Blood head

Scalped at a sa­lon!

Real People - - CONTENTS - Helzie Am­nell-con­nor, 24, Leeds

Siz­zled straight one day, singed curly the next... And that was just my hair be­tween dye jobs!

I’d been ex­per­i­ment­ing with my mousy­brown hair since I was a nip­per of 11. No won­der that now, six years on, my locks were crispier than a fire-eater’s throat.

‘I’ll start from scratch,’

I de­cided, shav­ing it all off.

A fresh head of the stuff would come back health­ier, right?

If only! When my tresses did grow back, they were frizzy as any­thing. Mor­ti­fied, I cut them back again.

And, so, a cy­cle of grow­ing my locks and lop­ping them off a few months later be­gan.

When it was cropped, my bar­net was quick to wash, easy to main­tain and looked good for my job as an adult care su­per­vi­sor.

I looked sassy, and it suited me. Some­times, though, I’d long for a hairdo that took more than a shake to dry and, by early this year, I was des­per­ate for a change.

I planned to go to Leeds Fes­ti­val and Manch­ester Pride week­end, and I wanted a flow­ing mane to shake at them. I be­gan look­ing into how to make it hap­pen.

A weave seemed like the best bet. Sounds like a rug knit­ted by a granny but, ac­tu­ally, what it meant was some false hair be­ing stuck on to my ex­ist­ing mop.

It’d be pricey but, un­like a wig, it’d stay put through all the shapes I in­tended to throw at the fes­ti­vals.

I spent hours on the in­ter­net, re­search­ing ev­ery as­pect of the treat­ment. As my hair was so short, it seemed the only way to get the lus­cious long locks of my dreams was to glue on the false hair.

Nor­mally, the hair would be sewn into the client’s own hair, which had been plaited in readiness. But I just didn’t have enough of the stuff.

So, this March, I bought a Brazil­ian wig – long hanks

of syn­thetic hair – and took them to a lo­cal sa­lon in West York­shire.

I sat down in the chair and smiled at the hair­dresser.

‘Can you fit this?’ I asked, hand­ing over the long, dark hair. She looked at it and grinned. ‘I’ve been do­ing this for 20 years,’ she ex­plained, get­ting to work on me there and then.

But where was the glue?

‘Oh, no, it doesn’t last,’ the hair­dresser breezed.

‘I’ll just sew the hair in.’ Chuffed I had enough hair for that af­ter all, I sat back while the ex­pert’s fin­gers ran through the front of my hair.

De­spite hav­ing less hair than some fella’s furry backs, I watched as she be­gan twist­ing it into a tight plait.

Re­ally tight…

OWWW!

As she pulled the strands to­gether, my scalp stretched painfully taut. I thought about what I’d be get­ting up to at the fes­ti­val, any­thing to take my mind off the yank, yank, yank. But it hurt. It hurt so much. ‘It’s a lit­tle tight,’ I squeaked. ‘Oh, don’t worry,’ the hair­dresser soothed, not stop­ping her plait­ing and pluck­ing for a sec­ond.

She tugged, stretched, pulled un­til fi­nally, af­ter an hour, my hair was a mass of braids.

‘Is it meant to feel like this..?’ I ven­tured, be­cause now my whole head was burn­ing, throb­bing like a gi­ant, ab­scessed tooth.

‘Oh, yeah. It’ll hurt for two or three weeks, then you’ll get used to it,’ she as­sured me.

The hair­dresser placed a lace cap over my plaits, and then be­gan sewing the wig into place by stitch­ing through the plaits. ‘You like it?’ she smiled. Look­ing into the mir­ror,

I barely recog­nised the girlie girl look­ing back.

With long, dark wavy locks fall­ing be­low my shoul­ders, it was still me – just even bet­ter!

Swan­ning and swish­ing out of the sa­lon, I couldn’t stop tak­ing self­ies. I flicked more than those girls on sham­poo ads! Out in Wake­field with my mates that week­end, they couldn’t stop talk­ing about it.

‘I’ve been telling you for years to go long!’ my best mate said. ‘Now don’t you wish you’d done it sooner?’

It had cost me £200, but it was worth ev­ery penny.

I got so much at­ten­tion, I al­most for­got about the con­stant pain – it felt like I was be­ing poked in the head with a thou­sand pins... but beauty comes at a price. And, sure enough, three weeks on from hav­ing the weave fit­ted, my head be­gan to go numb, just like I’d been promised.

That night, 20 April this year, I fell into an ex­hausted sleep.

Then, at 4am, I woke to a feel­ing of wet­ness on my face.

Fig­ur­ing it was sweat,

I turned on the head­board light. But look­ing down, my chest was dark and gleam­ing – this wasn’t sweat...

I put my hands to my head in shock. Thick globs of goo met my touch!

No, please no... ‘DAAAAD!’ I screamed, rush­ing to the bath­room.

My dad took one look at me – blood pour­ing down my face like in a hor­ror movie – and rushed me down­stairs to the kitchen.

‘Helzie… it’s this wig thing,’ he said, pulling a pair of scis­sors from the drawer.

I’d felt like Pin­head from the 80s hor­ror film Hell­raiser. Now it was real!

Dad fran­ti­cally cut the fake hair away from my head. Ev­ery move was agony. Hack­ing away at it, he was fi­nally able to start pulling the stitches from the lace cap.

A tor­rent of blood gushed down my face. Shak­ing in pain, I grit­ted my teeth.

‘It had em­bed­ded into your scalp,’ Dad choked, fi­nally, fling­ing the last blood-soaked rem­nants away from me.

Min­utes later, we were sat in St James’s Hospi­tal, Leeds.

‘We’ve never seen any­thing like this,’ doc­tors ad­mit­ted, giv­ing me painkillers and putting me on an an­tibi­otic drip in case of in­fec­tion.

It seemed that the plaits had been started too far for­ward on my head and were done too tightly. So, when the wig was sewn in, it had shifted, and the front part of the lace cap had em­bed­ded into my flesh, cut­ting through the skin.

I’d just thought it was nor­mal, that I was suf­fer­ing for beauty...

Af­ter a day in the hospi­tal, I headed home with an­tibi­otic cream and a 6in gash to my fore­head. There was noth­ing else doc­tors could do.

I’ve now launched le­gal ac­tion against the sa­lon. My lawyer has asked me not to name the sa­lon here, but I want ev­ery­one read­ing this to know that weaves can be ex­tremely dan­ger­ous.

I used to love the way I looked. Now I can barely look at my­self in the mir­ror.

Doc­tors say I’ll be scarred for life and, as it’s on my hair­line, there’s no hid­ing it.

I thought a weave would just be a fun new style... I know bet­ter now.

Shak­ing in pain, I grit­ted my teeth

I might as well have been in a hor­ror movie Pin­head from the film Hell­raiser

I’m scarred for life!

It’s a con­stant re­minder of my vain quest

So much for look­ing beau­ti­ful

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