Mas­ter Hairstylist And Salon Owner Keeps Clients Beau­ti­fied


From see­ing the days of the mul­let and the “Rachel” hair­cut to the more re­cent hair trends of the om­bre and the bal­ayage hair­styles Tonya Ste­wart has been privy to a myr­iad of hair­styles and trends with over 30 years in the in­dus­try. Cur­rently in her own es­tab­lish­ment for the past five years, which is con­ve­niently lo­cated at her home east of Oak­dale, the owner and stylist of The Stu­dio by Tonya has had a suc­cess­ful run as a beau­ti­cian and salon owner.

“I de­cided to come home and cre­ate the stu­dio by Tonya and turn my pool house into a beauty cave,” stated Ste­wart. “This (struc­ture) re­minded me of stu­dio since it is small and in­ti­mate. It is a place where peo­ple can come and re­lax from their stress­ful lives. We talk about any­thing and ev­ery­thing and it doesn’t go any­where.”

As a young­ster Ste­wart would give her Bar­bies hair­cuts and bribe her brother to al­low her to cut his hair for a hand­ful of milk duds. Although the hair on the dolls did not grow back from th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences she con­cluded that she wanted to be a hairstylist.

“I wanted to make peo­ple feel pretty,” ex­pressed Ste­wart. “I wanted to be a hair stylist on a cruise ship. So I de­cided to go to Cos­me­tol­ogy school at age 15 and by the time I was 17years of age I was work­ing in a salon be­fore I even graduated high school.”

Start­ing her ca­reer at Cal­i­for­nia Styling which was like a Su­per Cuts, Ste­wart was able to prac­tice her stylist skills and then she be­gan to per­fect those skills at Cre­ations in Oak­dale for sev­eral years. She learned how to con­sult, how to treat cus­tomers, giv­ing good cus­tomer ser­vice, and how to do su­perb hair.

“We did a lot of perms back in the day,” Ste­wart said with a smile. “At one time I was con­sid­ered the Per­mi­na­tor.”

Cre­ations later opened an­other lo­ca­tion in Modesto where Ste­wart worked for 16 years. Then she moved into a lit­tle salon and de­cided that it was time to open her own es­tab­lish­ment.

“I just had a dream and de­cided to fol­low it,” added Ste­wart. “And next thing you know I was build­ing a 3000 square-foot salon and day spa called Sanc­tu­ary Salon and Day Spa in Modesto.

That was in Septem­ber, 2006.

There were 30 peo­ple that she was re­spon­si­ble for along with tak­ing on the du­ties of ed­u­ca­tional di­rec­tor, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, hairstylist, mother, and many other hats. The ex­pe­ri­ence was en­light­en­ing for Ste­wart; how­ever, af­ter six years she de­ter­mined it was time to open her own salon with­out any other staff.

“I love that it (salon at her home) is peace­ful,” stated Ste­wart. “I get to en­joy my clients one on one and I have no dis­trac­tions.”

Ste­wart has clients that come from all over the sur­round­ing area and even has one client that makes her way all the way from Mon­terey to re­ceive that qual­ity ser­vice, qual­ity prod­ucts and a com­fort­able stress-free in­ti­mate en­vi­ron­ment to lit­er­ally let your hair down.

With an as­sort­ment of prod­ucts for sale and a va­ri­ety of ser­vices like cuts, color, perms, ex­ten­sions, even wax­ing and keep­ing up with cur­rent hair trends, Ste­wart prides her­self in main­tain­ing the in­tegrity of her clients’ hair and makes all ef­forts to keep it look­ing healthy.

“The in­dus­try has cre­ated a lot of prod­ucts to help keep your hair health­ier so prod­ucts have got­ten bet­ter,” added Ste­wart. “There are still com­pa­nies that have stuck around for a long time like Red­ken, Joico, Ma­trix, and Lanza that are still hold­ing strong.

“I do hair the way that I would want my hair to look like when I walked out. So I con­tinue to ed­u­cate my­self so I can pro­vide the best ser­vice and the best qual­ity of ser­vice. I aim to please.”


The Stu­dio by Tonya has been op­er­at­ing suc­cess­fully with owner and hairstylist Tonya Ste­wart for the past five years and is based out of her home.

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