When people grapple with depression, the effects of it manifest both in universal and very personal ways — but chief among them is often the difficulty of maintaining self-care routines. Recently Kate Langman, a stylist at The Salon in Ulta Beauty, had an experience with a client who was struggling with just that, and since then the before and after haircut of her client with depression has gone viral, resonating deeply with people who have struggled with mental health issues of their own.
The unnamed client initially came to the salon a few weeks before the appointment, to purchase the items off of the "All Soft" Redken line. Langman approached her and asked if she could assist, and the woman shared her story: after struggling to get out of bed for six months because of her depression, her hair, which she had been gathering up into a bun so she didn't have to deal with it, had essentially formed a giant knot in the back of her head that she couldn't untangle on her own. According to Langman, "The bun was so matted that it felt like she literally had rocks on the back of her head."
It was important to the woman that her hair still remain long, so Langman immediately offered her an appointment to come in the next day so she could untangle it herself. When the woman didn't show up the next day, Langman remained hopeful that she'd come back — even when she didn't show up for an appointment she made two weeks later. After more time had passed, though, the woman came back to the salon, at which point Langman worked her magic.
It was no easy path to the end result — Langman shared that between four and a half hours of combing, three hours of color, and a half hour for the cut, the transformation took a full eight hours. But it was well, well worth the effort.
"By the end of this service, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and I could see her cheeks get rosy pink from the excitement of not only being able to run her fingers through her hair again, but she felt herself again," Langman wrote on her now viral Facebook post. "I changed someone's life today and I'll never ever forget it."
Since then, the post has gone insanely viral — not just because the story is so inspiring, but because for many, it is so relatable. Thousands of comments have flooded in both on Langman's original Facebook post and the shared version on the Facebook page Love What Matters, with people sharing their own struggles and similar experiences with depression.
"As someone who suffers from depression, I know that the fear of judgment is something that has kept me away from places I know could help," wrote one commenter. "The best part of this story for me is the kindness and lack of judgment and willingness to help. And her hair looks beautiful in the end!"
Another highlighted the importance of self-care, and how hair and beauty play a pivotal role in self-expression: "I did hair for 17 years. People think that it's such an insignificant profession, but lives really can be changed in that chair."
As the reactions to the post and the happiness of the woman Langman helped indicate, little acts of kindness like this are so much more than that — and that the patience and care of another person and the reminder to prioritize your own self-care has an immeasurable power to make a difference.