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A Hairstylist’s Love Story

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It’s no coincidence that I became a hairstylist. My love for hair started when I was nine years old. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and not having the strength to help me and my sister, she taught me how to braid my own hair for school. I remember practicing on all the dolls in the house and finding it very calming.

My heart broke every day watching my mother slip away. As a result, doing hair became my therapy. Believe it or not, it made me stronger and more focused. Plus, it was very fulfilling –– as it still is today.

After losing my mother, I saw myself doing hair even more. When I ran out of dolls to style, I went to my neighbors’ dolls. We held birthdays for our Cabbage Patch Kids, so I would do their hair for the parties. As I got older, I began creating hair in the school hallways and for prom. It just kept growing from there. 

Then, I started working at the salon with my friend’s aunt when I was 14 years old. It was there that I learned the difference between healthy and unhealthy hair, how hair feels when a person has a chronic disease, the importance of hair hydration, skin disorders and so on. 

Because of my passion for science, I was obsessed with formulations –– from mixing hair colors to hair growth treatments. I loved solving problems, especially when it came to helping someone. There’s no greater joy than seeing someone feel more confident about themselves, loving themselves more as they look in the mirror.

One of my favorite memories is when seniors would come into the salon with their canes and walkers. After their hair was done, they would walk right out leaving them behind. I literally had to call them to come back and take those with them! I found it so fascinating how doing a hairstyle on a person who was sick or older would change their mood, attitude and frame of mind. 

After cosmetology school, I wanted to go in another direction and incorporate holistic medicine as well as aromatherapy into haircare. I also learned reiki and other forms of holistic health.

Once I became a holistic practitioner, I became more intuitive and able to pinpoint sick hair and create even better treatments for different textures. I even started focusing more on my own texture, since there were not a lot of products for textured hair.

Even now, finding the right products for textured hair can be confusing –– especially products with little to no chemicals. It’s the reason why I created my haircare brand, Contents Hair Care. It’s vegan, has no harsh chemicals and is great for hair growth.

A year later, I went to L’Oréal. There, I met my mentor who introduced me to my first NYFW show. I was hooked. It was amazing to be a part of the experience, creating hairstyles that were different from the styling I did in the salon.

Working in Fashion Week took me on so many incredible journeys. From working with awesome clients for premiers, music videos, red carpet events and media appearances to having the pleasure of working with amazing people like Demi Lovato and John Legend.  I even had the opportunity to work with the cast of Hamilton, Lion King and Us.

I’m so grateful and proud to hear my clients thank me for saving their hair. However, in reality, it’s the other way around: Becoming a hairstylist saved my life.

Cheryl Bergamy
Cheryl Bergamy
Cheryl Bergamy is a NYC-based celebrity hairstylist who specializes in treating and styling textured hair of all types.