Day of beauty helps women heal

STUDIO CITY, Calif. On a hot July day, /*Sterling Salon*/ gave some 45 women makeovers. The makeovers may not erase some of their scars, but it may be the healing start they need. The patrons were clients of a domestic abuse center in Northridge.

The center provides emergency response and counseling for battered women. The women who were sitting in the stylist chair on this makeover day were trying to put their lives together on the inside and outside as well.

"I feel good, like a new person ... just, a new woman," said one of the makeover recipients.

"You can't imagine. I just feel like a new person. Your hair is done, you feel like a lot of weight is lifted off your shoulders," said another woman who received a makeover.

The owner of Sterling Salon, Todd Sterling Brown, was inspired to hold the makeover day when he watched a homeless woman pass his salon on Ventura Boulevard. That's when he says it was time to stop complaining about the economy and reach out to those who needed far more help. So he enlisted fellow stylists to volunteer their time.

"The gift of a hairdresser is we get that instant gratification, where we can change the way someone feels about themselves," said Brown. "So to see someone who really needed it ... That just made my day."

One of Brown's clients overheard him talking about a makeover day and said she knew plenty of women who could benefit.

"For them, it's an inner and outer transformation," said Gail Pincus, /*Domestic Abuse Center*/. "Looking in the mirror to see someone attractive, someone they like rather than the picture that the batterer paints of them."

The center follows up with its clients, helping them get legal assistance. Although beauty makeovers are usually not part of the service, it was for one day. And it seems the clients at Sterling left feeling pretty golden.

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