Hot Heads Hair Salon: 34 years of transforming Ball State students' looks and lives

<p>Stylist Sierra West colors a student's hair Feb. 28 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. “My parents are Ball State alums, so I’m from Muncie and I love working here,” West said. “I also love talking to the students. They are always so friendly and appreciative of the work we do.” Meghan Braddy, DN</p>

Stylist Sierra West colors a student's hair Feb. 28 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. “My parents are Ball State alums, so I’m from Muncie and I love working here,” West said. “I also love talking to the students. They are always so friendly and appreciative of the work we do.” Meghan Braddy, DN

Editors note: This story has been updated to correct information on where the salon was originally located.

Tena Rees and Brenda Poole share a passion for helping others. After attending beauty school, they decided to use their skills to make a difference in people's lives by styling hair. In 1990, they realized their dream of opening Hot Heads Hair Salon on McGalliard. 

Then, in 2016, they opened their on-campus location in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, room 21. As of today, it is their only open location. 

For more than 34 years, Hot Heads has been a part of the Ball State University community, as Rees and Poole have been dedicated to making Ball State students look and feel their best. The salon has since built a reputation for its hair care services and dedication to helping customers, having won the Best of Ball State Favorite Salon several years in a row.

Their commitment to their craft and customers has made Hot Heads the only salon destination for students to access on campus.

The women-owned and operated Paul Mitchell salon offers various services, “specializing in colors, hair extensions, classic cuts and the newest styles,” according to the Hot Heads website

Rees and Poole opened their business in the student center to provide Ball State students who live on campus a more accessible place to fulfill an essential need: maintaining hygiene. A 2020 study by the Hope Center surveyed more than 38,000 college students and found three out of five students face insecurity regarding basic needs.

Whether with a haircut or a brow wax, Rees and Poole recognize this and aim to provide a space where students can get the proper services they need without ever traveling off-campus. 

“We just love helping people,” Poole, who studied at PJ’s College of Cosmetology, said. “We love giving them a place to go to talk or feel their best. It makes us happy.”

Although those employed by Hot Heads have not solely been women, the business has been operated strictly by passionate women licensed in cosmetology and beauty. 

“I have loved doing hair since I was a little girl,” Rees, who studied at Amber’s Beauty School in Muncie, said. “I used to style the hair on all of my dolls, and that’s when I realized I loved doing hair.”

Stylist Sierra West shares a similar passion. Like Poole, she studied at PJ’s College of Cosmetology before being hired at Hot Heads. 

“My parents are Ball State alums, so I’m from Muncie, and I love working here,” West said. “I also love talking to the students. They are always so friendly and appreciative of the work we do.”

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The interior of the Hot Heads Hair Salon Feb. 28 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Rees and Poole’s vision to create Hot Heads adds to the growing representation of women-owned salons in the United States. Meghan Braddy, DN



Rees and Poole’s vision to create Hot Heads adds to the growing representation of women-owned salons in the United States. 

According to an economic snapshot from the Professional Beauty Association, about 60 percent of hair salons in the United States are owned by women.

“The nation’s salon and spa industry provides first jobs and career opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds and has a broader representation of women and minorities than the overall U.S. workforce,” according to the Professional Beauty Association.

West believes women-owned businesses are essential. 

“We weren’t always able to do stuff like that back in the day, because we were women, and now we can,” West said. “Women can own and successfully run businesses.”

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Information on scheduling appointments is found outside Hot Heads Hair Salon on Feb. 28 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Appointments can be made through their official website or by calling or emailing the salon at 765-285-1944 and hotheadshd@gmail.com. Meghan Braddy, DN



Regarding female empowerment at Hot Heads, Rees feels like their business doesn’t lack it, as the employees are never afraid to ask for help or seek each other’s support.

“We are always mentoring and helping each other. If I need help from one of the other girls or they need help from me, we stop what we’re doing and help each other,” Rees said.

Hot Heads is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday by appointment only. Appointments can be made through itsofficial website or by calling or emailing the salon at 765-285-1944 and hotheadshd@gmail.com.

Contact Meghan Braddy with comments via email at meghan.braddy@bsu.edu or on X @meghan_braddy.

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