Reflections on Hair + Personal Identity for National Hair Loss Awareness Month

I have a complicated relationship with many aspects of my physical appearance—it’s part and parcel of being human!—but the one I have always adored without reservations is my hair. Oh sure, I could find something to complain about if I looked for it. My strands stubbornly refuse to hold a curl, for example, and they get oily pretty quickly between washings. Yet even those foibles come with the territory of what I like about my strands: they’re soft, sleek, and naturally golden blonde, with sun-fueled highlights and lowlights that provide movement and dimension. But the thing I love most about my hair has less to do with how it looks and more to do with what it means to me. As one of my family’s most prominent shared characteristics, it’s a treasured link to my past and to the evolution of my future.

I come from a long line of blondes. My dad’s ancestors came from Norway, Scotland, and Wales, and the Sage family albums read like a textbook chapter on genetics. There’s my sandy-maned uncles and their many daughters, all of whom are variations on the theme of freckled, flaxen, and fair. There’s my dad himself, whose hair is ash brown but whose beard still grows strawberry blonde. And finally, there’s photos of my dearly departed grandma, in which I see shades of my sister, my cousins, and myself. We are her living legacy, and our coloring is one of the many precious attributes that bind us together as we carry her memory with us through the world.

Then there’s my mom’s influence. Her people hail originally from Germany and Northern Italy, and as a kid she was a dead ringer for Heidi: a rosy-cheeked towhead with a magnetic smile. Only in the past few years have her platinum strands begun to transition to a dignified, elegant white—and my sister, who is almost 30, still sports the platinum locks with which she and my mother were both born. It seems like such a small thing, but when I was young we moved around a lot and I often struggled to find belonging with my peers; however whenever we’d gather as a family, it always brought me great peace to look around the dinner table and see my clear place amongst the blondies seated there.

In addition to sharing the color of our hair, the women in my family have something else in common: we all tend to experience distressing hair loss with age. For my grandma it started quite young—as a kid I used to try on the many hairpieces she used to boost her bouffant and her confidence—and for my mom it’s been more recent but no less upsetting. We’re not alone, though. In fact an estimated 25% of women hereditary hair loss, or HHL, which appears as a widening of the part or increased visibility of the scalp. Since the odds are pretty good that HHL is in my future, I more than happily agreed to spread the word about National Hair Loss Awareness Month and the role that Women’s Rogaine® 5% Minoxidil Foam can play in growing thicker, fuller hair for those experiencing HHL.

See, although I’ve still got a thick head of hair now, my locks are such an integral part of my identity that I’m conscious of how unsettled I’d feel should they start to thin. Rogaine is clinically proven to regrow up to 25% more hair in 3 months, with new hairs growing in up to 48% thicker than before, so it’s a serious option on my radar. Plus using Rogaine immediately at the earliest signs of hair thinning can help remedy the hair loss process and sustain optimal hair density for a fuller, younger looking head of hair. I’m all for embracing the aging process with grace (and I can’t wait to have white hair like my mom!) but I’m also a fan of finding a little help to make that process smoother. After all, when I look in the mirror I see my whole family right there too—and to me that means the world!

Photos: Eslee Photography. Disclosure: I partnered with Rogaine to concept, shoot, write, edit, and share this post. All opinions are and always will be my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable me to bring you fresh inspiration daily!