A trip to the spa or a new cut and colour are two of the luxuries many of us enjoy. It’s relaxing and rejuvenating, a real treat that we make time to schedule into our busy lives. For many of the women who suffer from illnesses such as cancer, that luxury can be taken away.
With the loss of hair, some women feel they lose their femininity, along with many more choices that spiral out of their control. Nicola Wood, owner of the well-established Kitui Hair Design, High Barnes, has set out on a mission to help women dealing with health-related hair loss, providing a little haven away from their illnesses.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016, the hairdresser of seventeen years worried about the possibility of losing her hair. Nicola researched and came to realise that the choices of high-end wigs were limited, she decided to take matters into her own hands and started working on launching a deluxe wig service.
“When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2016 I didn’t initially know what my treatment plan would be,” says Nicola.
“So I immediately thought that I was going to have to have chemotherapy and lose my hair.
“As a young woman and mother, it really terrified me to think that my little boy would have to see me in that way. I felt like he was going through enough really.”
Nicola’s treatment plan meant that she would not lose her hair, but the initial panic and the need to keep busy inspired her to help the women who do.
“It was the whole process of being at the hospital all the time and looking around,” she says.
“I could see so many women that had lost their hair and it just made me think that, if I get through this then I want to do something for those women.
“As a hairdresser, I get to make people feel better for a living. It is a lovely job to do, but for those women to give someone back their hair when they have lost it, it really is life changing.
“There’s not one person that doesn’t cry when they look in the mirror and see themselves with hair again or with happiness. Every single woman gives me a kiss and a cuddle. It is just such a wonderful thing!”
Nicola’s wigs are the product of months of care and consideration. She sources them from across the globe, buying from USA, Germany and in the UK to ensure she finds the very best synthetic and human hair products. The quality gives options back to the women wearing them, as the high quality product would go unnoticed as a wig. In search of her training, Nicola continued to excel as she joined charity My New Hair, where iconic celebrity hairdresser, Tervor Sorbie trained her.
Talking about Trevor, Nicola says: “He is absolutely lush – he is just so down to Earth.
“I have been on plenty of courses with swanky hairdressers who are so full of themselves – especially in London.
“Then you have Mr Trevor Sorbie himself, and he was just messing about, trying wigs on and he was just really good fun. The course was brilliant.”
Training with Trevor put Nicola in the perfect position to open her own bespoke wig studio in her salon Kitui. The service is available to all NHS patients who qualify as well as private clients. Each client can have their private consultation with Nicola, providing a dedicated service treating women with honesty, respect, sensitivity and dignity.
Once the perfect wig is picked and ordered in, Nicola can cut and colour it to style, offering services from full colours, to highlights and balayage. Her familiarity with cancer puts Nicola in a position of comfort for women who seek her services.
“Because I have had cancer myself, I think that immediately puts people at ease because I understand what they are going through.
“With the training that I have had we have a deep understanding of cancer and of its affects and everything that it does to you,” says Nicola.
Putting women at ease is one of Nicola’s specialities; she offers an eyebrow application lesson for women undergoing the luxury wig service as well as other spa-like treatments.
“Normally if you go for a consultation at a spa or salon and you tick the box that says you have had chemotherapy, radiotherapy or you have cancer, they won’t touch you and if they do, they shouldn’t because they are not trained to.
“Here, we have the Made For Life training. Safe treatment throughout your journey and using 100 per cent certified organic products because what you use on your skin is really important when you have cancer. We can do face and body treatments, using Elemis and L’Oreal products, for any stage of cancer.
“It is about empowering women through their hardest time, and letting them know that they can go to a local salon and be inclusive. It’s about feeling relaxed – a place to forget.”
The quality of service, the products and the exclusive treatments available make Kitui a hot destination in the North East to relax, rejuvenate and empower women who have lost their confidence.
Nicola adds: “It feels so lovely to help someone. It isn’t frightening, it takes away from the sad part of illness. You make people happy. I just want to let people know that Sunderland has something like this.”
Wigs start from £200. kitui.co.uk