Laura Cole of Abstrax Hair Designs has been working in the hair industry since she was just 13 years old. Her talent runs in the family, as she is a third generation hair stylist. Gerry, Laura's mom opened her first salon in 1976 and Laura did most of the cleaning and some shampoos for other stylists. It was a full-service salon offering everything from cuts to color treatments. Gerry and Laura have been working together for close to 40 years.
At 17, Laura recieved her Cosmetology License and attended professional classes and seminars so they could expand their services at the salon. In the 1980's both women became members of the American Hair Loss Association and continued to further their education in all aspects of hair replacement. They are now American Hair Loss Council Certified Master Hair Replacement Specialists and Certified Trichologists. "Hair loss is such a personal journey -- and nobody ever signs up for that trip. Once you find yourself losing your hair, the first thing you need is answers. Why am I losing my hair? Who can help me find solutions," Laura adds.
OCW: Laura, what is your involvement with the AHLC?
Laura: Currently, I am a Board Member of the organization. It is so wonderful to be a part of an organization and industry that helps so many men, women, and children. My mother and I still attend educational classes and hands on demonstrations so we can continue to provide exceptional care for our clients, and offer the latest methods and products that the industry has to offer.
OCW: How do you help your clients that suffer from hair loss?
Laura: We can't change genetics but we can slow down the process. Hair loss can be a result of many factors including hormones, medications, stress, aging, Alopecia, Lupus, and Trichotillomania, just to name a few. There is treatment for every hair loss condition. The industry has come a long way with FDA or health approved pharmaceutical and topical treatments and the most natural surgical (and non-surgical) hair replacements depending on your hair loss situation. Whether you are biding time while deciding what treatment to begin, letting hair follicles rest, or undergoing treatment, there is a great deal we can do for you.
OCW: What are some style options for those wanting to minimize their hair loss?
Laura: Through cut, color, and care we try to minimize the effects of hair thinning and hair loss. We'll suggest a new style like wearing hair forward to accentuate facial features and maximize thinning hair. Irregular "choppy" or notched end, including bangs also visually plump up the look and helps soften the long, flat look of fine and straight hair on any face shape, especially oval. Our color formulas expand the actual diameter of the hair while protecting it from damage during the process. When applied properly and artistically, highlights will contrast a darker base and lowlights will add dimension so hair looks thicker.
OCW: What type of medical specialists do you suggest your clients visit in regards to their condition?
Laura: We suggest seeing a dermatologist and a primary care physician. A dermatologist can diagnose any scalp infection of fungus, in addition to examining hair follicles under a microscope. They can prescribe approved medications and refer you to the proper physician who can further diagnose and rule out any autoimmune conditions or diseases. A medical doctor is the only one who can write a prescription for a "Cranial Prosthesis" (a medically necessary wig). A primary care doctor can also check for hormone imbalance, side effects of any medications, malnutrition and stress issues.