Alopecia doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your looks according to Tracy Potter from Hair Fairy Wigs in Liverpool
TRACY Potter stared in the mirror and Dolly Parton stared back. "I was 13 and had gone to Lewis’s with my mum to try on wigs to cover my bald patches. The choice was very different back then and I remember I had a big curly affair plonked on my head.
Of course wigs and hair pieces have improved no end since that day more than 30 years ago as 47 year old Tracy knows all too well.
She has just opened the Hair Fairy Wigs shop in Gateacre, using her own experience of hair loss over the past 30 plus years to offer an individual service for other women in her situation.
wholesale wigs priced from up to as well as hair pieces and scarves, there are also specialists on hand to advise women who have experienced hair loss through alopecia, chemotherapy or illness on make up techniques.
Tracy herself has just undergone a course in cutting techniques so she can style a wig to suit the individual.
"It’s all about giving women their confidence back. Self image is so important and when you lose your hair you can lose your identity.
"I’ve been there, seen it, done it and got the T shirt and if I can help then I will."
Tracy, who has a 25 year old daughter and who lives in Hunts Cross, first noticed her own hair loss when she was a child.
"My sister saw it when she was drying my hair one day, a patch about the size of a 10p piece. Later, I’d have one or two patches or sometimes four or five or sometimes they’d all join up together."
She is at a loss to explain what triggered it.
"I was knocked down when I was nine and hair loss can be prompted by stress but whether that’s what happened with me I don’t know.
"I was extremely lucky to be surrounded by a very supportive family and friends, and because my hair was long and thick and the patches were underneath, I was able to put it back in a pony tail and cover it up."
Over the following years Tracy’s hair grew and was lost over and over again. She lost it all for the first time when she was 23 and again a couple of years ago when she also lost her eyelashes and eyebrows. She now wears a wig full time.
Nevertheless Tracy has undergone a range of treatments to try to restore her blonde locks.
"My mum has sent off for all kinds of lotions and potions, I’ve had acupuncture and massage and I’ve even been tipped upside down in Rodney Street to try to promote blood supply to the head but nothing worked."
She says she was ‘so young’ when it first happened she has learned to live with it.
"Don’t get me wrong, there have been days when I’ve thought ‘why me’.
"You can put on a brave face to the outside world but when you get out of the shower and look at yourself in the mirror the reality is there and you’re not a person you immediately recognise but you just have to make the best of it."
How did she cope when it came to dating?
"Dutch courage!" laughs Tracy, who is happily married.
"You just make sure you know the person very well and if there’s a problem it’s their’s not yours."
She is also a believer in things ‘happening for a reason’ and, five years ago, decided to use her own experience to set up a business specialising in making hair pieces and extensions both for hair loss sufferers and other women who wanted lusher locks.
From there the next step was to open the shop.
"You hear of women having terrible experiences trying to get a nice wig, of being told ‘the blonde boxes are over there’ and left to it.
"Here we want the experience to be a nice one, for women to feel pampered. That’s why we have private rooms and we’re not based on a busy high street so the whole thing feels less intimidating."