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Mane Master Adir Abergel On His Biggest Inspirations and Mentors

Adir Abergel is both a delight to be around as much as he is a talented hair stylist. His passion was obvious as we talked to him about his work. His talent can be seen in the diversity of his hair styles, manipulating texture and movement to create beautifully feminine masterpieces. Adir has worked on countless celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Alexa Chung, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Bosworth, and Anne Hathaway (to name a few) and has been featured in publications such as W Magazine, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. We were fortunate enough to chat with Adir about his journey through the industry and pick his brain about his hair philosophy. Take a look at what he had to say below.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I started my passion for hair at the age of 16 after my dreams of being a dancer in NYC ended with a bad injury.  I knew hair was a passion of mine because all of my moms friend’s would ask me to do their color and trim at home.  This started  when I was 9 years old; they were bold women for letting me play with their hair.

The story continued when I ended up moving to LA and met hair guru Arthur John. Arthur John was one of the most important hairdressers in Los Angeles at the time.  He did everyone from Tina Turner to Julie Christie.  I assisted him for 5 years, 12 hours a day, and loved every single moment!  He taught me everything!  Before me, Sally Hershberger, Jonathan Antin, and a bunch of really great hairdressers who had made a name for themselves had assisted him.

After working for him, I decided to go out on my own as a freelance hairstylist. I didn’t know what it meant but I knew that I wanted more than just a salon environment.  I started testing with photographers, spent all my money on fashion magazines and dove into a freelance career living on ramen noodles and tea.  After staying determined to be the best, I landed an agent who is still my agent 16 years later today.

Did you have any other mentors along the way?

Mentors come in many different forms.  Photographers, makeup artists, the women I was working on and stylists all inspire me. I also made sure that I never stopped assisting. I followed these incredible hairdressers like Guido Palau, Orlando Pita, Yanic D’s, and Odile Gilbert. I would go to NY, or Paris, and London to assist them during the fashion shows. They inspired me then and even now.   I grew up surrounded by their imagery and influence, so assisting them even while growing was an incredible honor for me.

What are you most inspired by today?

Today I am most inspired by the women in my life.  I have always connected with women and I have a beautiful deep love for them. They simply inspire me. I also pull inspiration from everything that surrounds me. I love watching people’s street style, looking at other hairstylist interpretations, historical imagery, and textures from nature.

Do you have a beauty and hair philosophy?

My philosophy is simple.  Always build your clients confidence. Life is simple. Be open and transparent and share love. Love is powerful!!! My philosophy for hair is simple as well. Keep it effortless. Give the woman a look that makes her feel most beautiful, not necessarily something that is trendy at the moment. I love making a woman feel good about herself, that’s when she is really the most beautiful.

Do you have a signature style or look that you are known for?

I’m known for hair that feels effortless and beautiful. Hair that has details but is still undone.  Women always ask me for my UNDONE signature style. It’s really something I’ve been doing for the past 20 years in my career, which right now is very relevant in the industry. I love the feel of a style that looks like you could have done it yourself. Effortless, beautiful, touchable, and volume are the key elements to any style that I create.

For girls that want that look at home, do you have any styling tips?

In general people overly condition their hair, which can take a lot of their natural wave and body away. The way that I think about hair is like architecture. You really need to build the right foundation to have the style last. I tend to really focus on the roots. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to make sure you have most of the hold happening at the roots, then have the rest of the hair feel more natural or shiny. As far as conditioning your hair, I suggest only conditioning from mid shafts to ends instead of the entire lengths of the hair.

How would you suggest getting hold at the roots?

 Volumizers, light hold gels, mousses, and texturizers.  My favorites include…

Kusco Murphy Setting Lotion – It’s incredible!

Monkey Snot Extreme Gel– I Love this product! It’s amazing, and super cheap, you can buy it at CVS. It’s great for slick looks or to build the roots.

Oribe Grandiose Mousse – great for building body and hold.

Schwarzkopf Powder –  for building texture.

Oribe Texture Spray – for building texture.

Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray, Elnett Hairspray, or Shu Umera Hairspray – for really locking in the style.

Do you have advice for stylists starting out in the industry who might aspire to accomplish what you have?

It’s really important for you to love what you do in your life. If you are going to be in this industry, get educated.

Follow people that you love. Practice.  Know that you are going to destroy a lot of hair along the way, but that it is okay; it’s all part of the process of becoming an artist.

Know your references, watch old movies, go to the bookstore, and look at art. I spent all my money as a kid looking at art books and educating myself in my craft.

You’ve got to love what you’re going to be doing so it never feels like work!

What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?

The same exact advice I would give myself today and tomorrow and 10 years from now. Stay humble. Keep educating yourself, and be a good, honest, loving friend, husband and human.

Be sure to follow Adir on Instagram for more incredible #manespiration.

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