Shadae Renee is a celebrity hairstylist who has worked on a variety of clients from Sheree Whitfield of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, to Quiana Watson of Ladies Who List Atlanta, to Yandy Smith of Love & Hip Hop. Renee initially gained recognition in the hair industry by creating styles that are “luxurious, natural and versatile” and has since launched her own Atlanta-based studio, Wigs by Shadae Renee, to share these styles with everyday women.
After dealing with a case of mild hair loss, Renee soon learned that “over fifty percent of women will experience hair loss and almost half of all Black women will experience hair loss in their lifetime.” Aware that quality wigs and hair units are often very expensive to obtain, Renee discovered a way to allow customers affected by any form of medical hair loss to purchase units using their insurance. She prides herself in being able to provide this access, as well as being able to uplift and reinforce confidence in women who suffer in silence from this battle.
21Ninety caught up with Shadae Renee to discuss her work as a certified cranial prosthesis specialist, how one can detect the early signs of medical hair loss, as well as how clients can go about obtaining a glueless wig from her salon!
Jadriena Solomon: You are one of Atlanta’s first Certified Cranial Prosthesis Specialists. Can you break down this title, explain why it’s so important, and tell us a little more about the work that you do?
Shadae Renee: Back in 2020, I used to do a lot of work behind the chair and I always recommended that my clients see a dermatologist if they had any issues with their edges, or if they needed a little extra help with their hair growth. A lot of times people will be like ‘use this oil and your hair will grow back’ but sometimes you might be diagnosed with something that may be preventing that. So I like to tell my clients to make sure that they get it checked out, that way if they do have alopecia, they can use their resources to help them deal with it.
With Cranial Prosthesis, I basically have a number that only doctors and nurse practitioners have, and it allows me to be able to bill someone’s insurance. And that’s important because a lot of people pay for insurance but hardly ever go to the doctor or use it. But hair loss is a medical condition – whether you have thyroid issues, lupus, alopecia – whatever it is you still can get your insurance to pay for it… so why not take advantage of it?
JS: Wow, there’s so many different causes of hair loss that one usually doesn’t think about. Are there any early signs of medical hair loss that someone can look out for?
SR: When your hair is coming out, you really don’t notice until it's already gone – sometimes people are really in tune with their body so they may notice that their hair has been shedding. But as a Black woman, in my community, in my family, I’ve seen people have a full head of hair and then wake up and notice that their hair is thinning out, and now they don’t have hair. So I think just being aware of family genetics is very helpful. A lot of the time, it may not be something that you can cure or get rid of, but if we slow down and pay attention to what’s going on, you may be able to notice it faster.
JS: Let’s say someone has been diagnosed and confirmed that they are in fact dealing with medical hair loss, and they would like to get a wig, and installment, done by you. Can you walk us, step by step, through the process?
SR: So let’s say someone gets diagnosed with alopecia. They’ll receive a prescription that says they can get cranial prosthesis. Once it’s confirmed that their insurance covers cranial prosthesis – because you always want to make sure that your insurance covers this treatment so that you won’t have to pay out of pocket – their insurance will let them know how many cranial prosthesis wigs they can get in a specified time frame and they’ll let them know up to what amount the insurance will cover. From there, the patient will come and see me and let me know which wigs they want installed and I’ll put together an invoice and bill their insurance.
If a patient would like, they can pay for the wigs themselves and get the reimbursement from their insurance afterwards.
JS: Your brand offers glueless wigs as opposed to the option of wigs that are glued down or sewn in. How do the glueless wigs stay secure on the head? And what are the benefits of glueless wigs?
It’s important to know that any wig can be glueless with the proper fit. So the wigs that we offer to our clients are fitted to the size of their heads, which makes them secure. We don’t use any gel, or any other products. We don’t rely on wig clips, elastic bands or the combs, we simply rely on the size. Your wig should fit on like a cap.
Women, when we’re ready to change our style we’re ready to change it or take it out now. So we believe that you should be able to take your wig on and off, however often you’d like, and still be able to have a wig that maintains its size and quality.
JS: You also have your own line of hair care products called Shadae Renee Beauty. What products would you recommend to help one with maintaining their wig, as well as the health of their hair and scalp underneath?
SR: We just launched the “Pocean” Wig + Weave Shampoo and Conditioner. It has tea tree oil, which helps to clarify, replenish, and add shine back into your wigs and extensions. A lot of times people will shampoo their hair or their weave with whatever products they have in their cabinets, but the truth is that you need to use products that can support the treatments that are done on the hair, like coloring, and using heat damaging tools. Yes, you can use other hair care brands on your real hair and extensions but my products are specifically made to take care of the wigs and weaves that we are investing thousands of dollars into purchasing. I really want to get that message across.
If you’re using the wrong products, your wig can get easily tangled or the hair can be stripped of the nutrients and oils that it needs; which leads people to constantly spend money on buying new wigs when the reality is that they just need to use the right shampoo and conditioner to maintain the hair’s quality.
JS: You’ve been able to work with some amazing celebrity clients from the Ladies Who List Atlanta cast to different women from the Love & Hip Hop cast. Who are some of your dream clients that you would love to work on one day?
SR: I would say Beyoncé. Her hair is always right every time! I find myself zooming in on her pictures trying to find the lace. Like is this a lace front? Is this her real hair? Is it a wig? Is it a wig with braids? I’ve been doing that for years just trying to figure out Beyoncé’s hair. I’m just fascinated by her looks, and what she does with her hair. It’s always something different.
From the brown to the blonde to the dark roots she stays consistent and I really appreciate people who are willing to let you do curls, a little this and a little that, but who also know the looks that just work for them.
JS: You’ve definitely filled a major need in the hair industry with your initiative. What would you say lies ahead for you and your brand?
SR: I do feel that this could really take off. So I would love to open a hair pharmacy, or even a franchise of pharmacies, that specialize in hair replacement and glueless wigs; and also accept insurance so that clients can come in and get their hair and scalp looked at, or their wig touched up.
I’m working on partnering with a dermatologist and a few different doctors so that my dream of opening a hair pharmacy can come true. That way with the vision, and the goals, and everyone being able to see it come to life other stylists can see it and want to open one too so that this can become a normal thing.