Christal Mercier thrives on making the impossible possible
By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
She has a special gift. Some would call her a compassionate artist. Others refer to her as a therapist, a friend.
Christal Mercier knows all about hair. She’s been in the beauty business for 30 years, including 20 years as a certified, non-surgical hair replacement specialist. She’s helped women, men and children find confidence and self-esteem after hair loss.
At her shop in Missouri City, she remembers how one of her sisters, the late Timothy McDade, a former Ebony Fashion Fair model, and one of the first black women to model Jordache Jeans, suffered hair loss due to chemical burns on her scalp. Mercier stepped in to help, and then illness struck.
“My sister started losing all of her hair when she got cancer. Once she started to lose all of her hair, she became very inward and depressed. She didn’t want anyone to see her without hair.”
After her sister had an unsuccessful experience with a another hair replacement company, Christal then offered to help her with her own hair replacement designs. Her sister, happy with the results, became the fun, outgoing sibling Mercier knew as a child.
“I like to make people look good,” Mercier said. “They may be sick but they don’t have to look sick. I believe if people suffer from hair loss, no one has to know it.”
Her goal was to help people who are struggling financially to have their hair replaced. She began her own nonprofit Hair Dreams by Christal. Through the nonprofit, she also teaches customers how to take care of their new hair.
She sees many suffering from hair loss: Cancer patients, burn victims and those with alopecia.
“I do what I can to make the customer happy and look better and ultimately make them feel better about themselves,” she said. “Hair replacement gives the illusion of hair restoration. The hair looks likes its yours, and matches everything from hair color to skin color.”
Children suffer the most when it comes to hair loss, and young clients are benefiting from Mercier’s services, too. Louis Ray, father of 9-year-old Kaila, saw a story about Mercier on television. Kaila suffered from alopecia, leaving bald patches all over her scalp.
“I knew I had to at least call Christal and find out more. I was tired of my daughter dealing with the bullying from school, and the fact she was losing her hair. We did a consultation with Christal and two days later, she finished with a new hair look for my daughter,” Ray said.
For the first time, young Kaila was smiling.
“Her self-esteem and self-confidence has soared. Kids tell her ‘you look pretty.’ I think it takes a special touch from someone who really cares. Christal is a someone who cares,” Ray said.
Adults echo Mercier’s compassion. Sharon Davis, suffering from alopecia for over five years, was designed a wig she says looks natural, and she couldn’t be happier.
“People are self-conscious about any baldness, but she makes sure you are in a private setting, and she’s patient. The private setting is special. It says everything about her being a caring person,” Davis said.
Mercier looks forward to fund raising events for her nonprofit work.
“As a 501c3, we continually focus on funding. I’ve raised money and will continue to do so,” she said. “We are now planning the Holiday of Hope on December 1st, at Heaven On Earth in Missouri City.”
All proceeds benefit people with hair loss.
“I see so many people walk out of here differently after they have hair. If I can enhance the outward appearance, with a non-surgical hair replacement or a wig, then I can give them a new outlook on life,” Mercier said.
Even after 30 years she shows no signs of slowing down.
“I can see me doing hair when I’m 80 years old. I love what I do. Every one of my customers inspires me,” she said.
She gives each new client a packet of seeds after a consultation. To her clients, the seeds represent an encouraging message of growth. It’s a metaphor for Mercier, and it means everything to her clients.
For more information, visit www.hairdreamsbychristal.org.