For many women, hair is more than just an accessory — it's a part of their identity. The way they wear it can easily change how they feel about themselves: Leaving long locks down when going out can symbolize confidence; pinning hair back before a workout can create comfort; getting a cut and changing the color can make women feel powerful.
But what happens when a person loses their hair?
To find out, Vogue asked women who had lost their hair to cancer. In an inspiring video and photo series, these women share their experiences with hair loss, and the road to embracing the change and overcoming challenges.
1. You can choose to let go of situations you cannot change.
"It was difficult to shave it off and to take away that security blanket, but I realized that I'm not going to have that anymore, and I chose to take it away from myself as well, and not hold onto something that's not there." —Elly Mayday
2. Beauty is about acceptance.
"Beauty and femininity isn't just about putting your best features forward, but it's about embracing your flaws and accepting who you are — all of who you are." —Suleika Jaouad
3. We should embrace and celebrate other people’s differences.
"I took my wig off and [my friend] was like, 'Oh my God, you're beautiful and you never should put on a wig again.' No one had ever said that to me." —Rachel Fleit
4. Difficult situations can create opportunities for redefining your ideals.
"Beauty to me was just I wanted to fit in, and now it's like I want to stand out." —Mia Sidaros
5. Everyone has special features if you just take the time to look.
"I notice beautiful features on somebody's face. Somebody might have beautiful eyes or big full lips or great cheekbones and everybody has a special feature. When you don't have hair you can really figure out what that feature is." —Kate Ambrosi
6. Evaluate what’s working for you and don’t be afraid to make uncharacteristic changes.
"I don't wear wigs anymore, but my wig was fantastic for those first three months. It really got me over a tough period where I didn't want to be without hair. When I slowly started transitioning to finding my own style, I realized that for someone as young as me, the wig wasn't really working." —Carly Severn
7. The simplest things can help instill confidence in ourselves.
"I have one thing that I love to wear everyday. That's just mascara. It sort of just brings things back to its natural state just the simplicity of what it is. It doesn't take a lot to be beautiful." —Valisia LeKae
8. Sometimes it takes losing something to understand its significance.
"I had this waist length mane of crazy, wavy hair. I used to think it was my biggest asset. Now looking back, I think that I hid behind my hair a lot more than I realized." —Suleika Jaouad
9. You can define for yourself what makes you feel beautiful.
"Beauty is what's inside and what the message is. That's actually what is the most beautiful." —Elly Mayday
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