When Christal Mercier was a child, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.
"So, I started doing my hair at 6 years old because I didn't like the way my mother combed my hair, it was kind of ugly! I then started making money with hair when I was 12," said Mercier. "Kids bullied and teased, so I would always say, 'let me fix that for you or put it down.' It's just natural."
It's no surprise that she opened her own salon, in 1990. But, her world and mission in life changed because of one of her sisters, Timmithy.
"She was an Ebony fashion Fair Model. She was the first african american to model Jordache Jeans on a Billboard in New York," shared Mercier. "She began to loose her hair and then ended up getting cancer."
In 2008, one year before her sister passed away, “Hair dreams by Christal,' was born.
"I just didn't want anyone to feel like she did," said Mercier. "Having a feeling of hopelessness and having a look of hopelessness."
Women, men and even children whose self-esteem were shattered due to hair loss from cancer, alopecia, chronic illness and skin conditions are coming to her for help.
"People think that it has to do with vanity — that is not true. And I have learned that because it has to deal with emotional health and mental stability," said Mercier. "Through the non-profit, they get their hair done for free because hair loss reaches across every social, racial and economical boundaries. It doesn't pick and choose who it's going to effect."
Dr. Jackie Cooper nominated Christal as a remarkable woman.
"This might sound cliché, but she's really a cut above the rest. She's very truthful, but at the same time she's very patient, and there's something about that bedside manner, in the hair industry, that a lot of others can't provide and she does. In my opinion, that's priceless," shared Dr. Cooper.
Christal has also taken her passion to help others even further. During Hurricane Harvey, in 2017, she organized other hair stylists in the Houston area to form the “Gallery of Salons” to do haircuts, braids, shampoo, and more, for free — at shelters, housing evacuees, during and after the storms.
"We go to shelters or anywhere needed, and do hair for free. Just make people look good, so they can feel good, because you know all the time you have gone through a storm, but you don't have to look like you've been through a storm," shared Mercier.
Whether it’s to remember her sister, or see a smile on someone’s face, Christal’s mission never wavers. Even though hair doesn't define who you are, it can make you feel better about yourself.
"People have hard times, sometimes. You just need to know that somebody cares. Things will get better, because where there's life, there's hope," Mercier said proudly.
To donate and help others make their hair dreams come true, or to fill out an application to qualify for the program, visit www.HairByChristal.com.