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December 3, 2012

‘Updo’ hair queen marks 50 years in business

NORMAN — She has 50 years invested in her business, and LaDonna Heavner isn’t planning to quit until she hits the 60 mark — 60 years as a hair stylist in Norman.

“Nuts.” “Crazy.” “Never shuts up.” Those are terms she uses to describe herself in her self-deprecating humor, but none makes her smile more than knowing people refer to her as the “updo queen.”

“I love doing formal hairdos … proms, weddings, pageants. I love them all,” she said, although the day-to-day work is more likely to include colors, cuts, perms, blow dries, weaves and roller sets.

“I have a few customers I have done since Day One and now I am doing their grandchildren,” Heavner said.

Many of those former customers, current customers and friends are expected to attend the daylong party Thursday at Vin’s Salon on McGee Drive, just off Lindsey Street, in honor of her 50 years.

She is emphatic about one thing: “Make it clear that I am not retiring,” she said.

Keeping up with trends in hair styles and hair products has ensured she stays busy at Vin’s Salon. In those 50 years, Heavner has gone from working on commission to owning her own shop and finally settling in at booth rental many years ago.

“I have always loved doing hair,” she said, recalling the days at Norman High when she would backcomb girls’ hair in the restroom and when she did hair styling for musicals and plays.

“I wanted to go to beauty school right out of high school, and I promised my daddy that I would go to OU someday. I’m sorry, daddy,” Heavner said, having never fulfilled that promise.

While she breezed through beauty school and went right to work, Heavner said she really learned the trade from “the stylist in the next chair, and I have learned from some of the best,” mentioning the name of well-known Normanites in the hair business: Bob Mansfield, Clark Collier, Wayne Demastus and Betty West.

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