The hit Netflix show Queer Eye, now in its fourth season, is well known for taking an empathetic, uplifting approach to tackling people's problems, from the way they dress to the way they feel about themselves.
Episode four of the latest series saw the Fab Five makeover Wanda Winters, a Pythons dance drill team leader from Kansas City, USA. Entitled ‘How Wanda Got Her Groove Back’, the programme shows just how much of a knock to a person's self-confidence hair loss can be.
After finding a basket full of wigs, the show’s grooming guru, Jonathan Van Ness asked why she always wore these, or a cap. Wanda revealed she has hair loss so felt uncomfortable and less confident with her natural hair.
This led to a discussion about Traction Alopecia, the hair loss condition caused by wearing weaves, wigs and tight hairstyles too frequently.
When such intense stress is repeatedly placed on the follicles, it can cause hair breakage and hair loss not only at the sites where the accessory is fitted, but also around the hairline and temples. This is because these areas bear the brunt of the strain.
Clearly self-conscious about the effects Traction Alopecia had had, Wanda refused to remove her wig on camera. However in shots of the mother of two getting her hair washed, it was clear she had a receding hairline and thinning around her temples.
A guest hairdresser was brought in as she had also dealt with her own Traction Alopecia from sew in weaves. She told Wanda how she had to train herself not to rely on these accessories in order to regrow her natural hair. To help Wanda to do the same, she was given a short, chic crop which suited her face and concealed her frontal hair loss.
Not only was this a hairstyle she liked, but she said she felt she could wear it out sometimes, without needing a cap.
Wanda didn’t want to give up her wigs straight away, something she was encouraged to do for her long-term scalp health, so Van Ness showed her how to wear one without putting as much pressure on her follicles.
He covered her short haircut with a black wig cap, akin to a stretchy hairnet but without the holes, then let the wig sit on top of this. That way it would create less strain than having her natural hair tautly braided into a 'protective hairstyle' underneath and the wig pinned - or sewn - on top.
In a post-makeover reunion with her family, Wanda detailed her achievements during the Queer Eye week, starting with “I took my cap off and showed my real hair!” “That’s a big step,” agreed her daughters.
In follow-up interviews from July 2019, when the show first aired after it was filmed in 2018, Wanda said she is slowly learning to love her natural hair.
The new Queer Eye has such a huge audience internationally, not to mention massive followings in their millions on social media, that this is a great way to raise awareness of the condition.
As hair extensions, braids, weaves and high ponytails, such as those sported by Ariana Grande, continue to rise in popularity, so too does the risk of developing this type of hairloss. This is especially true when there are no regular breaks from such punishing hairstyles.
Whilst this may not seem like a huge problem, it can have a big impact on a person's confidence and, whilst Traction Alopecia treatment is possible in many cases, it is left unchecked for too long, it can cause permanent baldness.
Anyone concerned that they may be losing their hair should seek advice from a specialist at the earliest opportunity. A consultation with an expert from a dedicated hair loss clinic will be able to offer a diagnosis, advice and support, as well as personalised hair loss treatment recommendations where appropriate, which can often be a huge relief to those troubled by such worries.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.