Millions of people in the U.S. suffer from Alopecia, or hair loss, and in many cases, it’s a lifelong condition and can carry with it a stigma.
But a Buffalo woman made it her goal to help people with Alopecia live with confidence. Brittany La Bella owns a hair salon on Hertel Avenue, in North Buffalo. She does all types of women’s hair styles, and recently became a master barber to help male clients, but about half of her clients suffer from hair loss.
“For women like me, hair means a lot,” Donnette Calhoun said, one of Brittany’s clients.
About 11 years ago, Donnette Calhoun was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I lost my hair due to chemotherapy, and it never grew back, so it put me into Alopecia,” she said.
Before Calhoun found Brittany La Bella and Co., she would wear scarves and wigs to cover her hair loss. But today, she has a hairstyle that was created for her personality, and she is more confident than ever.
“A lot of people want my hair style, but I’m special, and it’s made specifically for my head,” she said.
Brittany made it her life’s mission to make everyone who walks in her salon feel that special.
She knows all too well what it’s like not to feel confident. At age six, Brittany was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune disorder that creates round, bald patches.
When she was little, she walked into a salon one day wearing a scarf over her hair loss. What happened that day led Brittany to find her purpose in life.
“She (the hairstylist) didn’t know she was doing this, but she took the scarf and she threw it on the other side of the salon, so it was away from me, so if someone walked in, I couldn’t grab it and cover myself up,” La Bella said. “So I said, ‘One day, I’m going to own my own salon, And when I own that salon, I’m going to put individual privacy curtains up.”
She went to beauty school seven years ago, and indeed opened that special salon of her own.
“I’m always getting compliments, so she keeps me looking good,” Denise Hurst said, Brittany La Bella’s first client.
And four years ago, Brittany drastically changed her own look, and took clippers to her head.
“I used everything to cover up my bald spots… I used eye liners, mascara, sharpies… but one day I was like, ‘I’m tired of hiding, this is who I am, and whoever sees it, I want to a light for people who felt like me at one point.'”
Brittany La Bella stands for Brittany ‘The Beautiful.’ She’s here embracing her own beauty, and helping others find theirs as well.
If you know of a Woman Leading WNY, email Kelsey.Anderson@wivb.com.