The passion behind Natalie’s drive to become a trichologist comes from a deeply personal place. Natalie worked as a salon stylist until her career was cut short by the onset of PTSD. The strain caused her to suffer significant hair loss, which only added to her stress and anxiety. She had no idea why she was losing her hair, nor that stress could have a severe impact on its normal lifecycle.
As she explored solutions for her hair woes, and on the recommendation of her aunt, who runs a well-known wig clinic in Ireland, Natalie decided to pursue a qualification in trichology. She says of her choice:
“My mother and I have both suffered hair loss, hers as a side-effect of her auto-immune disease and the medications prescribed to her, and mine had become noticeably thin – seemingly out of the blue. So I felt compelled to find out why and was keen to learn about available treatments, not just for us, but for others too”.
Natalie embarked on TrichoCare Education’s Certificate in Trichology, enjoyed the process and was advancing well, but her on-going PTSD meant that studying put a real strain on her well-being. Ultimately she decided to pause her studies. However, Natalie’s passion was not dimmed: “I knew this was something that I had to return to. There are so many people who have hair loss issues, including many of my clients in the salon. Unfortunately, my ability to help them was limited, as there’s very little taught on the subject when you’re training to become a hairdresser, and there’s very little information available to the public”.
After a break in her studies, Natalie is back on the trichology trail big time! She’s currently studying for a degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Essex and has restarted TrichoCare Education’s Level 4 Certificate Course: “It’s interesting how everything I’m learning fits together – for example, anatomy, chemistry and pathology provide an insight into how the systems of the body respond to change, whether it be short-term due to trauma, or long-term due to disease. The knowledge acquired on the Course has been a great foundation to build upon as I pursue my degree”.
The restrictions surrounding Covid were of surprising benefit to Natalie: “Without the need to travel for lectures I can create my own, flexible study schedule and attend remote lectures instead”, she says, “It gives me the autonomy I need to cope with the pressures of pursuing an education”. She also has lots of support from the TrichoCare Education team: “They treat you as an individual. And it’s evident in their approach that they genuinely care for each student, and focus on helping them succeed in their entrepreneurial pursuits, not just on getting them to pass the Course; unlike many other industrial-type learning machines. Both Keith [Barker-Jones, the Course Director] and Brian [Plunkett, TrichoCare’s founder] have been immeasurably understanding of my situation. They offer a very sympathetic and nurturing environment in which to learn and develop personally and professionally.”
Natalie knows first-hand how the stress of being a student can affect the body, and she’s seen several cases of stress-induced hair loss among her fellow university students. “Hair loss is so common, yet so misunderstood. Witnessing the challenges my fellow students are facing spurs me on to succeed as a trichologist so that I can help them, and others”.
Once qualified, Natalie plans to develop her own trichology consultancy and is keen to advise the university’s student health service about how best to support students and their trichological needs. She also believes trichology should be more widely undertaken by those in the industry: “I’d recommend the Level 4 Certificate to everyone who’s in the hair and beauty profession, whether they’re an established stylist, an apprentice or a budding entrepreneur. It will broaden your knowledge, advance your skills, build your confidence with clients, and afford you the opportunity to help those in need who may have nowhere else to go”.