30Second Hair Tips With Celebrity Hair Stylist Kristan Serafino! by Elisa Schmitz
“True beauty isn’t about perfection. By liberating people to realize this simple fact, we help them see the real beauty within themselves.” – Kristan Serafino
Ten years ago Kristan Serafino walked away from a successful career in New York City’s Garment District to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an editorial/celebrity hairstylist. She made it happen. Now living her passion, she designs and creates hairstyles found in magazines, movies, television, special events, commercials and on the red carpet.
Her passion for hair has resulted in many accomplishments, including her website, SerafinoSays.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog offering advice, solutions and insider tips. She was recently named by Cosmopolitan magazine as one of the “Top 10 Up-and-Coming Bloggers” setting trends in beauty and fashion. She’s also a Kiss brand spokesperson, a ShopNBC guest host, collection designer, “L’Oreal Professionnel” and beauty adviser to W Hotels. Kristan paused long enough to share her story and many of her great hair tips with us at 30Seconds!
EA: You’re a celebrity hair stylist – what a cool gig! How’d you get it?
KS: Passion, persistence and pride in what I do. I truly love my job! I began my second career at the age of 30. I exchanged a great paycheck, corner office and loads benefits for minimum wage, the shampoo sink and hours upon hours of training on mannequins. I channeled any fear into study and practice. I received my training at Toni & Guy Academy, where I was fortunate to study under Guy Mascolo, one of the founders of Toni & Guy Salons and Bed Head products. As an apprentice, I was named a finalist for the prestigious International Photographic Awards, spotlighting the finest in Editorial Hairstyles. By the end of my first full year behind the chair, I was promoted to manager of Toni & Guy’s flagship salon on Madison Avenue.
These are the steps that led to my growing celebrity clientele: 1) Perfected my cutting & styling techniques in a salon. 2) Started to build a portfolio comprised of test shoots with friends in the industry (photographers, models, stylists, makeup artists). 3) Schlepped my portfolio to every fashion and beauty director that would see me, then again and again and again. 4) Gradually worked on bigger and better photo shoots, which exposed me to celebrities and publicists. I now maintain and grow my clientele by promoting myself through my blog SerafinoSays.com, social media and logging miles and miles of legwork and frequent flyer points meeting with PR firms, publicists, business managers, producers and editors.
EA: Wow! Way to go. Tell us who you have worked on, if you can? We’re jealous!
KS: I consider myself fortunate to have worked with Hollywood’s A-list celebrities, business executives and even royalty. As much as I would love to share their names, there is the unwritten “Client-Hairstylist Confidentiality Agreement.” We all share our secrets with our hairstylist and we know they will never cut and tell! OK, OK, I will share with you a few clients I have styled over the years for covers, press junkets, interviews or red carpet, but you can’t tell anyone…giggle-giggle! Matthew McConaughey, Princess Caroline, Naomi Watts, Matthew Broderick, Rosario Dawson, Krysten Ritter and Richard Dreyfus.
EA: Some serious star power there! So what do you like best about your job?
KS: As much as I like my time behind the chair working one-on-one with my clients, the “teacher” in me particularly loves the broader platform my exposure has provided. Being able to speak to a larger audience affords me the chance to empower women with the tools, knowledge and genuine confidence to transcend everyday expectations of beauty.
EA: That would be us moms! Tell us, how can we get our hair to look great on the go?
KS: It’s always fun to experiment with new styles so don’t be bashful – embrace change! Sometimes it’s the simplest change that can create a fresh new look. When I’m in a rush, I turn to my hair accessories kit that is chock-full of items such as headbands, bobby pins, hair clips, leather strips, shoestrings and more. Any of these will enhance the everyday habit of wearing the simple ponytail or hairstyle. For those of you with short hair, the same rule applies. OK, maybe not the ponytail…hee-hee!
EA: As you know, we don’t have much time for blow-drying, curling, flat ironing, etc. Any tips for a put together look without taking too much time?
KS: Here are three secrets I use at home when styling my hair with limited time:
1. The Blow Dry: Take the time to blow dry the front sections of the hair around the face and the top section in the back of the head. The remaining wet hair is quickly tousled dry or air-dried. The smooth section will then be placed over the quick dried hair for the illusion of a full smooth blow dry!
2. The Fake Curling Iron: When hair is wet, divide in half. Braid each section of hair and tie with a band loosely at the ends. Once hair is completely dry, take out braids for loose beachy-looking waves. Tip: For tighter waves, begin braiding at the root. For looser waves, begin braid mid-shaft to ends.
3. The Updo: For those of us with fringe, blow dry fringe to desired look. The remaining hair is pulled back into a low chignon. Since the front has been smoothed, the hair will appear as if you spent hours styling your hair.
EA: Love it! Any particular styles that are extra hot right now?
KS: First of all, never feel pressured to follow trends or popular theories about style. While a trending style, cut or color may look amazing on a favorite celebrity, it simply may not be right for you, difficult to maintain, or you may look best in a variation of the trend. Don’t get me wrong: I am a strong advocate for change when it comes to hair. But remember, your hair is the only accessory your wear every day, all the time! And I believe that your hair should transition as regularly as the choice of your daily wardrobe. But approach significant changes in style and color with caution since there are many factors to consider, such as the current condition of your hair, the way your haircut is growing out, does the layering allow for quick change, how the color will appear with new lines and texture in the hair. Even your skin tone and makeup should be considered when approaching major change.
EA: Agreed! With warmer/humid weather upon us, any tips to keep hair under control?
KS: Humidity does not always have to be the enemy since there are ways to contain the frizz. Make frizz your friend. As optimistic as I would like to be, even I have to admit there will be those days that no matter what you do in the morning to fight the frizz, the weather gods will prevail. This is when you pull out the big guns: Frizz Mania! Yes, you heard it here first.
1. Use the frizz to create a funky style! Braid your hair and let the frizz have purpose! It will look like it was designed straight off the runways.
2. Use a headband to keep the hair smooth and sleek around your face, but the rest of the hair will be frizzy and fun.
3. Use a high, tight ponytail at your crown and loosely pin the frizzy hair into a fun top knot.
EA: OK, now it’s date night! Any suggestions for pumping it up?
KS: Woo-hoo! Love a good date night. This is the perfect opportunity to mix up your hairstyle by trying something unexpected and big. If you typically wear your hair straight, then add a little movement – anything from a little ripple to a big wave. If you wear your hair in a ponytail, then shift the location of the base. Better yet, grab the tail of the pony, give it a messy twist and pin it tight into a low chignon. If you never wear a hair accessory, then have some fun by adding flare, sparkle and elegance into your style. If time permits, then treat yourself and head over to the hair salon for a blow dry and styling. Blow dry salons have made luxury more affordable.
EA: Your tips are awesome! What have we missed?
KS: A simple tip: The secret to a perfect ponytail is to look up at the ceiling when securing the band. Once secured, the hair at the nape will no longer gape along the neck!
EA: Thank you! We appreciate that even though we can’t sit in your chair all the time, we can get the same great advice you give to you’re A-list clientele. We’ll be visiting you on SerafinoSays.com and following you on Twitter, chica!