ON THE CLOCK: Local hairdresser enjoys helping others feel good about themselves

Dorothy Kuntz cuts, curls and colors the hair of clients at her salon booth, Hair For All, in Dickinson. While the techniques are constant, it's the clients that keep her in the business.

3036593+1218 DOROTHY KUNTZ 4.JPG
Dorothy Kuntz, of Hair for All, styles Josie Dyer's hair on Dec. 9. (Linda Sailer / The Dickinson Press)

Dorothy Kuntz cuts, curls and colors the hair of clients at her salon booth, Hair For All, in Dickinson. While the techniques are constant, it's the clients that keep her in the business.

"It's the feeling of accomplishment," she said. "You're doing the same thing every day, but you're meeting different people. I know a little bit about a lot of things. You grow up with these people-you know their families, they know my family. We may not be social friends, but we know about each others' lives. That's what I like the most about it."

Josie Dyer has been a long-time client of Hair For All.

"We don't know exactly, but we figure it's been 36 or 37 years-since the beginning," Dyer said. "I had a chance to go to her wedding-she's just like my daughter, a part of my family."

What brings her back?


"Dorothy has magic fingers-she's good with my hair and has always done a good job," she said.

Kuntz is a native of Orrin, N.D., and graduated from Bottineau High School. She is married to Alvin Kuntz. Their son, Derrick, and family live in Summerset, S.D., and daughter, Kayla, and family live in Fargo. She enrolled in R-D Hairstyling College in Bismarck in 1977 and went to work a year later. She was inspired to pursue cosmetology by her cousin.

"I had a cousin who was a hairdresser, and every time I saw my aunt, she always looked so nice because her daughter fixed her hair. I just liked the idea of making people look nice," Kuntz said.

To pursue a career in cosmetology, Kuntz said a young man or woman must be creative and enjoy people.
"I was very shy, but when I get to my place of work, I try to make you feel comfortable," she said. "You have to be able to relate to people and you have to listen."

The basic hair techniques can be taught in college.

"Hair cuts are all based off the same techniques-you still have your 45-degree angles and 90 degree angles-the techniques are still the foundation," she said.

After that, hairdressers have continuing education opportunities or study the newest techniques on the Internet and through magazines.

"We used to do way more roller sets than we do now, and lots of backcombing," Kuntz said. "Nowadays, we do very little. We also did lots of perms and frostings with caps. You change with the styles."


When it comes to hair coloring and highlighting, it's anything and everything-from natural to pink.

"I've had little girls who want a pink strip in their hair-it's whatever makes them feel good and what makes them feel individual," she said.


Working as a hairdressers comes with physical challenges.

"It's very hard on the body-your shoulders are in the air all the time-there's a lot of stress in the back through the shoulders," she said. "People think it's an easy job, but stand with your arms up all day. My chiropractor tells me this is a very hard job."

Kuntz also referenced damage to her hands.

"If you're messing with chemicals, you have gloves on-that isn't the issue," she said. "But your fingers get tired."

She also makes sure she's standing on both feet.


"If you don't stand straight, that causes problems," she said. "We do get breaks, five minutes here, five minutes there."

Kuntz rents her booth along with six other hairdressers at 257 First Street East - Suite 1.

"We're totally independent businesses-we make our own appointments and have our own phone numbers," she said. This is my business. Nobody tells me what to do."

Kuntz has worked in the business for more than 38 years, and has no intention of doing anything else until she retires.

"I may do fewer hours and I've already done that compared to what I used to do," she said. "Women who have retired were all in their 60s. You stay as long as you can stand and as long as your hands work."

Kuntz stays active in the community through her work for the American Cancer Society and for WIGS & More, Inc.

Giving back

She is a member of a Relay for Life team-the Professionals-who raise funds for the Cancer Society by selling concessions at the Bandshell concert series.

She also is the WIGS consultant.The program provides one free wig to anyone who has a medical reason-it's not limited to cancer.

As a professional outlet, Kuntz can order high-end wigs. Clients find her mostly by word of mouth or from referrals of cancer centers.

"You come to visit with me, and I set aside an hour to look through the books," Kuntz said. "Usually after an hour, most people can find a wig. I call in the order while they are here."

She also will shave their hair if it's falling out.

"It's a very big deal when you starting losing your hair," she said. "I suggest you come in before you start the first treatment because you're feeling better. When the wig comes in, I fit it, trim it, and give a lesson on taking care of it."

If a wig is worn most of the time, it will take the client through the year, but it starts showing wear in six months, she said.

"It's very rewarding," she said. "I was a little skeptical at first, but then realized how it made them feel. I have gotten more hugs from people who are so appreciative they have hair when they leave."

Over the years, some cancer patients have evolved into not needing a wig to carry them over chemotherapy, Kuntz said.

"There's a lot of people getting braver and not doing wigs any more-they are facing the reality of this is what it is, and are wearing caps," she said.

WIGS & More Inc. treasurer Kathy Fisher became involved with the program after her sister was a recipient of a wig.
"They were needing people to help fundraise," she said. "Our biggest fundraiser is a golf scramble in August. Last year, we had 48 teams-all women. We're actually doing really well and have even expanded our program to help people with medical benefits, other than cancer."

Fisher appreciates the dedication of Kuntz, who started in 2010 to replace founder Deb Frank.

"Basically, Dorothy takes care of the clients, orders the wigs, does hair removal if needed-she does a wonderful job," Fisher said.

For more information about the WIGS program, call 701-590-2324.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
What To Read Next
A resolution looking to allow the legislature to consider work requirements on the newly expanded Medicaid program is one step closer to the 2024 ballot.
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.