Tresses and Tattoos: Restoring a Sense of Beauty

Tresses and Tattoos: Restoring a Sense of Beauty

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Stares and glares don’t help a woman cope with the fact that she has lost her hair through breast cancer treatments. But Allusions Hair Restoration Studio can help.


Located in Building B Suite 5B at 9200 Montgomery Road, Allusions offers chemotherapy, radiation and other hair-loss patients a path back to normalcy with custom fitted and styled cranial prostheses (aka wigs).


“Many people say that one of the most difficult parts of treatment is losing the hair. Allusions makes that as comfortable as possible,” says Kim Grossmann — breast cancer survivor, former Allusions client and current Allusions marketing director.


Instead of a store room with hundreds of wigs on display, Allusions meets individually with clients at a free consultation to help find a solution to match their comfort level, lifestyle and budget. Allusions specializes in creating custom wigs to match a woman’s original color, wave pattern and style, Allusions Owner Jeanne Sheldon says. To get the best match, Sheldon recommends that women make an appointment for a consultation before they start treatments.


0208GIBBERMAN.gif For women who want the most natural look, Allusions has natural and cyber hair wigs. “Cyber hair is the most natural synthetic hair on the market,” Sheldon says. Clients can swim and sleep in cyber hair without worrying about messing up the style of the wig, but because of its closeness to natural hair, cyber hair wigs are also closer to the price range of natural hair wigs, which makes most cyber hair wigs more than $1,000.


Allusions also has solutions for women on tighter budgets. Some synthetic wigs are as inexpensive as $100, and Allusions has a variety of hats and scarves. It even has hair that you can Velcro into a hat instead of having a full wig, Sheldon says. Also, many insurance companies will pay for a wig, and Allusions helps fill out and file all of the paperwork.


Aside from the merchandise, Allusions offers a comfortable experience with private rooms for trials and fittings of wigs. Some staff members also offer an understanding through their own experiences with cancer. Grossmann survived breast cancer herself, and Sheldon lost both her sister and mother to cancer.


“I think you need to have an understanding that there is an emotional part to cancer as well as a physical part,” Sheldon says.


But when the hair grows back, both the physical and emotional scars remain. Some women have seized an opportunity to cope with those scars through tattoos.0708DEGROOT_FASHION.gif


Some women cover their mastectomy scars with floral designs, says Dot Brunson, a daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a tattoo artist at Designs by Dana, located at 4167 Hamilton Avenue and 631 Mainstrasse. One breast cancer survivor requested a large rose tattoo where her breast used to be.


“I think she had some mild scar tissue and wanted to hide that and turn it into a beautiful thing. And it actually came out really well,” says Jesse Musick, a tattoo artist at Cincinnati Tattoo and Piercing, located at 4951 Glenway Avenue.


In addition to artwork, tattoo artists also can reconstruct nipples. “Some plastic surgeons will tattoo a nipple, but they aren’t always as artistic as we can be, so we have been asked for enhancements,” Brunson says.


Several people, women and men alike, also have been tattooed with the pink ribbon to support breast cancer patients, survivors and awareness. Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the pink ribbon recently has been the most popular tattoo at Cincinnati Tattoo and Piercing, Musick says.


Most clients who get a pink ribbon tattoo are supporting a family member or close friend as they are going through breast cancer treatments, Musick says. Some actual survivors who get the pink ribbon tattooed on themselves do it “as an anniversary thing,” Brunson says, as “a reminder that they’ve made it through another year.”


So whether it’s a hairstyle or tattoo that will give women a sense of normalcy and beauty, local businesses have what it takes to make it happen.


For more information or to make an appointment call Allusions at (513) 891-5411, Cincinnati Tattoo and Piercing at (513) 921-3308, and Designs by Dana at (513) 681-8871 or (859) 292-8871.


Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography

Location: The McAlpin
Makeup Artistry: Trina Paul