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Last updated: December 21, 2023

How Maui Hairdressers Are Rebuilding Post-Lahaina Fires

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Photo credit: Cassandra Hastu, @cassiehastuphotography & Thaís Mendonça Island Muse Photography, @islandmusephoto

Here’s How The Hair Industry Rallied To Help Maui Salons Rebuild After The Lahaina Wildfires

August 8, 2023 was just like any other Tuesday in the beautiful community of Lahaina on the western side of Maui: The sun was shining, local business owners were starting their day and children were in school. Then; wind, heat and flames came roaring through the beachside town of 13,000+ residents and consumed what was once paradise. With 100 fatalities and some still missing, the Lahaina wildfires became one of the deadliest in U.S. history. 


Jacqueline Comero (@jrose_beauty), owner of Beauty on Maui (@beautyonmaui) salon, was on her way to work when she realized something was very wrong as winds picked up and smoke filled the sky. Realizing that she and her family needed to evacuate, her focus shifted to getting everyone to safety. Jacqueline never saw her salon again. Like other salon owners, stylists, barbers and beauty industry professionals in the community—she lost everything. Many not only lost their businesses, but their homes and personal belongings as well.


BTC spearheaded a donation drive to help Maui-based stylists rebuild after the fires, here’s a look at the donations:

Photo credit: Cassandra Hastu, @cassiehastuphotography & Thaís Mendonça Island Muse Photography, @islandmusephoto


Facts About The Lahaina Fires:

The Lahaina wildfires wreaked havoc across Western Maui, here’s a look at just how devastating they proved to be:


  • There were 100 confirmed deaths.
  • The center of Lahaina was off limits to civilians for the six weeks after August 8—it was patrolled by National Guard troops to allow crews to conduct clean up firefighting operations and  hazardous materials.
  • An early estimate projected rebuilding and repairing West Maui will cost $5.5 billion.
  • Experts believe active power lines that fell during high winds ignited the fire.
  • Nearly 16 percent of Maui County was in a severe drought at the time of the blaze, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 
  • There were about 2,200 structures damaged or destroyed.
  • Financial rent assistance for displaced residents will last for 18 months post-fires. The American Red Cross is also offering residents meals, mental health support and financial help.


Photo credit: Cassandra Hastu, @cassiehastuphotography & Thaís Mendonça Island Muse Photography, @islandmusephoto


Helping Lahaina Local Hairdressers:

Jacqueline wanted to do something to help her local beauty community so she formed a group of Maui industry professionals to share ideas on how they could help each other and establish a network across the island. Determined to make a difference, she reached out to hair industry companies for help and didn’t receive much response. However, when she contacted Mary Rector, Founder of Behind The Chair, that changed. 


With previous relief efforts under her belt (in 2018, Mary organized a relief effort for hairstylists affected by “The Camp Fire” in Paradise, California), Mary and the BTC team jumped into action to help stylists in Lahaina. Jacqueline researched what stylists needed and shared the wish list with BTC’s Janet Gordon. BTC then requested donations from professional hair brands to send to the Maui-based stylists. Companies like Schwarzkopf Professional®, Redken, OLAPLEX, Ulta Beauty, K18 Hair, American Crew and SexyHair all generously donated hair color, shampoo, conditioner, styling products and sundries.


Jacqueline then organized a BTC Stylist Support Distribution Day in Lahaina to distribute the donations to 60 local salon professionals impacted by the fires. The afternoon was filled with appreciation, joy and tearful moments. “Stylists were so grateful for the kindness of BTC for organizing the effort and for the generosity of companies donating pallets of product,” said Jacqueline. “The timing of the event—especially with the holidays being close—added special meaning to the gathering. It was uplifting to help them save money and provide inspiration as they’re starting over.”


Scenes from BTC Stylist Support Distribution Day:

Photo credit: Cassandra Hastu, @cassiehastuphotography & Thaís Mendonça Island Muse Photography, @islandmusephoto


Experiencing a grief-stricken community come together after such tragic losses proved to spark unexpected joys. The BTC Stylist Support Distribution Day served as a reunion for local stylists to gather with former co-workers who now work at different salons. The day resulted in an even stronger sense of community than ever before as stylists shared how the tragedy individually impacted them and talked their plans for overcoming all that was lost.


Thank you to Jacqueline, Mary and BTC’s Janet Gordon for working together on this project to help stylists in need.