The right clip

Barbering school opens in Lakemont

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Keystone Barber School owner/instructor Ali Steele (left) watches student Grace DiDomenico of Altoona give Orren Gates, 6, of Hollidaysburg at haircut at the Lakemont school.

LAKEMONT — A new school is looking to make the cut.

Ali Steele recently opened Keystone Barber School LLC at 110 S. Logan Blvd. in Lakemont.

“I have been in the industry for

10 years and felt like this was a good thing for the community to give other opportunities for students. There weren’t any other barber schools in the area since Martin’s Barber School closed,” Steele said.

Steele graduated from Huntingdon Area High School in 2010 and went to Empire Beauty School in State College and received her cosmetology license in 2011. After working at Smart Style in Huntingdon and the Mall Barber Shop in Altoona, she went to Martin’s Barber School in Huntingdon, obtained her barber’s teaching license and worked for Joe Martin as an instructor.

“He was definitely a mentor for me. He taught me how to be a better teacher and person. He showed me a lot of different techniques,” Steele said.

Martin, who had operated his barber school since 2014, was pleased to see Steele open in Lakemont.

“I think it is exciting. When we decided to close, I knew there would be a need for one. She had called me and asked me what I thought about her opening a school. I thought it was a great idea,” Martin said.

Keystone currently has four full-time students.

“I can have 20 at a time according to my license. If you are a full-time student, it takes nine months; if part time, it takes 18 months. You need 1,250 hours before you can take your test to get a barber’s license,” Steele said.

People can enroll at any time during the year, there is no specific start date.

For anyone who doesn’t have a cosmetology license, the cost is $12,500. For those with a cosmetology license the cost is $8,500.

Keystone’s focus is on men’s services.

“Here we focus just on barbering. We focus on men’s haircuts, face shaving. This is for men’s services, but we also do women’s haircuts. We don’t do waxing, hair coloring and perms,” Steele said.

Grace DiDomenico, a 2020 graduate of Altoona Area High School, is one of Keystone’s first students.

“I took cosmetology at (Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center). I really like doing guy’s hair. … I wanted to go to school to learn more details about it. I really like it, it is a very good environment. I think it is good to go to barber school, you learn so much more, cosmetology is more about girls and not about guys,” DiDomenico said.

Keystone offers haircuts for the general public.

Haircuts start at $7. The school is open for walk-ins from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at



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