As part of our series, Hair-apy Sesh, we’re asking the hair industry’s most-trusted mavens to divulge their secrets about what products get lifted from their kit, their idea of the most overrated and underrated hair tricks, plus their favorite high-price-tag and drugstore buys that confidently carry them through their bustling careers.
Below: Bi-coastal editorial and salon hairstylist Ashley Rubell @ashleyrubell
What’s the most stolen product from your kit?
Ha, there are a few! We all know that no-crease clips are impossible to hold onto. Product-wise, I would say Bumble and bumble’s Thickening Dryspun Spray is always the most coveted item. Clients are always so surprised to see the difference instantly – it adds a really beautiful airy, voluminous texture and people love the scent.
What’s the most underrated hair hack or trick?
I think the most underrated trick is hidden braids. Sometimes I work with women who, believe it or not, have too much hair. So to keep it from reading too heavy on camera, I’ll add a little cornrow at the nape to eliminate some of the bulk, and distribute the weight of the hair, creating piecey, loose movement. Hidden braids are also used underneath editorial updos to create a base to pin into. So if you have a tall, editorial style or a hair piece to attach to the head, a hidden braid will provide a solid foundation for your grips to slip into and securely hold the added weight.
What’s the most overrated hair hack or trick?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when girls show up with super dirty, greasy hair and think they’re doing me a favor because “dirty hair is better for styling”. It’s really not, in my opinion. I can always add product to the hair to weigh it down, make it greasy, give it grit – but I can’t always shampoo and condition someone’s hair on set. As a stylist, I want to see the hair air dried in its natural state so that I can see what it wants to do organically and then work with it to achieve the desired outcome.
What’s one expensive product that’s worth every penny? What’s your favorite way to use it on clients?
It’d have to be my hot tools. Specifically, my Dyson Supersonic Dryer and my GHD irons. Consistent use of any hot tool can be so damaging to the hair, so I think it’s worth every penny to invest in tools with the technology to help avoid any serious damage. It’s a long-term investment that supports your hair’s health and will last you a long time. If you were to break it down to cost per use, you’d be blown away at the bang for your buck.
My favorite way to use the Dyson is by using my hands and the direction of the nozzle together to push and scrunch the hair in the direction I want it to move and creating a natural bend, rather than using the brush to force something into place. And with my irons, I like to follow the natural wave pattern. When you allow for imperfect wave patterns what you get is perfect movement. The Dyson speeds up my dry time by a longshot which is pure bliss. And that GHD Flat Iron—I mean, honestly, you can do practically anything with that tool because of its curved plates- S waves, curls, crimps, straight, you name it. It’s an all star iron for sure.
What’s the most underrated drugstore product? What’s your favorite way to use it on clients?
L’oreal Root Cover Up Concealer Spray. This stuff works so well. It’s a great product to use between root touch ups to help stretch your dollar. I like to use it any time I put the hair up, around the hairline and any partings, to fill in any glimpses of the scalp, especially on darker hair. It gives the illusion of fullness when you don’t have the contrast of white scalp showing through.
If you only had time to use one product on a client, what would it be? What’s your favorite way to use it on clients?
If I had to use a single product it would definitely be TIGI Bedhead Queen for a Day (commonly referred to as “pink spray”). It’s a thickening spray that I usually use for natural-looking volume and cool girl texture. It adds a grittiness to the hair that holds really well so I don’t need to add anything else to the equation, like hairspray or texture spray. Even if I want to create a super sleek ‘do, I’ll use this spray to blow dry the hair down nice and tight with my Mason Pearson and I know it’s not going to budge.