Looking and feeling great can do wonders for your self-esteem.
But for one Spanish man, getting a makeover went well beyond improving his confidence — it completely changed his life.
La Salvajeria beauty salon in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, went viral after giving a local homeless man named Jose Antonio a makeover.
The salon's owner, Salva García, had known Antonio for years and had been trying (unsuccessfully) to bring the man in for a haircut. Eventually, Antonio finally agreed.
The folks at La Salvajeria got to work cutting and dyeing Antonio's hair, trimming his beard, and cleaning up his eyebrows. They even outfitted the man in fresh, clean new clothes to go with his new haircut, hoping the new look would give Antonio the confidence he'd need to turn his life around.
Antonio had been suffering from depression, which led to his homelessness. "I'd ended up like a vegetable, not worrying about what I ate or how I looked," he said. This isn't uncommon, especially in North America., where 20 to 25 percent of the homeless population suffers from severe mental illness, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. He also suffered from health problems with his eyes, ears, and feet that he said he "wasn't dealing with."
The result of the makeover is phenomenal — and Antonio’s new look did exactly what the folks at La Salvajeria had hoped it would. Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 57-year-old explained the very real impact it's had on him and his new outlook on life.
"The new look has helped me deal with the way I feel inside," he explained. "It's had so many practical consequences. There was no way I could have found accommodation before. I would have been turned away. I’m now living in a room in a shared house...I doubt any of these changes would have happened if it wasn't for the help of people like the hair salon owner and other locals who assisted me to get back on my feet. I'll be eternally grateful to them. It's not just a change of looks. It's changed my life."
It's important to note that a simple makeover in and of itself may not change a person's life, but the stylists at La Salvajeria then took their good deed one step further. The team posted a video of Antonio’s transformation to Facebook, where it currently has more than 2 million views.
They shopped the video around for a year and a half, looking for a business or a donor to help Antonio out with a place to live. They did, eventually, find someone, though the specifics of his new circumstances are unclear. Santi Olivia, video's director, also says they helped Antonio update his official documents and medical records and even got him in for eye surgery, as he was almost completely blind.