Valley woman shaves her head, creates a buzz on social media - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Valley woman shaves her head, creates a buzz on social media

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Erin Merz created a buzz on social media after shaving her head on camera. (FOX5) Erin Merz created a buzz on social media after shaving her head on camera. (FOX5)

A viral video of a Valley woman shaving her hair off has surpassed two million views, but it’s not the act of cutting her hair that’s created a buzz, it’s the meaning behind it.

Hair is a billion dollar industry, and women across the valley invest a lot of time into styling. Las Vegas beauticians said women of color invest even more.

“We spend the most money,” Rare Haynes, an esthetician at LOOK Style Society said. “The reason being, it goes back to our natural hair wasn’t accepted.”

Haynes said she has been doing hair for 18 years now and she’s seen a change in more black women embracing their natural hair, because for a long time many didn’t.

“It dates all the way back before our time,” Haynes said. “In slavery days, you take it all the way back there and it was always perceived as ugly and it was just unacceptable, the lowest of the lowest.”

The change is the Natural Hair Movement. Haynes calls it a journey, one that Erin Merz has embarked on.

“A lot of women, especially in the black community, use their hair to define their beauty and feel if they don’t have long hair, they’re masculine,” Merz said.  

For the new year, Merz made a bold decision and shaved her hair off.

“My sisters have big curly hair and I wanted that,” Merz said. “I didn’t have that because it was so damaged so I just decided it was time to cut it. I didn’t know I was going to full on shave it until I was in the chair.”

Merz posted her six-month update on Facebook on Wednesday. Since then it exploded with more than 20,000 shares and 2.7 million views.

“It’s just amazing to see how many people appreciate it,” Merz said. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal until now.”

Merz and her siblings are biracial and said growing up, sometimes it was hard for some family members to figure out how to do their hair.

“This is the longest I’ve ever gone without putting any chemicals in my hair," she said. 

Chemically straightening and constant flat-ironing can cause damage and can cost a lot of money.

“When you’re getting extensions, it can cost you anywhere from $250 to $1,500 in one sitting," Haynes said.

Now after joining the natural hair movement, Merz said she hopes to use her new-found Facebook fame to inspire other women.

“Just wear it,” Merz said. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful.”

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