I’ve been a proud baldie since shaving my head in 2018. But this pride comes and goes, if I’m honest. There are days when I’m happy to rock my dome out – and others when I’d rather wrap up my mostly bald head.
For those days, I turn to my trusty headscarves. A collection I’ve been adding to over the years – and ever since finding my dream materials and colours in my adopted hometown of Hoi An, Vietnam, I’ve started selling them, too!
But why do I love wearing headscarves for hair loss? Here’s 13 reasons why – some of them might be unusual but my scarves have proved useful in unexpected ways!
If you’ve read my post about colour therapy, you’ll know how much joy I get from bright things. And by owning a headscarf in pretty much every shade, I get to choose my mood that day! Muted and sombre or peppy and energetic, what I wear on my head says a lot about how I’m feeling. (It’s usually pretty optimistic; hence my love of yellow!) I like complementing colourful outfits with a bold, block headscarf. But if my clothes are on the tame side, I’ll go for a patterned, more ‘out-there’ scarf…just to get that dash of colour in!
Because there are many, many times when I can’t be dealing with the stares, comments and occasional laughter my bald head generates. In Vietnam, people are fairly direct – so when I do unleash my head, I’ve to prepare for being asked: a) why am I “doing this to myself”, b) whether I’m sick or c) if I’m in some kind of cult. (Questions all fired at me while I tried to unobtrusively go about my business – tough to do with a shiny patchy noggin, I’ve found!) Covering up helps me dodge these questions when I’m not in the mood. Phew.
Wearing headscarves doesn’t mean I can fly completely under the radar. I still attract attention – but luckily, it’s the good kind! I get compliments about my headscarves all the time; whether it’s about their colour, pattern or the style I’ve tied them in, people can’t resist remarking on them. (Sometimes they can’t resist a follow-up question about my religion, or the state of my health, but not that often). Their approval shouldn’t matter to me but I must admit – when I’m feeling self-conscious, it’s nice to have people believe my headscarves are a style choice…and that it works.
A bald head can be the ultimate fashion accessory. Because it’s pretty special – like it’s rare you’ll bump into another person at the party with the same style! But I also love having the option to wear headscarves instead, and to have a variety of colours, styles and materials available. If the occasion is fancy, I’ll go for a dramatic, Princess Lea knotted look. If it’s more casual, I’ll go floaty floral and boho. So rather than being frustrated with my alopecia, I can be glad of this extra accessory!
This ties into getting ready for the above occasions, but also applies to your daily life. I used to spend AGES sticking hair pieces onto my bald spots, curling my wig or trying to disguise my patches with hair clips and concealer sprays. At one point, preparing my wig was adding an hour to my get-ready-for-work routine! Nowadays, I can throw on a headscarf in between 5 or 50 seconds, depending on which style I’ve chosen. It’s amazing how much time, energy and stress I’ve saved myself in the process. Time that’s become even more precious since having my daughter!
Life in Vietnam gets hot. Like, eyeball-meltingly hot. And if I want to go outside before 4pm, which is nice to do, I need to cover up my vulnerable scalp skin. Of course, there’s sunscreen – but that runs into my eyes and anyway, I don’t want to be the girl rubbing lotion onto her bald noggin at a roadside cafe while passing motorcyclists get whiplash at the spectacle. My headscarf acts as a handy sun shield that still fits snugly under my own motorbike helmet. I’ve also worn my scarves while swimming in the sea, or covering my shoulders when I need a light, breathable layer. Versatile? You betcha.
Because, as Mr Alopecia is so fond of pointing out, I tend to get myself in all kinds of mishaps. Things are forever dropping on my head – not just bird poo, but less common things. Like the time a seagull dropped a fish on my head while I was sunbathing. Or when a gecko did its business while I was breastfeeding in the safety of my living room. (That time, at least, I was wearing my headscarf!) With a poor peripheral vision, too, I tend to walk into a lot of branches, door frames and sticky-outy objects. My headscarf provides a thin, but still valuable, layer of protection.
My headscarves aren’t just handy for the heat – they keep my head snug in colder weather, too. Many a winter’s night in Ireland, a breeze to my bald spots would send my teeth chattering. And wearing a woolly hat just caused a conundrum of not knowing what to do when I reached my destination – should I sit sweating in the pub all night, refusing to take it off? My headscarves provided an easy solution: protecting me against wind and rain on the journey, then adding a stylish choice to my outfit at my destination. (Psst…bamboo is great for temperate climates but for really chilly weather, check out my stretchy jersey cotton material!)
Sometimes I consider myself lucky to have so little hair. Because I was never a Girl Who Styled Her Hair to begin with! I couldn’t use curling tongs without inflicting third-degree burns on my ears and my attempts at an updo would look like I’d been dragged through every kind of shrubbery every which way. You know how some people are just gifted at styling hair, applying smokey-eyed make-up, things like that? I’m not one of those people; I wish I was. But I DID manage to work out an easy way to tie my headscarves…without tying myself up in knots with the stress of getting ready. Yay!
I remember reading, in a parenting book, that the only early toys your child needs are a) your face b) a cardboard box and c) a silk scarf. Still, I had no idea how much joy my daughter Sunny would get from my headscarves – they’ve turned out to be her favourite toy! Whether I run one down her face, dangle it just out of reach for her to swipe at like a little cat or throw a bunch on her playmat for her to chew on (always watching, of course, in case she wraps herself up just a little too much), she can’t get enough of them. Her current colours of choice are blue, red…and yellow, of course10
Another way my headscarves helped my journey into motherhood was as a curtain for breastfeeding. As Sunny grew up, I got used to feeding in public, and had no problem in whipping my boob out – if people got weird about it, that was their problem! But in the early days, I was more self-conscious. So if I’d forgotten a muslin swaddle, or wanted something even lighter, a bamboo headscarf was handy for popping over my shoulder as a shield while I fed. It doubled up as a burp cloth, too – and luckily, could be machine-washed in case of stains!
I’m a part-time yoga teacher and during the pandemic, began teaching online. While preparing one of my classes, I realised I didn’t have any straps at home – so I used a headscarf in place and it did the trick for the shoulder opener I needed! When I began my in-person classes again, I gave students a headscarf they could place over their eyes for the relaxation part at the end, called Savasana. I washed the scarves, added a couple of drops of lavender essential oil and was surprised at finding yet another valuable use for my headscarves!
For bondage. Need I say more?! Anyway, whether you’ve got bedposts or just your hands, these scarves are pretty versatile…and as flexible as you’d like them to be! Luckily, the material is super-soft so you’ll keep any, ahem, side effects to a minimum. But maybe choose a muted colour for this one – now is not the time for distracting yourself with an influx of colour therapy! Y’all are grown adults. You know what to do. Stay safe, have fun. These warnings are brought to you by Lady Alopecia. Xxx
My headscarves have become a source of comfort, colour and confidence during the times when I’ve been feeling especially low about my hair loss. They’ve made my days that much brighter, lighter and yes, happier – so when I began selling them, I couldn’t think of a better name than Happy Headscarves!
Read more about their origin story here or, if you’d like me to stop waffling so you can start shopping, check out my full collection of Happy Headscarves. Enjoy!
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!