If Bad Hair Days Were a Disease, They’d Have the Cure: A Q&A with ARROJO Studio

Do you spend many waking hours wondering what hairstyle to wear to a red carpet event?…Well, do you?…Just stop it. You know you don’t and neither do I. But hey, maybe it’s time for the both of us to redo our hairdos.

So what now?

To the rescue is Ellen Marth, PR/Marketing Manager for New York City’s ARROJO Studio, headed by Nick Arrojo, formerly of TLC’s What Not to Wear. Speaking on behalf of the award-winning salon that has fashioned looks for the red carpet and the runway, Ellen dispenses tips on how the rest of us can go from “meh” to marvelous.

The Ride:  Hey there!  Let’s get down to business. How important is having a great hairstyle to ones well being? For me, every day is a bad hair day. I’ve just given up. *cue tiniest violin*

Ellen: I think the importance of hair is so underrated in comparison to your overall look. Fashion is what typically rules the news of the day but remember —  you can change outfits, switch up makeup, but your hair is a constant that changes at a much slower pace than let’s say, the newest trend in boots.  A great hairstyle compliments you and pulls everything together, gives you a signature style. So of course, it is hugely important to your confidence and self-image. A bad hair day every day is intense though — maybe invest in hats? [laughs]

The Ride: Should we pay more attention to how our hair is done?

Ellen: I don’t know if its so much about paying more attention than it is just finding something that works for you on a daily basis so you don’t have to pay as much attention.  Having great hair shouldn’t take a lot of work.  At ARROJO we are supporters of the “wash and wear” aesthetic.  It all starts with a quality, well-executed hair cut (or color).  This is something that is easily styled, versatile and grows out well.  It’s also about embracing the reality of what your hair can and cannot do then sort of editing your expectations from there.

Photo: Arrojo Studio
Photo: ARROJO Studio

The Ride: What are some of the very bad things we do to our hair and how should we avoid doing them?

Ellen: Unfortunately just about anything can be bad for your hair, right down to the products you use and the way you use them.  The worst offenses are chemical processes like straightening and bleaching, hot tool use and exposure to the elements.  First step is, lay off the heat styling as much as possible — if your hair is fried, a flat iron probably isn’t going help matters.  Getting a couple products that protect against heat and UV damage is also helpful; ARROJO has some awesome options, wink wink.  For color care, when you’re out in the sun, especially in the summer, wear a hat or scarf around your hair so your color doesn’t fade.  If you do a lot of pool/beach swimming, you should wet your hair down with clean water first —  that way it can’t absorb as much salt or chlorine (think of your hair as a sponge in that way).  Other than that, keeping hair conditioned and moisturized is the key.

Set and Style Spray by Arrojo
Set and Style Spray by ARROJO

The Ride: I’ve had the same hairstyle forever. I want to change but I can’t seem to make myself take the first step. Why are we so resistant to changing our look when it comes to our hair?

Ellen: Everyone has been burned by a bad hairstyle and it’s tough to get over those experiences.  But not everyone is wired to take risks in life, and changing your hair is a part of that.  Your hair is extremely personal; it’s a part of you and an expression of who you are.  Some people just take it more seriously than others. The fear also comes from this idea that long hair equals beauty, that men prefer longer hair.  That is such a shame to me.  Beauty (for me) is about how something makes you feel, not how others perceive you. I wish every woman could experience a positive dramatic hair change at least once; it’s funny how quickly you then realize that IT’S JUST HAIR!

The Ride: Now, on to the fabulousness. Is there a difference between red carpet hair and every day hair?  Okay, let me explain. I watched the Emmys recently and was shocked at some of the not-so-great hair on display. Many stars wore their hair down and in no particular style. I took it as a personal offense. I wanted fabulous and they gave me “meh”.

Ellen: Obviously, we watch the red carpet events because we want to be wowed by the extraordinary, so I understand that “normal” hair can be a let down.  Most celebs have fairly “meh” hair, in my opinion.  Not saying its a bad thing, just the norm. People always ask us who the celeb trend setters are, and it’s like okay, which long layered style shall I choose from this time?  Sure they have gorgeous, healthy hair, but are the styles new and fresh? Not typically. You see someone like Rihanna, taking risks and that’s refreshing. Even if she doesn’t always hit the mark, she’s still evolving her style.  It comes down to a difference of fantasy versus reality and how fantasy hair can inspire everyday looks.  That’s a great way to look at celeb style, by saying – I love this hair, now how can I realistically make it work for me?

The Ride: How do you create a camera ready or red carpet ready look? What are some of the factors you take into consideration?

Ellen: Healthy hair is the most important factor.  If your hair is damaged, it’s going to be the first thing you see – dullness, split ends, frizz.  You also want to consider your styling. Does the hairstyle you want to achieve mesh with your outfit, make up and jewelry?  Your hair should be an equal compliment to those factors.  If you want to make a statement with your ‘do, go for understated styling.  The last thing to think about is how you feel about the look. If you aren’t into it, it will show through more than split ends!  Wear everything, even your hair, with confidence.

Hydro Mist from Arrojo
Hydro Mist from ARROJO

The Ride: What are some of the challenges of working with celebrities/musicians/artists?

Ellen: Word of mouth is huge in our industry and clients are walking billboards for stylists work, so having a recognizable client can make a career. The hard part is scheduling and short notice of availability, but we have such a large team it usually works out.  Other than that for me, there really isn’t a downside.  It’s a great feeling to build that relationship and help shape someone’s image.  Working with musicians is something we are particularly interested in  — the culture of our salon is so intertwined with music, it’s a great fit for us.  In fact, owner Nick Arrojo was a popular DJ in his hometown of Manchester, UK — so music is a part of all that we do.

The Ride: By the way, what are you thoughts about Bumpits? They seem like the hottest thing since the scruchie.

Ellen: Hilarious.  I mean, what else do you say about the bumpit?  At least the scrunchie is an actual thing, it’s a hair tie.  But like, a bumpit? It’s like one of some weird kitchen utensil that cuts down the time of a task that already didn’t take that long to begin with.

The Ride: What’s the in hairstyle for the Fall/Winter? And by the way, who determines what’s hot and what’s not?

Ellen: Inspirations for trends come from everywhere  but especially fashion, music, art and nature even.  Our stylists look at trend forecasts much like designers do and pull ideas from what’s new in fabrics, textiles, colors, shapes, etc.  Hair can translate so easily into those types of things.  We look at trends as an evolutionary process, taking aspects from last season and tweaking them and pushing them forward.  For instance, ARROJO master stylist Amanda Jenkins worked on a lot of asymmetry last season so to change it up for fall/winter she is doing heavy layers, lots of movement and natural texture.  The hair is a little longer, grown out perhaps, some cuts featuring heavy bangs.  The color inspirations, from ARROJO colorist Abbey Theis, are cool tones — woody and smoky colors, things like dried leaves, fire embers, etc.

Hair, like fashion, should be fun.  Don’t take it so seriously.  Find a stylist you love and ask them what look they think you should go for.  Remember, they are the professional (not you) and it’s their job to make you look amazing.  If you don’t love the outcome, speak up. As long as you communicate, you will not leave unhappy.  And remember, beauty is what you make it.  Go for what you feel good in and wear it well!

For more information about ARROJO Studio, click here.


2 thoughts on “If Bad Hair Days Were a Disease, They’d Have the Cure: A Q&A with ARROJO Studio

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