Saturday, 14 June 2014

The power of the pony tail ...

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Who would have thought that something as simple as a pony tail could bring so much joy!

To a women experiencing Alopecia who wears a wig, the pony tail is usually a greatly missed styling option especially during the summer months and days when you really should be washing your wig but actually can't be bothered! I know we all have these days ..... Let's not even begin to pretend that it's only myself that have these days! 

So you can imagine my joy at being able to wear my Follea gripper-2 wig in a ponytail today <3 and not a low pony tail at that! 

Do you wear your follea Gripper-2 in a pony? I'd love to hear your comments and see pictures :-) you can tweet us a picture @AspireHair and @AspireHairSouth or pop across to our FB page ( and join in the fun. 

Emma xxx
Aspire Hair 

Friday, 13 June 2014

How to go from "are you sick?" to "You're looking well!" ...

Does anyone else have a bit of a problem when it comes to having a make up free day? Obviously having Alopecia means I have minimal activity going on in the eyebrow and eyelash department and we all kinda know that our brows and lashes give our eyes good framing etc ...

The issue I find is that when I decide to have a make up free day (and why shouldn't I, my skin needs to breath from time to time!) these are the kind of comments I get ...

"Are you sick?" 
"Oh Emma you look so pale and washed out, are you sleeping well??" 
"You look a bit peaky .... It's not catching is it!?" 

And my reaction after almost twenty years of the SAME OLD COMMENTS? 

Yes people the face really does say it all 👊 LOL 

I'm not sick, I'm sleeping as well as an insomniac can and no it most certainly is not bloody catching (cheeky gits!) 

To be fair to the unfortunate peeps that ask those questions and then have to see my reaction expression above I actually DO kinda get where your coming from. Take a look below at me without my eyebrows and liner on ...

I guess I do look a little worse for wear minus the old warrior paint! 🙈 

Let's explore this a little more and take a look at how with just a brow power palette and a no smudge eyeliner pen (and some lippy if your feeling adventurous!) you can transform your little ole Alopecia self from "tired" to "fab" in just a few quick steps. 


I start by using my brow palette and angled brush to create a soft curved line on the top of where I'd like my brows to be. 

You want to make sure that they start and finish in roughly the same place for each brow your creating. Don't stress too too too much about perfect likeness! REMEMBER - brows should be sisters not identical twins 😜 

Next I then draw another line at an angle underneath the line I've just drawn, like this ... 

Now it's as simple as colouring between the lines! (With your angled brush - of course darling ...) 

I've got the entire process down to around three minutes these days. The more you do it the more it feels like second nature! 


Next I move onto creating some definition to my eyes and applying my eyeliner. 

I think this was probably the CHEAPEST one in the whole of Boots! It does the trick though. It's easy to use and lasts all day without smudging. 

First I create a basic line along my lash line ... 

I know it looks messy now but we can sort that out in a little bit :-) once you've created your line simply go back and colour it into your lash line. If you haven't done this before then a word of warning to you .... THIS BIT TICKLES! 

This is the end result of the liner, again it takes me around three to four minutes to do my liner. 

You can always experiment with different liner colours and eye shadows to create a more dramatic look but this works really well for me as an everyday look. If your feeling a little adventurous ... Add some lippy! 

Throw on my fave hair (the Follea Gripper2 wig available from Victoria and I at Aspire) and I'm good to go! 

I'd LOVE for you to tweet us your eye and brow pics @AspireHair and @AspireHairSouth and you can also find Victoria and myself on our Facebook page - :-) 

Emma xxx
Aspire Hair 

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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Why sunscreen is essential to a bald chick ...

I have to be totally honest here ..... I don't tend to get my head out in public very often. It's not that I'm embarrassed to or that I don't think I look nice it's just that (as the blog title states) I'm a wig addict and I love wearing alternative hair.

Last week I was down in Cheltenham with Victoria (Aspire Hair South) and a bunch a fab girlies and we all went minus the wigs for a whole day. We enjoyed the sunshine and spent almost all day outside. Now, I'm pale. Not only am I pale but I'm like the palest person most people probably know! Harriet my stylist at Aspire was laughing at me the other day when we walked to the sandwich shop and said to me "oh my god! In the sunlight you actually transparent!" Here's the face I made at her comment 😒 

Anyway, bearing my paler than pale complexion in mind you would have thought I'd have had the common sense to wear sunscreen on my bare head seens as the sun was BEATING down on it and casting off a rather impressive reflection haha 😂 

Well .... I stupidly didn't use any sun screen ...... Let the following picture be a warning to you all! 

Emma xxx
Aspire Hair 

PS - As I always try to see the positive in every situation I feel the need to point out to everyone that I have ONE hair on my head even after the hideous sunburn and peeling! 😎 and it only took me 19 years to grow it #AlopeciaGirlProblems #Factor50AllTheWay 

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A not so Top Secret Mission...

My morning started bright and early with a 7am alarm beeping in my ear; in truth, I barely slept a wink and definitely saw 3am, just because of the excitement I was feeling! To put that in perspective, I sleep through anything; loud noises, stress, excitement - nothing normally gets between me and my sleep! Anyway I digress...

Up I get at 7am to shower, make myself look glam and make some sandwiches (not so glam)! I toddle off to the train station and begin a really exciting journey to London Paddington! Why I hear you ask? Well today, I have the privelege and excitement of participating in a photoshoot for Cosmopolitan Magazine! I cannot wait!

I know my day is just going to get better and better - as I picked up my pre-paid train tickets, the man at the counter (who was old enough to have hearing aids) said 'I hope you don't mind me saying but you look absolutely gorgeous'! I'm trying not to let it go to my head, but that's not too shabby for a day without makeup and a synthetic wig with a touch of friction burn! 

Starting my journey...
On the train to London Paddington:

Arriving at Paddington...
My train pulls in 7 minutes late and I've already had two text messages to let me know my Chaffeur Driven car is outside! I scurry through the station looking for the taxi rank next to platform 12 and try not to feel apprehensive! The car is there and waiting, just where they said it would be, and I'm on my way! I could get used to this I think!

It's supposed to take 20 minutes to get to the studio, but unfortunately the traffic is horrendous. Even at 10.30 it's crawling and the driver is riding the clutch waiting for his moment to inch forward! It takes a full 45 minutes to get to the studio and the Picture Editor in charge has begun to get worried; she texts me, but luckily I'm just around the corner! 'Sorry!' I say as the car pulls up; 'don't worry about it' she says. She escorts me through a gorgeous studio space which has quirky urban features (sorry I forgot to take a picture) and introduces me to the photographer and two assistants - all male! Now that might not sound like too much of an issue, but what I might not have told you is that it's nude! Yes really! I start to worry what I've let myself in for, but they're really friendly and the studio is discreet!

I'm whisked upstairs to make up and this bit is my favourite! For the first time ever I have make up applied using an airbrush and it does a great job of disguising the bags! I start to relax and enjoy myself - a full 40 minutes of being pampered. I felt a bit bad because the hairdresser had nothing to do, but still!

After the make up, I go downstairs to a blank canvas in a gorgeous turquoise with lighting board either side - it's just me and the photographer. I take off the dress and throw myself into it! It's what I'm here for so I convince myself I'm wearing a gorgeous dress rather than standing there with no clothes on. The photographer encourages me into various different poses which keep me covered; he offers pointers to improve my posture and takes picture after picture. I start to go a little blind from the flash and my cheeks hurt from smiling but once I get into it, I start to feel fantastic! 

It's over before I know it and the shots look alright! The photographer said 'wow' so much I think he lost his voice - he'd done it to the girl before too so it's just a platitude to encourage you! That's it; it's over and I'm back in the car, back to the station and back on the train. All that remains is for me to complete my interview and wait for it to come about in print! Eeeek!

What a day!

An airbrush base later:

(Only half an eyebrow)

With my eyes done:

Fully made-up:

The studio: birds-eye view

Back in the car:

And finally back on the train:

I'll keep all you lovely people updated and let you know when it's in the magazine! 

They photoshoot was to help raise awareness of Alopecia and AlopeciaUK - hopefully I've done a good job!

Victoria xxx
Aspire Hair South

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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A spot of #Gatsby inspiration - recreating a 1920s style

So, I recently went to a 1920s inspired Awards night (it's a client thing - I wasn't up for an award) and I started to panic about what to wear! I had to look modest, but I also wanted to look classy and sophisticated; just what the 1920s is famous for!

The 1920s was marked as an era of post war change, the start of a more liberated society and for many ladies, a time of short bobs, pin curls, dark lips and a touch of rouge. Skirts got shorter, frillier, and covered in beads, while hair was flirtatious yet tightly controlled.

I nailed the dress with a purchase from Debenhams - a flapper dress isn't appropriate for a work do, so instead I opted for a monochrome number which uses art deco shapes to evoke the 1920s style. Not 100% perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it! Then, on to the (obviously) more important bit... The hair - how to recreate a 1920s inspired style with a wig - not necessarily an easy task.

For this one, I selected the Haute wig by Jon Renau; it's one of their Smartlace Heat Defiant range, designed to be styled, heated and moulded to suit your mood; or worn as it comes - a chin length bob with lots of sophistication. I selected it for it's medium length - not too much to work with because the 1920s is famous for short crop bobs, but long enough to enable me to style it and hide the edges at the nape.

The Haute HD Smartlace Wig from Jon Renau...

Haute HD SmartLace Wig

On to the styling...

I attached my clamp to the table, popped on a polystyrene head, and pinned the wig using 'U-Pins' - available online:

Step 1:
It might sound obvious, but first thing to do is brush through the hair, add any leave in conditioning spray and make sure all the fibres are separated and loose. This will be important for the actual styling.

Step 2:
Separate one third of the hair and tie it up out of the way. If you have a fringe, choose the opposite side to the way it sweeps; if you have a centre parting, pick whichever side you prefer.

Step 3:
Leave the first section free; in this case the fringe - you'll come back to it later. Pick up the beginning of the next section about one inch thick. Start to twist, keeping it tight enough to hold its shape, but loose enough not to create a false hairline. This is important so that you don't make it obvious you are wearing a wig, but how tight you pull it will depend on your individual wig. Twist it towards the back of the head.

As you twist, gather up more and more pieces of hair, bringing them into the twist. Do this until you reach the end of the hair.

Step 4:
When you reach the end of the length of hair, twist it into a bun and attach it with kirby grips to the nape of the neck. It should be at least halfway around the wig / head so that the style is mostly on one side of the head.

Step 5:
Take another piece of hair about two inches thick, twist it gently and create another bun; fix it with kirby grips next to the first.

Step 6:
Split the remaining hair in two, leaving a small amount by the face; mine was about one inch thick. Twist the remaining piece to the bottom, curl the end round and pin in a loose bun next to the other two; preferably slightly higher as long as it doesn't expose the wig band.

Step 7:
Take the final exposed bit at the front of the face, twist it loosely and wrap it into a tiny pin curl. This is where you wind the curl around inside itself to create a visible, decorative spiral. It's harder to do in a synthetic wig because the fibres are much stiffer, but it'll still make a lovely decorative piece. Mine ended in a figure of eight shape, which wasn't so historically accurate, but still looked pretty.

Step 8:
Return to the first side and the piece of fringe that you left; take the end and tuck it behind the original twist, creating a loose, sweeping fringe.

Step 9:
Add a headband, an outfit, some darker shadowing around the eyes and a slash of deep red lipstick and you're done!

I hope you've found this one useful and if you've used it, we'd love to see some picture!

Aspire Hair South

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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Top Secret mission!

Last week saw myself and 11 other beautiful women with alopecia taking part in a top secret mission to change the views on alopecia. 

Victoria who runs our Branch in Cheltenham put together the project and what a fantastic job she did! Now, as it's a big secret right now I'm afraid I can't really say too much. What I can do though is share a few pictures from the day <3 

I enjoyed every moment of it and I'm looking forward to being able to share more. With you soon! 

Emma xxx
Aspire Hair