You are not Alone!
Our purpose is to be the voice of those suffering in silence with Alopecia and/or Hair Loss and help everyone around them so they can understand they are not alone. We offer workshops in accessory techniques, makeup application classes and image consulting sessions for individuals and groups.
Our mission is to Empower, Support and Encourage anyone living with Alopecia and/or Hair Loss.
Alopecia Areata -is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your hair follicle and hair loss occurs usually involving the scalp, and at times every hair on your body.
All Coaching Workshop sessions are offered one on one
or in groups and can also be scheduled privately
Another FREE Image and Accessorizing Workshop coming October 20, 2018 in partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation. We are offering a day of beauty to rejuvenate a new you.
Register now at Image and Accessorizing
FREE Open to Everyone.
Their own words . . .
Jamie is an Alopecia support advocate in Seattle and she has a heart of pure gold. Her care and concern for my daughter filled my heart. Jamie expressed to me that my strength as a mother has helped build Taylor's strength she has today
I had the greatest opportunity to collaborate with Jamie Elmore and Adrina Gipson on a photo shoot, embracing Alopecia Areata. I chose to define my true natural beauty by shaving my head bald. This act was in reverence of embracing my condition of Alopecia Areata.
I am so glad to have met the wonderful Jamie Elmore, and I hope maybe someday I might follow in her footsteps in taking charge in finding and helping those with Alopecia. What I had only expected to be a little get-together ended up being an incredible life experience
Our vision is to help others who are suffering from Alopecia and Hair Loss.
In-House Make-up Artist
Research and Development
From those who are suffering from hair loss and those around them
After a great tragedy occured in her life, Brandy was diagnosed with stress-induced Alopecia. She has been dealing with the consequences of hair loss the past seven years. It has been a great struggle to come to terms with her condition. She shares her story very transparently, identifying with those who are in the same journey.
My journey with Alopecia started 7 years ago, when my single worse nightmare became a reality. I lost my 15-year-old daughter to Rett Syndrome. After her passing, I started to lose my hair. I tried everything. Finally, a doctor diagnosed me with stress-induced Alopecia.
The thinner my hair became, the more anxious I became. It didn’t help that I worked in the beauty industry; I used to tint my hair with powder and that thinned my hair. I was exhausted from the stress of losing my hair and explaining my condition to everyone, including strangers. People would stop me and ask if I was going through chemotherapy. When I told them that I wasn’t, there were more questions. It was a struggle, because I didn't want to share the loss of my daughter to strangers. Occasionally, I would end up doing so, when some refused to stop asking about my condition.
I had a mentor who was very supportive and finally talked me into getting a wig. It broke my heart walking into a salon that carried wigs. I was in tears as I told my hair loss story to the stylist. We decided on a short pixie cut. I had no idea how much wigs cost, so when he told me it would cost $1,500, I felt panicked. Thankfully, he agreed to take payments on it so that I could have it for my birthday. The wig equaled a down payment for a car, and this was not how I wanted to spend that money! Nevertheless, I bought the wig as a gift to myself on my 40th birthday. Since then, I have switched to synthetic wigs that cost around $150.
The anxiety of being a woman that had to wear wigs prevented me from many life experiences. All my friends went to do hot yoga together, but I stopped going. I also stopped swimming; instead, I would just sit and watch. I avoided any situation that could cause problems for me wearing a wig. I even refused to ride in my friend’s convertible when the top was down.
Worst of all, I stayed in an unhealthy unloving relationship in fear that no one else would find me attractive.
My boyfriend at the time stopped sleeping in bed with me and for the last year of our relationship, we were not at all intimate. I came to terms with the belief that I would grow old alone and broke up with my boyfriend. It is better to be happy and alone than unhappy while in a relationship.
The struggle continues. I had stopped looking at my hair at all; I am always avoiding mirrors. One time, two of my close friends came over to my apartment while I had my wig off, and they both noticed that my hair was growing back! When I looked in the mirror, I was shocked to find it thicker. Now, I am able to live without a wig. My tinted hair powder masks just how thin it is. However, I still have the constant feeling of anxiety that I would lose my hair again, and this prevents me from being excited of how much has come back. This is where I am in my journey.
The salon was adorable and the event was set up with great care and effort, and looked outstanding. I again brought my lovely grandmother with me who still gushes about how wonderful the event was. Many of the women there were professionals, and probably what was greatest of all about that was the fact that they were all willing to add their expertise to the workshop out of their own kindness. Everyone there, whether or not they were directly affected by hair loss, was connected in a deep way which I can only describe as pure compassion. It was a feeling in the space that only grew stronger as more people arrived and introduced themselves. As a person who has struggled her entire life to navigate living with Alopecia Areata, I found something I needed here, and it was support and understanding.
While I was at the salon workshop I did something I never do: I pushed back my hair back in a relaxed and carefree way, exposing several of my bald spots. For one of the few moments of my life, I felt proud of showing my hair loss and the random patterns of which it manifests on my scalp. Every day I style my hair with an impenetrable layer of hairspray, but in this moment where I mussed my hair, it felt like I took down a wall of steel.
The makeup artistry by Jessica was phenominal. I was so flustered by all the attention I was getting from wearing Jessica's ombre style lip painting, yet I couldn't stop admiring it, myself! She had plenty of recommendations and tips that I didn't realize I needed, and I learned so much from her. She had a perfect cheery attitude and shared a little of her own encouraging philosophy, which I still find myself inspired by. Sitting in that makeup chair with eyes all on me made me a little nervous at first but Jessica radiated positive energy and I definitely would love to be in that chair again. If anyone sees her in the downtown Nordstroms while needing for some makeup to be done or suggested, I absolutely recommend her.
Brandy offered an incredibly touching story and her own expertise with eyebrows. The common perception of hair loss seems to only ever be about the scalp, but what a lot of makeup artists and people with various forms of Alopecia know is that eyebrows are a huge aspect of one's appearance. I have lost an eyebrow and the majority of the other in the past, and without much experience with doing my brows, it was a very fish-out-of-water learning experience. Brandy did an amazing job guiding me with doing brows and gave me many much-needed tips. I also plan on paying her a visit in the future for some microblading. While there, Brandy just about cleaned up everyone's eyebrows, and she still deserves a big round of applause for all that careful work.
Jamie, herself, shared her guidance in accessorizing with me, working as both an artistic eye as well as a cheerleader. She has about a hundred ways to wear a single type of scarf, ranging all around the style board. The scarf and hat combo is something I never considered and it is a style I am for sure trying in this upcoming cold winter. After her encouragment that day I never in my life felt so excited to buy a new hat.
Sherman does not and did not have Alopecia. His perspective is from someone who received the news that the woman he was seeing has Alopecia, and was in fact wearing a wig the whole time he has known her. His response and encouragement helped her gain confidence and accept her condition.
After two months of dating, my girlfriend, J, began telling me the story of her experience with Alopecia after her daughter was born. I could tell, as she told her story, that it was all very emotional for her. I was confused and naively told her that I don’t see any signs of Alopecia upon looking at her hair. She then told me that all this time, she had been wearing a wig. When I asked her to take it off and show me, she flat out refused to do it. I could see that the conversation was beginning to bother her, so I let it go.
From that day on, I was curious to know what J looked like without something on her head. Before meeting J, I was never very fond of women who wore wigs, because I’ve always felt that Black women were blessed with natural beauty and should wear it proudly. I began it think back to all the times when J and I were together and how everything besides the makeup she wore seemed natural. I remembered seeing her with a hair wrap on at times, which I thought made her look stunning. When she wasn’t wearing a hair scarf, she seemed to look like she spent a lot of time doing her hair. Since she was a hairstylist, I thought it was only natural that she always looked well-groomed and well taken care of. I was so impressed with how well she took care of herself that I never questioned her looks for a minute.
I began to ask J every time I saw her, to allow me to see the real her. After some time and after some discussions we had, she agreed to let me see how she looked without the wig. She made me close my eyes while she slowly took off the wig. When I opened my eyes to see her, J had taken the wig off. I had never seen the head of someone with Alopecia. As I looked at her head, all I could see was the look on her face and the curiosity in her eyes. I looked at her head and then looked into her eyes and said it’s not that bad. I realized after I said what I said, that I could have put a little more thought into it before I commented. I just wanted her to know she meant more to me than hair, and that my appreciation for her ran deeper that anything superficial.
After meeting a few other times, we began having conversations about Alopecia and her previous experiences when she revealed her condition to men before me. After a few more conversations about Alopecia, I suggested she cut all her remaining hair off. J looked at me like I must have been crazy. I asked her, “Why not?” I told her about women I saw in public who had bald heads and how naturally beautiful and attractive they looked, especially Black women. I told her they looked Nubian and sexy to me. I also told her how head scarves made her intriguing and attractive. I suggested she could even pull off a few hats since she like to wear hats. J just kept refusing to take me up on it. I told her we would turn some heads if we both walked into a room with shinny bald heads. We both laughed it off.
One day, when we were just sitting around talking, I suggested to J that she should let me shave her head for her. She again looked at me like I was crazy. I told her I was serious. I can do it and she could wear a scarf and just test it out. If she decides she is not comfortable after a while, she could let it grow back. Soon, J finally said yes and let me shave her head. I could tell during the whole time I was shaving her head, that she was extremely nervous and very uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, was sure and confident the she would look stunning. I knew with all she had going for her, she would turn heads and this could be life changing.
After I finished shaving her head, she seemed unsure of herself. I held her in my arms and said with a smile, “You look fabulous!” From that day on, I saw her confidence soar. She went from wearing head scarves and hats everyday,vto strutting her new look with style and grace. After a while, we decided to go in separate directions. I could see that J was a better person as a result of having the courage to make a life-altering decision, which I assume many women dread having to make.
A few years later when our paths crossed again, and J told me about the website she had establish and how she had dedicated her time and effort helping other women get through what she went through. She invited me to visit the site and tell her what I thought of it. When I visited J’s website, all I could see was a woman who was more than willing to share her joy for all to see. I saw the person I knew she would be: happy, successful, and at peace with herself. I felt happy to have been a part of someone else’s happiness.
For years and years, Adrina lived in denial of her condition. She was determined to cover her baldness and did not have the courage to admit what was going on. With time and support from people including Jamie, she learned to accept her circumstance and became free of her wigs. She seeks to educate others about Alopecia.
I began to really notice my hair loss in my mid 30’s. I attributed it initially to stress. I was going through the death of a loved one. I always considered thin hair growing up. It had been chemically straightened, hot combed, dyed, and cut all my life. When maintaining my hair became a chore, I decided to cut it and let it have a break from all the heat and other maintenance I had been doing. So, I cut it down to a short afro and that was when I noticed from a picture, that there was thinning at the top front of my hair.
Time went by and even my hairdresser told me that the crown of my head was thinning. We watched it for a while, and it was still happening a year or more later. I went in for a dermatologist consult. A scalp sample was taken and the results where presented. I had something called Alopecia. I was encouraged not to put any unnecessary stress on the follicles by getting my hair braided, pulled or chemically treated. I found a resource for a woman who was using natural products and twisting natural hair. Thinking that would give my hair the break it needed to repair and grow back, but that didn’t work. My hair was still thinning and it was more and more noticeable. So my next alternative was to wear wigs. I have to say that I had always disliked wigs growing up, because my mother had worn them and she had a head full of hair. I never thought I could embrace wearing one.
I then began using clippers to cut my hair down to an even length. I dove into the wig pool head first. I found the right color and style and learned to customize the wig cap for my small head. It became part of my routine to look into new styles and change it up from time to time. I learned to live with wigs. I had rules like: don't open a hot oven door—that crinkling sound is the acrylic fibers reacting to the heat, and that is not good. I was part of a hair club, trying to satisfy my need to have what I thought would be a more natural alternative. IT was something that gave the illusion that hair was coming out of my own scalp. I remember saying to my husband that I wanted to “feel normal.”
My search to find the perfect solution to my hair problem, continued for several years. In my search, I would ask myself: why is this happening to me? It was an isolated feeling to be balding and be a woman. I hid; I could barely feel comfortable enough to walk around my own house without something covering my head, be it a wig or scarf at all times. I suffered through the damage the wig cap was doing to my head, and the irritation it caused. Nevertheless, I continued to do what I had to do to maintain my grooming routine.
As time went on, I began to be a little more comfortable identifying and acknowledging that I was a wig wearer. During a morning walk, a woman I knew asked me where my hair was. Up to that time, I was even wearing it to walk around. My witty reply was, “I left her on the dresser at home.”
Then an incident happened at another pivotal shift in my hair toward the end of my wig venture. One windy day, after finishing a day of work, I walked out of my building and a gust came and swept my wig off my head. Frantically, I chased after it, shook it off, and put it back on my head, humiliated. I wondered the entire time if anyone had seen this happen. Could I return to work the next day? It took some time before I could share it with close girlfriends and laugh.
It then took about 10 more years and many hair transitions in between, before I sought out information about Alopecia. Part of my denial was deflecting the comments from close friends and family that knew of my condition. They told me how beautiful I was without the wigs. It was difficult to visualize what they saw. As I look back, I was searching for what I thought was the answer. I was trying hard to fool myself and others. I was hiding from understanding the condition of Alopecia. That word that had been handed to me in the doctor’s office many years before, and I left that office the same when I walked out.
In 2010, I was searching the internet for Alopecia resources. I came across a local person who was doing an Alopecia support group. I read her story and it spoke to me. There were so many similarities to my own self. What she wrote were my feelings too. It took me a few days to sit with the information I had discovered to make the call to her. When I dialed the number, my call was answered by an amazing spirit. Instantly, a sense of home and trust was felt. I met her and some other ladies from the Alopecia group. We talked and shared.
Mid-week after that, I woke with a new confidence. I walked out of my home on a Wednesday in September 2012. My clean-shaven head was greeted by the morning sun and I haven't looked back since. I sent pictures to my family and friends with the caption, “Today is the day! I am free!”
In the past few years I have reflected back on the timeline of my hair. I think that I began to develop Alopecia when I was in my early teens. I remember getting a bad case of dandruff. My mother took me to the doctor who prescribed a medicated shampoo to treat it. It went away after a while. I now think that it was a dormant stage for the condition. When it resurfaced in my mid 30’s, I developed large patches of dandruff like flakes that built up on my scalp overnight. I could literally peel the patches off. I discovered through more research that that interaction happening on my scalp eventually choked and closed down my hair follicles.
Since that time I have explored my thoughts, my feelings, fears, self-image, being different, society and my black community's obsession with hair. I discovered that a lot of what I had to deal with was people’s reaction to my bald head. I’m not certain if it was coming into my 50's or something else that has prompted my openness. I came to a place of self-assurance. I came to a realization that it is not my responsibility to make others feel comfortable with my appearance or to always explain my choice. I now expect that when I walk into a room I will be uniquely different. I am open to comment and inquiry. I have the opportunity to educate and dispel the myth of all baldness being equated with illness, specifically cancer; that women without hair aren’t any less feminine. I hope to provide a platform for those conversations in settings that are more organic. Being different on the outside is about peeling away the layers and getting to know the person. It’s okay to inquire— just ask in a respectful way!
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Alopecia Support Group
1906 E. Prospect Street Seattle, WA 98012
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