Tippi Shorter has a resume a mile long of hairstyles she’s done for countless celebs and publications. Her most recent and notable work would include Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga and publications such as Elle, Essence, Vanity Fair, and InStyle. As Aveda’s Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair, I had the opportunity to witness her work alongside NAHA winner and Aveda’s North American Style Director, Allen Ruiz at this year’s Aveda Congress. Allen is a longtime inspirational educator with Aveda, leading their global marketing campaigns and conceptualizing their trend forecasts yearly; all whilst running a salon in Austin, Texas (Jackson Ruiz SalonSpa), and working shoots and fashion weeks worldwide. The thing that struck me about Allen and Tippi was their witty banter on stage while they casually created editorial masterpieces, particularly the airy platinum curls that 3 models wore dressed as futuristic angels on the catwalk. So what happens when I get these two on the phone? A lot of chats about Aveda, travel, balance, and [a lack of] sleep! Keep reading to discover the inside world of two hair pros.
ALLEN: It’s really funny before Congress we were talking almost every single day and now that it’s over I’ve been sending you notes like ‘I miss you!’
TIPPI: I know! That was so sweet! But things have been really crazy so this will be our catch-up, hey Allen!
ALLEN: Hey honey!
TIPPI: So yeah, Mr. Ruiz…so what was your favorite aspect of the show (Congress)?
ALLEN: I think as a whole for me, I love the whole act of putting everything together and seeing it built, so it’s great to see all these international teams come together in one space, and as you’re backstage working on your own stuff, it’s bits and pieces. You see a dress, you see a model, you see a hair color and you’re like ‘this is so bizarre’ but then as it starts progressing and coming together, you start seeing it come to life and I can only imagine the outcome onstage (unfortunately we’re busy working so we don’t really get to see them) but that’s my favorite part is just seeing everything. With fashion week, when we do fashion shows, I don’t even like fashion shows to be honest, I love doing the hair backstage to see the clothes backstage, to see the celebrities backstage, you get to see everything before it all happens and then by the time you get to the show, it’s a bit anticlimactic, to be honest! I’m kind of a behind the scenes guy, so I love seeing it all be built. What about you Tip?
TIPPI: Yeah I totally agree, cause you walk in the very first day and hang your wardrobe, and then you come in and see these hairpieces, sculptures, dresses and just the models kind of sitting around and you don’t really know what it’s building up to, and like you said, we’re working so we don’t really get a chance to see the show, which I’m so sad about! I wish there was a monitor! But I will say if there was a monitor backstage we probably wouldn’t get any work done, cause we’d be too busy watching the show!
ALLEN: This is true.
TIPPI: But one thing I’m gonna add to that, I think there’s so many international teams and what I’ve really enjoyed since Day 1, and this is now my third congress, is that even though everyone’s there and doing their own thing, when people have down time, they go and talk, they go and assist, they go help, they lend support, they’re just like there as a sounding board if someone has ideas they need to throw off their chest. So I really like that even though we’re like in our own individual spaces, it’s not small and individual, it’s still very communal in that way.
ALLEN: Yeah, and the other thing is that congress in itself is such an epic event. There’s two days of hairdressing and one day of workshops and then there’s an evening performance. So there’s so much and so many things for everybody and for me, I just kept real busy. With our presentation as one of the first ones, and then going from that to helping out with the evening performance, and then going to help out the next day with Bruno and their workshop the next day, you’re just meeting and seeing so many people and yet you still don’t even get to catch up with every single buddy that’s there. People are like, oh yeah I was there and I didn’t even see you, there’s so many people! It’s crazy!
TIPPI: Yeah the hotel lobby around the bar is fun though! How do you reclaim your spirit at Congress?
ALLEN: We started pulling all these different ideas together and I always love this idea that we were cocooning. So basically we wanted our segment to be about meditation and this battle between this crazy hectic work schedule and trying to find that solace inside for yourself.
TIPPI: Yes and I think our segment took a couple of turns because I was really adamant about having actual physical cocoons onstage! We really wanted an element that conveyed our message; and then after a lot of thought, decided not be so literal with it. It kind of went from a physical cocooning to a mental cocooning: daydreams and clouds, which is kind of the inspiration you pulled for the hair. It really just kind of looked like this really dreamy head full of clouds, which was beautiful, and I totally gravitated towards it. We shared an iPhone photo album for like three months, going back and forth submitting photos, but once that photo got put on, we were kind of like, that’s it. I don’t think there were any other hair questions after that.
ALLEN: Then we were in fashion week, we both had shows going on and so we picked out a little time to practice what we were gonna do at Congress, but considering we both live in different cities and then travel all over, it was like where are we going to get time to do something together? So it all happened at September fashion week between shows.
TIPPI: Yes! Exactly!
ALLEN: Then we were like, got it, nailed it!
TIPPI: First try! It was great. We used the new Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo. I work on sets and I’m a session stylist the majority of my time when I’m not an educator or a platform artist. I work on a lot of two, three, four, five day old hair. And I have to come to love the dry shampoo to not only refresh the hair, and to get it in perfect working shape, but I love it for neutralizing the scalp. Sometimes someone will say, ‘oh my scalp is really itchy,’ or, ‘I don’t always have time to shampoo it,’ So I’ll do a light dusting on the scalp and do a quick little massage on the scalp to support the client’s hair while brushing it through.
ALLEN: Yes. Because I’m an educator, I’m a session-worker, I’m a hairstylist behind the chair, I’m a salon owner, the dry shampoo is just something I’ve been waiting for forever, so it’s a favorite already. I can pretty much sell one to every single guest just based on their needs. Most women don’t want to wash their hair every single day, and I get it, especially if you’re doing a lot of styling to it. If you’ve got fine, thin hair, you can put it in the fringe area, and it gives you an extra day of added styling. It does what it says, it absorbs oil, and it ultimately makes it look like you just washed your hair. I’m a huge fan. Especially for men, which is really odd but, this gentleman client I have has super fine hair, and he’s always finding himself having to re-shampoo his hair, and I told him to try this dry shampoo and he said he’d never seen or heard anything about dry shampoo, which is weird because most women have. It was really cool to be able to introduce it to him.
ALLEN: Let’s talk about how we met. Do you want to take that on? Because I love that story. We met during fashion week and we were doing shows and so we were put together on a team. A simple ‘Hello’ has led to this friendship that we have. The next thing I know someone’s asking me, ‘who do you think we should use for Congress,’ and I say, ‘I know this great girl!’
TIPPI: And I’m gonna say you were probably the one that said hello because I am super shy and in my little bubble sometimes, particularly working in scenarios like that. When you called me and asked if I would be interested in doing Congress with you six years ago it really changed the trajectory of my life, because as part of that, I was a full-time stylist and I sold my salon. It really changed the direction for me. I never thought I’d be an educator in the professional hair care world because what I had been doing for ten years until then was really consumer-based. All my education was kind of surface level. So that simple hello leading to that phone call, caused this! It made me step up what I was doing a thousand percent.
ALLEN: Tippi, what are you coming from? Because you’ve been busy!
TIPPI: I’ve been crazy! I’ve been on an airplane six times in the last eight days.
ALLEN: Oh my god!
TIPPI: Yeah, but after Congress I went to Chicago for eight days, and I did Alicia Keys hair for Empire, so that was cool. She plays a character called Sky Summers and she is going to be on two episodes. I used to be a hairstylist on The View, but that was one hour for a live show. This was fourteen hours of straight shooting. I was just like, ‘I don’t know how anyone does this! My feet are just too old to stand on concrete for fourteen hours. Who does this?!’ Apparently a lot of people do because there’s tons of TV shows on the air and I commend those people because I don’t have the bone for that. So it was secret, I couldn’t talk about it, but she just posted a picture of it on social media last night introducing her character, AND yesterday I shot a cover of Sports Illustrated with one of my superheroes!
ALLEN: I know who it is!
TIPPI: SO! Enough about me, man, Allen! Mr. Oh, I yeah I have a salon, and by the way I just opened up a new one! How is that?
ALLEN: Oh my god! SO we did Congress and right in the midst of doing Congress I had just opened up the salon, so between finishing getting ready for that and the salon opening was a bit crazy. But we’ve been open five weeks now and it’s killer, just beautiful. I’ve got a great team and some great clients and new clients are coming into the business and it’s just been awesome. I’m planning my next photo shoot next week in New York. I’ll be shooting and do the collection, it’s been a little nutty. But the crazy part is once I get the collection done I’ll be getting knee surgery on my other knee.
TIPPI: What’s happening with your knee? Is it because you run?
ALLEN: Well, yeah but it’s also because I run, snowboard, ski, struggling to catch up everyday of my life!
TIPPI: Because you’re playing superman, that’s why!
ALLEN: So I’ve got a window of time, then off to India in January to do a campaign. So it’s a little crazy.
TIPPI: I know, which is so funny because I’m talking to a lot of my friends and they’re like, ‘oh this is downtime, let’s get together an do holiday stuff’ and I’m like ‘downtime?! What are you talking about! I just got home this morning and I leave Saturday!’ Downtime! What does that even mean…
ALLEN: Are you getting together with your family for the holidays though?
TIPPI: Yeah I will be home for the holiday, but I have all this stuff going on, we’re doing a pop-up shop in New York for the potential salons. I have three of my great girlfriends working with me and we’re gonna kick out some awesome textured hair for an entire day on Sunday! I’m so excited for you and your salon Allen! It’s very inspiring, and I can’t wait to see the new space. You need to periscope it more!!
ALLEN: I was gonna do that! I was gonna periscope a tour, you’re so good at that! But you know, every time I go to do it, it’s the day I look like the worst. I’ve just worked out and I’m like oh this is a good idea, and nope, this is NOT a good idea!
TIPPI: Right! Well don’t be the featurette of the periscope, feature someone else for the day!
ALLEN: You’re right. I need to do that.
TIPPI: I love your videos! I’ve been checking out your how-to videos that you’ve been doing on Instagram. I think those are awesome and super cool!
ALLEN: With the team, it’s really cool. I’m definitely not the person on it, but I’ve done enough of those how-to’s that I know how to coach them and train them to do it, so it’s been really fun.
TIPPI: That’s another thing that I do love about you Allen, is how much you support your team in every aspect. It’s just so amazing and how you highlight them. You’ve got your style! You’re great!
ALLEN: Hey girl, listen! I want to ask you this question because I think it’s funny and I want to know this, do you have a favorite person to follow on social media?
TIPPI: Ummm yeah! Actually, I have several for many reasons. Allen, you have introduced me to @thefatjewish, who I find hilarious and @shehashadit, which is even more hilarious. Those are my two favs for comic relief. For inspiration, I follow you, I follow Antoinette, I follow Orlando Pita, I follow Mane Addicts, and Laurent Philippon, I can’t say I have one favorite. I love just finding fun and interesting ways to keep that creative inspiration going. And then of course I follow celebrities! I love seeing who wore what, who had what hair, what lipstick is new! Who do you follow?
ALLEN: Number one for comedy, @americanfailure, she’s hilarious! She’s so funny. And my favorite spiritual guru guide is Jordan Bach. He’s amazing, he always has the right words every time I need something, he has the right thing on there for me. And then hair, one of my very favorite hair crushes that doesn’t even know I exist is @felixfischerhair. He’s such an amazing, creative. He does beautiful hair, it’s crazy bonkers hair, but it’s still beautiful. You know those people you always look forward to seeing their posts?
TIPPI: Yes! I gather morning mantras from a lot of people on instagram, everyone’s so philosophical, and I’m like, I’ll take it!
ALLEN: You recently posted something and I was like, go girl! It was, ‘Today’s forecast, 100% chance of winning!’
TIPPI: That’s so funny because I’ve seen that reposted so many times!
ALLEN: Thank you so much for chatting!
TIPPI: Absolutely, thank you!