Making people look and feel beautiful is in Arlene Young’s blood.
Growing up, she watched her mother transform the women that sat in her chair for a wash or cut. Young’s aunt was a hairdresser, as well. So cosmetology was a natural career path.
She started with her family, honing her skills and learning the trade from the ones she had watched for so long. But when Young and her husband moved from Chicago to Dallas in 1987, her path came to a fork. She was away from her comfort zone and in search of her next move.
“My husband, who’s a respiratory therapist, works in the medical field, and he saw and heard patients asking for a hairdresser,” said Young, who has more than 25 years of cosmetology experience. “He came home one day and said that there were people who would love to have their hair done just to feel like they’re on the road to recovery. So I started as a volunteer and worked it into a business.”
Since 1993, Total Image Beauty Services has been providing clients with disabilities beauty services, including haircuts, shampoos, blow-outs and manicures, for men and women. Young’s business caters to convenience by providing these services both in-studio and on-location.
There’s no limit to where she can go, which is just the opposite for many of her clients, some of which are limited in mobility and even energy.
“I always tell people, if you’ve never been sick where you couldn’t wash your hair for more than 10 days, you don’t know what it’s like to just have your hair washed,” said Young, who lives in Preston Hollow. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I’ve really learned how to wash hair in bed, how to wash hair sitting up, or how to wash hair out of my portable shampoo bowl so no water runs down their face.”
That simple fact is one of the things that impressed Brenda Watson. Young’s client of almost a year not only raved about the friendly service, but also of her technique.
“She massages the hair, she never gets you wet, and she’s so careful and organized,” said Watson, who is confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility in her arms. “I was so happy that I had found someone that I really liked.”
For Watson, getting out of the house for simple errands involves renting a special van to transport her — something she’d much rather save for more significant outings. So Young travels to Watson’s home twice a month to pamper her with the basics: a perm, cut and highlight.
Sure, Watson fondly praises the way Young transforms her physical appearance. But the stylist’s greatest work has been on Watson’s confidence.
“The first time she fixed my hair and my husband came home from work, I asked him what he thought. And he said, ‘Woohoo!’ It was so sweet,” said Watson, with a laugh. “She makes me feel good, she makes me look good, and I feel like my old self again.”
That feedback is what drives Young’s passion. It is also the reason behind her desire to grow the business and franchise it. The more stylists that she can train and build the brand around, the more people she can lift up.