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Apr 29, 2024

Making a Difference with Mother’s Day Makeovers

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

“It took something that tragic for me to break through the abuse,” Brown said. “Now, I’ve made it my mission to inspire other women in similar situations with my story of courage, resilience, and perseverance.”

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Denice Brown, single mom of three children and owner of Hair by Denice on Hilton Head Island, was born and raised in Beaufort as a proud member of the Gullah community. She found her gift for styling hair at the ripe age of 11 and she hasn’t looked back, even after weathering some difficult storms along the way. Now, she’s using her talent and the lessons she says made her stronger to give back to her community in a selfless and amazing way. 

“My mom passed when I was only 2 years old, and then my grandmother when I was 5, so I was raised by my dad, my grandfather, and my brother,” Brown said. “We lived on a farm, and I played in a big field where I began braiding grass blades.”

Eventually Brown got a Barbie doll and would braid her hair, even adding embellishments, and everyone was astonished by her perfect braids, which was ironic because she was raised by men who definitely did not braid hair. 

From there, Brown began doing family members’ hair and people from her church. Once she obtained her cosmetology license, she began working in various salons in the area. She has recently struck out on her own and opened Hair by Denice. Now, Brown’s repertoire has expanded beyond braids. She specializes in custom color and precision cuts.

“I love and really excel at precision cuts, like pixie cuts and bobs, and all kinds of color,” Brown said. “While most of my clients prefer blondes and natural red shades, I also really enjoy giving people the trendy colors, like the purples, reds, and blues. And I use color with some of my clients whose hair is thinning to give the appearance of fuller hair.”

Brown said that her success hasn’t come without some severe challenges, which she calls “stepping stones.” For more than a decade, Brown was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, who is now in prison for the murder of her father and for shooting her brother seven years ago. 

“It took something that tragic for me to break through the abuse,” Brown said. “Now, I’ve made it my mission to inspire other women in similar situations with my story of courage, resilience, and perseverance.”

Brown gained much of her confidence and courage by becoming a member of Toastmasters International and has made empowering others through her salon her own personal mission. To that end, she has partnered with Hopeful Horizons, the Lowcountry leader in ending child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault, by providing free hair styling and makeup services to moms in crisis for Mother’s Day. 

“They are a perfect fit for me,” Brown said. “I can talk to these women because I was in their shoes. I know how they feel. I know they’re afraid, so to do something nice for them goes a long way. I style their hair, do their makeup, and all the while just talk to them and let them talk to me. When we’re done, they feel like a brand-new person.”

This is Brown’s fourth year hosting the Mother’s Day Makeovers, and she’s got six mom clients from Hopeful Horizons. Some of her other generous clients donate gift cards and certificates for them to use, so not only do they get makeovers, but they’re also able to go shop for a few things for themselves. Additionally, on Wednesdays, she provides in-home services for clients who suffer from dementia or who are no longer mobile. 

“They still love to feel good about themselves, and it makes me feel great,” Brown said.

To experience Hair by Denice, call (843) 476-7467 or visit The salon is located at 19 Dunnagans Alley, Suite D, on Hilton Head Island. 

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