ZaraLena Jackson talks alopecia, vampire facials and the best piece of advice she’s ever been given

The reality star chats exclusively to heat about her self-care favourites


by Aimee Jakes |

We love a bit of self-care and all this time at home has really given us an excuse to look after ourselves inside and out. Each week, we'll be asking the celeb lot to share their Sunday self-care routines, because taking care of yourself is more important than ever.

This week is all about ZaraLena Jackson, who shot to fame after appearing on Ex On The Beach in 2017. She is also a self-taught dressmaker who has her own clothing business, 'Zaralena'.

After being diagnosed with alopecia, ZaraLena regularly takes to Instagram to share her experience with the autoimmune disorder, which made her completely bald within six weeks of her diagnosis. The 29-year-old has also launched ZaraLena Cosmetics, which specialises in brow transfers and eyelashes.

ZaraLena chats exclusively to heat about self-care, her alopecia journey and the life-changing book she always recommends...

On self-care

ZaraLena Jackson talks self-care

"Self-care is actually my life," ZaraLena says. "I get up and I do the cross trainer for an hour every day, I have a PT session twice a week, that is mental self-care for me. Then I always try not to wear too much make-up in the week but obviously now I have to apply eyebrows and a wig, I don't go out the house without a wig on so that's another part of my self-care routine, which is actually easier than when I had hair to wash. On the weekends is when I really like to have a pamper, I love to do all my make-up and pick a different wig to go out, I love that."

"In the week, it's more about relaxing. Just making sure that I take time to relax, which a lot of us actually don't do. And since losing my hair and being told that I need to maintain my stress levels, I find that having a bath or going on a little walk really helps me feel zen."

You heard her, people.

On being diagnosed with alopecia

ZaraLena has found comfort in sharing her alopecia journey and helping others who have experienced hair loss.

"It all happened quite fast, over a six week period of time. Last year, in July, I lost it all completely for no cause and sharing it on social media has been my silver lining."

"Since I've lost my hair I have managed to produce a range of cosmetics that specialise in hair loss. Obviously, I've trialled and tested that myself so I know exactly how this can help and work. Doing that really helped me get through it all and having people support on social media has definitely helped because so many people with alopecia aren't open about it. But there's a lot of people can relate."

On trolling

Cybersmile and St. Moriz have joined forces to encourage internet users to be mindful of the impact their actions may have on others, raising awareness about cyberbullying and promoting kindness online.

ZaraLena is working with the brilliant campaign, 'St. Moriz Be Kind Online in conjunction with Cybersmile' and opened up about the disgusting abuse she received after her diagnosis.

"It was actually strange when I agreed to do the campaign with them, I hadn't received any further negativity from losing my hair. But then I actually got involved with a few companies helping me push my cosmetic side of things and help them raise awareness for people with hair loss, and actually found a lot of negative comments on their platforms from people that follow them. They were quite intense. I mean, I've been bullied from a young age anyway, I'm used to having negative opinions thrown at me, but with my hair loss journey, I've only ever received positive and encouraging responses. So to have these negative comments, that level you having a little bit of a cry in the bathroom... You do have to generate thicker skin, but unfortunately, the world we live in isn't full of nice people at times."

Does ZaraLena have any advice on how to deal with online negativity?

"Sometimes it's best to ignore it and I never react in a nasty way. It's always better to kill with kindness than then lower yourself to their level. I'll give you an example. So someone's commented, saying, 'Wow, you look like an alien' and then I just replied saying 'Yeah babe, I'm out of this world!' You've just got to entertain it and sometimes sort of laugh it off, rather than letting them think that they're actually getting your attention."

On her favourite budget beauty buy

Aside from her own brand (obvs), Zaralena is a big fan of Doll Beauty, the make-up brand loved by celebs including Khloe Kardashian, Demi Sims and Love Island's Faye Winter.

"Their eyelashes are fantastic and I love their base products too. I just smashed my Doll Beauty highlighter (£15) on the way back from Ibiza, I could have cried! It was in my suitcase and it was obviously banged around, so when I opened it I looked like a highlight palette for three days."

On #extra beauty treatments


"I've done it all," ZaraLena laughs, "I've literally I've had the PRP on my face (a vampire facial) and I had it on my head too to try and encourage the follicles to come back because it's good putting the blood back into your skin surface. I used to be really squeamish with needles, but now I think after the past year of having so many tests done, now I'm just like that give it to me! I've tried loads, I've had Botox in my forehead. I like Botox."

"I often, obviously with me being on Instagram with a platform, I often do get approached by quite a lot of beauticians wanting to try out new treatments on me in return for promotions and nine times out of 10 I will obviously go ahead and do them. I'm a typical girl and I do believe it's important to look after yourself and keep yourself feeling good."

On the best advice she's ever been given


From experiencing hair loss to running two businesses, ZaraLena's full of wisdom.

"I've got a few bits of advice that I always say to others and that my dad has drilled into me from a young age, so I'll just throw them all out there. One of them was, 'don't worry about making mistakes, because the biggest lesson learned is from your mistakes'. So have no regrets, because obviously that ultimately gives you the mindset and the lessons that can teach you the best.

"Another one is to 'never leave someone that you love on a bad note' because you never know what could happen and life is too short. Always try to be kind to people."

"Another one with my hair, people always ask me how I deal with it and my answer to that is, I have to deal with it. I have to live with that situation I never thought I'd have to deal with, but human beings are so strong, our minds are capable of dealing with anything that's thrown at us. We just have to adapt to it and get our head around it. There's always someone out there that has it worse."

On getting an Instagram pic

ZaraLena talks getting the perfect selfie

ZaraLena looks FLAWLESS on the 'gram, so does she have any tips for us mere mortals? Turns out, less is more.

"So, my biggest flaw with Instagram images is I don't actually like having public pictures taken, I get really shy and I really cringe inside when I have to have like a picture in a public area with people looking at me. A lot of my content is done with a nice background or a clear background at home, I try and make it as glamorous as possible."

"I really like keeping the content mixed up keeping it fresh, keeping it as real as possible as well. Because, you know, with my job, a lot of the content that I'm asked to produce is, you know, you've got to be glam, it's got to be professional, it's got to look like what you'd see in a magazine for example, when really what Instagram now wants to see is real-life people. They don't want to see airbrush, they don't want to see Facetuned or staged pictures. They do want to see you're laughing your head off so hard that you're crying with laughter, you know? So it's just trying to keep it mixed up really and trying to be as real as you can."


On life-changing books

"I'm terrible with reading, however, there is The Secret that I read and I loved it. I definitely feel like you can channel what you give out, you get back., Even with negative situations, I feel like you can almost think so much into a negative mindset, you can almost provoke it to happen. The Secret was a really good one for me, especially after going through the trauma that I did last year with my hair loss. Reading that definitely opened my eyes. You can be given any situation in life, or it's how you deal with it, which really defines you as a person."

Quickfire round:

Show you’re currently binging? What do you think? Love Island!

Go-to cuppa? I like a very milky oat milk cup of tea with one sweetener.

Go-to loungewear brand? I'm currently wearing Bo + Tee, I absolutely love them.

Favourite face mask? I'm actually loving the Coco Pure face scrub by Hello Body (£29.99).

Go-to takeaway order? That's a hard one! I'll have to say Papa Johns.

Favourite candle? I actually get sent quite a lot of candles from people making them at home. I quite like that.

Find out more about the St. Moriz Be Kind Online in conjunction with Cybersmile, here.

Now! More news!

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Amelia Dimoldenberg talks skincare routines, decluttering and her top advice for content creators

Non-rubbish ways to feel er, less rubbish

  1. Start a new hobby: whether it's pottery or baking bread, now is the time to make the most of your free weekends and quiet evenings. Anything that gets us off our phone for a bit gets a yes from us.
  1. Make your bed first thing: a tidy bedroom equals a tidy brain, people. It will take you less than a minute and will help you feel more... y'know, together.
  1. Invest more in your friendships: the pandemic has meant we've felt more alone than ever before. Remember second and third-tier friends? Send WhatsApp messages, forward memes and even make their day with a thoughtful letterbox gift. Ah, we feel better already.
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