3 L.A. Hair Stylists You Need To Know & The Stories Behind Their Magic
You can't deny the fact that women in LA are rocking some of the best hair. With the bar set at "sexy, yet effortless," it's easy for every BISH to look bomb around here. But don't get the word "effortless" confused with the idea of paying no attention to your locks - women of the West Coast have been working long and hard to achieve this luxe, low-key status, and I was determined to find the sought-after hair stylists and colorists we have to thank for this. It's no surprise that Cassondra Kaeding, Desirae Cherie, and Justine Marjan all work with hair maestro Jen Atkin in some way, shape, or form. (#SquadGoals indeed.) Each woman is changing the way we color, style, and shape our manes, and being the cool girls they are, they let me in on a few hair secrets. Take note, BISHES! You don't want to miss these tips, because even if you weren't born with Kardashian hair, they sure as hell can make it look like you were.
CASSONDRA KAEDING, @CKaedingColor
Who, or what, has left a big impression on you throughout your career, and helped influence you?
Where do I start!? The industry has been really lucky to have seen some amazing hairdressers in our time! One artist that I think has influenced almost every hair stylist is Vidal Sassoon. He is an icon. Vidal was able to create geometric shapes and sharp angles to complement clients' facial bone structure. He changed the way we all looked at hair. Vidal was a brilliant artist and a legend to a lot of us.
You’ve done some epic color makeovers (Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Josh Hutchinson’s blond for Hunger Games). What are some things you have to consider when doing color for film?
Going on set can be intimidating! Go in with a strong sense of self, and have fun. My job as a colorist is to be innovative and creative. Embrace the opportunity, and showcase your skills. Finally, be open minded to listening to other artists on set. Sometimes when you put a few brilliant minds together, the outcome is killer!
LA sun and air quality can be brutal. What are some tips for protecting hair and color against environmental conditions?
My recommendation for keeping healthy hair is to use the right products for your texture of hair. It's always important to keep your hair hydrated. Also, do a deep repair or moisturizing mask at least once a month. When going in the pool, salt water, and or just being in the sun, apply some hair oil to coat and protect your hair. There are many of oils that also contain an SPF to save hair color and also to protect from hot, harsh sun rays.
How do you like to spend a day off?
Day off? What is that? Just kidding! I think that it's important to take a day to yourself so you don't get too burnt out! When I have some time off, I just try to get some of my everyday errands done. Seems boring, but I find it enjoyable to step away for a minute!
Tell us about your time coloring in Dubai. Also, what hair trends are they big on?
Dubai was such an amazing experience! I mean, I get to travel the world doing something I love. What more could I ask for! One thing I notice about my clients in Dubai is that they were really interested and concerned about making sure that their hair stays healthy. So in turn, most of my clients wanted a little dimension so that their hair doesn't look dull and lifeless. My motto for all of my clients is “less is more!”
Who is your main MISSBISH?
My MISSBISH is a fellow hairstylist and also she happens to be a client of mine, Jen Atkin. Not only is she killing it in every aspect of the hair world, Jen has been able to create a sense of camaraderie between artists. There is plenty to go around, so let's keep up the positivity!
What are 3 hidden gems in L.A. that you love?
Ok, so side note –when I'm not doing hair, I love to eat! I love tacos! You have to check out Mexicali Taco & Co. in Los Angeles. I’m telling you, you will thank me later!
Another one that is not so hidden, but one of my faves to visit, is the Grand Central Market. I love just walking around seeing the artistry in food, the colors, the scents and the ingredients. Lastly, one of my favorite places to visit is the LA flower mart! Seeing all the different colors and types of flowers inspires me and motivates me to create.
DESIRAE CHERIE, @DesiraeCherie
You're one of the founding members of Mane Addicts. What prompted you and Jen Atkin to launch the hair-obsessed site?
The idea came about when Jen started getting a lot of interest in hair-inspo pics she’d post on Instagram, and later wanting to be the source for that inspiration. When she brought me on board, the more we got to talking the more we realized there’s a huge gap that wasn’t being filled when it came to hairdresser recognition. You see all these runway shows and campaigns with top designers, top supermodels, but the general public has no idea who Guido, Howard McLaren, Odile Gilbert, Orlando Pita, or Christiaan are – all of whom are majorly influential hairdressers. So that’s exactly what we built Mane Addicts to be… a platform to lift up our fellow hairdressers.
How do you balance your time between all of your career ventures?
My boyfriend jokes that he has to make an appointment to hang out with me. It’s really, really hard. Props and giant hugs to all those doing it/involved. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that this is a career where you’re constantly giving, giving, and giving some more. At some point you have to pause and give back to yourself. If you’re able to balance that between all the chaotic jumps, you can balance anything.
Tell us about the start of your career, and some of the experiences that shaped your life.
I can’t give enough love to the three hairdressers that changed my life. Penny Strasser Tuckel - she trained me while I was in school/post school. She instilled in me the most important things you need to succeed; passion and compassion. Howard McLaren - words can’t even sum this man up. Even if you don’t know him, you know him because he’s who was responsible for building the hugely successful Bumble and Bumble. He filled me with so much confidence that I was able to jump off the ledge with no f*cks to give. He is the definition of bold, brilliant and what Coco Chanel meant when she said “if you want to be original, be ready to be copied.” Jen Atkin - because through her actions she taught me how to outwork everyone.
Aside from that there’s that quote that says “there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs." My staircase had me walking for 12 years before I was able to break into the level that I wanted to be working at. I almost gave up so many times, but in the end I realized that every single moment, interaction, and struggle were “steps” towards my personal legend… In other words go read The Alchemist.
Who is one of your favorite clients to work with and why?
I gotta throw some love to the big sister I never had, Kelly Rowland. I’ve been doing hair for 14 years. Working with her, I realized I wanted to be a master hairdresser… meaning not just white hair but all hair. I remember telling her how it was my new goal to be the best white girl at black hair. She responded with, “Girl, let’s do this! I’ll teach you everything I know!” It’s been a learning at the speed of light situation ever since, and I cannot express the gratitude that is in my heart, or the excitement in knowing that when all is said and done, I will be able to say that I am a hair master.
Who is your main MISSBISH?
The baddest BISH I know @dhanicalifornia aka my little sister. She moved to LA two years ago and we are inseparable. She keeps me balanced, laughing, and always knows where my phone is. She’s also my partner in crime in our new venture @thebadadults… #waitonit
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH to me is the liaison that links everything cool and forward-thinking, wrapped up in a bad*ss business plan. It’s the baddies who are using their brain to escape what they’re being told to do, and doing what their creative mind wants to do - and making a living off of it.
JUSTINE MARJAN, @JustineMarjan
Obviously, the Kardashians (whom you style) have some of the most killer hair out there. What are some steps to take if we want to get their look?
All of the girls have the most beautiful, healthy hair and they take the time to care for and maintain it at home. Ultimately, if your hair is healthy, it’s going to be easier to style, switch up the color, and play with extensions and other fun hairstyles. I suggest taking hair vitamins (I love the OLLY Undeniable Beauty gummies), to support hair health, washing and conditioning with a great shampoo and conditioner (I love TRESemmé Repair and Protect 7), using a hair mask at least once a week (try coconut oil mixed with honey or OUAI Treatment Masque). Get enough sleep, and keep stress levels low. If your hair is prone to frizz, get a Brazilian blowout. Keep your ends healthy with regular trims, and keep your color fresh with glosses in between services! It’s this little attention to detail that make the biggest difference.
Being a hair stylist has you working independently while being editorial director for Mane Addicts has you overseeing a team and partnering with many individuals. What has each role taught you about yourself?
I was the Editorial Director of Mane Addicts for almost 3 years, but have recently moved on from that position to pursue my goals as a hair stylist. My work with Mane Addicts was a great education on hair - I’m literally an encyclopedia of hairstylists, and know so much about the industry. I also learned a ton about social media, how to answer interviews, the perspective of a beauty editor, and how to partner with influencers – skills that I use in my freelance career as well.
What’s a perfect go-to style if you don’t want to use heat on your hair (but still looks bomb)?
Braids, baby! Braids are so easy, fun, and there are endless variations to make it fun, sexy, and edgy. You can play with different partings, adding in synthetic hair, and adding products for either a sleek or textured finish.
Tell us about your role at Mane Addicts, and what it’s been like working alongside Jen Atkin.
I started working for Jen Atkin when she just had the idea for Mane Addicts and had just begun working on OUAI. At the time, I was hired as her hair assistant, personal assistant, and to help bring her vision of Mane Addicts to life. I was wearing every hat and doing the roles that she now has over eight different people doing. It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but I learned so much. Jen is such a great mentor, leader, and innovator in the industry, and I really admire how she has been a pioneer for women and created an empire in our field.
Your Instagram is filled with positive posts. What mantra would you tattoo on yourself if you could?
I already have two mantra’s tattooed on me! One is the French phrase "au clair de la lune" which means insightfulness and clarity. The other is a Sanskrit phrase from the Rig Veda that says "Asamatoma sad gamaya, tamasoya sad gamaya, mitsoya amritam gamaya," which translates to "Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality." I got both of them during big transformational moments in my life.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is a way for women to empower women. A MISSBISH is someone who lifts up and supports the women around her. I’m so inspired by the MISSBISH community and by seeing so many different women from around the world doing such revolutionary things.
Who is your main MISSBISH?
There’s no way I can choose just one! Jen Atkin, Khloe Kardashian, Hrush Achemyan, Joyce Bonelli, Dorit Kemsley, Olivia Culpo, Ashley Alanis, Kerry Washington, etc. Each of these women have made a mark in their fields and continue to inspire me every day.