A regular patron explains why she keeps coming back
By Ana Monaghan
Ka La staff writer
This article was published in the Ka La’s April/May 2014 printed edition.
Regina Henry peers at her reflection in the mirror. Gold and silver swirls flow back from her face. In an elevated leather chair she eyes each snip of progress. Motionless, as her hair is worked on, she explains why she keeps coming back to Honolulu CC for haircuts.
“A haircut at Honolulu CC costs $7. Other beauty salons charge $50, but my hair is styled better at Honolulu CC. Where else do beauticians spend an hour making sure every thing is just right?”
“Haircuts used to be five bucks,” Henry goes on. “You wonder if hair dressing is just getting to be a selfish thing. People have to make a living, but I also think people could live on less. Fifty dollars for a hair cut is a hard thing to adjust to.”
“I think it comes back to school loans,” she continues. “Prices at beauty salons have been impacted by beauticians paying off enormous loan debt for their education at more expensive schools. People take advantage of young people– it’s really too bad. Kids get stuck with heavy debts so young.”
Henry said that for years she has gotten hair cuts from beauticians in training.
“Hopefully, the community colleges aren’t encouraging students to take out loans that they can’t repay,” she says.
That way, when they graduate, they might be able to buy a home instead of having to pay off school loans for years to come, she says.
Henry has been an instructor of nutrition for decades, with many students and responsibility for their progress. She also owns and manages a hospice for the aged. She supervises teachers, caregivers and clients, and believes in upholding standards of excellence at all levels of care and training.
“Teachers have an obligation to the student, so he or she doesn’t flounder. Each student should benefit from being in any class, from that student-teacher relationship. Kids should benefit to the max, for their large investments of money, time and trust.”
Henry says the obvious responsibility of every teacher is to bring a positive outcome, rather than negatively impacting lives for decades to come.
Henry comes to Hawaii every winter to stay in a condo, and always sets aside a half day to visit the Honolulu CC Cosmetology Salon.
“At a public salon, you are in and out in half an hour. At Honolulu CC, they’re much more thorough, attentive to detail, and give excellent service,” she says.
The good news is: Anybody can get an appointment.
The supervisors at the Honolulu CC cosmetology salon, are veteran professionals who check the work of every beautician. Each client is checked by the professional supervising the shift. Finishing touches are added, with amazing finesse, before getting a stamped approval from the top professional. Clients can then proceed to check out, and pay their $7.
Jess Aki, who heads up the Cosmetology and Esthetic services at Honolulu CC, says students sometime have to deal with customers who aren’t as pleased with the work as Henry is.
An important part of the training is to help students develop thicker skin, Aki said. “If they don’t develop thick skin,they’re not going to survive; because the public can be brutal. New beauticians often start out taking 90 percent as personal.”
Aki explains, “Teens and people in their twenties can be strongly influenced by the opinions of others and peer pressure. They are not fully comfortable with who they are. That’s why they imitate whoever is popular in the media, however they dress; and they purchase products, which other people endorse.”
Working every day with young adults, Aki gets a front seat view on sensitivity and lack of self esteem. Some of those she sees often constantly feel unappreciated for who they are, and show that too strong an emphasis is placed on surface and veneer.
“Many don’t know who they are — don’t even like who they are,” she says.
Aki mentioned that two categories of learners attend her classes: Those who are highly critical of their work, and those who that think whatever they touch is golden. The ones who feel insecure about their skills (everything they do is wrong), are much more teachable and quicker to learn, she said. They endeavor to do better and progress.
The department also does volunteer work. They help abused women from shelters to know that they are beautiful, worthwhile, and have value. Some have only the clothes on their backs. Many have had to run, with nothing, in order to escape violence or death. “We give manicures, pedicures, facials and hair cuts. It makes them feel good about themselves; and even for a little time, they forget about their situations,” Aki said. “I want my students to understand that they have to give back to the community, which supports them.”
Its offices are located on the ground floor of Building 2, just around the corner from the book store.