New Images’ Loya provides emotional connection, great haircut |

New Images’ Loya provides emotional connection, great haircut

Ellen Fike
For the Craig Press
Kelsey Loya won Best Cosmetologist in this year's Best of Highways 13 & 40.
Joshua Carney / Craig Press

Kelsey Loya grew up watching her mom work in her hair salon, but she didn’t necessarily plan on becoming a cosmetologist herself.

Since her mother was a stylist, Loya would spend many an afternoon in her childhood playing around in the salon, watching her mom turn people into the best versions of themselves while they were in her chair.

Loya could see that her mother made people feel good — not only by giving them the perfect cut and color, but also by acting as a therapist of sorts for anyone who came through the door.

“I always liked doing my hair and my friends’ hair growing up, but I didn’t really think it was going to be my career path,” she said. “Initially, I wanted to be a physical therapist.”

But, she quickly realized that while she wanted to work with people, she wanted to work somewhere clients would be happy to see her, not dreading every moment they were around her. While physical therapy would allow her to help people, it wasn’t quite what she was looking for.

So, back to the hair salon she went. While it wasn’t her original plan, Loya realized this was probably her destiny. She was doing something she enjoyed and allowed for the lifestyle she wanted.

Loya has been working professionally as a stylist for 15 years, the entire time at New Images Hair Salon, which happened to be the same one her mother owned. She described her job as a coffee date with her girlfriends, but just on a daily basis.

“Instead of seeing each other once a month and getting together, I get to see my group of friends every day,” she said. “We come together and solve life’s problems for a little while.”

Loya has found that in the 15 years she has been working as a cosmetologist, people are looking more for an emotional connection than having their gray hairs covered up.

Finding out how much her clients would come to mean to her was the most important thing she’s learned while continuing her craft.

“I’m glad they like what I do, but for me, I want each person to sit down and have that time be whatever it needs to be for that day,” Loya said. “More often than not, I find that maybe they just needed a word of encouragement or maybe they just needed someone to listen to what they’ve been going through.”

It is this essential service she provides that helped Loya win this year’s Best of Highways 13 & 40 Best Cosmetologist award, one she was honored to receive.

“How can you not get excited and feel good about that?” she said.

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