“It’s only hair. It grows back.”
How many times have you heard this line when you had a dodgy haircut? You always thought they were right but there comes a point in some women’s lives when hair that’s lost doesn’t grow back, and hair that’s thinned doesn’t get thicker. Not without the help of hair loss treatments at least.
Losing your hair can be a debasing experience for a woman but there are some who’ve gone completely bald. Famous bald women who have, self-inflicted or otherwise, lost all their hair are an inspiration to all women experiencing hair loss. Well, most of them….
“Is this getting rid of the old and starting afresh?” asked Californian hairdresser Esther Tognozzi. “Yes,” replied Britney.
For some women, shaving their head is accepted as a symbol of them being in control, but when Britney Spears grabbed hold of those clippers in 2007, her baldness made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The media was quick to dub her completely mad and psychologists said that it was a sign of how deeply troubled she was. Esther Tognozzi may haverefused to shave the star’s head (for fear she would change her mind and then sue), but the hairdresser did say Britney’s hair extensions were in a terrible state with only “about four inches” of natural hair underneath them.
“Maybe she just got sick and tired of all the extensions and chemicals in her hair, and maybe she just wants a new beginning,” Tognozzi said. We like her reasoning, a much more sensible explanation for the apparent act of insanity.
Perhaps the most famous bald woman in modern history, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor became an international sensation with her breakthrough hit Nothing Compares 2 U. The social pressure women feel regarding the appearance their hair is has kept bald heads taboo for generations but Sinead’s bold, bald statement struck a chord and we’re now seeing more and more women opting for the shave.
“Sinead was very much making a statement and she was opting out of a male fantasy and a society that expects certain things of women,” said Alastair Ross, a social psychologist at the University of Strathclyde.
Despite some press abuse for her unconventional appearance, Sineadhas continued to shave her hair for much of her career and she’s not planning on growing it back any time soon.
“I don’t feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I’m an old lady, I’m going to have it,” she said.
The woman who is perhaps more famous for dating KanyeWest than for her modelling career, sports one of the hottest bald looks around. Amber Rose chooses to shave her dyed blonde hair until it resembles a barely-there halo but for what she lacks in tresses she makes up for with oozing sexuality. She’s been featured in several music videos, men’s magazines and has posed nude for a Louis Vuitton advertisement. Amber just proves that when it comes to femininity, hair’s not all that.
Twenty-two year old American actress, model and singer Cassie recently dared to shaveoff all the hair on the right side of her head. The wickedly cool cut received positive attention from several artists including Estelle and P. Diddy, but rapper Fabolous voiced his opinion that it was a publicity stunt and looked “like one of the haircuts from Edward Scissorhands.”
But Cassie Twittered about hernew, edgier look and explained why she went for the shave:
“Sometimes in life, you need a change… Something deeper than what you thought you were capable of … Something that displays the ‘I don’t give a f**k’ attitude that was always present, but never showcased … & something that will shock your mother, but make her call you a ROCK STAR.”
Take it from Cassie – bald women rock!
Sometimes though, hair loss isn’t a choice. Former model and British TV presenter Gail Porter lost most of her hair in 2005 as a result of alopecia areataand decided, rather than wearing a wig, to shave it all off. “Bald is the new black!” she said.
The bubbly, once blonde, presenter suffers from bipolar disorder, has been anorexic and when pregnant with her now seven year-old daughter Honey, was border-line obsessive compulsive. She later suffered post-natal depression and discovered she had a thyroid condition. Gail thought her hair loss was a “wind-up”.
“Shaving my head feels like a new beginning to me.”
In May 2005, Kylie was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her hair as a result of chemotherapy. It was a tough ordeal for the popular Aussie songbird who wore headscarves throughout the treatment and never revealed the extent of her hair loss to the public. This just goes to show the extent of the emotional impact of losing one’s hair.
Kylie had always been known for her lustrous, tumbling locks but she proved there is hair growth after chemo and sported a super chic short hair do a year later, once her treatment was complete. She’s now still the picture of health and happiness.
Famous Women Who Have Gone Bald for Movies
Many women have dared to bare for films but sometimes exposing a bald head is the hardest and most revealing thing of all. Sigourney Weaver apparently only agreed to shave her head for Alien 3 if she got a bonus, but on the other hand, Natalie Portman took it in her stride when she revealed a shaved head for the film V for Vendetta.
“Some people will think I’m a neo-Nazi or that I have cancer or I’m a lesbian,” she said at the time. “It’s quite liberating to have no hair.”
There have been many others who have gone bald for films. Demi Moore did it for GI Jane, Cate Blanchett for Heaven, and The Mentalist’s Robin Tunney shaved her head on-screen for her role as a semi-suicidal indie chick in Empire Records.
It would seem, however, the trend started a couple of decades before Demi Moore and Sinead O’Connor shaved their heads, when the bald pate of Lieutenant Ilia, aka the late Persis Khambattawas the talk of Hollywood. The former Miss India wanted to look realistic as the bald Deltan alien in the 1979 Star Trek film.
“Basically, they had asked me if I would shave my head or wear a bald cap. I said look, if you are doing a series for five years I would want to shave my hair because I would go bald with all the gum and glue from the bald cap,” Persis said. “Besides, a bald cap would have never looked real.”
Another Indian beauty who chopped off her hair was actress Shabana Azmi for the controversial film Water. She grew it back after filming but said if her husband had his way she’d be bald for the rest of her life.
“He fancied me without hair. I was at a wedding, bald, with my head filled with sindoor,” she said. “[And] Rekha and Dimple Kapadia looked at me and exclaimed, ‘Babe you got guts’.”
Sometimes baldness is a choice, other times women have no say in hair loss. All these women provethat being bald really can be beautiful but if you’re not prepared to shave your head to cheat hair loss like most men, take comfort in knowing that there are ways to you can fight to keep your tresses under lock and key.
To find out more about what can be done about thinning hair or hair loss, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send an email. If you can’t find time or are unable to make it to the London centre, fill in the online diagnostic form and one of our experts will contact you with the results and personalised advice.