School Can Be Scary
I’ve been through plenty of schooling, having moved over ten times in my childhood. That’s a lot of new schools, new days and having absolutely zero friends at the beginning of each school year. The good news is that people can be kinder than you know. There are also mean people, but, really, why waste energy thinking about them? You’re beautiful and fabulous just as you are.
But, I won’t lie to you (who might still be in school). No sugar coating here. School can be a danger zone of potentially horrible situations. While I am telling you from the future that once you leave school, those horrid people generally grow-up and get a life, I also recognize that that is not the reality so many people in school are currently dealing with. So, having been through the dumpster fire that school can turn into for a kid with bald spots, I’ve compiled my top 10 survival tips for making it through that back-to-school season when your hair is… not on fleek. These strategies got me through. Hopefully, they help you too. xx
Tip #1: Different Part
Pulling hair out can be anywhere from minor to severe. If your spot is relatively small or if you have long enough/thick enough hair, try to part your hair differently to cover the spot. Your best friends here will be hair clips and bobby pins to keep things in place. Try to get clips and pins in the same shade as your hair. This will help the hairstyle to look more natural. Also, it will protect you if it is windy (f— the wind, ammiright?).
Tip #2: Shake Up Your Style
It was just summer. You could’ve become a completely different person over the last 2-3 months. The great thing about summer is that you have the chance to reinvent yourself. Who says you aren’t the type to rock a messy top bun? Who says you can’t do all kinds of fancy braids or sassy Xenon buns? Rock whatever hairstyle you need in order to feel comfortable.
Tip #3: Accessorize
No matter your style, there are accessories out there for you. So, whether you want a beautiful rainbow headscarf, faux-blossom clips or a subtler hair-toned headband, there’s something out there for everyone. Use them to cover spots or hold hairstyles in place. I’m not saying you can find the perfect item in your local stores (although you might, lucky you!). But I am saying that the internet is massive and honestly Amazon has what you need (almost definitely).
Tip #4: Have a Great Makeup Game
I, for one, am glad I’m not currently in school. My makeup game is weak compared to all you modern girls and guys out there. I was all about ice-blue eyeshadow. It was as bad as it sounds. Anyways, for those of you out there who have great makeup game, use your knowledge to fill in your eyebrows and lashes, even wearing false eyelashes if need be. And, for all my friends out there without mad makeup skills, have no fear. Youtube exists! Seriously, you can learn anything on there. And the best thing is that no one can see you as you practice and fail the first couple times. I know my first eyelash application was hilarious. I looked like Mr. Potato Head’s wife, you know? So, with the power of makeup and Youtube, you can do it!
Tip #5: Use Eyeshadow
So, this tip is mostly for my friends out there with medium to dark hair. The reason hair pulling becomes so noticeable is that when you pull, your bare scalp contrasts with your dark hair. So, give your scalp back its color by shading in the bare spots with eyeshadow in the color of your hair. As suggested in the last tip, I easily found a Youtube tutorial by DiscoCurls on how exactly to apply shadow to hide a bald spot. Brilliant! Thank you, internet!
Tip #6: Dye Your Hair a Light Color
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Only in the opposite direction. Instead of darkening your scalp to match dark hair, lighten your hair to match your scalp. When pulling my hair out got really bad, I’d always dye my hair blonde. And it totally worked! With the side benefit of everyone thinking I had a glow-up over summer! Hahahaha I wish! Nah, I’m just trying to hide my spots 🙂
Tip #7: Get Clip-In Extensions
If you have significant spots or patches that are not directly on the top of your head, then clip-in extensions could be the way to go. They are more full-coverage than the other options but cheaper than a wig. A local beauty supply store will usually carry clip-in extensions in various shades. Or, if you’re able, find a friendly salon and get them professionally done. I know that can be scary though (I’ve had some good and bad experiences myself). What if they ask a question? So, if you want to avoid talking to people about the extensions, again, Amazon!
Tip #8: Buy a Wig
Great-looking wigs can be very expensive. They generally range from hundreds of dollars up to thousands, depending on which hair type and company you go with. Wigs aren’t for everyone. But getting a wig was a great thing for me when I eventually pulled too much to hide. People stopped asking me about why I pull my hair out. The downside is that it can be expensive. If you’re able, make sure to check out reviews of the different wigs, colors and styles by people who know what they’re talking about. My favorite wig reviews are by CysterWigs. They do a great job of breaking down everything you could want to know about the wigs.
Tip #9: Act Confident
I know this is hard to do. I know the struggle. I do. But sometimes you just need to say that’s enough. You know the saying “fake it til you make it” applies here. Even if it isn’t real, fake your confidence. Don’t avert your eyes, don’t try to hide, don’t try to not participate in school. Do be active, do try hard, do be present. I’ve found that if you act confidently, people generally leave you alone. Eventually, you even might start to feel a little of that outward confidence seeping inwards 🙂
Tip #10: Own it
Possibly the hardest tip on this list is to own up to the spot/your hair pulling disorder. But if you do, people usually either back down or want to start a genuine conversation. I’ll give you two examples:
Scenario #1 – The None of Your Business
Them: Do you know you have a huge bald spot right there?
Me: Yeah, I do.
Me: I don’t believe that’s any of your business. *walks away*
Scenario #2 – The Sweet Takedown
Them: Do you know you have a huge bald spot right there?
Me: I’m so glad you asked. I have trichotillomania, a compulsion to pull out my hair. But not a lot of people work up the courage to ask me about it, so thanks so much for being so understanding and sweet. You’re a nice person.
Them: Yeah… *can’t say anything else because it would make them seem mean*
Me: Thanks again, bye. *walks away*
Now, in those two examples, you can rest assured that I may have been outwardly calm, but inwardly quaking. The school setting is one of the most painful socially. No one wants to be called out for a bald spot. So, I know it might take practice, but those two ways of owning the conversation about your body have worked the best for me.
Back to School & Hair Pulling
School can be rough for a lot of reasons. That’s amplified for people with trichotillomania. Bald spots are the worst. I know school may seem terrible or that everyone is judging you, but really, they’re probably not. You’re judging yourself more than anyone else. So, try to relax and just be comfortable in your own skin. Act confident and no one will be the wiser.
I hope you liked these 10 tips and that they can help you in some way. I’ve survived school with bald spots and you can too. If you liked this, make sure to follow my posts and find me on other socials (links below). Thanks so much for reading & take care of yourself. xx