Learning from Clients with Hair Loss: Amber’s Story

Amber's Story

About Amber Perkins: The Enlightening Star of Fabricating Fringe

 

Amber Perkins is an inspiring advocate in the hair loss community. She’s constantly at work normalizing hair loss, educating, and giving others hope. She’s worked with various alternative hair organizations and companies in a wide range of roles, including as an ambassador for women with alopecia. Amber has also founded Fabricating Fringe where she shares her hair loss and hair wearing journey on Instagram and YouTube. 

 

Through these mediums, she provides encouraging tutorials, DIY, reviews, and tips for women experiencing thinning hair, shedding, and balding.

 

Her Story in Her Words

 

I’ve always genetically had fine hair. When I was a baby, I had feathery blonde hair that took forever to grow in. I didn’t notice my lack of hair until I was in my teen years, and I couldn’t achieve certain styles. 

 

My hair has always been finicky too and breaks easily, so over-processing and heat tools made it feel like it never grew. I started wearing little hair additions when I was in my early teens. Then I started exploring hair extensions. I loved the length and bulk that extensions gave me. 

 

Through my teens and early 20s, I played with all kinds of extensions, from weaved, beads, glue, tape, etc. Once I started having kids, I began to experience postpartum shedding. I discovered the halo extension and that was nice because it kept your bio hair from experiencing traction alopecia. It was a lot softer on your hair. 

 

Although extensions helped, I lived in hats because the front hairline, top, and crown of my head started to thin more, and it was difficult to style. I added thickeners and products to help, but it always made my hair feel gross and gritty. Soon I started playing with root touch-up powders and eventually hair-building fibers. The fibers were a game changer, especially when my bio hair wasn’t thick enough to cover extension tracks! 

 

Once I had my 3rd child, the shed was pretty bad. I decided to haul myself to a local wig store

 

I purchased two basic cap clearance wigs, and I thought it was so much fun. 

 

I was very discreet and didn’t want anyone to know. I definitely had not come to terms with my thinning hair, the insecurities surrounding it, and also wearing wigs, even though I was instantly gratified with the transformation of finally having a full head of hair! 

 

A few years later, after wearing hats all the time and occasionally wearing my cheap synthetic wigs, I decided to order a topper online. It was the coolest thing ever! 

 

I could part my hair every which way and creatively style; It looked like the hair was growing out of my head! It clipped in easily and gave me the coverage and volume I always wanted.  I was blown away by the difference, yet still a bit secretive about it all. 

 

I felt an itch to share what had helped me and noticed at the time there were not very many people sharing openly on social media about alternative hair and hair loss. I had been diagnosed with androgenic alopecia from both my OBGYN and my dermatologist. Along with my genetically fine hair and random bouts of telogen effluvium . . . it made hair wearing something that I was so grateful for! 

 

I decided to start my Fabricating Fringe Instagram account simply to reach out to people experiencing similar things and to encourage, educate, and help those trying to find options. 

 

Through the last five years, I’ve evolved a lot with both my acceptance of myself and my hair loss – but also, my willingness to be as transparent and authentic about the struggles, triumphs, good, bad, and ugly surrounding it. 

 

I actually really love the convenience and choices with alternative hair and would wear it even if I miraculously had the bio hair of dreams! It’s just so fun and EASY! It’s definitely a way to share your style and personality, and it saves so much time for me with my busy mom life! 

 

What Amber Wished She Would Have Known Earlier About Navigating Hair Loss

 

I didn’t know the value of alternative hair. When I saw the price of a hair topper I was blown away. Now, I know the process and time it takes to create these pieces. And now, I realize that a lot of the time, the higher the quality, the more realistic, the more money. 

 

I also did not know how to properly care for my pieces and didn’t get much education when buying my first wigs. Along with that, I didn’t realize how common it was that women went through exactly what I was, and that I wasn’t alone.

 

What Amber Wished Her Stylists Knew About Hair Loss

 

A lot of people are in a very vulnerable state. I just think being encouraging, helpful, kind, and mindful of the fact that each person handles loss and these challenges differently. 

 

Some embrace it easily, while others feel like they have lost a limb. I think not pitying them but still being mindful is key. Also, being optimistic and encouraging about all the options and positive, exciting sides of the alternative hair world.

 

It’s hard to really understand it when you have not gone through it. Many stylists don’t seem to have a ton of alternative hair knowledge or even at that, working with thin, fine hair. 

 

I noticed that when I used to get a haircut, they never knew how to style my hair in a way to make it look its fullest and best. It’s like they were only accustomed to those with normal to thick hair! I think being more knowledgeable and trained in that area would be nice. 

 

Also, to not point out the obvious. We already know our hair is thin!!

 

What Amber Has Learned During Her Hair Loss Journey

 

Hair loss really bothered me. I envied anyone and everyone with the hair I thought I’d never have. In reality, most of them probably had a hair addition of some kind. It’s so common and more normal than people realize

 

I hated feeling like I needed a hat for every style and every outfit. I love hats to this day, but I didn’t want to NEED a hat all of the time to feel comfortable. 

 

Swimming and other activities gave me anxiety. I felt like I looked like a wet bald rat or something! 

 

I went to beauty school, and for someone who loved doing hair, I hated doing mine. It never turned out the way I wanted. 

 

Sharing my story and helping others has helped heal me while helping them heal too. Being involved in the ever-growing community has been a comfort and joy. Working with hair has always been something I have loved from the time I was a little girl. 

 

I never realized my real passion would be alternative hair, but I love it. I love the transformation. I love the confidence. I love the quick fun color and style changes, and I think the industry is only going to continue booming and growing!

 

I personally change it up daily. But for those in the beginning stages really trying to find something that makes them feel like themselves while keeping it discreet, I’d suggest looking into a topper or wig that is similar to your bio hair color and style. That’s a great way to start. 

 

Going to a brick-and-mortar location may help a lot, where you can try things on and look, feel, and see firsthand how they look on you and make you feel. Also, give it time. It takes time to get used to the concept of wearing hair, both physically and mentally.

 

I kinda fly by the seat of my pants, and I choose my hair the way people pick a handbag or pair of shoes! Depends on my mood and how I want to look that day! Everyone is so different with their approach, and there is no wrong or right answer!

 

What Amber Wishes Our Society Understood Better About Hair Loss

 

If people are tactful and kind, it’s okay to be curious. I am a pretty easy-going person, and it takes a lot for me to get really offended, so for me personally, if someone simply asked why I wear alternative hair, I’d just explain! 

 

Hair loss is so normal. Three in five women experience it! 

 

It doesn’t take away from a woman’s “femininity,” and hair does not define anyone’s value or worth

 

Also, faux hair rocks, saves time, and let’s your bio hair heal, grow, and be less damaged with color and products. And you can switch it up easy! 

 

I save loads of time now. Time I can spend with my family or doing other things. It’s the greatest invention ever! Whether someone has hair loss or not, I 100% recommend a wig or topper simply for the fun, convenience, choices, and time savings!

 

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