by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
VEAZIE — When Charlene Boggins opened Nourish Salon and Spa in March, she understood firsthand that women going through cancer treatment, which often includes hair loss, can have their sense self-esteem eroded. As a breast cancer survivor, she decided to focus her budding cosmetology business on helping cancer patients cope with the emotional and aesthetic challenges that come with cancer treatment.
Boggins is a licensed cosmetologist and was in the process of building her salon business when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012.
Because she was having chemo-therapy and needed to limit contact with people, she could no longer work at her regular salon job. “While I was being torn apart by chemo, my husband was building this beautiful salon in my house,” she said.
During her own cancer treatment, Boggins said, which ended only 12 weeks ago, she was able to follow the correct treatment for each stage of hair loss. Through her business she wanted to share such information with others who experience medical treatment related hair loss. “Typically, women want to take control of the situation, so they might buzz cut their hair, or have a friend do it. But that’s not the right process. It’s painful, and can damage the hair follicle. I use a spa holistic approach to remove the hair,” she said.
Boggins schedules one-hour appointments with each of her clients to educate them about the process of hair loss as a result of cancer treatment, makes recommendations for getting through the experience and helps them select the right wig to fits the client’s budget and lifestyle.
“We may cry and laugh during our meeting, but rest assured, you will be confident and happy with your new look,” she said. “When this is over and your hair is gone, you will look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘OK, I can do this. What else do you have for me, cancer? Because I am ready to fight.’”
Boggins said she offers wigs in a range of high quality, natural, comfortable, expertly constructed and modern hairstyles. “People need a place to go to purchase a wig, to try them on. It’s important to provide a safe environment for that. Or they can try on a turban or other caps. I wanted to create a stop and shop for women to come in and select a wig,” she said
Because cancer treatments can weaken the body’s immune system, Nourish Salon and Spa maintains an eco-friendly environment, using chemical-free, hospital grade disinfectants that lack offensive smells. Also, the products Boggins has available for purchase are organic, gluten-free and made in the United States.
Boggins said she is passionate about giving back to the community. Nourish Salon and Spa will donate a percentage of each wig sale to the Angel Image Fund Boggins has established at the salon. The fund will be used to help provide wig scholarships for women of limited means.
“I’ve had incredible response from women who say consulting with me has helped them prepare for the experience of hair loss. We try on wigs, explore other options and when they leave [the salon], they are prepared.”
Nourish Salon and Spa is located at 1282 Chase Road in Veazie. To arrange an appointment, call Boggins at 249-5458. For information, go to www.NourishMaine.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.