An entrepreneur and soon-to-be-mom, Suran Yoo is the creator of Silk or Lace, a marketplace for beautiful wigs and hairpieces. She’s currently in the third trimester of her pregnancy and has the cutest puppy named Ford. Suran shares her personal hair story as well as some hair care advice with us.
Suran founded Silk or Lace after going through a tumultuous journey with her hair. She eventually started her instagram account @the_strandie to share her story with hair loss and help other women who are going through their own hair journey.
“It started my junior year of college when I went on the birth control pill. It took a very startled toll on my body. I lost half my head of hair at age 23 and I tried everything under the moon.”
After trying all different treatments, nothing gave her the hair that she had before. It wasn’t until she looked back at her engagement photos where she really saw the change that time had taken on her hair.
“I felt like I needed to do something drastic,” said Suran. “That’s when I found hair pieces as a solution for me. I started wearing wigs and hair toppers. I actually wore one to my wedding, and it’s transformed my life. The most powerful thing is that it enabled me to not think about my hair anymore.”
What made you start Silk or Lace?
“People don’t talk about the emotions and the experience when they have hair loss. They aren’t transparent about the solutions that they try — they don’t talk about the solutions because they are embarrassed or ashamed about the problem. It becomes a cycle where more and more women think that they’re alone and that there are no solutions for them. That creates two separate issues that this industry is trying to solve.
I created an Instagram account called @the_strandie because I felt like alopecia was a topic that wasn’t talked about. Female pattern hair loss is still very taboo and feels very embarrassing to women. When I started @the_strandie, there weren’t many hair loss accounts or women sharing their stories so openly. I received thousands of DMs from women who were going through the same thing as me. So many people shared the same story that I had — the same feelings of hopelessness, embarrassment, and feeling like they weren’t feminine enough.
That’s what led me to creating Silk or Lace. I had answered so many questions about hair loss and hair care and realized that there needed to be a destination to put all these resources together. I also wanted to create a better shopping experience for people to find high quality brands and a curation that actually helped women find what they were looking for.”
How has your hair changed over the years?
“When I was losing my hair at 23, I was trying so many different solutions all at once because I was desperate. At the same time, I was using a lot of different styling products to give my hair volume. I was doing this as a very ignorant consumer — without knowing which ingredients worked, which didn’t work, or which were harmful. I tried everything. I didn’t care what was actually going into my body, I just needed something to work.
Over time, I became more aware about the ingredients and the products that I’m using to put in and on my body. When I first started @the_strandie, I was very into clean hair care. To this day, I will not use shampoos that have sulfates in them. I have definitely simplified my hair care routine. Wearing wigs and hair pieces have helped a lot because I don’t need to style my own hair — I’m not putting any heat on it and I’m not pulling it with different combs or brushes.
Now I take care of my hair because it’s a part of me and it’s a reflection of the things that I put in my body — I want to take good care of it. All of this has been a process of me appreciating and loving my hair.”
How has pregnancy affected your hair?
“Since I’m in my third trimester, I’ve grown a lot of hair, not completely back, but my hair has definitely gotten fuller with the pregnancy hormones. So right now, I don’t have to do as much to my hair as I did when I first started @the_strandie. I’m not looking forward to postpartum hair loss!”
How did you deal with the hair issues you experienced?
“When I was losing my hair, I had been simultaneously trying different topical treatments, especially because there’s so much cutting edge technology and new treatments that came out at the time. Wearing hair pieces allowed me to take those without having the pressure for them to necessarily work.”
What is the best hair care advice you’ve ever been given?
“One of my good friends, Amy Chang, went through a whole skincare and hair care journey of her own and now features tips on her blog. The best advice that she has given in her clean hair care routine is to always understand the ingredients that are going into your body and to keep it simple when possible.
Try to be more mindful of what exactly you’re putting on your hair and body and understand the benefits that each ingredient gives you.”
What originally attracted you to the Hair Care Club?
“The Hair Care Club sounded really interesting. I think there needs to be a lot more education around hair care in general. It is one of the industries within beauty that I think has a lot of opportunities and it’s still growing.
A lot of innovation is happening right now and I’m excited that you guys are bringing more awareness into this space in a more community-like fashion. I’m excited to see what you guys come up with.”
What sources would you recommend to trust for information?
“You definitely want to look at medical sources first. The NIH has a whole database of the scientific data behind each ingredient. That’s something I trust if I want to look at a specific ingredient.
I would say that medical sources are my number one go-to, but there are also more consumer-friendly sources on social media. For example, my friend Amy Chang does a ton of research on different ingredients in hair care and skincare. So she’s one of my go-to’s as well."
What’s a piece of hair care advice that you’d like to leave with the hair community?
“To me, hair is such an important part of our beauty. I think that people who say, ‘Oh your hair is not you,’ are missing an important part of our psychology. Hair is part of our identity. I look in the mirror and if I didn’t have my hair, it would totally change my perspective.
The key is learning to love your hair for where it’s at and understanding that it is a part of you. It is a journey that looks different for everyone and it doesn’t come overnight. Be patient and kind to yourself because you’re beautiful with your hair and where it’s at.”
A message to Suran:
We truly appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. Thank you so much for speaking about your experiences and sharing your story across your platforms, social media, and with all of us. It’s been an absolute pleasure!