To shave or not to shave? That is the question! by Kerry

The answer to this question would be so much easier if we all looked like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta – beautiful and angular, the focus shifted solely to our well-balanced and perfectly proportioned facial features. Plus, she still has hair – only a quarter inch long, but it is still obviously more hair than I have had since age 12. Oh, and did I forget her perfectly shaped skull? That’s right – no obvious lumps or odd knobs or lines. I have this odd crease in the back of my head – it kind of looks like a smile where no hair grows. But still I shave my head and I love it.

I didn’t shave my head when I first started wearing wigs – I liked what little hair I had and went au naturel when working out, so every 6 to 8 weeks I was still making trips to the stylist for a trim. I continued to suffer in silence as they asked me if I had tried this product or that to make my hair grow, look thicker, to try and make it look like… more. None of those things worked and I had been trying them my whole life.

Just cut my darn hair already.

Then I went to my usual place and my usual stylist wasn’t there – it was a new lady I hadn’t seen before. I explained what I wanted – I had no hair and that was OK because I was now wearing wigs, but I wanted to keep my hair short and neat because I still exercised without a wig. She seemed to understand. It felt short when it was all done, but I was late and really didn’t care to look at how little hair I had in the salon, so I left. I went to my class at the gym and my best friend noticed my haircut. And then she noticed how short it was. And then she noticed the line that looks like a smile in the back of my head – there for everyone to see. Technically this was the first time I had my head shaved – exposing this weird feature for the world to see. After that, I started wearing wigs everywhere – including to the gym

I bought my first pair of clippers a few weeks later and took the real leap, neatly shaving my head using a guard in the privacy of my own bathroom. I took a picture of myself when I first did it – I do not look happy because I wasn’t. It was still a hard thing to do, despite already resolving to wearing wigs for the rest of my life. This was the final step – this was true acceptance that I have no hair.

It was hard looking in the mirror – I felt like I had chopped off what little of my femininity was left. I had given up on hope. This was the last bit of grief for my hair I had left. Luckily the feeling only lasted a little while. Then the freedom set in. I would never sit in another stylist’s chair, waiting for them to try and pitch some hair growth product that was never going to work. If I didn’t want someone to see me without hair – it was going to be out of my choice only and not out of need. I wasn’t going to have crazy bedhead when I woke up because I no longer had hair. I didn’t have to take my wig off and see my sparse hair plastered to my head looking gross and awful. I kind of liked this!

Shaving my head is quick, clean, easy to care for, and it feels good. My biohair doesn’t pop out from under my wig. My wigs are easy to put on. I don’t have to do my hair – no blow drying, no dyeing, the only reason I still use shampoo is because it doesn’t dry out my scalp. And in the winter, I can lotion my whole head – it feels amazing!

I think that whether you shave your head or not is a completely personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer. But here is what I think:

Pros
• It is cooler in the summer
• My wigs stay cleaner – with less oily hair underneath
• It is easier to put my wigs on, no biohair to tuck
• I don’t ever have to go to a stylist to get my hair cut again
• It is economical
• I (feel like I) look kind of bad-a** (lol) without my wig

Cons
• It is colder in the winter
• It can be an adjustment – it can be kind of sad to let go of the hair you still have
• There is no biohair to pull out to blend the edges of your wig – or if you do grow sideburns you kind of look funny without a wig – shaved head and sideburns
• If I want to grow my hair out again to switch to toppers it is going to take forever

Oh! And I highly recommend NOT shaving your head down to the skin. Like everywhere else on your body your skin has to get used to it (think razor burn and bumpy skin – on your head) and if the skin is not perfectly smooth, nicks and cuts are possible (OUCH!). Plus, it requires more upkeep. I shave my head with clippers every month or so, but shaving it all the way down is a weekly thing. Just things to consider. So if you are ready to shave your head- go for it! Be prepared for the little bit of wistfulness or full on grief you may feel once you look at that reflection. Or maybe you will rock it like Natalie Portman from the beginning, but either way you will get to a point of freedom that I think you will love.


You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.

12 Comments

  1. Darla
    June 20, 2018 / 4:25 pm

    I loved this, thank you!!

    • Kerry - General Manager
      June 25, 2018 / 11:34 pm

      You are so welcome, Darla! Thanks for reading!

  2. Trish Guarnieri
    June 20, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    Kerry, this is AWESOME! You really nailed all of the points. I do like to use a razor (specifically the Gillette Fusion5 ProShield Men’s Razor; it pivots in every direction…along with Gillette Satin Care Women’s Shave Gel, Ultra Sensitive), but I have that smooth head/skin you mentioned and I am LAZY. It lets me do it quickly in the shower or at the sink. I slap on a little jojoba oil afterward and I’m good to go! It’s not for everyone, as you mentioned, and I have nicked my ear! That aside, I love being bald. My hair loss is from my follicles being burned by perms in the 80’s. It’s blotchy and spotty. I love being bald and having everything “even.” Thank you for a wonderful article! You are a bad-a** in every fabulous way!

    • Kerry - General Manager
      June 25, 2018 / 11:35 pm

      That’s awesome – and good product recommendations in there, too! Thanks, Trish – from one bad-a** to another 😉

  3. Danielle
    June 20, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    I buzz too. Once I committed to wearing hair full time, I took the leap. If I ever have to be seen without my hair in a medical setting or in public by accident, I want a uniform look. My sparse, crinkly hair ages me and makes me look like an old man. I don’t want to look at it again. The only con is not having biohair to pull out and disguise the harsh edges around the ear tabs. I will live with it. It amazes me how little hairdressers know about the different forms of alopecia. Most are uninformed. It really started to grate on my nerves when they suggested this vitamin or that shampoo. Biotin isn’t going to grow my lost hair! I am grateful that I can buzz in the privacy of my own home now.

    • Kerry - General Manager
      June 25, 2018 / 11:37 pm

      I’m with you Danielle – you would think a person with a career in hair would know better! It seems that it is specialized and they don’t seem to bother, though. Pretty sad, if you ask me. I don’t want to look at my sparse hair again, either- shaving just looks so much better to me. Rock on, Danielle!

  4. Beverly A Helbig
    June 21, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    How do you stand wearing hair to the gym? That’s the only downside to this that I can think of. I sweat. Badly. Especially my head and that’s without a wig. I would love to shave my thin, limp, sparse, hair off too but I don’t think I could withstand to work out with a wig on and I already have a lumpy head so working out au natural would not be feasible for me. I think your shaved head looks great and if I looked that good I would totally not wear a wig to work out in. I would love to skip the hairdresser too. I’m happy for you!

    • Kerry - General Manager
      June 25, 2018 / 11:41 pm

      I sweat, oh I sweat – I don’t know what else to say other than I am used to it. I kickbox in my wigs – I do burpees and I jog, I do HIIT training – so yeah, sweaty and gross but I just take it off in the car and let me head air dry. It is pretty great. I wear a cotton wig liner underneath and soak them through, but they do keep the sweat from just running down into my face. And my workout wigs are just that – I have either a cheap pixie cut or a longer beat up wig that I tie up and wear a headband with for working out only. I’ve thought about just going with my shaved head…and maybe I will at some point, but for now I wear the wig. If I ever do I will be sure and write about it, though!

  5. Miss Becky
    September 16, 2018 / 2:03 am

    Hello All! My hair loss began 4 years ago. I am a cancer survivor and that plus age/stress related issues caused my hair to completely fallout to way back behind my ears. That coupled with a receding front hairline made it impossible to wear toppers or “pull-through” pieces. After visiting a little
    Wig shop for a solution, the clerk recommended a full wig to me. WHAT??? After much soul searching and combing, blow drying with products, etc., etc. I realized she was right in her recommendation. The journey began. After wearing wigs for a year while using scalp and hair products to enhance hair growth and actually thinking I was achieving progress, I started unveiling my biohair again. Thought I was doing pretty good until I saw a picture of myself at a dinner function…good grief! My scalp was so beautiful and shinny…NEW SKIN! That did it! I began exploring more wig styles and colors and soon decided to buzz my biohair. It was always so depressing to see my skimpy hair. The first time I buzzed it, I looked at myself in the mirror and the biggest grin began to appear across my face! HaHa! I LOVED it!! NEVER will I ever regret that day! I completely enjoy having fantastic hair days every single hour and day of the week! Rock on to all my sisters just beginning their journey! Have fun with it and embrace your beauty…looks. Eyond the hair! You got this!!

    • Gina
      Author
      September 16, 2018 / 6:46 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story with us Miss Becky! Taking that chance after hearing the full wig recommendation must have been hard! Embracing yourself and trying something new is never easy. Hearing more and more stories like this helps though and gives each new potential wig wear a little bit more confidence. Thank you for that!

      Here’s to beyond the hair! Cheers!

  6. jen
    September 18, 2018 / 11:50 pm

    Interesting hearing all these stories from people like me! I never figured out what caused my hair to fall out — had big wt loss, stress, extensions, etc. over the years. but finally after falls for awhile, started wearing whole wigs. But for me, I could never imagine being without hair at all. I have..I dunno, 1/2 in? It looks like between a very VERY short pixie and a buzz cut — it would be straggly in places, just as you said, but I take out the ol’ scissors and cut of those weird-looking, exclamation-point hairs and longer pieces so it stays even. Can’t go without wigs, tho’, as you can see right through the hair on the sides — and I also have that “smile” going vertically on the back of my head, too — where there’s no hair!

    Anyway, it’s a whole new subculture when you start reading people like you guys. I like the wigs, as I always had baby-fine hair that didn’t grow right, and now I have 14 different looks — from bobs to shags to long and glam or 60’s-looking. Getting ready to buy JUST one more…(hehe)..figure I’ll stop at an even 15.

    Only problems I’ve had are with very fine wigs that have little pieces that stick up — most you can cut, but I’ve had to toss new wigs that were so shaggy they could not be fixed — and “sandy” or “brownish-blonds” getting here, and they turn out to be bright, sunshiny, lemon yellow, Farrah-Fawcett-blond — no way with my dark eyes.

    Good to read the positive stories.

    • Gina
      Author
      September 19, 2018 / 2:03 pm

      Hi there Jen! Thank you for commenting on Kerry’s post!

      Positive stories are the best, but my heart broke a little with your mention of having to toss new wigs! 🙁 I’m sorry you had to experience that. I believe you are talking about the flyaways. Washing your wig or spray it with water can generally help force those pesky flyaways into submission.

      Oh and don’t forget, before tossing a wig, consider keeping them around for practicing customizing or altering. 🙂 It’s fun playing with hair you don’t have stress about forever ruining, lol!

      Have a lovely day Jen!

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