Recently I had a visit from a former client that had Trichotillomania, she walked into the salon with a full head of her own hair, she was confident and looked absolutely beautiful. I thought back to the day she first entered our salon for a consultation with her mom, she appeared defeated, such a beautiful young lady suffering broke my heart. She is one of the hundreds of clients that have entered the salon with a hair-pulling condition called Trichotillomania. We had a consultation as to how we could help her restore her hair, regain confidence, and also help to grow in her hair. At that time, she was shy, I knew she felt that I judged her, that could not be further from the truth. I wanted both her and her mom to understand that they were one of the millions of people who were dealing with Trichotillomania. The medical community has changed the diagnosis several times from OCD, anxiety, self-harm, and currently BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior). It may be a mix of all of the above, but the end result is feeling hopeless and out of control. Trich sufferers have no specific back story, socio-economic similarities, but many have explained the satisfaction they receive from pulling strands of hair, especially from the root. It is like eating a potato chip thinking you can have just one, then you convince yourself to eat one more, later to discover you ate the entire bag of chips. No one plans to pull all their hair, but they describe a calming, trance-like feeling.
Many of my clients are in awe of the fact that I know what "triggers" them, and I understand the regret they feel after pulling, only to start again. Wearing a hairpiece puts a complete halt to their experience, they now have no excuse to pull because the hairpiece creates a barrier that makes it impossible to pull. Once the hairpiece is applied they look like their old self, but now they are hyper-focused on not pulling, and they also realize they have a lot riding on not pulling. Perhaps they do not want to disappoint their parent, friends, or even me! I stress to them that there is no judgment, we can always reapply the hairpiece, I suggest they try not to pull their hair "one day at a time," similar to any addiction. A hairpiece to someone with Trich is similar to tying back the hands of a smoker, it is tough but does force one to literally not touch their hair. The miraculous part of this barrier (hairpiece), is that 95% do not pull their hair. We set up a 2-week check-in/tightening, our clients can not wait to share their success!
We schedule maintenance appointments every 4 weeks where we remove the hairpiece, aka hair topper, wash both the hairpiece and the client's hair, reapply, and style. With each consecutive appointment, our clients can visibly see the new hair growth and we celebrate their success. The average client's own hair will grow back over a one-year time period. There can be setbacks along the way, but we encourage them to simply try again, like any relapse.
Unlike hair clubs, our hairpieces are applied without shaving or gluing - our goal is to help our clients to grow back their own hair. We apply the system with a knotting technique with very little tension on their natural hair. I find it unscrupulous to shave my client's hair, this never allows for new hair growth.
The above-mentioned client worked with our system for a few years, and she did grow back her hair! She is not the only one that no longer wears a hairpiece, we have converted many of our former trich clients to regular hair services knowing we are always available if they need us for a hairpiece.
I realized after 30 years as a hairstylist that this is the work that keeps me going. I love when I can help someone in need. Below is our client's Google review, her words explain her experience best. I hope you read it, I have tears in my eyes!
This is the beautiful "Rachel," imagine how brave she is to share her story to help others with Trich. Her smile says it all!
My initial consultation was alone with Noelle and my mom at the salon. She went over the process with me in extreme detail. She made me feel so comfortable and showed so much compassion and empathy for what I was going through as someone suffering from Trich. Noelle made me feel like I was not alone, which I had felt for so long. After answering both mine and my mom’s questions in perfect detail, we decided it was the right thing for me. Noelle went ahead with ordering my first hairpiece and when it arrived, I made the appointment for the installation.
When I went in for my installation appointment, I met Yodit. She came and got me from reception and walked me back to a private room to begin the process. She cut the hairpiece to the style I wanted and I left the salon GLEAMING! From that point on, I went in every month for maintenance where Yodit would color, wash, and dry my hair before re-installing and would almost always add curls (which I still can’t replicate to this day). I would always plan a good night out after maintenance day to get the most out of her magical hair slay. I would go back 2 weeks between each maintenance to move the beads up to accommodate the hair growth.
There truly are not enough words to express how Noelle Salon changed my life. You never realize how much of a female’s identity and confidence comes from her hair and I felt like a completely new woman after working with Yodit and Noelle. Everyone I knew saw the difference in how I carried myself after feeling the confidence in my new hair."