Scalped at a salon!
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.
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