Living With Alopecia Universalis - Ashley's Success Story | Daniel Alain
Hair loss can be an emotional, and frequently difficult, journey. Losing anything is stressful and frustrating. But losing your hair is a personal and private experience that isn’t often openly discussed. Going through the emotional toll of losing your hair may cause embarrassment and shame, leading to a lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. However, the journey is also different for everyone. Imagine growing up with no recollection of ever having had hair. Imagine embracing your lack of hair, and using it to shape yourself into becoming a more confident, empathetic, and compassionate person. Whatever path you’re on, relying on a tight network of close family and friends who offer their support and love will make the experience easier.
At Daniel Alain, we’ve spent over 20 years supporting people in all stages of hair loss and we’re proud to be part of a vibrant community of women who openly share their stories.
Here, Ashley shares how she’s lived her adult life with total hair loss, alopecia universalis, and how she has always felt able to embrace that part of her. While the people surrounding her have been crucial to her positive outlook, Ashley has nurtured her inner self-confidence by investing time and energy into herself. Reading her story will show that hair loss can be turned into a strength and can lead to amazing friendships and an incredibly content and happy life.
“I’ve learned to love myself just the way I am.”
Finding support through the alopecia community
Ashley was diagnosed with alopecia areata as a child, and it developed into alopecia universalis as she grew. Not having hair is all she’s ever known. Surrounded by a large support network, from her twin brother and family, to a close-knit group of friends, she grew up feeling safe, protected, and free to be herself. “It was normal for me to not have hair. I never felt like I was missing out on anything,” she explains.
Ashley grew up wearing wigs and although she experienced moments of self-pity now and then, she feels as though they were part of the usual adolescent ups and downs that most teenagers experience. Her hair loss didn’t hold her back. As a teen, she played basketball, enjoyed an active and busy social life, and formed solid friendships with genuine people. “Living with alopecia gave me a positive outlook.”
Ashley began attending National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) conferences when she was in elementary school and that is where she met some of her best friends. It was an invaluable experience to attend the kids camp, and, most importantly, meet others who also had alopecia. “It’s a really great experience to be able to see other people like you.” Creating memories fostered a sense of belonging, and through their shared experiences, Ashley felt deeply connected to the friends she made at NAAF. Many of those friendships have endured the test of time and they’re still close 20 years later.
Since her freshman year of high school and throughout college, Ashley became increasingly open about her wigs and hair loss, and attracted people who supported and accepted her along the way. “My [alopecia] just became a part of who I am.”
Her college years were a convenient transition point. Regularly meeting new people and having different roommates every year, allowed Ashley to have conversations, make social media posts, and be open about her alopecia in a way she felt was natural. “Everyone was so nice. They made me feel so comfortable.” Since then, Ashley has always felt able to be honest about her alopecia, surrounding herself with loving friends and advocates, and brushing aside anyone who wasn’t worth her time.
Having worn wigs her whole life, Ashley thought she’d seen them all. That was until she discovered her first Follea wig by Daniel Alain. “I could really tell the difference between what I was wearing and the quality of the Follea wig.”
Making sure a wig stays put all day has, naturally, always been very important to Ashley. “The Follea wigs are extremely secure…I don’t need tape and glue and all that messy stuff to make sure [the wig] isn’t falling off,” she delights. “It’s so easy to take them on and off during the day, it’s easier to style them.”
Ashley has accumulated a large collection of wigs over the years, but she’s noticed that her Follea wig looks and feels more natural than any other wig she had worn before. She finally found a wig she feels confident in.
Today, Ashley continues to be in a place of confidence and is blazing her own path through this hair loss journey. Happily married to her supportive husband she met in college, she enjoys wearing wigs yet remains at ease going out without them. “It’s time for me to explore …and for me, that’s having the confidence to wear different wigs, or to go out bald, and not care what other people think.”
Ashley enjoys switching up her wig style or color to suit her mood or outfit, choosing a wig as others would choose a purse or other accessory. “It’s ok for me to be whoever I want to be, and if one day I’m a redhead, and brunette the next, then that’s what I’m going to do,” she explains, unapologetically.
Ashley’s self-confidence has been further reinforced since becoming a mother. Now a mom to a toddler daughter, Ashley knew her alopecia could be a teaching moment. “I knew that if I exuded confidence…it would be teaching my daughter to accept herself and feel good about herself, regardless of whatever insecurity she may have.”
Throughout her life, Ashley has assembled a supportive and accepting network around her, to whom she gives back in return, a loving exuberance and compassionate kindness. She enjoys sharing her story on her social media in the hopes that she can make other people feel less alone in their hair loss journeys. When asked if she sees herself as an inspiration to others, Ashley modestly deflects and says, “I hope I’m helping to change the stigma around hair loss…but I don’t think about it. I’m living true to myself.”
Alopecia shaped me into the person I am today
From a very young age, Ashley learned to accept her alopecia and it never seemed a big deal to the people around her. She discovered life-long friendships among people she trusted and identified with, and she gained confidence by surrounding herself with an accepting and supportive network of friends and family. Ashley’s outlook on life is positive and compassionate. She feels her hair loss has taught her about being a kind and empathetic person.
We are honored to share stories like Ashley’s and we are proud to have been of assistance in her journey.
Our team of expert consultants has been able to help women like Ashley. If you’re ready to take the first steps in your own hair loss journey, we are ready to guide you with experience, empathy, and support. We are ready to help you take control and we’re eager for you to feel confident and beautiful again. No matter where you are in your stage of hair loss, we are here for you.
If you'd like to continue reading about hair loss success stories, check out more from our real-life customers.