MEGAN LEDARNEY HAIR REPLACEMENT FOUNDATION
Where It All Started
To fully understand how it all started, you first must know what Trichotillomania (Trich or TTM) is. TTM is an uncontrollable urge to pull out your own hair. There is no single cause of Trich, though there are a number of theories about why it may occur. Some include:
Psychological and behavioural theories suggest a person may pull their hair out as a way of relieving stress or anxiety.
Trichotillomania may be a type of self-harm, where a person deliberately injures themselves to seek temporary relief from emotional distress.
changes in hormone levels – trichotillomania is more common around ages when hormone levels frequently change, such as during puberty
" In my case, I wasn't a particularily depressed person, but I had some adolescent issues to work through. I can remember the first day I started pulling my hair because my mother couldn't stop laughing at me.
I was in grade 7 and was zoned out during math class as per usual, and I remember looking down at the floor and feeling disgusted because there was a pile of hair on the ground under my classroom chair. I never suspected myself because I hadn't remembered or felt myself pulling, so I slid away from it slightly and forgot about it.
After class, I remembered meeting with my best friend at our lockers, talking a bit, then saying good bye for the day. Nothing seemed unusual.
I had been watching TV by the time my mother got home from work. She emmediatly focused in on me, squinting and trying to make sense of what she was looking at. All of a sudden, she starting laughing histerically at me whilst pointing and motioning me to look in the mirror by our front door.
I got up to look at myself for the first time since school, and emmediatly I was horrified at the sight. I had pulled out a triangle shaped spot at the very front and center of my hairline, and a bald spot lied where my fringe once had. A large shiny bald spot. I finally realized where the hair had come from!
High School Was Hard
By the time my mother had finally decided that it would be best that I move back to Medicine Hat to live with my father, I had pulled out a 10'' x 10'' circumfrence on the top of my head. The long, un-touched hair remaining was pretty well equivalent to a rat tail on the nape of my scalp.
I was now ready to start grade 8 at a new highschool in Medicine Hat, half way through the school year, and was told that I was prohibited to wear the ball cap that I so cherished wearing in public settings. The last time most of the peers I did remember from elementary saw me, I had a full head of hair. I was automatically looked at as a freak.
Emmediatly I adopted a new name. Instead of Megan, my new name was "mullet".
If I tried to raise my hand to answer a question in class, one of my peers would either *cough* mullet *cough*, or downright yell "shut up mullet, no one cares what you have to say".
On a number of occasions, I would have gum thrown in my hair as I walked down the hallway, and I can remember asking one of the teachers to help cut it out of my hair, only to have the teacher look at me in disgust, then say "oh, no thank you".
Nearing the end of my grade 8 year and after numerous occasions mimicing the above, I decided to do myself a favour and I left highschool for good. That was the last grade I ever attended.
Instead, I decided to get into the work force. I began working at Pizza 73; it felt really good to know that I was making an income for myself. I realised that I had a very strong work ethic.
By the time I was 17, I was introduced to my first set of hair extensions. Remember the synthetic Jessica Simpson clip on extensions? Yep - that was them!
What I truly loved about them is how I felt when I wore them. I felt feminine, beautiful, elegant. In reality they were horrible quality, but the feeling of happiness and beauty really resinated in me.
As if by magic, I stopped pulling.
A Blessing In Disguise
It took a short while, but by the time I was 20 I had realised so much about my self worth, and I had always felt that my extensions contributed to my happiness. I knew that I suffered from an odd, rare disorder, but I sensed that I couldn't have been the only one suffering from Trich, and definately not the only person suffering from hair loss, who indeed have their own stories and struggles associated with them.
I became interested in extensions because I knew that vanity was only one small aspect to the extension industry, but extensions could also cause damage if not installed, cared for, or removed properly. I felt that in our region, there were only a few methods available, and I always wanted to offer techniques which did not cause additional damage.
I began playing around with wefts and micro beads on a mannequin, trying to find ways that the wefts could stay fascined to the hair using the micro beads. I had found that Micro beads (lined with silicone) created the least amount of damage to the natural hair, and knew I had to focus on proper weight distribution so that the hair follicle would not experience excess tension. It look a lot of playing around and testing on myself & promotional clients until I finally perfected it. After 6 years, my technique has finally found it's trade mark name: VOGUEPEARL™. It began with earlier names, though after having our technique mimiced so often in our industry and realizing the technique's full potential, I knew my technique would need to have it's own true identity.
In 6 short years since developing my own technique, I have been through hair school, travelled to London England to become a master trainer in over 15 extension techniques, studied Trichology and hair replacement services, own two salons and a reputable extension based Academy. Best part is - it is only the beggining, I have SO many plans, goals and aspirations to better our industry!
Though I'll always suffer from Trichotillomania, I feel it has shaped my life in such a profound way. Before obsessing with my hair and putting so much of my life's stresses on hair, I decided to turn it into my passion. I found an amazing niche industry, and I am so excited to help shape the future of it whilst supporting proper training & care in the world of hair extensions.
xoxo Megan Ledarney.