HSU Helps Cancer Patients

Hair Styles Unlimited, A Full Services Salon,
Offers Help to Cancer Patients

An Article by Joy Herdies

Nancy Hihar was that little girl who loved playing with others’ hair.  She would cut the hair of her baby dolls, and, by age 10, was cutting the hair of every kid in her neighborhood.  “I was a budding hair stylist,” Hihar said.  “Seriously, I could make a wicked French twist that paid for my skating at the skating rink.”

Beauty school and a career ensued and, ten years ago, after logging 27 years in the beauty business, Hihar was ready to call it quits. But God said no while whispering something else in her ear, Hihar said.  Something about hair replacement.  And with that, a new Hair Styles Unlimited in Kenner at 3635 Florida Avenue, was born.

The 3,000 square foot, engaging beauty oasis, with warm colors and a welcoming staff, is a full service salon and spa capable to handle your every beauty need from Brazilian waxing to the latest Hollywood hair cut.  Hundreds of wigs are also on display, weighing two ounces to less than an ounce, in the latest cut, color, length and sporting highlights.

Six days a week, Hihar, a cosmetologist, master colorist and master barber, and her highly qualified staff of six, can help with any hair dilemma, from alopecia to chemotherapy “and people who just don’t want any more bad hair days,” Hihar said.

“I have very fine, thin, funky hair,” Hihar said. “And we have that thing in Louisiana called humidity, where you leave the house looking great and you get to work and you look as if you haven’t even combed your hair.” So Hihar has becoming accustomed to rocking a wig of her own several days a week. “Wigs don’t care,” she said. “You can get soaking wet and you still look good. A wig will do things your hair would never do. The key is to go to someone who knows a thing or two about wigs and you will forget you have one on your head. You must go to someone who knows how to custom fit and shape your wig to you. Once that is done, everything is perfect.”

Jackie Scholl of Metairie can vouch for that bit of perfectionism. Scholl, undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, learned of Hihar from a friend and quickly had an appointment at the salon. In a relaxed, private setting, Hihar and Scholl played dress up, trying on many different styles and colors of wigs. A blonde, for her husband, and a redhead later, Scholl was equipped with the confidence she desired. She recently attended the monthly “Look Good Feel Better” event at East Jefferson General Hospital, where Hihar is coordinator.

“’Look Good Feel Better’ is a free class, sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the American Hair Loss Council and anyone  can register for the class by calling East Jefferson Hospital,” Hihar said.

“Attendees receive a makeup kit containing beauty supplies and all sorts of goodies that is worth over $200.  And it’s all free.”

“Nancy was as sweet as she could be,” Scholl said.  “She tries her best to show everybody how to do those things that would make them feel beautiful.”  The group talked about their different experiences, Scholl said, discussing skin changes, trying on wigs and learning how to apply false eye lashes and eyebrow powder for those experiencing hair loss.  “Nancy brings wigs, plenty of scarves and hats and shows you how to wear them,” Scholl said. “She taught us how to do it ourselves and taught us about those hard to find items, which, believe it or not, can be found at the local drug store.  The class was just what I had been looking for.  It was like a party, full of all the things that would make me feel good.”

“We make them look good, feel good about themselves while they’re dealing with certain issues,” Hihar said.  “We counsel them through it. I’ve talked to every oncologist around here and the nurses are always so helpful.”  Hihar praised her clients, past and present, and those who so graciously donate back their wigs once they no longer need them.  “And I give them away,” Hihar said.

At the salon, Hihar is still very much hands on, “still working behind the chair,” as she puts it. Hihar oversees an apprenticeship program where she brings in young stylists to her salon and helps them rise through the ranks.  “My employees, we are all on the same page talking the same language,” Hihar said.  “It’s mandatory that we attend three continuing education seminars throughout the year paid for by my salon.”

Hihar is happy to give her clients a feeling of control, a way to fight back, at their illness.  “I don’t want them to feel devastated,” Hihar said.  “We kiss, we cry, I tell my clients to call me if they need a prayer.  You can bet I’ve heard it or seen it all and we have a solution here.”

Hihar said that moment long ago when she toyed with the idea of retirement is not even a blip in her mind.  “God will tell me when he is through with me and he hasn’t said a word yet,” said Hihar.

Hair Styles Unlimited offers services for the whole family including hair care, massage therapy, skin therapy, nail care, waxing, wigs, alternative hair and men’s hair systems.  The salon is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Visit the salon’s website at www.hairstylesunlimitedinc.com for more information.  “Look Good Feel Better” classes at EJGH are from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Call 454-4000 to register.