About 400,000 women in Ireland have this condition and don’t know


Author Ruth Gilligan: ‘I have slowly colonised our flat’s small second bedroom into my writing...

Sophie Grenham

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 currently has no women sitting on it. Why?

Lynn Enright

The London Fashion Week beauty trends you’ll actually want to wear

Holly O'Neill

The best lipsticks to launch in 2021, from hydrating balms to creamy mattes

Holly O'Neill

Cult perfume brand Le Labo is now a lot easier to buy in Ireland

Holly O'Neill

‘There can be no change without a voice’: Miss Limerick resigns from Miss Ireland competition

Jennifer McShane

12 Irish jewellery pieces to snap up for under €100

Victoria Brunton

Everything you need to know about the revised Living With Covid plan

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

‘Back to my roots’: Why Selma Blair shaving her hair is an act of courage

by Jennifer McShane
17th Jun 2019

As actress and advocate Selma Blair adapts to her life following a diagnosis of aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS), she announced via social media her decision to shave her head. It’s a small, significant act to help make her daily life more manageable – and one which took a lot of courage writes Jennifer McShane 

When you have been diagnosed with an illness or condition which impacts your day-to-day, it’s akin to a process of mourning. You are the same, but not quite the same; things are different. You view life with a new set of eyes. You can’t go back to who you were before and this means embracing a fresh set of challenges while also saying farewell to what has been and gone. It’s difficult to imagine, for example, that one day you might no longer have the strength or energy to wash, dry and style your hair as you once did.

Related: Selma Blair praises Sarah Michelle Gellar for helping her live life post-MS diagnosis

This task is necessary for us to feel good; our hair is such a valued part of our identity. Tied to our emotions, a moment in time. The bob you hastily got (and quickly regretted) after a sudden breakup, the gleaming brunette locks which signified a fresh beginning in a new city or the pins which hurt your scalp but were worth the pain for that perfect wedding day updo. Many of us make an active choice to change our hair, as we so wish. Some of us don’t have the same freedom.

Related: ‘I remember hearing the words “she’s disabled” and wondering who they were talking about’

Cancer, as an example, means that the hair will fall out, so we cut and shave. It wasn’t our choice but it’s still a choice made – your choice, done with strength. It’s so hard, but you know that it’s still easier than, say, watching the locks fall to the floor, growing thinner before your eyes.

A courageous act

It takes courage to pick up the scissors. The seemingly small act of cutting your hair carries such weight. It is never done lightly.  You know the reflection will be changed. Will it change you? Will it empower and give you confidence? Or will it leave a different sort of mark? You never quite know, even after the choice has been made.

Actress Selma Blair has made a similar choice. Her MS means that her body is different. It obeys in some ways but betrays in others. She has said she is prone to dropping more, falling more (here’s your sister, Selma!) so by that omission alone, what should be simple activities take more effort.

Related: ‘I was in denial; I was in pain’: Selma Blair gives first interview since revealing MS diagnosis

This weekend, she enlisted the help of her seven-year-old son, Arthur, to achieve her new, low-maintenance pixie crop. It’s shorter – it’s perfect for summer. But it also means her daily life will be a bit easier, too.

“Back to my roots,” the actress declared on Instagram alongside a photo of her son attentively tending to her locks with a pair of clippers.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Selma Blair (@selmablair) on

It makes sense that this would be tied to her MS. In October 2018, Blair revealed that she originally cut her hair into a shoulder-length bob because it was difficult to lift her arms to brush her hair when it was longer. With this cutting of her hair, it is symbolic; another indication she has accepted and embraced her new way of life – even with its difficulties.

I remember her words earlier this year:

“I am not giving up on having some recovery. Or at least getting stabilised. I am oddly grateful for the new insight I have into a chronically unpredictable body.”

Since her diagnosis, the Cruel Intentions star has been candid about the struggles she experiences with her chronic illness and how she fights to be present for Arthur despite the disease. She is strong for him, for those around her.

Related: Selma Blair reveals she has multiple sclerosis in emotional Instagram post

“Here’s a truth. I feel sick as all hell,” Blair revealed on Instagram in May. “I am vomiting and all the things which are not polite to speak of. My son ran away. From me. I have to get him to school. The medical treatments take their toll. I am going to get through this. We do. This will pass.”

The act of letting her son cut her hair was done for him as much as it was Selma. She’ll have more energy, more time for him this way.

She allowed the scissors to be picked up for them both.

She is brave, beautiful and short hair, long hair or none at all – a woman who deserves our admiration.

Main photograph: @Mashable

More like this:

  • Accepting my disability and accepting being disabled… here
  • Living with hidden illness: ‘My pain fell on deaf ears – I was told I’d be grand’… here
  • Disability, plastic straws and the planet… here

Also Read

8 quirky-yet-perfect Christmas gifts for the Netflix addict in your life

While the dawn of the Netflix era has been great...

By Jennifer McShane

How to update your tired-looking fireplace (and not just for Christmas)

It’s the centre of any space it’s in, whether it’s...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living

GoFundMe CEO: ‘Ireland is the most generous nation in the world’

These days, it’s easier than ever to give something back....

By Jennifer McShane

Christmas trifle
Avoca has shared the recipe for their decadent Christmas trifle and we’re digging in

No festive spread is complete without a traditional Christmas trifle...


Danish interiors
7 highstreet Danish interiors brands to start shopping from now

Like Danish interiors but not sure where to begin shopping?...

By Megan Burns

5 simple ways to help you budget in the run up to Christmas

This year, in particular, we are feeling the strain of...

By Jennifer McShane

Aoibheann MacNamara
Inside a house conversion brimming with Scandi-Galwegian chic

Artistic dynamo Aoibheann MacNamara has loved every moment she’s spent...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living

The grown up guide to wearing glitter lips

If Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Nars tell you...

By Holly O'Neill