At a West Harlem salon, pink hair has never been more meaningful.
Stylists at Salon 804, located on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard between 123rd and 124th streets, have been adding pink strands to their clients’ hair this month in exchange for donations to fight breast cancer. A friend with breast cancer inspired the salon’s owner, Rochelle Mosley, to spread awareness and raise funds in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I have a good friend who’s actually going through the battle right now,” Mosley said. “I have a lot of clients that are survivors, and I just wanted to be a part of the force.”
Mosley came across the idea of dying hair pink for breast cancer awareness while browsing the Internet. She said she thought it was a better match for her business than the more traditional pink ribbons.
“It’s interesting and different,” stylist LaSeena Richardson said. “My clients are excited to get their pink strand.”
More than 60 people have requested pink strands this month, raising more than $1,200 for breast cancer, Mosley said.
“It was really bigger than I anticipated—even people who are not color-wearing, not weave-wearing people, even older people,” Mosley said. “One time, every person sitting in their chairs got pink hair. At least 20 people in one day got a pink strand.”
The salon used some of the money to fund its team in the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk Oct. 21. The rest has been set aside for a close friend of Mosley’s—a friend Mosley said is “really in need for the treatment.”
The campaign has done more than raise money. In a place as social as a hair salon, employees and clients have a heightened awareness about breast cancer just by talking with one another.
“When you’re in a setting like this, women start talking. You start talking about your boyfriend, about breast cancer,” Mosley said. “Everybody gets involved.”
And once people started talking about breast cancer, Mosley said, it becomes clear how many people it has touched.
“Everybody who has gotten in my chair knew somebody who had it. Every third person was either a survivor or going through it,” she said. “And just by seeing the post in the window, many people have said, ‘Oh, I need to get my mammogram!’”
Shelline Norman, a regular client at Salon 804 for the past 10 years, said pink hair is “absolutely” an effective way to spread awareness of breast cancer.
“It was just different. It was personal,” Norman said. The pink hair “could even be looked upon as a fashion statement.”
The salon’s efforts have already made a difference. Richardson said that one client’s aunt recently got a mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The salon campaign made the client “more aware, which in turn made her aunt go get it,” Richardson said. “She was diagnosed in the early stages.”