Business Hour

This Business Hour, Helen Sanderson talks to social media star Zaralena Jackson about her alopecia journey that led to a launch of a cosmetic brand to help other women live with the condition

With almost a quarter of a million followers, Zaralena from Penwortham started using her social media platform to share her journey with hair loss after she was told she had the condition in summer 2020. What first started out looking like a severe allergic reaction, the former Ex On The Beach TV star soon began finding clumps of hair falling out of her head and within weeks, had lost all the hair from her body.

Zara describes the ordeal as “soul destroying” and said she had spent months trying to desperately find answers and treatments, all whilst dealing with the mental impacts of what was happening to her. And after spending hundreds of pounds paying for specialists and private dermatologists, Zaralena was told she had alopecia and that there was nothing she could do to stop her hair from falling out.

In a bid to help other women to find their strength, she has remained open about her journey on social media and says she gets hundreds of messages from young women struggling to deal with losing their hair.

Zaralena said: “When I started my journey, I was open about it straight away on my social media which I found really helped me. It almost made it easier for me to deal with because I was reaching so many people who had the same experiences.

“It all began in June 2020 when I started getting a rash all over my body and had inflamed lymph nodes in my neck. It was like I was just getting a major allergic reaction and before I knew it, I had lost all the hair from my head and my body.

“I was just in complete shock and like most people, didn’t really know anything about it until I researched it to find out what it was. I can’t put into words the panic you feel when you first find out you have got it and you start losing your hair.

“For a woman, their hair is part of their femininity so when it started falling out it was soul-destroying. Every time I went in the shower, I would lose clumps of hair and it made me so scared to do anything or even touch my head.”

Zaralena Jackson first appeared in the public eye when she joined seven other singletons in the Ex on the Beach villa but had been designing clothes for years before that and managing her brand. From this, she said her followers, of which there are over 200,000 on Instagram, have remained supportive of her journey with alopecia and are eager to see a glimpse into her real-life struggles behind the luxurious outfits and selfies.

This was her opportunity to be raw and open about her battle with hair loss in the hope of supporting other young men and women who are struggling to deal with the condition, which currently has no cure.

In a new venture, she set up Zaralena Cosmetics, offering non-permanent transferable eyebrow tattoos and false eyelashes to give other women a chance at returning to some normality after losing their hair.

Zaralena said: “There are so many types of alopecia and different extremes of the conditions. Mine is the most severe, and when I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes it felt like my whole identity had been stripped from me.

“I had to get used to adapting to another image again and even had my eyebrows micro bladed on which was painful and didn’t look right. I cried for four days straight, and I felt like I couldn’t even look at myself or get out of bed.

“After looking into cosmetic products, I could use to help, I came across these transferrable eyebrows which last three days and are so easy to apply. They have saved me and saved so many other women who are struggling to cope with losing their hair.”

Zaralena widely researched products that she herself would use to boost her confidence and feel glamourous. She knew that other women would benefit from them so put her name to them and launched Zaralena Cosmetics. The current range which is animal cruelty free, includes transferable eyebrows and eyelashes strips for both the top and bottom of the eyelids. She also supplies adhesive lash liners which are made to fit all types of lashes not just her own and provides the perfect look in eye liner. 

New to the range this April is a fantastic new product that will give wearers 4D brows! These are gel fibres that you can draw onto your face in place of your eyebrows that will give a real hair like appearance. 

Zaralena has also been using her real-life experience and influence in negotiations with the NHS to get real hair wigs and hair pieces listed for cancer patients, rather than synthetic wigs which are harsh to wear and don’t look natural.

Zara concluded: “I really want to use my first-hand experience and influence to help women in similar situations. I just want to try and make peoples life a little easier, the strap line for my cosmetics business is ‘here to make people shine no matter how gloomy the world might seem’.”

You can follow Zaralena’s journey with her hair loss on her Instagram page at: @zaralenajackson and see her cosmetics at: @zaralenacosmetics



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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