For the homeless inhabitants of Skid Row, hair salons, barbers and natural beauty supplies can be really hard to appear by.
That is, unless they’ve listened to the identify “Miss Shirley,” or else recognized as Lengthy Beach front resident Shirley Raines, founder of the nonprofit Beauty 2 the Streetz.
Every Saturday for the earlier 5 yrs, Raines has pushed to Downtown Los Angeles to hand out food items, supplies and makeup to the homeless inhabitants of Skid Row—California’s most dense enclave of citizens suffering from homelessness.
Together the way, she attained 257,000 Instagram followers and 3.8 million TikTok followers. She’s additional a warehouse in Signal Hill to keep provides. In 2021, she was honored as a “Hero of the Year” by CNN and awarded $100,000 to continue her function.
“I really don’t believe in heroes,” Raines said. “I feel in humanity.”
All over 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, Julie “Kricket” Ansbach leaned her head back again in a makeshift salon bowl related to a 10-gallon h2o cooler.
“It’s my initially time ever! 50 years old and I have never ever dyed my hair,” Ansbach said while a volunteer sectioned her hair with clips. She’s lived on Skid Row for above a 10 years.
“I lost my apartment very first. Then I shed my work. I’ve been down right here at any time considering that,” she claimed as a hairstylist wrapped a trash bag close to her shoulders. “People talk to me why I stay down below. I like the men and women.”
Following stylist London Chaney brushed thick dye on to the guidelines of her hair, Ansbach sat on a bench and chatted with other Skid Row residents waiting for their flip in the sidewalk salon chair.
“I’m just below to wash hair and give like,” stated Chaney, a product and nurse by career who was homeless from the ages of 15 to 17. “It was individuals like this local community right right here supporting communities like me when I was homeless. That is why I want to give again. That’s why I’m right here.”
As Chaney began washing the hair of her up coming consumer, Ansbach searched via her bag of self-care items: a facial mist, crushed glitter lip gloss, mascara, eyeliner, extremely-matte lipstick and untrue eyelashes.
“I nonetheless place on a very little make-up below and there but I really do not need considerably to convey out my attributes,” Ansbach reported. “I have what they get in touch with natural magnificence.”
Just after 30 minutes and a rinse in the salon bowl, the suggestions of her mild brown hair had been dazzling purple.
A number of ladies lingered nearby in plastic hair nets, their locks soaking in a deep conditioner. Other individuals clutched luggage of extensions labeled “Fabulous appear! Freedom of movement! Wonderful truly feel!”
Throughout the way, a barber in a Elegance 2 the Streetz T-shirt wielded a pair of clippers, layering fades into clients’ hair.
Makeshift salons are not prevalent in Skid Row. The nonprofits that provide the spot generally emphasis on standard requirements like foodstuff and shelter.
But Raines thinks that own treatment solutions like these present anything that some others don’t: an possibility to escape existence on the streets for a instant, “a sport of grownup make-believe.”
Six yrs ago, Raines began volunteering with the homeless to offer with trauma from the demise of her 2-12 months-aged son in 1990.
“I was hoping to make perception of what was going on in my lifetime and striving to obtain a intent guiding my ache,” Raines explained about her journey into volunteering. “A buddy from church questioned if I required to appear out and feed the homeless. My to start with time out there was like, my adore at 1st sight second. I felt like this group was just like me, damaged just like me, that I wasn’t by itself.”
Although she was tasked with handing out food, her private style—a warm pink excitement minimize, supersized hoop earrings, neon technicolor nails and fake eyelashes that curl up and graze her eyebrows—piqued the desire of the homeless people she was serving.
Before long, homeless girls began asking her for magnificence supplies—eyelashes, wigs, makeup, hair dye—and with hundreds of Sephora details in tow, she was joyful to oblige.
Finally, she splintered off from the group to begin her own venture: Magnificence 2 the Streetz.
In 2017, homeless girls lined up on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles to have their hair finished. Seated in a chair with a Hefty trash bag all-around their necks, Raines would dip red solo cups into an Igloo cooler entire of h2o to clean and rinse their hair—she hadn’t yet ironed out the mechanics of her cell salon.
“It was a whole lot of trial and error,” Raines stated. “I understood, homelessness is just a extensive-term tenting excursion, you know, on the open streets. So I was like, ‘Let me go to the tenting area.’ And that is exactly where I strike gold. That’s when we seriously started transferring.”
Now, Splendor 2 the Streetz has two salon chairs with connected water bowls and an upgraded h2o storage program. Raines enlisted the assist of a volunteer barber who does haircuts and fades on adult men and girls, as properly as a volunteer make-up artist.
Her work is supported mostly by donations from her social media followers, as nicely as donations from splendor provide companies.
“Over time, our system little by little enhanced, and is continue to enhancing,” she claimed.
Raines has obtained a lot of criticism on social media for her target on self-care—though the nonprofit also provides very hot meals, cleansing supplies, apparel and, to the delight of numerous people, bowls of ice cream.
“They say, ‘You’re not doing anything. All you’re executing is hair and make-up,’” Raines stated. “Hair and make-up is what got me through shedding a baby. An adult sport of make-believe is what received me by way of.”
Volunteer Cherish Benham was dwelling in Skid Row with her spouse and son just two decades back.
“The selling price of housing is astronomical. I misplaced my work, then my husband’s hours bought diminished, and then COVID strike. That is what introduced us to downtown,” Benham explained. “It’s that effortless, practically in the blink of an eye. I would not want it on my worst enemy.”
Now, she and her family members have their possess position, but she nonetheless comes back to Skid Row each and every Saturday to volunteer. She credits Raines, and her individual ingenuity, with getting her off the streets.
“When I very first came down [to Skid Row], I was likely by way of it. Then I arrived down below, I received my hair completed, I got my make-up accomplished, and it virtually boosted my self-esteem to the place where I was ready to go get a different career,” Benham claimed. “I realized I was presentable, that I could affiliate myself with the outside entire world. That was a wonderful experience.”
For three hrs on Saturday, Skid Row residents walked in a procession by way of tables lined with materials: hot broccoli and chicken in takeout containers, hand sanitizer, purple bottles of Fabuloso cleaner, miniature bottles of Tide, makeup and fresh T-shirts.
Every single so normally, Raines would hear her call to motion, “Miss Shirley, Overlook Shirley!” She’d stroll above to chat to 1 of her regulars, asking about their lives or designs for the working day, or give volunteers suggestions on what products and solutions to use on a person’s hair.
Mid-conversation, her eyes would dart to somebody with soiled apparel or empty hands— “Hey infant do you want a shirt? Occur about right here. Did you get your bag? Get in line about there and we’ll get you taken treatment of.”
It would be that way for 4 hours, as residents swept in and out of the road corner lined with tents and makeshift shelters.
“This is not a career, this is not for social media. This is not for likes and blue checkmarks. This is practically my intent,” Raines claimed. “I feel like everything that transpired to me led me to this put. I don’t truly feel like I’m Natural beauty 2 the Streetz inspite of what I have been by way of, I come to feel like I’m Magnificence 2 the Streetz due to the fact of what I’ve been as a result of.”