We had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Amber Perkins about her journey with hair loss throughout the years. She’s absolutely beautiful, a mother of five, has been married for almost 17 years, and even though she has thin hair, she’s always been interested in hair and hair care — even going to beauty school for hair.
After having five children and experiencing postpartum shedding, Amber was diagnosed with androgenic alopecia. The emotional journey of her hair loss led her to start her instagram, @fabricatingfringe. On a search for a solution, she founded and fostered supportive communities that start conversations around the experience women have with hair loss.
“I’ve never experienced a thick head of hair. It’s just part of my genetics to have fine thin, wispy, feathery hair,” said Amber. “As I got older, I experienced weight loss, weight gain, and I had five children. After the hormones and stress, I started to experience what a lot of women experience after they have their babies: that postpartum shed. Through my own discovery and looking into information as well as talking to my OBGYN, I was diagnosed with androgenic alopecia.”
Amber has always loved alternative hair — starting in her teens where she used extensions like clip-ins and halos. However, she started reaching for hats starting in her twenties after having kids because there came a point after the postpartum shed when it was hard to conceal her extension tracks.
“It affected my self esteem because there was only so much I could do. Even if I put on a cute hat people would be like, ‘Oh, I love your hair. I like your look.’ I knew about the challenge and I felt the challenge daily. I would look at people with the hair that I wanted and I was envious of that because I had never experienced it.”
What’s your biggest piece of advice for women struggling with hair loss?
“You’re not alone. When I was going through hair loss initially, I felt very alone in it. I didn’t talk about it a lot. I didn’t feel like I could and I felt less than because of it.
Finding a community of people who are also dealing with hair loss is a comfort. Even though it might not solve the problem, just knowing that hey, I’m not some odd ball going through this alone. Hair loss is super common, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody has something that they have to deal with. Just a lot of it can’t be seen. And with hair loss, it’s something that’s exterior.”
What’s your relationship with hair styling and how has it evolved since the start of your hair loss?
“I went to beauty school when I was in high school, because even as a young little girl, I loved to play with hair. As I got older, it was unfortunate because I couldn’t achieve certain styles and do different things on my hair because of how fragile and thin it was. I couldn’t be that gal in beauty school that dyed it every color because it would just break off. Having hair additions allows me to try those different styles and colors without the damage. I’m very passionate about my own hair, hairstyling, hair in general, and the alternative hair industry as well.
When I first started to try to conceal my hair loss, I was very discreet about it. It was hard. I think I have come to terms with my thin fine hair pretty well, but I have spoken to people who have dealt with hair loss who once had that horse’s mane. And although we can relate with the hair loss and dealing with thin fine hair, I’ve never experienced that wondrous thick, thick hair."
How do you approach Instagram and the information you share?
“What I try to do on my platform is not only encourage and inspire, but also educate and show the various options that are out there. Whether that’s the options for hair growth and hair health, or if that is reaching for products like thickening products, hair fibers, building fibers, all the way up to extensions, ad-ons toppers, and even wigs. I like to keep that range really wide so it can reach a whole group of people because everybody has their different wants, needs, and circumstances.
Early on, I had discovered certain solutions like Hair Building Fibers by Toppik, for example. Throughout my hair journey I learned to manipulate my own biological hair as well. I wanted to share what had helped me. And so I followed every single shop and person I could find that shared similar interests or were seeking similar solutions. Surprisingly, there weren’t that many.
However, five, six years later, the female hair loss community has grown tremendously. The amount of people who are coming out to talk about it, normalize it, and remove that stigma is just totally inspiring and empowering. It has made people realize hair loss is normal and there are things you can do to reverse it. There are solutions for it in one way or another.”
What originally attracted you to the community at Revela?
“I’m very intrigued by anything that can benefit hair loss, hair health in general.
Hair growth in the community that I’m involved in is a taboo subject because there are people with all ranges of alopecia who have tried everything. They’ve gone to dermatologists. They’ve had injections, they’ve taken pills. People who have taken Rogaine and this, that, and the other. And they just feel kind of at a loss. They’ve spent hundreds of dollars on stuff to help grow their hair back and a lot of them feel like it never really does the job.
So when somebody like me who wears, promotes, and embraces alternative hair, is also okay with looking into things for hair health and hair growth, a lot of them are like, wait a minute. Can we trust this? Is this just more reason to throw our money down the drain?
I can see how one product might benefit one person, maybe not the next. And that doesn’t mean it needs to be shunned completely. That’s why I really felt like your community doing the research and really talking about it is helpful because it is hard. “
What’s a piece of hair care advice you want to share our community?
“I know that when I stick to a routine using good stuff and I do see overall just a better appearance and feel in my own hair. I would say to the community, just be open-minded and look into the ingredients and trial and error.
I think also listening to the community and what has really helped others can be beneficial too. Without those people trying out those things, you’re not going to know what’s kind of a failure and what’s not. But like I mentioned, I know some things that may work wonders for one person may not always work for the next. The causes of hair loss vary so much with each individual and sometimes the solution is not always one size fits all.“
Can you touch upon how pregnancy affected your hair?
“When I was pregnant, my hair actually did better. I was taking my prenatal vitamins and I don’t know what it was about the hormones I was experiencing while pregnant, but I felt like my hair grew faster. It looked shinier, healthier, and thicker than it typically is on a normal day, not pregnant. And then about two, three months after I delivered, it started to just all fall out.
So during pregnancy, I loved my hair — I mean, my hair was never amazing, but it was way better than it usually is. So, I could get away with putting in a halo extension and have it look pretty decent, having my own biological hair cover and look pretty well without a hat or a huge hair addition. I felt pretty confident in my pregnancy hair, but afterwards, oh yes, I definitely had a huge, huge postpartum shed.”
How has your platform impacted your own hair journey?
“As far as me and my platform goes, I’m just so grateful for the communities that are out there. I think it really helps me come to terms with my own journey and discover different options for myself to help gain that type of control I was looking for. Just that peace of mind knowing that I’m not alone. There’s a lot of people dealing with this and I know how it feels when you’re really going through it.
I read that a lot of people equate hair loss to losing a limb, so I don’t want to minimize those feelings that people have, but I have discovered through my own journey that there’s way more to life than having a horse’s mane of hair. There are options out there and it just has given me so much more peace of mind and contentment, knowing that there’s just so much available for us to discover that can help us in one way or another.
I love sharing and being involved. It’s turned into a big passion of mine and a creative outlet. So for anybody who supports or watches me and has found it to be inspiring or helpful — thank you. And I appreciate you guys too, for allowing me the opportunity to talk with you, discuss this and kind of be involved. It’s just a huge honor to be involved with everybody, trying to find solutions and helping those out there going through this.”
A message from Revela to Amber:
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. And also thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing your story across your platforms, social media, and with us. It’s been absolutely amazing and we appreciate you!