Back to school is big business for Northbrook owner of Happy Hair

NORTHBROOK — It’s hard to believe that kids will be heading back to school in just a couple weeks. With the start of the new school year comes everything from new teachers to new books to school supplies, backpacks and even new clothes.

Back to school means big business for Jamie Malitz. The Northbrook mom of two is the owner of Happy Hair, the lice removal business she’s had for six years.

“School starts and I get slammed,” said Malitz, who spends a good part of fall traveling around to different schools that hire her to perform lice checks.

With an estimated 6-12 million cases of head lice detected per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Malitz checks for lice and treats it at schools and in her Northbrook home salon.

She also sells the Happy Hair System, a de-lousing kit she developed for parents to treat their children at home with her guidance.

“My products are all organic, they’re pesticide free, and they’re easy to use,” Malitz said of her mousse and conditioner. “The process involves wetting the hair, followed by two treatments that include massaging in the mousse, adding my conditioning treatment and then combing it out in the shower.”

Describing herself as “methodical and meticulous,” Malitz said she makes sure to get every bug and egg out of the hair shaft.

Following a lice treatment, Malitz said that she sends her clients home with the products and recommends they repeat the process three times over the next week, just to be safe.

“It’s not ‘go home and finish the job yourself,’ it’s for prevention. I don’t lose touch with a client until I know they are completely clean,” she said. “I never get calls back that it isn’t gone, not even once.”

Additionally, Malitz educates parents on things they can do at home to make sure the lice is completely gone, and to prevent it from spreading to other family members.

Stripping beds, washing sheets and pillows, and vacuuming couches and other furniture are some of her recommendations.

Malitz, who is a University of Arizona graduate and licensed esthetician, spent 20 years working in beauty salons in Chicago and on the North Shore.

The idea to start Happy Hair stemmed from the experience she had six years ago when her now 13-year-old daughter got head lice.

“I bought a removal kit from Walgreen’s and 10 days later, I realized she still had it,” said Malitz. “I then went downtown to Hair Fairies salon and that led me to thinking there was nothing like that on the North Shore.”

“Pounding the pavement,” as Malitz described it, she began distributing flyers about her business to pediatricians’ offices, schools, dance studios, and any other places where kids went. Word began to spread, and the business grew from there.

Marla Brodsky is a Northbrook mom of three, who said that even before she became a client of Malitz’s, she had always kept Happy Hair’s number in her phone in case of an emergency.

“We were on a trip in Indianapolis and I suspected my daughter had it,” Brodsky said. “I was panicked, mortified, and thought it was gross.”

Brodsky said she called Malitz late at night, and that not only did Malitz calm her, but she told her exactly what to do until she was able to get home and come to the salon.

“She really made us feel at ease, and didn’t make us feel like any question was a dumb question,” Brodsky said.

“The people who freak out are the ones who have never had it before,” said Malitz. “It’s the unknowns, and they don’t understand how uncomplicated it really is. The bugs don’t harm you, they just annoy you.”

Happy Hair

(847) 715-9700

happyhairhelp.com

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