She's ri-Freshing: Hair Stylist, Ashley Lee

First, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Ashley Lee, NYC based hair stylist.  Besides being a stylist in salon, I also work in editorial settings and as an artist/educator for the L'Oreal brand - Mizani!  When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, shopping and eating great food (yum!).

What made you get into hair styling? Was it always your passion?

After I finished my undergraduate career, I was very much lost when it came to finding a job that I loved.  I thought I wanted to go into PR but after interning for no money, I ended up taking a job in education that I HATED.  I was craving something that would allow me to be creative and people always told me I should go to beauty school, but my job didn't allow me the time to do so.  I always loved doing hair and was always the friend that got everyone ready before a night out but never considered it a career option.  After the school I was at downsized, I saw that as my opportunity to step out on faith and I haven't looked back since.

What is the process when a new client sits in your chair?  How do you decide the best approach to the perfect style?  

When a new client sits in my chair, I make sure to make them feel welcome and comfortable.  More importantly, I work to get the best feel of their hair history and what they want to do moving forward.  This includes learning about their lifestyle and digging in to their life in regards to their hair regimen to see what the best hair decision is for them.  In learning more about their routine, I can make my best judgment on what the perfect style is for each particular client.

What was your inspiration behind Ashley Fern’s red? Tell us about the process. 

I was so excited to take Ashley to such a vibrant color!  I rarely get daredevil clients so my inspiration was definitely chanelling a @badgalriri vibe to get the final look.  I started off by cutting her hair roughly and then lightened her one time before applying three different semi permanent colors.  The darkest red was for her base/root and i used two brighter reds in an alternating fashion from the crown up to add some dimension.   After that, I finetuned the cut for the final look.

How do you combat heat and color damage?

The best combat for both heat and color damage is great product.  I'm a Mizani Artist, so to combat heat damage, I utilize the ThermaSmooth line, which is a non chemcial smoothing system.  By layering the shampoo, conditioner and styling products, I'm able to give my clients 3-4 different barriers of heat protection.  This, alongside proper usage of heat styling tools allows me to manipulate my clients' texture without causing irreparable damage.  I usually blow dry straight and smooth, using blow dry techniques I've learned over the years and that enables me to use 1-2 passes of the flat iron to seal the hair.  In color, I use bond strengthening systems like Olaplex during my color services, protecting the hair from the very first step.  I follow each color service with a conditioning treatment.  All in all, in every service, integrity of the hair is my biggest priority and I never do anything to compromise that.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting a change but is too afraid to do it?

My advice is BE BOLD!  Life waits for nobody.  If it's a change that you've mulled over, thought about, and still want, chances are that it's for you.  Go for it!

The ri-Fresh squad is huge on self care and self love. What do you do to unwind when you're not working?

Sleep, go to church and I work out a lot.