Words by Nicole Petty, haircare expert for Milk + Blush
At last week’s Oscars, spectators nationwide watched in awe as Will Smith publicly slapped Chris Rock as he took a jibe at Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairstyle, referring to her as ‘G I Jane’. However, despite the public’s initial shock, the conversation has turned to the reasoning behind the Oscar winner’s act of violence – his wife’s open battle with alopecia.
Since revealing her battle in 2018, Jada has openly discussed the impact of hair loss on her mental health while giving us style inspiration with her fabulous headscarves and cropped locks.
Last year, the Matrix actress took to Instagram to reveal her freshly shaved mane and described saying goodbye to her remaining hair as “time to let go”. Many fans praised the star for her bravery and for embracing her alopecia, demonstrating that hair loss isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Young or old, hair loss can happen to anyone, at any time, and it’s estimated to affect eight million women in the UK.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that can cause hair loss, not just from the scalp – but all over the body. For some, the condition may only last a short period; the hair will grow back, but for many, the hair loss is unfortunately permanent. But while hair loss is relatively common, losing your hair can be traumatising, particularly for those where the loss of hair is permanent.
Studies have shown that alopecia can have a detrimental impact on mental health, with suffers often experiencing anxiety and depression, poorer body image and low self-esteem. It’s clear that hair loss can be a tender subject and not something to be ridiculed. Celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith have been role models to others suffering from the same condition.
Here are some things sufferers can learn from Jada’s openly discussed alopecia journey.
Sharing is caring
Since 2018, Jada has candidly shared her experience with alopecia. Simply sharing your struggles with loved ones can take a huge weight off your shoulders.
From the sweet snaps shared on Instagram and their family podcast, it’s clear to see Jada feels she can lean on her family when she needs support and take strength from them. So, open up to others about your struggles and remember you are not alone.
For more help and advice, organisations such as Alopecia UK seek to improve the lives of those affected with alopecia and help them regain their confidence.
Styling it out can look really cool
Over the years, we’ve seen some fabulous looks from Jada Pinkett Smith. From pixie cuts to turbans and headscarves, Jada shows there are many ways to rock uber short locks. And now, shaving her hair off only highlights her stunning facial features and showcases her beauty.
Take inspiration from Jada’s bold looks and find other ways to embrace your beauty by using accessories to add a super cute, feminine touch to your look.
It shouldn’t be taboo to embrace shorter locks
Though losing hair can be devastating, there’s no need to feel embarrassed by shorter hair. Short, shaved hairstyles have long been in Vogue, with celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Amber Rose and Kristen Stewart rocking shaved hair.
Don’t be afraid to try something different – after all, some of this year’s biggest hair trends revolve around making the chop!
Knowing how much alopecia can impact self-esteem, Chris Rock’s G.I. Jane comments might have triggered some people.
It’s important to be mindful of how someone suffering from hair loss might be feeling and the impact on mental health. And if you’re not sure what to say on the matter – don’t say anything at all.