BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Authrine Singleton is more than just a hairstylist. She’s an educator.
“I love to help people regardless of what the situation is, that is my passion. That’s what I was born to do,” Singleton said.
Ever since high school, Singleton has had a passion for doing hair. After getting her cosmetology license, her master’s degree in social work, and working in child welfare services, Singleton learned she could actually fuse the fields.
“I saw a lot of children that were placed in homes with caregivers who cared for them you know mentally, physically, and all that, but didn’t know how to take care of their hair,” she said.
So 11 years ago, Singleton opened Master’s Touch Hair Salon in Bloomington. She offers standard hair services, as well as opportunities to educate and empower. She hosts group classes and one-on-one sessions for fostering and adoptive families about the basics and cultural intricacies of textured, Black hair.
Sarah Duvendack and her daughter Rakia Duvendack have been coming to see Singleton for about 10 years.
“I did some stuff with the girls’ hair, but if I wanted something more intricate, you know, cornrow braids or at the time, beading and stuff that I didn’t know how, I’d learn along the way,” said Sarah.
Sarah is the mother of three adopted children, including her youngest, Rakia. Their relationship with Singleton has been years in the making, starting when Sarah was a foster parent. 12-year-old Rakia said she appreciates the extra help.
“I like it, but–and it makes me happy when I see my hair,” Rakia said.
“It does get easier,” said Sarah. “You know and they deserve–the kids deserve for their hair to be taken care of the right way.”
Singleton said the boost in confidence she sees is the most rewarding part.
“There are little changes. A boost in their self-esteem. I mean, I can tell the difference between the first visit and maybe the third visit. The kids are more friendly. They’re more open. They’re more lively,” she said.
Singleton partners with local social service agencies to promote her courses. While she never saw herself ultimately going into an entrepreneurial role, Singleton has seen the impact her services have had with families.
“There’s a learning curve, but we’ve come a long way and I want them to appreciate their hair and feel confident and it doesn’t have to look like my hair,” said Sarah.
While the learning process takes time, Singleton hopes the education and mentorship she offers has a lasting effect.
“I want young ladies to feel good about themselves. I don’t want them to have to be an adult to know that they are beautiful, that they can be confident,” Singleton said.
Master’s Touch Hair Salon is located at 705 N. East St. in Bloomington.