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Inspiring Talk for NRC Hairdressing and Barbering Students


Two females holding wigs

Hairdressing students at Northern Regional College heard first-hand what it is like to live with alopecia totalis, a condition which causes total hair loss. Lisa Moore, who is originally from Greenlough and now lives in Portglenone, visited the College's campuses in both Ballymena and Magherafelt and spoke to hairdressing students about her experience of losing all her hair as a young child and how it had impacted on her life.

Lisa, who works as a Training and Development Co-ordinator with Action Mental Health, explained that when she was a young child, she had been very ill with measles.

"After I'd measles, my hair started falling out and I got my first wig - which was hideous - when I was in primary 7. By the time I was in my early teens, I was completely bald. I had no hair, no eyebrows. It was a very traumatic time for me, and I felt quite isolated."

Fortunately for Lisa and other people suffering total hair loss, in the intervening years both the quality and availability of wigs has improved immeasurably and with it, her confidence.

Now in her 'forties and with a selection of wigs to choose from, Lisa admits that she has managed her anxiety around her hair loss and has come 'out the other end' with a much more positive attitude.

"There was a time when I wouldn't dream of even of answering the door at home without a wig and full make-up on but thankfully that's no longer the case. As I got older, I began to realise that I wasn't the only person to have suffered hair loss. I got my eyebrows tattooed, wear false eyelashes and have several wigs to choose from."

After she had spoken to students at the Magherafelt campus, Lisa removed off her wig and Hairdressing lecturer, Victoria Smyth showed the students how to shampoo, style and trim it.

Lisa was so delighted with the result, that she booked a second appointment.

Hairdressing technician and part-time lecturer, Bronagh McNabb who extended the invitation to Lisa to speak to the students thanked her speaking so candidly about her personal experience of losing her hair.

She explained: “As part of their training, the students have to learn about different conditions such as alopecia totalis, so to hear first­hand about the impact it can have and the challenges of coping with hair loss was very beneficial for them. The students were very interested and had a lot of questions for Lisa.

"Hairdressing students need to be empathic with their clients so this was an excellent opportunity for them to learn from Lisa and will help them with several of their units, including consulting with clients, styling and dressing.

Level 3 Hairdressing student Jack Church was impressed by Lisa’s positive attitude.

He said: "I thought Lisa’s talk was inspirational. She is a great role model and it would be very beneficial for young people suffering from any of the seven types to alopecia hear her story."