A new hair salon has opened that offers cuts, art, and a learning experience.

“When I moved to Bloomington I had an idea that I wanted to open a salon,” says owner Bridgett Vohland. She soon realized that there were few such places in Bloomington that offered “really advanced education programs within their salons.” To bring Bloomington some of her experience gained from 15 years of styling in Cincinnati and Chicago, and to offer resources for local stylists who want to further their education, she opened Royale Hair Parlor in July in the Wicks Building on the north side of the downtown Square.

The salon offers an intimate learning environment for stylists. Vohland trains an apprentice until he or she is fully prepared to take on clients, which can take more than six months. This process focuses on specific techniques during weekly classes that Vohland has opened to a few stylists from other Bloomington salons.

Royale Hair has three full-time stylists: Vohland; Emily Hewitt, who recently completed her apprenticeship; and Maria Cabrera, who has ten years of experience. Three chairs in the salon are still empty, but Vohland feels “really passionate about filling the chairs only with people who have had a lot of education.”

Royale Hair caters to clients with sensitivities to synthetic ingredients and those who prefer all-natural options by offering hair products that are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and synthetic fragrances. According to Vohland, “Eighty percent of the products are vegan, and about fifty percent of the products are gluten-free.”

The space, formerly occupied by Gallery North, “is absolutely perfect for a salon,” says Vohland. “It feels like a creative environment.” Art from local artists, such as designer Lucia Bennett of Moda Industria, hangs on the walls. Kurt Larsen’s paintings will be shown until January 15. And in February the salon will be an auxiliary gallery during Bloomington’s Gallery Walk. Vohland intends not only to exhibit artwork “but also have some sort of related, creative hair event showcasing creative works we’ve done,” which may include anything from intricate updos to the work of an apprentice.