Today, I am ecstatic to have Fiona Kemigisha, who is sharing about her journey with Alopecia. If you’re new here we’re doing a blog series dubbed (BTS)Bold type Series. It looks at women who dare to challenge the status quo and continue to thrive on challenges. In the spirit of September being Alopecia Awareness month, I am more than honored to have phenomenal Fiona(Fifi) share her journey with alopecia with.
CAVEAT: This is about to get intimate; Grab your drink and let’s start this chit-chat.
1. Who is Fiona Kemi? Away from being a public eye of being a natural hair blogger sharing her journey with Alopecia?
(Fiona is renown for her stellar works as a lawyer, natural hair blogger and content creator.)
I’m a Christian. First of three children. I’m obsessed with books, movies, and old music. I’m against all forms of extremism. I love dogs and I really like ketchup. I’ll eat almost anything with that stuff on it. Also, I’m a lot more introverted than I seem on social media. Oh, and I want to see the world. There’s just too much of it to stay in one spot your whole life.
2. For those of us who don’t know, what’s Alopecia in simple terms?
3. When did you first begin to lose your hair? How can we help a friend when she notices hair loss?
(This is in line with being a newbie on the journey with alopecia.)
Sometime in 2011, I got two small bald patches at the back of my head but that didn’t last long. That was my very first experience although I tend to talk about my more severe hair loss in 2015 because that was the first time I was actually faced with the possibility of losing most or all of my hair.
When I first lost some hair in 2011, I didn’t tell anyone. I was 21 and extremely insecure about it. Well, I even used my medicine in hiding. The best thing you can do for a friend is being supportive. Be someone she can confide in. Go to the doctor’s appointment with her. Like most difficulties, having someone to share with really lessens the load.
4. What motivates to openly share about your journey with Alopecia? Why create awareness on this subject matter?
(Given that the world, we are in today, everything is pretty perfect)
I joined the Natural Hair UG platform on Facebook a couple of years ago and one day, I posted about hair loss and got a few responses from other women who were going through the same thing. It’s strange but it had never really occurred to me, until that moment, that there might be many other women dealing with this. Until then, I was the only person I knew with alopecia. And so I started researching and found out that black women, in particular, are prone to a certain type of alopecia.
The realization that so many other women are struggling with hair loss and need advice, support and someone to exchange experiences with propelled me to start talking about it and I’ve been doing it ever since.
5. Can alopecia be treated? Have you tried any treatments?
( have stumbled upon natural remedies such as onion juice and aromatherapy with essential oils such as jojoba oil, lavender, and rosemary)
Well, yes and no. I am not a medical professional. However, here’s a simple explanation. There are different types of alopecia and some are easier to treat than others. Traction alopecia, for example, is as a result of excess tension on the hair strands through things like tight braids. The effects of this can be reversed through adopting better hair practices, natural oil treatments etc On the flip side, CCCA (most common in black women) is a form of scarring alopecia that results in permanent hair loss. This form is much more difficult to treat. Its actual cause is still unknown and all courses of treatment may or may not lead to regrowth.
6. Do you recommend any treatments?
I’m a huge advocate for all things natural, especially when it comes to healing. I swear by scalp massages. In my experience, the particular oil you use isn’t quite as important as the consistency and method. Daily warm oil massages stimulate blood flow in the scalp which in turn encourages growth. I am partial to almond oil for this because it’s light enough for daily use and has some protein content. I have friends who have had good results with onion juice too (I must confess I’m just not brave enough for it).
Also, eating right is a big part of hair health. Things like green vegetables, yogurt, and oats have been known to contribute to healthy growth.
7. Girl, we are curious; Has your diagnosis affected any other areas of your life? How do you manage your journey with alopecia?
Yes. Hair loss is depressing. There’s no avoiding it. Like any other woman, I like to feel pretty and my hair has always been a part of that. In the beginning, I lost my confidence. I had to go through that process of reminding myself of what beauty means to me and how God sees me.
Having a partner who never let me forget my worth really helped me too. I can honestly say it’s also made me a little tougher and enabled me to help other women in my own small way.
8. Some people with Alopecia wear wigs and false eyelashes, others choose not to. What do you recommend to help a friend to cope with Alopecia?
Whether it’s embracing baldness or wearing lashes and wigs, whatever makes you feel most at peace, most beautiful, do that. Like I said before, just be supportive in any way you can. Help your friend find helpful information, go to a doctor’s appointment or just be there when they need to talk about it. Simple things like that go a long way.
9. Are there any Holy Grail products in your current regimen?
(We all have at least a natural hair product that we would love to try/have tried and fallen in love with deeply)
My Holy Grail products at the moment are; Kentaro Homemade Organics Avoghee (Deep Conditioner), Livara Sapphire Leave-in Conditioner, Ariam’s Naturals Pure Avocado Oil and Saru Organics Shea and Avocado Butter Curl Pudding.
Yes, I’m big on supporting homegrown all natural products and so far, can’t complain.
10. Lastly, what essential hair advice do you have for those looking to share their journey with Alopecia/ or wish you would have known as you were starting out?
Don’t buy a bunch of stuff. Lol. I bought so much stuff in the beginning. Do a little research, start with just the basics and then work your way up with time. Also, patience. It takes a while but it’s so worth it.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! All the juice From Fiona Kemi on her journey with Alopecia.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Feel free to interact with her across all social media; Fiona Kemi.
Photo credit; Fiona Kemi.