gloria sheik hairstylist
PICTURED:  SALON OWNER GLORIA SHEIK WITH SURVIVOR SUMMER MADRIAGA

Most of us know a friend or relative who has dealt with breast cancer and seen firsthand its devastating effects. On top of the pain and distress of dealing with a disease like cancer come the many side effects associated with its treatment,  and some salons are offering their services to make women's lives just a little bit easier.

A new community outreach program at Studio 514 in Oceanside, CA is offering a free haircut or styling consultation to any breast cancer patient who is losing hair to chemotherapy or in the process of growing it back.

According to U-T San Diego, Hairstylist Gloria Sheik, who co-owns Studio 514 with her husband, Mike Taylor, said she lost two close girlfriends to cancer in the past two years and she wanted to use her expertise to “add meaning to beauty.”

“These women are going through such a challenging time in their lives. It’s a scary place, but by creating a style they like, it empowers them and helps them feel better about themselves,” said Sheik, who specializes in short haircuts and last month styled for four companies at New York Fashion Week. “What I like to tell these clients is that instead of focusing on length, they should focus on their goals and enjoy experimenting with styles they never had before.” Sheik says the right cut could be flirty and fun, and if it’s the right shape for a woman’s head and hair texture, it would be easy to maintain while the hair grows it out. 

“Women are intimidated by short haircuts because they’re not seen as feminine. I give them images of Jennifer Lawrence and Halle Berry and show them that they can look beautiful with short hair, as long as it’s not cut like Don Draper,” said Sheik, referring to the 1960s “Mad Men” character played by Jon Hamm.

Sheik has donated free hairstyling services to charitable causes in the past, like a career transition program. But she feels this new in-house program will be a better fit for herself and her fellow stylists.

I enjoy the chance to get to know who these women are, find out what’s meaningful to them about their hair, listen to their needs and then connect the dots. For me it’s fun, challenging and really rewarding.

To make an appointment, patients are asked to call Studio 514 at (760) 967-7973 or message the salon through its Facebook page.