months I had lost all my beautiful hair. Then, one month later, my eyebrows, lashes and body hair. Nothing could have prepared me for how I was going to feel and look. I had lost my femininity, confidence, identity and looks. I sunk to an all time low. But somehow, thinking of my beautiful Mum whom I lost to breast cancer when I was only 21, I found the strength to carry on - putting all my energies into finding the perfect wig. Through all my research I realised that there wasn’t any help or support for me and my quest to find new hair. This is when I decided to create Glamorous Butterfly.
What effects has this had on your confidence as woman?
I had no confidence at all in the early stages of my Alopecia Universalis diagnosis. But slowly it started to come back. Finding that I could adjust my makeup and adopt new skills of applying eyelashes and drawing in my eyebrows. Finding wigs that looked and felt totally natural was a challenge. It was a real trial and error thing and to be honest a costly one! I made many mistakes and with no one to help and guide me it was very challenging. Once I found my way in the world of alternative hair I was hooked and honestly, I never looked better!
Can you explain why you started your business?
I touched on the fact that there was no help or support for me when I was first diagnosed with Alopecia especially locally to me. I decided very early on that I wanted to change this and took the scary but exciting plunge into creating my own business, Glamorous Butterfly. I started by going on many business courses, sitting my Maths GCSE again (and passing, yay!), creating a really solid business plan, finding a great location for a salon and liasing with my local NHS trust to try and obtain an official supplier status. I then went onto train with Trevor Sorbie and his Mynewhair team, Aderans and Trendco and Jon Renau in America. I also managed to secure NHS approved supplier within NCUH and Salford trusts. It's my goal to secure approved supplier within all NHS trusts throughout the UK. Glamorous Butterfly is also an approved Little Princess Trust salon and backed by Macmillan cancer trust.
My main aim and passion is to help, support and instil confidence in anyone going through any form of medical hair loss. By creating custom made, cut, coloured and styled alternative hair I feel I can offer my clients a way forward, light at the end of the tunnel and of course glamour.
When did you discover Cloud Nine?
I first discovered Cloud Nine three years before I lost my hair. My go to heat styling tool was the Wide Iron straighteners which I still use today on my human hair wigs!!!
How does the Cloud Nine products differ from others and why is this beneficial to you?
I really have tried and tested all the leading heat styling tools on the market before and after I lost my hair. Cloud Nine heat styling tools are not only gentle on the hair but the style holds and lasts until the next wash! The temperature settings are a must and another feature I love. As a human hair wig specialist I demand the best for my own and my clients wigs and hair toppers and Cloud nine meets my expectations every single time!!
You can read the original blog post on Cloud Nine here.