Losing the brows
This was something I totally forgot to write about - the experience of losing my eyebrows.
I was reminded how challenging and painful this was for me when I was asked about the memory during a recent radio interview. It brought me straight back to a time when I just stood in my bathroom and cried. I lost my hair at 15 and it wasn’t until three years later that my eyebrows and eyelashes decided they didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, and just fell out!
I was performing at the Gate Theatre in Dublin at the time. It was a magical and happy time in my life. I made the most wonderful friends - women who popped in and out of the dressing room – everyone was very supportive. We laughed our asses off every single night for months! Every Christmas time I remember that dressing room and it still makes my belly jump with the happy and special memories I hold. I am still in touch with all the talented women from that dressing room! I feel lucky to call them my pals.
So, during the course of this play that I was doing at the Gate, I started to notice my thick black eyebrows looking a bit strange. They started to become slightly less full. I was in complete denial - the idea of them falling out was too hard to cope with. So, I just put it to the back of my mind. I kept on borrowing my actress pal, Tara’s eyebrow pencil. I would use it every night. She ended up giving it to me.
I began to stop cleaning my makeup off after each night as I had a feeling of dread that when I took it off, I might have a horrible surprise waiting for me. A week or so went by and I decided it was time to give my eyebrows a proper clean and scrub. When I did, I got the shock of my life. They weren’t just thinner now. They were patchy.... they looked awful. I cried and cried.
The moment I realised that my eyebrows were falling out was the hardest moment throughout my alopecia journey. My eyebrows where beautiful, thick, luscious and dark. I was known for them, they were my ‘thing’. Your eyebrows define your face! I was so scared.
Then not long after that when I was taking off my mascara my eyelashes just started falling out. Trying to cover up the patches in eyebrows and eyelashes is extremely hard. The last thing you want to do is shave them off – I wanted to hold on to them for dear life!!!
I tried bleaching my eyebrows for a while, so I would have more of an even playing field when drawing my eyebrows back on. I was awful at drawing on my eyebrows and I never wanted to wear false eyelashes. My face really didn’t t look quite right. Or so I thought. To me everything looked lob-sided.
Gradually the hair loss became worse and worse and I was left with nothing.
It was at this point that I made it my mission to become an expert at drawing on eyebrows and finding the most natural and comfortable eyelashes out there!
And so, my eyebrow and eyelashes journey began ....