914. A Day in the Life: What's It Really Like to Be a Trichologist?
“I think we need more trichologists so people can start to understand that hair loss is not as frightening as what everybody thinks. It can be frightening as I personally experienced, but you have to understand that hair is really tied to our being. I remind women all the time that hair is instinctual. A good, beautiful head of hair signifies our nature–good genes. It’s tied to how we feel about ourselves and our self-esteem. And that’s why I really challenge people to not look at hair care as a vanity. That highlight that you’re getting is not just to look pretty, it’s not about being beautiful, it’s about how you see yourself, the level of confidence that you’re going to have.”
Shann Christen is a Beverly Hills-based celebrity stylist with 20+ years of hair care experience. He’s certified in Trichology from CTB, which is Scuola di Comunicazione e Tecnica in Torino, Italy, where he conducted 12 years of trichological research and study. He’s also the developer and creator of the revolutionary BioMethod line of hair care products. Trichology is the paramedical science that studies the structure, function and diseases of the human hair and scalp, including hair loss.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I got lucky that I accidentally discovered I had a talent for doing hair. A friend of mine was a hairdresser and the salon where she worked was having an event at Christmas time where they were doing makeovers for homeless women. She called and asked me to come down and help her out. I had only dabbled in hair, but I showed up. She gave me a pair of scissors and a comb and I began cutting this woman’s hair. I started chopping away, hair was flying everywhere and everyone began paying attention. After a few minutes I stopped, held a mirror up to this woman so she could check out her hair and she burst into tears. She had long forgotten how beautiful she was or that her hair could look so good. That memory is indelibly etched in my mind and to this day I cherish that experience. When you truly help someone, help them transform their life by helping change their perception of themselves, by looking in the mirror and feeling beautiful, there are no words to describe that feeling. I was a hairdresser from that moment on.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. “I pretty much grew up a dancer. From the time I was a young boy I was passionate about classical ballet. My older brother was a dancer and that certainly influenced me. So I put everything I had into dance. Then when I was around 21 I sustained an injury that ended any hope I had of pursuing a career in dance. That was a big blow and I got lost for a while trying to find my passion again. I eventually found my way out to California where my two brothers were living and started rebuilding my life.”
2. “After my experience realizing I had a talent doing hair, I networked my way around Hollywood telling folks I’d apprentice to break into the industry. Pretty soon I got a call from a make-up artist who said she needed an assistant hairdresser for a movie she was working on. This was in 1999 on the movie Dreamers. For another 10 years I continued to hone my skills and talents as hairdresser and make-up artist. I learned so much and had a great time.”
3. “After my work in the movie business, I started working with a friend making hair pieces and clip-on extensions, which turned out to be very successful. During this time I had an utterly traumatic experience—I lost all my hair in one night! A combination of stress and a proclivity to male pattern baldness. I went to dermatologist after dermatologist and tried every ‘treatment’ imaginable—hormone injections, creams etc. Nothing worked. I finally realized that dermatologists don’t know trichology, don’t really understand the science that underlies our hair, which is the essence of trichology. This traumatic experience turned out to be a powerful experience for my career on many levels.”
4. “I found a trichologist in Orange County who had a clinic there. I began apprenticing in her clinic, where I was introduced to a product line and treatments helping people with hair loss, which she sourced from an Italian manufacturing company. I learned a great deal from this professional and then decided to branch out on my own.”
5. “I reached out to the Italian manufacturing company that specializes in trichology-based hair care products and asked for their assistance in doing my own thing. They were incredibly generous and not only agreed to continue to sell me their product line, but invited me to their headquarters to meet with them. I was surprised to learn that they had been following my career in the movies via IMDb so they knew much of my backstory already.”
6. “Over the course of 4 years I went to Italy for 30 days every 4 months for intensive training, learning, everything there was to know about trichology—the health and vitality of hair, and finally earned my degree.”
7. “After getting my degree, I kept researching and learning everything I could because every client I had was bringing me something new. People’s scalp conditions can be as unique as their fingerprint. And when you are looking at things that are controlled by hormones and stress, there are just so many degrees of intensity of problems. Some things are fixed very easily and some things are just highly complex, you know, really trying to even reset the body and knowing and understanding how to even grow hair can be so complicated based on why somebody has lost their hair.”
Connecting With Shann Christen
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