Long waves, a lavender lob, a red top knot, bangs, braids, you name it—a quick scroll through YouTube star Vanessa Martinez’s Instagram page, and it’s clear she’s not afraid to take style risks when it comes to her hair, and the results are always chic and cool.
Even with her constantly-changing appearance, Martinez’s 585,000 Instagram followers and 2.1 million YouTube subscribers were shocked when she unveiled a totally new look recently: a completely bald head. And Martinez didn’t just break the news with a selfie; she posted an eleven minute video of her shaving her head, complete with an explanation for her desire to "start over" with her hair.
At the start of the video, Martinez has long extensions, which she cites as the main culprit for inspiring her to make the change. She claims that as a result of adding on more and more extensions and making drastic hair changes, her natural hair had become damaged and sparse.
"I’m just making myself balder and balder, so why don’t I just cut all my hair off and start over?" she says in the video.
According to Jeanine Downie, MD, a dermatologist from Montclair, New Jersey, hair breakage, damage, and loss can all be common side effects when wearing heavy extensions. "My experience is that many people sew in their weaves too tight and they break hair and can cause bald patches," she tells Health. "Other people use glue and the glue is a chemical irritant to the scalp and that can also call small or large bald patches."
During the video, Martinez and a friend are all smiles as they snip and shave her hair away. It's not every day you see a young girl shave her head in an eleven-minute video montage, but it’s clear that Martinez is confident in her decision.
"You guys, hair grows back," she declares, at once reassuring both her viewers and herself. When the shave is complete, she's unable to stop touching and rubbing her newly bare head. In a pinned comment, she goes on to further dismiss any negative stereotypes about bald women: "Being bald is not ugly. [Its] not disgusting. [Its] not weird. If you are going bald due to illness, stress whatever the case, you are still beautiful."
The video currently boasts 782,000 views and counting, with an impressive 55,000 "thumbs up" from Martinez’s supportive following. The comments section below the video is a mix of fans praising her bravery and beauty and others offering advice for Martinez’s new healthy hair journey.
"I feel very liberated," Martinez writes. "New trend, new bald, 2018!"
We think the vlogger looks gorgeous both with and without her strands, and we admire her for taking her hair health into her own hands. For those interested in keeping up with Martinez and her new look, she mentions that she might start a hair-growing series on her YouTube channel to continue documenting her fresh start.