Worst bad hair day ever!

Helzie Am­nell-con­nor, 24, from Leeds, thought she was get­ting a quick fix to her hair­style, but she was left scarred for life…

Pick Me Up! Special - - Contents -

Com­ing out of the shower, I rubbed a towel over my wet hair and ran a comb through it.

‘All done!’ I said. My short cropped hair was very low main­te­nance.

Never need­ing to blow dry or style it meant I could be ready for work in min­utes.

It was great. But some­times I did wish I could have long, lus­cious locks like all my friends.

For me, though, that didn’t seem pos­si­ble.

Born with mousy brown hair, I was never happy with the way it looked.

And from the time I was a teenager, I’d ex­per­i­mented with try­ing to make it look bet­ter in what­ever way I could.

Siz­zled straight one day, singed curly the next, it was no won­der that now, my hair was an un­healthy dis­as­ter. ‘I’ll start from scratch,’ I

said one day, fed up with my strag­gly locks.

So that evening, I took the plunge and shaved it all off.

I’d as­sumed that when my hair grew back, it would come back as a new healthy batch. Wrong! If any­thing, it grew back more fizzy than ever! Mor­ti­fied, I cut it

all off again.

And so a vi­cious cy­cle of grow­ing my hair then lob­bing it all off be­gan.

When it was short, it was easy to look af­ter, and it even looked quite sassy at times.

‘You look so cute!’ my friends would say.

But, af­ter years of hav­ing it short, I was des­per­ate for a change. I’d planned on go­ing to the Leeds Fes­ti­val and Manch­ester Pride week­end in a few weeks’ time, and I wanted a long flow­ing mane to show off. Re­search­ing on­line, I found var­i­ous ways of mak­ing your hair grow, but I found that a weave would be the best op­tion for me. It would in­volve false hair be­ing stuck onto my ex­ist­ing hair. I would have long hair in an in­stant! And al­though pricey, it would at least stay put no mat­ter how much I moved around – un­like a reg­u­lar wig. Af­ter

read­ing more about it, I learnt that nor­mally, your hair would be plaited, and then the false hair is sewn into the plaits. My hair is too short to be plaited, I thought.

It seemed the only way to get the hair of my dreams would be to glue on the false hair.

So, in March, I bought a Brazil­ian wig on­line.

It was long and dark – ex­actly what I wanted.

Tak­ing it to a sa­lon in West York­shire, I was hope­ful.

‘Can you fit this?’ I asked, hand­ing over the wig.

‘Of course!’ the hair­dresser said. ‘I’ve been do­ing it for 20 years!’ She got to work straight away, but to my sur­prise, she started comb­ing through my hair, ready to plait it.

‘I thought you’d have to glue it on?’ I said, con­fused. ‘My hair is too short to plait.’

‘The glue doesn’t last as long,’ she ex­plained. ‘Don’t worry, it will be no trou­ble to plait it in.’

Tak­ing her word for it, I sat back and let her get to work.

I was just happy that I had enough hair for her to do it the proper way!

As she twisted small sec­tions into tiny braids, I winced in pain. ‘Ow!’ I cried. ‘That’s re­ally tight…’ She re­as­sured me that this was nor­mal, and she kept pulling strands of my hair to­gether, stretch­ing my

It was the hair of my dreams

scalp taught.

And, fi­nally, af­ter an hour, my head was a mass of braids.

‘Is it meant to feel like this?’ I asked. ‘My head is burn­ing up!’

‘It will hurt for a few weeks, then you’ll get used to it,’ she said. I de­cided to trust her. She was a pro­fes­sional, af­ter all. She then placed a lace cap over my plaits and be­gan sewing the wig into place.

The process was so painful, but I just imag­ined what I’d look like when it was all done, and that got me through it.

Fi­nally, af­ter hours of pain, I looked in the mir­ror.

With her long, lus­cious dark hair, I barely recog­nised the girl look­ing back at me. ‘I love it!’ I said. I paid her £200 for her ser­vice, and as I left the sa­lon, I couldn’t stop swish­ing my new locks about.

I was so happy with my new style, I soon for­got about the con­stant pain on my scalp…

‘You look amaz­ing!’ one of my mates said that week­end.

‘I’ve been telling you for ages to go long!’ I was so happy, I only

wished that I’d done it sooner. It was worth ev­ery penny. And, sure enough, three weeks af­ter hav­ing the wig fit­ted, the pain started to go away and my head be­gan to go numb, just like the hair­dresser had promised.

Then, one night in April this year, I fell asleep af­ter be­ing out with my friends, ex­hausted.

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

Fig­ur­ing it was sweat, I switched on the light.

But look­ing down, my chest was cov­ered in a dark red liq­uid…

Reach­ing my hand up to my head, I felt thick globs of blood! ‘Dad!’ I screamed in a panic. Rush­ing to the bath­room to look in the mir­ror, blood was pour­ing down my face like a scene from a hor­ror film. Dad came rush­ing in. ‘Oh, my God!’ he cried, tak­ing one look at me.

‘It’s this wig thing…’ he said in dis­be­lief. Pulling a pair of scis­sors

from the drawer, Dad started cut­ting the fake hair away from my head. But ev­ery move was agony. Hack­ing it away as best he could, he was fi­nally able to start pulling the stitches from the lace cap.

Blood was gush­ing down my face and I was shak­ing in pain. The whole scene was hor­rific. Af­ter about an hour, fling­ing the last blood-soaked rem­nants into the bin, I was so re­lieved when Dad had fin­ished.

‘The wig was em­bed­ded into your scalp,’ he said. ‘I think we need to get you to the hos­pi­tal.’

Wrap­ping a towel around my head to stop the bleed­ing, we raced to St James’s Hos­pi­tal in Leeds. There, doc­tors were shocked. ‘We’ve never seen any­thing like this,’ one said.

I was put on an an­tibi­otic drip to stop any in­fec­tion, and given some painkillers.

It turns out 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.

Af­ter a day in the hos­pi­tal, I headed home with some an­tibi­otic cream and a 6in gash on my fore­head.

Unfortunately, there was noth­ing more doc­tors could do. I’m now in the process of tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the sa­lon.

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

I can barely look at my­self in the mir­ror any­more.

I just want ev­ery­one to know how dan­ger­ous weaves can be.

They say beauty comes at a price. Unfortunately, I’m proof of that.

I was soaked in sticky red blood

I was des­per­ate for longer locks

It had em­bed­ded in my scalp

Back to square one

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