Hair loss can be incredibly scary. One day you’re recreating Kendall Jenner’s sleek ponytail, and the next, it seems, clumps fall out whenever you rake your fingers through your tresses. While it affects millions of women worldwide (including fitness it-girl Kayla Itsines), hair loss or female-pattern baldness is not something that’s often talked about. But now, Jada Pinkett Smith is looking to change that.
“A lot of people have been asking about why I’ve been wearing turbans,” Pinkett Smith says in a recent episode of her Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk. “It’s not easy to talk about but…I’ve been having issues with hair loss.”
“It was terrifying when [the hair loss] first started,” she continues. “I was in the shower one day and then just handfuls of hair [were] in my hands. And I was just like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’ It was one of those times in my life when I was literally shaking with fear.”
“It was one of those times in my life when I was literally shaking with fear.” —Jada Pinkett Smith
Pinkett Smith says she’s had multiple tests to try to get to the root of her sudden hair loss—and friends and family wonder whether she’s suffering from too much stress or alopecia (an autoimmune condition that attacks your hair follicles)—but so far the cause remains a mystery.
Diagnosis or no, Pinkett Smith isn’t letting the struggle define her. “My hair has been a big part of me,” she tells her mom and daughter, Willow, in the Facebook video. “Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual—and having the choice to have hair or not. And then one day to be like, ‘Oh my God, I might not have that choice anymore…'”
To cope with the identity crisis that came with her hair loss, Pinkett Smith says she had to take a step back and see her struggle in a greater context. “I really had to put it into a spiritual perspective,” she says. “The higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer, people have sick children. And by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair—that’s it? When I looked at it from that perspective, it really did settle me.”
Now, Pinkett Smith’s brightly-colored turbans and scarves are helping her get her confidence back. “When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen,” she says. And by speaking out about her fear in order to help others, she’s acting like one, too.
Watch the entire discussion about her hair loss below:
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