Behold the power of a radical new 'do

By Julia Naftulin
January 08, 2018

Getting a haircut can be a transformative experience—as this viral Instagram post proves, which shows the before-and-after shots of a young domestic abuse survivor intent on leaving her abuser behind and starting a new, healthier life.

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Connecticut barber Andy Mendoza posted the photos on Instagram on December 26. It depicts a woman named Chelsea with a bruised and cut face, bloodshot eyes, and chunks of her hair missing. Mendoza explained in his caption that Chelsea came to his barber shop asking for a haircut that would signify her new start, as she just escaped from her abusive boyfriend, who had tried to kill her.

"So today I received a visit from a beautiful soul who went through an awful experience," he wrote. "A coward tried to take her life and in the process cut and pulled her hair out!"

Mendoza was hesitant to shave Chelsea's head, considering that she just endured so much physical trauma. But that was the style Chelsea wanted, and after she persisted, Mendoza gave her a buzz cut with the side design of a reptile that she requested.

"As I cut her hair, we talked and I couldn't help but notice how nice she was, and how much she did NOT deserve what happened to her," Mendoza wrote. "No woman ever deserves this!" We're applauding Chelsea's bravery and her desire for a fresh start. Now she has an empowering haircut to match.