My Journey to Wholeness with Hair Loss

I’ve gone on quite a journey with my hair. From having afro hair down to my back in my university days, to several straightening perms, reverting to my natural hair, losing most of it to alopecia after various traumatic events, and eventually shaving off what was left of it.  

Each phase of my hair journey has been closely accompanied by a state of mind of its own. From feeling invincible about my hair, as I could chop it all off and in a few weeks have a full head of hair again, to hopelessly peering in the mirror every morning to see if any hair follicles had resurrected overnight or if any new strand of hair had come up for air!

Hair is a great part of a woman’s identity. As I continue on my hair journey, I seek to understand why women (in general, as I am sure there are a few exceptions) feel incomplete if their hair is not the way they would love it to be.

The confidence a woman exudes (especially for the African woman) when she has just had her hair done, is not the same as when it's not in place. So, when trauma, illness or whatever situation life may throw at one causes the hair to fall off, it is a big deal for the woman.

I have gone from trying to ignore the problem by concealing it with wigs and weaves and hoping it would just sort itself out, to fighting to keep my hair with any product I had researched or was told could help.

When I realised I was losing the fight, I moved on to pleading with my Maker to make it right. From there, I moved on speaking to the hair itself and willing it to live.

I then got to a point of surrender where I shaved the whole patch off. I did have some semblance of looking OK, compared to when I had the tufts of hair in different locations on my head, but it was not my hair as I wanted it. 

After the ‘shave off’, I was not ready to reveal this to the world just yet. I kept a wig on, but surprisingly I noticed I had a slight gait to my step – a confidence probably as a result of the fact that I knew that underneath the wig, my hair was no longer in tufts and patches.

I found this phase very fascinating. My performance at work the first day I shaved my hair off was magical! I suddenly had this drive and confidence to go through all my cases at work with great zeal that I didn’t have the day before. 

And then time for the reveal. I did this very slowly and gently. I started by sharing a picture of myself with my shaved hair with a friend. I got some positive feedback and then felt a bit more comfortable for the full reveal.

Yes, it is nice, it’s a different look, but you find that a part of you still feels you can’t pull the whole look off without large earrings and some red lipstick!   

I would love my kinky afro hair back and yes I have promised my hair that I would love it, nourish it, take care of it, and never again complain that it’s too difficult to comb. But I have also thought, what if my hair never fully grows back the way I want it to? What then? 

Over the years, you hear a product is doing wonders for so and so, you rush to buy it, but it ends up another disappointment. I then think, if I had been putting away all the money I’ve spent on hair growth products all this while, I probably would have paid off all my debt by now! 

I thought it would be worth mentioning here that the global hair restoration services market size was valued at $8,452.5 million in 2018, and is projected to reach $12,119.4 million by 2026.[1] This is the market for just those trying to get their hair back, not those nurturing and maintaining what they already have! 

Somewhere deep inside, I believe what bothered me the most was the fact that I did not seem to have the solution to this problem, not just for myself  but for others too. After all, people come to me for solutions for their skin problems and for natural treatments for their health. I’m supposed to have the answers, or so I thought. Now I have accepted that I don’t have all the answers. 

So where am I now on my hair journey? What have I resorted to as my therapy for my hair now that I have chosen to no longer burden myself with the notion that I must have the answer and solution to everything? 

I have taken to loving my scalp, loving every hair follicle seen and unseen, loving every strand of hair seen and hardly visible. Just like a mother loves the child in her womb that she can’t yet see or even feel, I love on those strands of hair that I know are somewhere there below the layers of the skin on my head. I rub my hands over my head, over the bristles of hair and love on my head. I speak to the bald spots and let them know they are loved and are doing so well. 

It might sound strange but there is live energy in those tiny strands of hair. They respond to your touch, your words, and your love. Love in itself is a Supreme Energy. It’s the Energy of all energies.

And guess what? I am seeing results. I know that this new head of hair that is now becoming will be different from any I’ve ever had. Different because it’s been nurtured not just by natural oils and treatments, it’s been nurtured with the ultimate treatment. Love. 

Finally, and most importantly, the key for me is to love Emma. Love her however she comes, with or without hair, as her identity is not in her hair. Emma is whole with or without hair.


Emma M Emmanuel LLM, the author of Riches in Eden and Nature's Prescriptions, is a solicitor specialising in Human Rights Law, and a Natural Health & Sustainable Skincare Educator. She also works with victims of crime as an adviser and a Restorative Justice Facilitator.

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[1] Dublin, Sept. 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Hair Restoration Services Market by Service Type, Gender, and Service Provider: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019-2026"


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