Palette Cosmetology Academy puts a fresh spin on education

Palette Cosmetology Academy

By Kelsey Smith

There’s a new place in town to pamper yourself. Last fall, celebrity hairstylist Hans Van Doornik opened Palette Cosmetology Academy in Douglas. Raised in Holland, Van Doornik wanted to come back to the lakeshore to give cosmetology students an educational opportunity unlike any other.

“There were certain things I felt that were lacking in the traditional education system that I’m bringing out,” Van Doornik said. “One of them is the class size — I feel like a lot of places pack so many students in, and they don’t get that personal attention. And that’s what you get when you do an apprenticeship with a stylist, because you’re right there by their side — they’re teaching you how to work your hands and how your body is moving.” 

Palette Cosmetology Academy

After graduating high school, Van Doornik moved to New York City and began an apprenticeship. After a few years, Van Doornik began working on cover shoots with some big names — Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Jane Fonda, just to name a few. He also contributes to television projects, including HBO’s Westworld.

“I got to travel around the world, do fashion weeks and work on different campaigns,” Van Doornik said. “It was kind of a roller coaster — to meet people you grow up seeing in movies. Being a part of it all was fun.”

Van Doornik, now based out of Chicago, chose Douglas for Palette’s location because of its artistic nature, and proximity to both Chicago and Holland. Van Doornik works with students each Monday while continuing to live in Chicago, and a few instructors also teach throughout the rest of the week.

Before enrolling at Palette Cosmetology, every student meets with Van Doornik and tours the school to see if it’s a good fit. Class sizes are maxed out at 10 students each, and there’s also guest artist lecture series where other stylists and artists come in (lately over Zoom) to share their knowledge.

Hans Van Doornik (right) instructing students
Hans Van Doornik (right)
instructing students
Photos: Palette Cosmetology Academy

As for clients, a wide variety of hair services are offered, including haircuts, blowouts, highlights, upstyles, balayage, keratin and conditioning treatments, and more. 

Aside from learning about hair and fashion, students are taught marketing, social media, investing and financing, and how to build their brand and business. All graduates are also welcomed back through the school’s extended education program. Whenever a celebrity stylist or artist comes in, graduates can attend the lecture, free of charge.

“Trends are changing, techniques are changing — everything’s constantly changing,” Van Doornik said. “And students are always going to have to be learning and developing their craft. I want them to know that when they leave here, it’s not over for them. I want them to constantly be growing — we really want to set them up for success and to be able to hit the ground running.”

Palette Cosmetology Academy
410 Center St., Douglas