'Hair is our identity': This wig shop owner helps clients after COVID-19 hair loss
When one is diagnosed with cancer, Lisa Brzezinski, founder of Naturally You Wigs in Menomonee Falls, said the person is often prepared for hair loss and can make plans.
But with hair loss due to COVID-19, it is an entirely different situation, said Brzezinski, who's been in the hair styling industry for nearly 40 years. "So many did not know it could happen."
Since she heard of people experiencing hair loss due to COVID-19, she researched facts online and talked to her clients who experienced this. So far, she's helped about 25 clients look and feel beautiful after COVID-19 hair loss. If the situation presents itself, she is ready to help many more.
COVID-19 can be tricky because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair loss often does not occur until months after recovering from COVID-19.
That agrees with what Brzezinski has seen. She said that the hair loss often occurs after a person starts to feel healthy after recovering from COVID-19.
When someone's hair starts shedding, they often ask themselves, "Will they lose all of their hair? Will it stop shedding? or How long will this last? When will it grow back?" Brzezinski observed.
She said that COVID-19 hair loss is hard to understand because COVID-19 is still new, and people are trying to learn a lot about it.
"It is mindboggling," she said. "It is frustrating." She added that she has seen a few clients who had hair loss, but were not aware they had COVID-19. This can be because, she said, they were not tested or attributed their symptoms to something else.
"Everyone is different."
Helping clients look beautiful and natural in wigs
Brzezinski, who is familiar with different kinds of hair losses, started adding wig services to her hair styling business after she suffered hair loss. About 25 years ago, she suffered hair loss through chemotherapy due to having breast cancer.
She said she learned that just buying a wig online does not do the trick: It needs to be styled.
Therefore, she spends a lot of time with each client who has been experiencing COVID-19 hair loss so they come out loving and feeling comfortable with their new hair.
She said buying a wig can be a collaborative effort; on her company's website, she says her mission is to provide a "comfortable, professional, but also stylish way of helping those who are going through the same hair loss that I was experiencing."
"Hair is our identity," she said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Hair is very important to us."
Having a 'good conversation' to put clients at ease
She emphasizes that when someone calls about her wig services, she asks them a lot of questions to make them comfortable seeing her.
"I think they feel comfortable before they come in the door," she said. "I look to have a good conversation with them."
If someone believes their hair loss is due to COVID-19, she prefers they talk to a dermatologist first so that other possible conditions that can contribute to hair loss are ruled out.
Brzezinski said customers have many options and wigs to select from. She said she will ask if they want the same hair as before the hair loss or another style. She said with wigs now being heat-resistant, she can style the wigs with a curling iron or other hair treatment to suit any style the client wants.
Sometimes, she said, clients want a style close to their original style or an enhanced version of their original hair.
"They may say they may want a brighter hair style or more wave," she said. She said when a wig is ordered, they need a lot of care before a client can walk home wearing one. "I have to tweak it or put some bangs in it, so it looks natural. Sometimes, the wigs are too big (on the client) so I have to do a lot of alterations. When the wig fits well, people will be comfortable in it. If it is not comfortable, it is not a proper fit."
She said that since COVID-19 hair loss is temporary, most people are OK with synthetic wigs. But if people want human hair wigs, she said they can be ordered.
And she said that once clients see themselves with a new wig, they start to feel they are healthy again after COVID-19.
After she is done customizing her clients' wigs, they are often surprised with the results.
"They have said, 'Wow, this looks better than my own hair,'" she said.
For more information
For more information on Naturally You Wigs in Menomonee Falls, N88 W16754 Main St., visit https://naturallyyouwigs.com or call 262-253-7200.
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Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @kozlowicz_cathy
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wig shop owner and stylist helps clients after COVID-19 hair loss