It’s been four weeks since we last met our Pelo hair transformation candidates.
We headed back to the Pelo Hair Salon in Kildare to meet Carol, Carla, Lucy and Susan once again to give us an update on how they’re getting on with their hair journey.
All four of our candidates suffered hair loss as a symptom of illness, which has had a profound and devastating impact on each of them in recent months.
Denise Phillips, owner of Pelo Hairdressing, wants to help people who are going through this to feel their best again and regain their confidence, through the introduction of specialised hair pieces, wigs and extensions.
Here’s how our lovely ladies have fared over the last month.
15-year-old Lucy lives with Trichotillomania. This is a condition that sees people compelled to pull their own hair out.
“I’ve been coming into Pelo every week over the past month to get treatments, which I’ve found has really helped. As you can see my hair has grown a lot since the first visit, and I’m so happy with it. It’s very easy to manage now,” she tells us as we chat.
Lucy is currently undergoing oxygen therapy with the Kemon Oxygen Machine. Currently, only six exist in the country, with Pelo Hairdressing owning three. This natural scalp and hair therapy combines pure oxygen with botanical extracts to promote a clean, balanced scalp and healthy hair growth. The oxygen encourages nutrient-dense blood flow, revitalising and energising the roots to stimulate growth.
Lucy was also given some coping strategies by Denise and her team to help her manage her condition and remarkably has not pulled her hair out since last month.
“I was told to take deep breaths and play with a bobbin on my wrist whenever I felt the urge to pull my hair,” says Lucy. Her main goal now is to be able to wear extensions by the end of the summer.
Denise believes that Lucy is well on her way to achieving that goal and is thrilled with her progress, considering her an inspiration to those that are facing the same condition.
“First and foremost, we need to focus on nurturing Lucy’s hair and scalp health, and there is an important mental health aspect to her journey, too,” says Denise.
“Once her hair is strong enough and has grown to a point where it would be easy to maintain, we will 100 per cent look at the option of extensions.”
Susan was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer) in May 2020. She underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as part of her treatment. As a result, she has lost hair on the right side of her head.
Over the last month, Susan has been attending the Pelo Salon in White Hall weekly for oxygen therapy.
“The Kemon oxygen therapy is a lovely treatment and I’ve seen some really good results from it so far, with lots of new hair growing where there was no growth before. The team and the salon are fabulous.
“I’m really enjoying the process and it’s been great to meet others who are going through the same struggles,” she tells us.
Susan’s goal is to grow her hair back thicker and stronger. After just a month, her hair growth can clearly be seen!
45-year-old Carol has been living with Cystic Fibrosis. In May of 2021, her daughter found her collapsed in their kitchen. She was rushed to hospital where she spent 10 days in a coma in ICU.
Following a two-month hospital stay, Carol noticed her hair had started to fall out. When it began to grow back, she was surprised to find that it had completely transformed into an unmanageable coarse texture.
“A part of me feels like a fraud because my hair is back but I’m not a fraud because I have been through a traumatic experience that went on to cause the hair loss in the first place,” Carol admits, however, she is still struggling with managing her hair.
“I lost my hair in October, it’ll be a year and a half now. In one sense, I was lucky it was winter because I could wear a hat on my head, which I kept on until August. Since starting this process, my sister has pleaded with me to burn the bloody hat and get rid of it,” she jokes.
Carol is undergoing a 12-week smoothing system from Alaparf. This professional treatment provides nourishment and rejuvenation to restore and enhance the health, shine and manageability of the hair.
She explains: “Denise started my Alaparf treatment four weeks ago. My hair has come on amazingly, the condition of it is already so much better. I’ll be sticking with the treatment plan until I’m reassessed in another four weeks’ time.”
35-year-old Carla was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2022. She started undergoing chemotherapy in January of this year which led to her hair beginning to thin and fall out.
She had a T Parting hairpiece fitted last month, which has seamlessly blended into her natural hair to give the illusion of more volume. She was also given a home care plan to follow containing products to keep both the scalp and her hair nourished, healthy and hydrated.
“I’ve definitely found the home care is really helping. My hair was practically singed — I couldn’t even run my fingers through it. The scalp shampoo and the Kemon have made it feel much better, but it’s still quite broken at the top,” Carla explains.
Carla is eager to colour her hair but has been advised to wait until six months after her chemotherapy finishes. Chemotherapy drugs can potentially interact with hair dye chemicals, leading to adverse reactions or further damage to the hair and scalp.
Denise has instead recommended that she tries pigments, explaining: “Pigments essentially stain the hair without the use of ammonia. You can pop it into any hair product to cover the grey and smooth out the hair’s cuticles, resulting in a sleeker and fuller appearance.”
Carla is currently preparing for surgery in July, when she will undergo a mastectomy.
“I’ll need some time for recovery followed by radiation, then hopefully that’ll be the end of all of that,” she tells us adding that she never thought she would be sitting here today — never mind her recent accomplishments of running in the Vhi Womens Mini Marathon in June.
Having had her T-Parting refitted, Carol tells us: “It feels amazing. I was used to having thick hair and this feels like my own hair when I run my fingers through it. It’s really natural looking and comfortable to wear.”
Denise is a qualified hair loss practitioner with over 20 years of experience as a wig and scalp expert, winning multiple accolades for her services across the country and abroad, too.
Check out more of our candidates’ hair transformation experiences below.
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Find out more at pelohairdressing.ie.