OK, well maybe not tomorrow – but this time next year I want to have stunning, long, beautiful feminine hair. And this is how I’m going to do it.
Speak to transwomen and many of them will tell you that their genitals are the main source of their gender dysphoria – I’ve read accounts of transwomen barely being able to touch their penis, let alone have any kind of sex life with it.
I don’t have any strong feelings about “down there”. I may have Sex Reassignment Surgery in the future, and I may not. I don’t know, and don’t really care. I’ll wait to see how I feel when estrogen rewires my brain and deal with it then.
But my main cause of gender dysphoria is my hair (or lack of it). When I first started presenting as female in my late teens and early 20s, I had long hair. I had various androgynous styles over the years, from my really long heavy metal hair, which I could tie under my chin, to my indie bowl, which could be femmed up really easily with a little hairspray. I shall gloss over my Lovejoy mullet.
I used to dye it, and sometimes I had auburn streaks in it. My hair was dark, thick, wavy and glossy, full of natural highlights. It was beautiful.
But maybe ten or so years ago, my temples began to recede and my hair got thinner and thinner. I tried one final long haircut, going for a sort of Jack White look, but it didn’t work and so I decided to buy some clippers and shave it all off.
And that’s how it’s been ever since. I’ve spent the past decade getting more and more hairless up there as male pattern baldness does its thing. Really depressing, but I didn’t think I could do anything about it. I started shaving it with a razor, right back to the wood, and have done this for the past few years.
I’d heard about hair transplants, but they were horrendously expensive. OK if you’re Elton John or Wayne Rooney, but way out of my price bracket. And whenever there was a phone-in on the radio, all the experts would say that the so-called miracle cures on the market simply didn’t work.
I had no plans to transition back then but, seeing as I start estrogen (healthy blood tests permitting) in late February, it’s time to sort my hair out as well as my body.
Yes, I have a few wigs, including the one I bought a year ago. I really love the colour, the texture and the cute little pixie cut. But you can still tell that it’s a wig, which is not ideal when it comes to passing. I want my hair back.
So back in August I began taking Finasteride. This works by stopping the conversion of testosterone to DHT – and it’s DHT that shrinks the hair follicles, leading to male pattern baldness.
So I take a 5mg pill every night and the hair has slooooooowly started to come back. However, progress is very slow and there’s not so much new hair at the front. There can be side effects, one of which is breast growth. I’ve had no side effects. *sad smiley*
The only downside is that I can no longer give blood – as the drug can cause issues if it gets into the bloodstream of pregnant women. But once I start taking testosterone blockers, I’ll probably be able to come off the Finasteride and start giving blood again. Female blood, too!
Anyway, I put my before-and-after photos on a couple of hair loss internet forums and asked if anyone had any advice. Quite a few people recommended adding Minoxidil into my regime, which I was already planning to do anyway. This comes in a liquid or a foam and is rubbed into the scalp.
I wrote back in November how transwoman Emma Black had completely inspired me with her amazing before-and-after pictures taken just a year apart. She’d lost even more hair than me when she started – and looked utterly fabulous 12 months later, with a full head of beautiful hair.
I sent Emma a few messages via Twitter, but she appears to be having a break from social media at the mo, so I never had any reply.
So I had a quick Google. I did find, on one forum, Emma’s daily routine, which I think may have included using a derma roller – this is a gizmo that contains tiny spikes. You roll it over your scalp, and the spikes make teeny tiny holes called microinjuries which help the Minoxidil’s effectiveness. But I can’t find it now, sorry. I may also be mixing her up with someone else.
What I did find, on sites like Reddit and Imgur, is that Emma was using Finasteride and Minoxidil foam in tandem. She also started taking T-blockers Spironolactone and Flutamide, and said the hair regrowth really went into overdrive at that point.
These days, while the hair at her temples remains “little fuzzies”, everything else is back. Not bad for someone who was virtually completely bald apart from at the back and sides. Now the hair’s all back, she uses Minoxidil foam once every other night as a maintenance treatment.
So I’m going to follow her lead. I shall continue taking my Finasteride, and I have bought a three-month supply of Minoxidil (Regaine) foam, which I’m gonna start using today. I’m also going to start growing it out instead of shaving it all off every ten days or so.
I can’t start T-blockers until my estrogen reaches a certain level – and I don’t start taking that until the end of February, so it could be a few more months before I start on blockers. But at least the Finasteride is doing its job until then and hopefully the Minoxidil will work wonders, too.
Then I can start thinking about hairstyles and colours again – for the first time in a long time. One of my Slimming World buddies is a hairdresser, so she’s on standby. Exciting times!