‘I’m wearing fake hair, get over it’
You'd be forgiven for thinking Kellie Scott has a live-in hairdresser.
The seriously luscious locks on the 34-year-old journalist are bouncy and blonde one day and balayaged the next. Last week she was a redhead, and the week before she was rocking pastel pink tresses with an on-trend fringe.
But Kellie has barely stepped foot in a hair salon in seven years.
She has androgenic alopecia - also known as female pattern hair loss - and has been wearing wigs and hair pieces, known as toppers, for the past two years.
Her condition has no known cure or, according to Kellie, effective treatment.
"I was 27 when I first noticed my hair was thinning, but I'd always had thin and fine hair anyway," Kellie, of Mount Gravatt East says.
"But then over the years the thinning got progressively worse and I knew there was something medically going on."
Cue countless afternoons in the offices of medical specialists searching for answers.
"Some said temporary shedding, and then others androgenic alopecia, but no one could tell me what caused it. They'd just take guesses," Kellie remembers.
She thinks changing her contraceptive pill may have sparked the condition, but she chooses not to waste much time thinking about it anymore.
"In the end, the most freeing thing for me was just forgetting about searching for medical answers and instead finding a cosmetic solution," she says.
"Yesterday I switched up my hair three times. When you start seeing hair loss as an opportunity to accessorise you become as obsessed with changing it as much as your outfit. Believe me, going bald can be fun."
Now, every day is a good hair day for the Hair Loss Boss. That's what Kellie goes by on Instagram, @hairlossboss, where her hair-styling tips and hair loss straight talk have amassed her 12,000 followers.
"It was about two years ago when I got my first topper and I basically put a post up on Instagram that said: I'm wearing fake hair, get over it," Kellie says of "coming out" about her hair loss.
"I had such a beautiful response, so I just started sharing all my trials and errors and day-to-day hair stuff."
More recently Kellie has used the platform to arrange meet-ups with other Brisbane women dealing with hair loss.
"People want to know how to accept their hair loss and that's what I like to help them with," she says.
They also want guy help.
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Have been asked a lot lately if I've abandoned toppers and switched to wigs full-time. And the answer is: HELL NO. If you've ever spent time in Queensland you'll know how mean the heat is here. My toppers will get flogged in summer. Of course if (actually, when) I take the plunge and buzz my mullet I may no longer need them. But I'm not quite there yet, so for now it's business as usual: covering up this rat's tail 👊 . . . #hairloss #androgenicalopecia #alopecia #mulletclub #beforeandafter #femalepatternhairloss #postpartumhairloss #toppers #hairtoppers
"I find most women are fearful of men's reactions to their hair loss," says Kellie, who lives with her concreter boyfriend Travis French, 37.
"It's like this: Most women worry that when they have a sleepover with a guy he'll see them without any makeup in the morning. But for women with hair loss, we've got to take our hair off when we 'get it on', so it's a whole new level of insecurity," Kellie laughs.
"My advice is always this: If you make a big deal out of it, a man will follow your lead.
"Be the boss of your hair loss."