At a salon normally reserved for cutting edge hair styles and the latest fashions, a group of selfless cosmetologists, hair dressers, and estheticians are changing the lives of the low income and homeless people of Knoxville.

I’ve had the honor of photographing a ministry called Care Cuts for a few months now. On the first Sunday of the month, anyone can come get a hair cut or style, get a clean shave, or have their nails manicured, completely free. There’s an intimate connection when you care for another person’s appearance, and it’s been so humbling and powerful to the see someone transform when they take pride in who they see in the mirror.

For most of us, getting our hair dyed or our nails done is such a normal part of our lives. But for someone living in poverty, it can be the first step to finding work or a place to live. The volunteers at Care Cuts are empowering these people through building their self worth and the simple message, “I see you, and you’re beautiful.”