Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Hair is much better’: Lenora’s Salon opens in Gallup

‘Hair is much better’: Lenora’s Salon opens in Gallup

By Nicholas House
Navajo Times

GALLUP – As the seasons transform, hair care routine should follow suit, said Lenora K. Pine.

“It’s about trying to keep your hair healthy,” said Pine, who opened a professional hair salon, Lenora’s Salon, here last Monday. “It’s about keeping your hair strong.”

Pine, who is Diné, is still attracting new customers to her business at 118 S. Boardman Ave. Customer satisfaction is the core of her business philosophy. That means clients are treated with greatness when they walk through her door.

Pine is Naakaii Dine’é and born for Haltsooí. Her maternal grandfather is Kiyaa’áanii, and her paternal grandfather is Naaneesht’ézhí. She is originally from Iyanbito, New Mexico.

‘Colors change’

Lenora Pine likes the flow hairstyle, which requires gently brushing the hair daily with a wide-tooth comb or a brush. The key is to get the hair to flow to one side. It’s supposed to be effortless and casual so that one wouldn’t need any products.

But hairstyles change, said Pine. “Like every season, colors change,” she said. “It’s so wonderful.”

Pine has been in the hair salon industry for over 40 years. She has seen significant changes in recent years, driven by evolving client expectations, technological advancements, and new beauty trends.

“I always wanted to do something like design,” Pine said. “I was going to go into fashion design, but then I said, ‘Hair is much better.’

“So, I went to cosmetology school,” she continued. “There’s so much design––hair flowed. That’s what I was interested in.”

When Pine started in the industry, she learned that it was under-represented by Native American women.

“You saw other minorities working … who don’t understand Navajo,” Pine explained. “That’s why I went into the industry to help with that (and the language) barrier.”

However, at that time, many Natives wore their hair long, so not many were seen in hair salons, said Pine.

“A lot of people did their own style at home,” she said. “The industry today, there are a lot more Natives in (hair salons). And there’s so much to do with long hair nowadays.

“But there’s still a lot of traditions,” she added. “People say you shouldn’t really do that because you’re taking that Native look away. That’s why I tell (clients), ‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’”

Ever-changing landscape

Lenora Pine, whose profession has remained a steadfast companion on her customers’ journeys to self-expression, said hairdressers help shape one’s identity and connection.

“A lot of younger girls are going with the harder look like they want to change their identity,” Pine said. “But with the changing culture, it’s changing a lot of that (identity).

“But I’m glad they’re (younger generation) open to everything. There’s more to offer,” she said. “Back in the days, it was like, ‘Get a perm. It will last longer.’ (People) weren’t really into colors, so everybody wore just the naturals. Now, there’s so much to do with color.”

Pine says salon clients often don’t know how to style their hair or what products to use appropriately, so it’s important to educate them.

“That’s what I want to do,” Pine added. “I want to educate our younger generation that it’s not all about looks. It’s not ruining your hair, ruining your scalp. It (a haircut) shouldn’t be a lesson.

“You don’t want that, so you try to give them education to where the hair is shining and it flows and it looks pretty.”

Lenora’s Salon offers all hair services. She said she’s working on getting her business off the ground and getting her business name known to the public.


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