Hairdressers Share Their Most Uplifting Hair Stories
As we round-out HJ’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week, sponsored by ghd, we thought it was a good time to bring back some of the most uplifting stories some of the industry’s biggest names shared with us.
Whether it’s a hair transformation or helping someone through a personally difficult time, these stories are guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and may just be what you need on a particularly challenging day.
Nadine Farquhar, Farquhar Hair, Dundee
“A client called Eileen had been coming to my salon every six weeks for the past four years, so lovely, so very loyal. From the day I opened my salon, she gave me all the encouragement she possibly could. She became ill with cancer 18 months ago, however she never let it get her down and always made all her appointments.
“I made a point of spending extra time with her, always giving her a wonderful treatment at the backwash to make her feel better. When she became too ill to come to the salon I visited her at home and looked after her hair there but she was always talking about when she could come back to the salon.
“I was delighted when she came to the salon and said she was feeling and getting better and after being pampered to the absolute max, she booked for a return visit in six weeks. I knew in my heart that she wasn’t getting any better but I shared my plans and ambitions and she was very so pleased for me.
“She returned six weeks later, her treatment complete and although she assured me all was fine, I knew something was up – I gave her a lovely cut and colour and said ‘This one is on me Eileen, as I’m so delighted to see you back on your feet.’ She gave me the biggest hug and rebooked. Two days later, her sister called me to say Eileen had died but to thank me so much for what I had done for her as it had made her so happy. I am so thankful to have been able to give her that.”
Caroline Sanderson, owner of Ego Hair Design and Salon Jedi Academy
“In 2018, we were honoured to help and give back to two special sisters, Lisa and Jackie Campbell. Lisa was a fit and energetic 30-year-old with everything in front of her, when one day she woke up and was unable to walk.
“Lisa unfortunately was diagnosed with a rare disease, which means she cannot walk or function as she used to. Her sister who is a single mother gave up her full-time job and works part time to provide for her children and the rest of her time as Lisa’s main carer.
“Lisa wanted to treat her sister in the salon with a makeover to say thank you for sacrificing her life to help her. We decided to surprise them and treat both of them instead!
“They had had colour and cut, makeup, a goodie bag and flowers, and we even booked them into their favourite restaurant once they were done to show off their makeover and celebrate with their family.
“Lisa was particularly emotional as she was a party girl and used to have her hair and makeup done regularly, so this made her feel special again. Jackie loves experimenting but hasn’t got the budget to ‘treat’ herself now she’s working part time and caring for Lisa.
“It was a very emotional day in the salon, but even more rewarding to give back with offering our skills and time.”
Karine Jackson, owner of Karine Jackson Hair & Beauty
“15 years ago, one of my clients, Cynthia, told me she had cancer. She wasn’t going to lose her hair with her treatment but was very conscious about what she put on her hair and skin, so she asked if I could research some more natural colour alternatives.
“I went away with a heavy heart thinking that I wouldn’t be able to find anything that would work effectively for her, but after some research and testing I found a brand that ticked all the boxes: organic, low levels of PPD, high percentage of natural ingredients.
“She was so happy that she felt confident that she could still have her hair coloured! And it totally changed the trajectory of my salon because I was so impressed with Organic Colour Systems that I changed my whole salon over, meaning all of my other clients have benefitted from the more natural approach.”
Inanch Emir, hair enhancement specialist and creative director of Inanch London
“One of our clients was suffering from trichotillomania, which is a form of hair disorder characterised by a long-term urge that results in the pulling of your hair. This eventually caused patches of hair loss and great emotional stress.
“The damage caused by the condition meant hair extensions weren’t an option for this client and she also didn’t like the idea of wigs as she wanted something more natural.
“In this case, we carried out a prosthetic hair replacement method on her, called the Cesare Ragazzi CNC system. The CNC system is designed to replicate your natural hair in any way you desire from hair texture to colour and is perfectly matched to your scalp, the detail is incredible.
“Once in place, the customised hairpiece covered the areas on the scalp where hair loss had occurred and gave our client a huge boost in confidence. Our client can go about her daily business, as usual, washing your hair, swimming or using the sauna or steam with peace of mind.”
Jack Howard, director of Jack Howard
“A client of mine from the USA who I hadn’t seen for years messaged me out of the blue and said she was in London. Her daughter was working here and asked if I could I do her hair.
“The appointment came and she sat in my chair and told me she had been very ill and been through chemo and a separation, but she was now healthy and happy, but she just wanted her hair to look like when I used to do it over 10 years ago. I’d always seen her with smooth hair and now it was curly. As I set to work on doing her balayage service I told her to have a blow dry too as it was so curly.
“After I’d shampooed, I sent her off for a blow-dry and carried on with my work. When I next saw her I asked how she felt, and she burst into tears (I’m thinking: ‘oh god what’s happened’) and as I reached out she said you’ve made me feel like myself again and threw her arms around me. The power what we do to help transform how people see themselves is amazing. She comes and sees me all the time now for colour and always has a blow dry.”
Matthew Curtis, session stylist and owner of Mathew Curtis Hair
“There are so many great parts to our job and making people happy is an everyday routine that we often take for granted. There are moments that often stand out that surpasses the regular positive reaction and being with clients who turn into friends through their everyday struggles is such a privilege.
“I’ve had a client suffering with cancer who has no one to turn to when it comes to her worries on how they will be perceived. To help them with wigs and hair cuts to disguise is something that leaves a lump in your throat, not only because you want them to look good, but because you genuinely care.
“Our job is a gift that keeps on giving and one that touches people in various ways – from weddings to birthday, the movie premier or the models for a debut collection, or the hair before they see their new born or say goodbye to a loved one. We’ve seen it all and I’m grateful I chose the career I did. I feel honoured and privileged to have chosen the craft of hair.”
Charlotte Mensah creative director of Hair Lounge and founder of Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Hair Products
“I have to thank both my grandparents, who were an important inspiration to me, as a young girl growing up in Ghana. They taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, which has remained with me to this day.
“My grandmother was an amazing lady, she could do everything from sewing, cooking and she also did hair. Unfortunately she never took any of her skills to a professional level. But all these childhood memories are the batteries that keep me going every morning.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is brought to you by ghd. Connect with ghd on social media – Facebook @ghdprofessional & Instagram @ghdhairpro and YouTube @ghd.
Click here to read the Official Schedule for HJ’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week.