the strand

the inside scoop on amika:
brooklyn lifestyle, all things hair.
debunking product myths +
serving look inspo, one strand at a time.

the hair diaries: Becca, Community Manager

The Strand would like to introduce a new series called “the hair diaries”, where we spotlight the relationship between an individual and their hair. We’ve noticed that this relationship is unique to everyone and want to celebrate that!

I have alopecia areata. There, I said it. It’s something a lot of people don’t know about me. I’m sure some of those reading this who know me well will even be surprised, as most of the time I’m a very open book.

This is a phrase that seems to define my entire life (well, since the age of three), so you can see why my relationship with my hair is a tad tumultuous. If you don’t know what alopecia is, it’s “a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss.” Alopecia is a common disease, with 6.8 million people in the U.S showing affects, according to the Nation Alopecia Areata Foundation.

It’s not that I’m ashamed of this genetic disease, it just tends to open up a big can of worms.

“Do you have cancer?”

“Can you die from this?”

“Are you sick?”

No, no, and no. Alopecia areata is non-life threatening, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t impacted my life, in fact, I find I’m constantly finding myself in a balance between “this makes me who I am” and “this doesn’t define me”. I only tell close friends because I don’t want anyone to treat me any differently. Because the reality is, with or without hair, I’m still the same Becca.

I’ve worn wigs and extensions, have injected steroids into my scalp, microbladed my brows, and have tried just about every holistic method out there to help my hair grow. I’m so lucky I have parents that were willing to try legitimately anything my entire life to make me feel more confident.

So how do I feel about my hair? My hair is exhausting, if I’m being completely honest. I’ve spent the last 20+ years trying to make peace with this disease, but it’s an ever-evolving battle. The ups and downs are unbelievably tiring. There’s no cure for alopecia and it tends to come in waves. There have been times in my life where I’ve been completely bald, but there have also been times where I’ve had all my hair! You just never know what’s going to happen. Alopecia is highly unpredictable. A lot of my anxiety as an adult has stemmed from that feeling of not having any control.

However, if I owe one thing to alopecia, it’s finding my purpose. Because I couldn’t braid or style my hair when I was younger, I immediately turned to makeup. I became obsessed with watching YouTube reviews and tutorials, and when it came time to think about college, I could see my path so much clearer than most kids my age. Beauty was my passion because it set me free and didn’t put me in a box.

Fast-forward 4 years and here I am working for a haircare company. Because isn’t life just funny like that? When I first came on, I thought it may feel slightly triggering or that I may not be able to feel connected to the brand. Why do they want an employee here that can barely even use these products? I can tell you that my thoughts couldn’t be further from the reality. amika is a safe and incredibly inclusive place. I feel this role has come completely full circle for me. I don’t know what I would do without the amazing relationships I have built here amongst my peers and believe it or not, I have fallen in love with so many of our haircare products and tools.

Thanks to amika, I have FINALLY found products that help me fake it til’ I make it. I can’t recommend the 3D volume duo enough. When I do wash, which I try not to do too often, this completely cleanses + nourishes my strands while still giving me the volume that I need. I use a tiny bit of soulfood nourishing mask once a week to make sure my hair is getting the moisture it needs, without weighing it down. My secret for thin hair is to rinse about 1 minute after applying. After getting out of the shower, I shake my hair out and apply a TINY - and I cannot stress this enough - TINY amount of thicc volumizing base. The key to this product is using a very small amount on wet hair and making sure to blow-dry for ultimate weightless-ness.

To summarize; I have a very love/hate relationship with my hair. There are a lot of times where I wish I could "be just like everyone else", but I also know that this genetic disease is what sets me apart and makes me stand out. There's a saying that explains that you don't get dealt what you can't handle, and I fully believe in that statement. We all have SOMETHING about ourselves that we aren't particularly fond of, but why let it bring it bring you down when you can let it lift you up?

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Everyone has their own hair journey. Whether you have none of it, too much, or it doesn’t cooperate; we all have a story. Want to tell yours? Email and share a little about your story!

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