How Two Salon Owners are Creating a Hair Oasis in Denver

RiNo based salon owners, Krista Garcia and Grace Penhale, believe that healthy hair is a combination of having a great routine and taking care of every area of your health. While vacationing in Spain, Penhale dreamt of a place where women could go and feel welcome from the minute they walk in, to when they leave. Holistic Salon was based on the idea that one needs to holistically view themselves from the inside out and feel good about who they are. Garcia and Penhale have recently celebrated their one-year anniversary since Holistic Salon has opened, and have many plans for the future of their salon.

“We have so many goals but ultimately we want to provide a comfortable work environment where we and the team are inspired to create. And the next big goal we want to make is a positive impact in our community and eventually globally. We’ve got a lot up our sleeves and we are hoping that after we are settled in this next year we can start working towards this calling. We love hair so much, but the heartbeat of our business is to help others and leave a legacy behind,” said Penhale.

Garcia and Penhale recently sat down with 303 Magazine in their bohemian-themed salon and clued us in with their best tips for maintaining and achieving healthy hair.

303 Magazine: What did the process look like in opening up your own shop?

Holistic Salon:  It wasn’t easy that is for sure. It’s a lot of work. We don’t know how someone can do this solo as a commission salon owner, there is so much to it all. It’s a lot of walking in faith hoping that all will turn out well. It was a huge risk for us to take financially, figuring out the logistics and learning how to manage our team in a healthy way, which is very opposite of how we’ve ever seen any salon managed in this industry. We’ve learned that nothing happens in a timely manner like you would think, everything takes way longer than you’d imagine with permits and the build-out or ordering a neon sign for heaven’s sake. There is a lot with the government and taxes we had no idea about what we’ve been learning along the way. That’s been the hardest part going into business is that we are doing things that are up to code, by law, the costs and taxes. Basically we are learning all the stuff no one really talks about when you open a business week by week.

303: How has the salon impacted your customers so far? 

HS: We get to personally be in people’s lives, and we see them every couple months and there’s something about when you touch someone’s hair they just spill all their secrets. We get to do weddings too, and we really get to be in huge parts of their lives and help them to get ready for certain events and some of them turned into friends.

303: How do you practice a holistic outlook on life inside your salon and extend that on to the other stylists?

HS: You can’t really serve people in the way that we’re wanting to serve if you don’t have a solid team that’s healthy and a healthy work environment. We just promote health to everybody and all of us pretty much have counselors or go to the gym and encourage each other to eat [healthily].

303: How is this outlook extended to clients?

HS: We’ve had a couple of events but we are going to be doing more. We had an event where we extended it along the lines of we just don’t want to do your hair to look pretty. We want you to come here and let us teach you to do your hair so that you can look how you [do when you] leave here every day. It’s good to see them feel good and feel confident in what they are doing.

303: Can you give us five ways to maintain and achieve healthy hair?


1. Get haircuts more often.
Cutting your hair — no matter its length — is the key to healthy, voluminous hair. An occasional trim gets rid of dead ends and boosts hair growth, because when the ends of your hair are split, they just keep splitting higher and higher up the hair shaft, in turn not allowing your hair to grow. We recommend opting for a trim every six to eight weeks.

2. Don’t over-wash your hair.
It is a known fact that washing your hair too frequently can be detrimental to hair health. Over-washing can lead to dry hair and even hair thinning towards the ends of your hair, especially in Colorado. Dry shampoo and dry conditioner are a girl’s best friend on the days you decide to skip a wash. We love the Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair and Kevin Murphy Young Again Dry Conditioner.

3. Nourish Your Hair.
There is a reason your stylist is recommending salon products to you. Because the products we use are formulated differently than anything you’ll find in a drugstore. Even if the product you find in a drugstore is “on” salon grade, just trust us, it’s different. In dry environments like Colorado, our hair survives on hydrating shampoos and conditions, oils, Olaplex treatments and for our frizzy-haired clients, Keratin Treatments are magic. We are using Kevin Murphy’s Hydrate Me Wash and Rinse, Kevin Murphy Young Again Oil and anything from Olaplex.

4. Healthy Diet
Ultimately, the core of all self-care lies within. A healthy diet and vitamins truly make a difference. We are currently loving collagen peptides and MTC oil in our diet for our insides which determine how our hair is going to feel and grow from our head.

5. Don’t overuse heat on your hair.
Using hot tools on your hair too much will burn and damage your hair over time. We suggest embracing your natural hair and avoid heat when possible. Skipping heat will help you avoid split ends and brittle hair, again in dry environments and for blondes, breakage will happen. Use a heat protectant spray/foam (Kevin Murphy Heated Defense) to help avoid further hair damage and burning if you have to blow dry and use a hot tool.

303: We love viewing the beautiful grunge waves featured on your Instagram page. Any tips you have to attain those?

HS: Basically, you should attend one of our lived-in waves class. It’s a lot of fun. We have snacks and drinks and girlfriends come out to learn how to style their hair, but if you can’t make it out, here is a step-by-step on how to achieve this look.

The most important tip to remember about this technique is to leave the ends out of the barrel.

1. Clip up the top section of your hair, so it’s out of your face. Start curling your hair in 1 1/2 to 2-inch sections. This is key and will have your curl pattern look more natural.

2. Start with your first two sections around the hairline by curling away from your face using a 1 1/4-inch barrel, as it’s the most versatile size. We used the Hot Tools Curling Iron in the salon. If you prefer using a flat iron, that will work too.

3. Next, alternate the direction of the curl. You will alternate your curl pattern away and toward your face all the way around your head. Just remember Step 2. First two sections around the hair are always away from the face.

4. Once your curls have cooled down, grab your favorite texturizing spray — we love the Kevin Murphy Bedroom Hair [because] it works wonders and smells amazing —and spray it all over. Lift up each section and get the underside and roots as these spots always get forgotten about. Then, break up the curls with your fingers or run a wide-tooth comb through your hair.

5. To keep the ends a little smoother, we use Kevin Murphy Young Again Oil on the ends of your hair and for a more piece-y texture, you could add the Kevin Murphy Hair Resort (it smells like summer in a bottle) And tah-dah! Your look is complete. Remember that practice makes perfect.

All photography by Adrienne Thomas.

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