Fresh start for brave Devon mum who lost her hair to chemotherapy
An award-winning hair loss specialist from Devon has been recognized for her skills in creating gorgeous locks for her client, but she says the biggest reward of all is seeing the transformation people’s lives go through after recovering their hair lost. Former primary school teacher turned hairstylist, Keena Davies is the owner of Kurly Sue Hair in Kingsteignton and her many clients include women and men who have thinning hair as well as severe hair loss.
The mum-of-four has helped women who have suffered hair loss for many reasons, including naturally, after undergoing cancer treatment, or due to health issues such as stress and alopecia. Keena thinks they are one of the only people in Devon to come up with a new meshless integration system.
It is described as an innovative method based on the use of the client’s own hair. It takes three hours for the transformation to complete and it is permanent but requires eight weeks of regular maintenance.
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Keena explained, “It’s hypoallergenic and fully tailored to each client. The systems are designed to give clients back their hair. A full head of hair is created using breathable, lightweight closures and hair wefts.
“The system is suitable for up to 80% hair loss and is completely non-surgical. New customers are encouraged to bring a photo of the look they would like to achieve, whether it is their old style or a new style.
“These systems are suitable for anyone who wants to create a hairstyle, male, female or transgender, as well as for children, young adults and adults alike.”
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The salon also offers hair loss replacement for men which is done using a hairpiece to be attached to the head and create a look that restores their appearance.
Keena started the hair salon nearly three years ago and has seen the lives of hundreds of people change for the better, giving them the chance to look like themselves again.
Devon Live spoke to three of Keena’s customers who bravely spoke about their hair loss and how the Mesh Free Integration System has changed their lives both physically and mentally.
In 2016, Amanda was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes. She had to undergo surgery and undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Within 11 days of her first episode of chemotherapy, her thick, long hair was “falling out” and she suffered total hair loss. Amanda was assured her hair would grow back, but it may look different. Although her cancer treatment was successful, her hair grew back around the edges of her head, but not the scalp area.
The 50-year-old, from Chudleigh, recalled: “I fooled myself for a few years thinking it would grow back, then you realize it’s not and then everyone is was used to it watching the way I did, and because I didn’t have the time or the money I didn’t do anything about it I also didn’t know that the integration system without mesh existed.
“I tried wigs, but they were so different and so hot. I considered a hair transplant, but I didn’t know anyone who had had one, so I was too scared.
“My daughter saw an ad on Facebook about Keena looking for designs for a new meshless onboarding system at a reduced cost. She persisted, I contacted her so my husband and I went to her meeting. Before I even got home, I was texting her asking her to order the hair.”
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As for the treatment just before last Christmas, Amanda said Keena covered the mirror until her new look was complete. The moment she saw the transformation is the one she says she will never forget.
She said: “It was a shock. I had shown her a picture of what I looked like before cancer and she looked like me again which I hadn’t done in six years. I was in tears .
“When I got home, my husband had the champagne ready and said, ‘Oh my God, it’s you.’ Now I have a job with the public.
“People don’t usually want to do it, but they looked at me when I had hair loss, so I was getting out of social circles and withdrawing from a lot of different things. You feel their eyes looking at your head and I’m done. by stuttering and felt like I had to explain why I looked like that. I used to apologize for my appearance.
“Now I don’t even think about my hair. Keena gave me a second chance at life. People say when you beat cancer you’re a survivor, but if you don’t feel like you, you don’t have your life back and you’re starting to wonder what was the point of it all?
“Keena has allowed me to move on with my life and get back to normal. It’s just amazing.”
Although Janine was never blessed with thick hair, she made the most of the thin hair she had. However, when she started to clear up, she says it broke her confidence so much that she didn’t even want to leave her house.
Janine, who is in her 60s and lives in Teignmouth, recalls: “I was getting so thin I hardly wanted to go out. It was really bad. I always had thin hair but it got worse over the for the past three years. It got thinner and thinner and it was really depressing, especially for a woman. Most men look good when they’re bald, but it’s horrible for women.
“Over time, I had bought three wigs, but they made me feel uncomfortable and they are very, very hot in the summer. You just don’t want to have them on your head.
“I started searching the internet because someone told me about hair integration and I wanted to find a reasonably local salon. Last summer I went to see Keena for an assessment and she was very welcoming. The salon is private, confidential and comfortable and she was so considerate and friendly.
“When I had the initial treatment it took about three hours and it wasn’t painful at all. I was thrilled when I looked in the mirror and was so surprised. It made a Huge difference and it felt like I was back to my old self, but it was the new me.
“I felt so good, so good that I went to show everyone and sent pictures. My girls didn’t even recognize me at first!
“It’s like normal hair and it’s easy to style. I go back every three months now.
“It gave me confidence and I even had a boyfriend since. I think I would have faded into oblivion if I hadn’t because I rarely go out.
“The initial cost was around £600, then I pay £115 maybe every two or three months to maintain it, but it’s definitely worth it. I’d rather do that than buy new clothes.
“My new hair feels like a part of me now.”
A combination of medication and stress led the 72-year-old to suffer severe hair loss around a year ago. It got so bad she was almost bald.
Chrissy recalls: “I only had strands of hair left; I was practically bald. It happened after a heart attack and I had a lot of stress over the last year and a half. It was also because of the medication I had put.
“I was very unhappy and if I went out I was really upset because I was trying to do something with the little hair I had and I dressed well, but I didn’t want to go out. was so down.
“Keena made me a million dollars and I’m so much more confident now. It made me feel like a woman again.
“What’s great is that people don’t know what I’ve done unless they know me or I tell them because it feels so natural. I’ve tried the wish before and they were absolutely horrible.
“I live in Buckinghamshire and Keena comes to see me because (does she have family here?). Having her hair done has completely changed my life. I’m enjoying going out again and feeling really good.”
Keena Davies – the hairstylist behind the new looks
After working as a primary school teacher, Keena and her family moved to Devon in 2017. A few weeks later she discovered she was pregnant and did not return to teaching.
After a year, she decided she wanted to go back to work but wanted to do something different. Having always had hair extensions herself, she decided to train in this field and become a hair extension technician.
Her business was doing very well, so she and her partner Pete built a living room at home and named the business after her late mother Sue, who sadly passed away.
A year later, Keena decided she wanted to practice something for those who suffer from hair loss. She trained in mesh integration and after a few months doing these systems, she discovered that there was a new system without a mesh.
She said: “People think extensions should be glamorous and long, but they’re not; they’re used for all sorts of reasons and are life-changing too.
“I’ve never heard anyone say they prefer a wig because that system is more comfortable and it’s so light you don’t even know it’s on your head.”
This year, Keena was a finalist in four hair and beauty awards. She came second in the worldwide Social Media Hair and Beauty Awards for Hair Loss Specialist of the Year, reached the top 10 in the same awards for Hair Extensions Specialist of the Year, was finalist in the UK Hair And Beauty Awards and finalist in the British Hair and Beauty Awards.
Keena said: “I want to thank my family, friends and clients for their continued support, for believing in me and choosing me to transform their lives.”
Kurly Sue Hair is open seven days a week. For more details please click here.