When you’ve done hair for as many years as I have, you go through many life events + milestones with your clients. Weddings, pregnancies, postpartum- I’ve even experienced my first slew of high school and college graduations for babies that I once held.
But, nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for when your client battles cancer.
Along with Liz Sustaita, Nicki’s stylist, I’ve had the honor of slowly helping Nicki return to herself. From offering words of support, to analyzing her new hair as it grew back (umm, hello gray, brown, curls?!)- we all went with the flow, together. Every step was careful, intentional and deliberate. And it was done as a team with the sole goal of making sure Nicki’s magnificent smile returned to her face when she saw her reflection in our mirrors.
When it came to her color, I was not messing around. As we already know, I’m a conservative colorist by nature, but when it comes to caring for the delicate hair that grows back after initial treatment and during maintenance chemo, the agreed upon approach was to be as gentle as possible. The new growth is still extremely fragile, so to keep it strong we used semi-permanent color ONLY- if a gray or 2 or 20 shimmered through, so be it. We were all solely focused on nurturing what we now had, staying grateful, and most of all keeping Nicki’s routine low maintenance, as she focused on her beautiful family and busy career.
Yesterday, years into this journey together, we finally, carefully, highlighted Nicki’s hair again, after Liz got her shape back to a beautiful long bob. It took everything in me not to weep the entire time. I did two sessions in one day, ending with a golden gloss for maximum shine. Staying true to our plan, we didn’t over do it. I just wanted her to have something that would last awhile, so we can keep going on our path to recovery- in all the ways.
Moments like this make me acutely aware what an absolute privilege it is to do this job. To care for someone on a deep level. Nicki, I love you something serious. You are walking sunshine, and being on this journey with you is the honor of my career. Love, love and more love.