It's an honour to help people feel good - Local Woman Magazine
As a specialist in the area of alopecia and hair loss, award-winning Co Down hair stylist Bridgeen King is on a mission to make her clients feel and look their best.
Knowing just how devastating and impactful hair loss can be whether caused by stress, hormonal imbalances or cancer treatment, Bridgeen and her team of senior stylists excel at creating beautifully cut and coloured wigs or T-partings to suit every style and client need.
It’s Bridgeen’s attention to detail and gentle, discreet way of working – honed over a 20-year career – that attracts clients all over Ireland to her salon, Bridgeen King Hairdressing in Castlewellan.
Originally from Crossmaglen, where she began her hairdressing journey working in her sister’s salon, Bridgeen relocated to a Castlewellan and set up her salon in 2015. Since then, she and her team have been making their mark in the hairdressing industry, winning a litany of accolades including Northern Ireland Stylist of the Year (2016/17) and Irish Stylist of the Year.
Just recently, she added to her awards collection with a prestigious All-Ireland Business All-Star accreditation – an independently verified quality mark signifying the highest standards of service and trust.
“We are the only salon in Northern Ireland to win this accreditation so obviously we were delighted and very proud,” says Bridgeen.
“It’s a testament to the hard work we put in to the great service we provide.”
Bridgeen, who is also the first local person to receive a Masters in craftmanship in hairdressing, opened her hair loss clinic at her luxury salon in Castlewellan in 2016. Realising there was a gap in the market for a quality wig boutique and hair salon, she underwent intensive training with Douglas Barr in Edinburgh to allow her to design and create wigs and T-partings for men, women and even children.
And she says she has noticed a big spike in the number of people reporting hair loss, hair thinning and alopecia.
“There’s definitely been an increase in the number of people with alopecia and hair loss due to t illness in the last few years,” she says.
“One in three women will receive a cancer diagnosis at some time in their life but it’s not just people going through cancer treatment who we’re seeing. We’re getting clients who are losing hair through stress or women whose hair is thinning due to the menopause.
“But we also have young men coming in with receding hairlines and this is having an impact on their mental health. Hair is so important when it comes to feeling good about ourselves.
“It’s an extremely rewarding job doing what I do; being able to help someone feel good about themselves and to help give them back their confidence.”
Bridgeen says she wants clients to leave her salon looking like they’ve just popped in for a wash and blow-dry and not like a totally different version of themselves.
Their hair restoration journey begins with a private consultation at her clinic, an analysis of their hair and scalp and then Bridgeen suggests the most suitable solution, whether that’s a wig, hairpiece or T-parting.
The wigs, some of which are hand-crafted from 100% human Remy hair and some which are synthetic, are then attached and styled to the client’s individual taste.
“A lot of people coming here for the first time are nervous, but I have a good rapport with them and put them at ease, so they leave feeling more confident,” she says.
“The hair loss clinic is open Mondays and Tuesdays and to be honest, we never stop. Then for the rest of the week, it’s non-stop bookings as well in the salon. I’m very fortunate to have such a wonderful team, who are all senior stylists.”
Bridgeen says there is still a stigma around hair loss and that it’s still quite taboo, which is something she hopes to change in the foreseeable future.
Next year, she plans to travel around the North, training other hairdressers to cut and style wigs.
“I am so busy at the salon and we definitely need more stylists who are confident and comfortable cutting wigs,” she says.
“It’s an honour to be able to help someone feel better about themselves and the more stylists who can help, the better.”