Chic Beauty Salon in Ames welcomes Hair Professionals stylists
Talking with Catherine Ulin and Nicole Huston of Chic Beauty Salon in Ames is like chatting with lifelong friends who giggle through conversations and finish each other's sentences.
But they met only three weeks ago.
"It's like when two families join and you share bunk beds. We are like the 'Brady Bunch,'" Ulin said, referring to the American television show that ran from 1969-74.
Huston has owned Hair Professionals, formerly at 301 Main St. in Ames, for 22 years. When Huston decided to search for a more affordable location for her and her three stylists, Chic Beauty Salon was her first phone call.
"I love being downtown. I wanted to keep that wonderful feeling. And we blend perfectly. Finding Catherine took away all of the sad," Huston said.
Meanwhile, Ulin purchased Chic Beauty Salon at 202 Main St. three years ago. She has worked there for 23 years.
Services include body-waxing, shampoo sets and permanent hair relaxers
When Huston called in March looking for a new home, both Chic and Hair Professionals had four stylists. The new partnership was almost seamless.
Ulin has been offering full body-waxing services for almost 16 years at Chic.
"I'm one of the few places that do that, including Brazilian waxes," Ulin said. "That's one of the reasons Ann wasn't able to join us here."
Ann Kout-Lester, a stylist from Hair Professionals who also offers body-waxing, has joined His & Hers Salon at 413 Main St. Ulin said having two body-waxing professionals required separate rooms for the services, and Ulin only had one room available.
Chic Beauty Salon is now home to seven stylists: Sonja Daughton, Cheryl Eller, Nicole Huston, Jennifer Neave, Lisa Preston, Catherin Ulin and Erin Walker.
Along with body-waxing, hair color, cuts, permanents and up-dos — "Like bridal party and prom hairstyling," Ulin said — Huston also offers shampoo sets.
What's a shampoo set?
"It's something your mother, or your grandmother, has done on a weekly basis," Huston said. "It's when we set a woman's hair with rollers. Lots of salons don't do roller sets any more. They've moved to curling iron sets. But the rollers hold better."
Ulin said, until Huston started at Chic, the salon didn't offer shampoo sets.
"I've attempted it, but I'm not good at it," Ulin said. "But it is one of the services that many beauty salons have been built on. I look forward to working with Nicole on Fridays to learn from her."
Friday is shampoo set day, Huston said, because the ladies like to get their hair set for the weekend.
"When they were younger, they liked to get ready for the weekend dances," Huston said. "Now, they like getting ready for church. I have one lady who comes every week and she's 106."
Huston said shampoo sets have become such an important part of her business she manages all of her vacation time and personal commitments around Fridays.
"My ladies count on me," Huston said. "I love them and I'm always here."
Ulin also does permanent hair relaxers for her Black clients.
"I do regular straightening and flat-ironing and styling. And I'll stock products for my African American clients if I know what they need," Ulin said.
With the new partnership between Ulin and Huston, Ulin retains ownership of the Chic Beauty Salon and Huston returns to her original role in her career as a rental/contractor. The stylists rent their chair space from Ulin and provide their own supplies.
"We are just excited. We refer to each other as salon sisters and we just added three new sisters. There's nothing but positives here," Ulin said.
Chic Beauty Salon
202 Main St, Ames
Phone: (515) 232-7181
Hours: Vary by appointment
Teresa Kay Albertson covers Des Moines' southern suburbs for the Register and the Indianola Record-Herald. Reach her at email@example.com or 515-419-6098.