Aaron, aka Hair Majesty, is a wig specialist and extension guru based in Atlanta. His clients include those simply interested in trying out a new style; women who’ve lost their hair to cancer; men insecure about going bald; and children suffering from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss. All are valid reasons to get a wig, but the last is especially heartbreaking.
Talyah Moe, his most recent client, was diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 4. This type of alopecia results in patchy hair. “At such a young age, she didn’t quite understand what was happening and was still trying to comb the little patches she had left,” Talyah’s mom, Shondelle Moe, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It took about six months for her to lose all her hair.” By age 6 she had developed alopecia totalis, which results in hair loss across the entire scalp, and had also lost her eyebrows.
Talyah’s mother describes her as smart, determined, and “usually confident except when it comes to her hair.” Her parents make a point of teaching her that “her hair does not make her beautiful or determine her character,” but her condition, naturally, has affected her confidence and personality.
Thanks to Aaron White, however, 9-year-old Talyah has something she never thought she would have again, and Hair Majesty wrote about it in a moving Instagram post that has since gone viral, with more than 31,000 likes.
White posted before and after photos of Talyah. In the before pictures, which were taken two weeks ago, her hair is in small patches — the most she’s had since she was 4. He explains that doctors were unsuccessful in treating the condition.
Talyah had been wearing knitted caps to school, which her family decorated with bows, ribbons, beads, and flowers to match her outfits. Unfortunately, little kids aren’t always the most empathetic.
“At the end of her kindergarten school year, one of the boys in her class pulled her hat off in the hallway and ran away with it,” Shondelle Moe says. “In summer camp, another boy from her school told everyone that she didn’t have hair and pulled her hat off to prove it.” Until that point, Talyah had been comfortable enough with her condition that she wore the hat only in class. She would even inform her peers about alopecia. “She is capable of answering questions regarding alopecia, so we use this as a platform for her to educate her classmates and to try to eliminate any bullying,” Shondelle says, while noting that this stops only some bullies.
The incidents made Talyah more self-conscious. “She stopped leaving home without her hat in fear that she would see one of her classmates in the store,” Shondelle says. “Whenever she was teased at school, she would come home crying and begging us not to send her back to school.”
Her increasing self-consciousness also moved Talyah to give up one of her passions: ballet. Her mother says the requirement to have hair in a bun exacerbated the stress that led to her quitting dance.
This is where the wigs come in. “It was difficult to find caps that fit her small head — they were either too small to cover her entire head or too big,” Shondelle says. Talyah was hesitant about trying a wig because “she said it made her look ‘different.’
“Someone made a wig for her, and I eventually convinced her to try wearing it for a couple of days,” Shondelle says. “I didn’t like it because it made her look grown. She went back to wearing caps and headbands to cover the parts of her head that her hat didn’t cover.”
Shondelle even tried making a wig herself using a tutorial on YouTube, but it didn’t last long and could be styled just one way. “We spent a lot of money trying to find a wig that would make her feel like herself again,” she says. “We even had a consultation with a well-known stylist who said, ‘I am afraid of messing up my brand by making one for her that doesn’t fit right.’”
Things finally started to look up when Shondelle came across Hair Majesty’s Instagram account this past January. “She noticed how I was helping so many others with similar conditions, and she decided to contact me in pursuit of finding her daughter a natural wig,” Aaron White tells Yahoo Lifestyle. His Instagram is filled with before and after photos of people who have experienced hair loss for various reasons.
It was the perfect fit, as White specializes in “the craft of knowing how to install the product for the most realistic look, and each one is handmade.” He promises that every strand is specifically placed to ensure the most authentic look. “I am also able to create custom hairlines, with head shapes and sizes,” he adds.
Shondelle describes White as very accommodating in getting her wig-resistant child excited about the process. “He asked her what she liked and how she wants to look. He had her play around with and wear (even took pictures for her dad) his model wigs,” she recalls.
“Eventually, he figured what she wanted — and boy did he deliver,” Shondelle says. White used a pattern known as a deep wave, giving Talyah a natural curl with two braids and pink bows. “It was worth the investment! She loves her hair!” Shondelle exclaims. And the beaming pictures of her daughter are proof.
“I turned Talyah around to face the mirror and asked, ‘What do you think?’” White told us. “With the world’s biggest smile, she simply said, ‘I love it!’ Immediately her personality started to shine through. I caught her playing in her new tresses, tossing them from side to side. I knew in that moment, I made her day!”
It’s safe to say he made more than her day. The wig has given Talyah the confidence to start running track and audition to be an anchor for the school’s morning news. She’s even considering gymnastics and a return to ballet. “I look like a ballerina again,” she says.
Talyah usually makes beaded bracelets as gifts, but this summer she decided to make bracelets and headbands with encouraging words for children without hair.
“Even though Talyah’s eyebrows are almost gone, she is still happy to have hair that she can style,” Shondelle says.
“Mr. Aaron should have his own hair school,” Talyah suggests.
She’s not the only one in love with her new looks. “Her dad and I like that it’s age appropriate and is boosting her confidence again,” her mom says. What’s not to love?
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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