I love exploring the world of hair editorials.

There are so many amazing artists in the beauty industry – it is always an honor to feature them on my blog.  I met Vanessa through Instagram. I’m a big fan of her work. So when she agreed to be interviewed – I was thrilled.

This is her story.

Vanessa Whitmarsh
Cutting/Styling Specialist. Educator. Event Producer.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

Vida Salon | Denver, Colorado

What drew you to the beauty industry?

I love that in this industry you can be insanely creative, meet other creatives with the same passions, and make people look/feel really amazing along the way. Also, you can really shape your career in this industry however you want.

I absolutely love your editorial work. What inspires you as an artist?

What doesn’t?! I follow so many other hair stylists and makeup artists to see new things they’re playing around with. I follow fashion designers and artists for shapes and fabric. I think there are little things everywhere and with social media you have constant access to an inspiration feed.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

You have competed in NAHA and other editorial shoots. How much prep work goes into these projects?

For a NAHA I would say at least 3 months worth. I always pick the shoot date and work backwards. You already have your concept so then you need to find a photographer, makeup artist and clothing stylist. Next you’ll find models, usually 3-5. Then you just practice everything you want to do in the time leading up to it – perfect the cuts, color the hair, make the hairpieces. That way, day of there’s no guess work.

As for editorial shoots I find they are a bit more in the moment. You have an idea of the vibe, so you work from that and collaborate more with everyone involved.

Do you use inspiration boards as part of the preparation?

Absolutely! I’ll storyboard ideas for cut, color, texture, vibe, photography style, makeup – pretty much every aspect of what I want.

I’m a visual person so it helps to see it come together.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

What are 5 must haves for every stylist’s toolkit?

Blow dryer, brushes, pins, elastics, shears – these are a probably what I use the most. I was worried when I first started that I wouldn’t have the right stuff but your kit grows as you go. You will add things you try out and find you love using.

What inspired your 2016 NAHA look from your team shoot?

I saw a monochromatic editorial – the clothes and backdrop were the same color and I thought I want to do a shoot where the hair matches too. I was really feeling the bold 60’s mod oranges, reds and yellows too which came across in the styling and hair shapes.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

What was the inspiration behind the Ruiz Salon collection Blue Dahlia?

Every year the artistic team meets to brainstorm for our team shoot. We bring images of anything that we’re feeling inspired by and put it together and we always end up finding a common theme. That year it was all about a strong futuristic female. We wanted these girls to look fierce with clean shapes and bold, cool colors (lots of blue). The clothing was handmade pieces made out of recycled plastic which we thought paired well with the futuristic vibe.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

Last February you were at New York Fashion week. How crazy is it being backstage?

I would say it’s controlled chaos.

Everyone is bustling around and it may look frantic but everyone knows what they need to get done. And that’s the fun of it! You’re working side by side with other talented people that love what they do, creating these looks together-and really quickly I might add!

How collaborative is the process between the Designer and the Head Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist in creating the final look that will be seen on the runway?

Normally the designer has an idea for how they want the collection displayed. They’ll show the leads their inspiration and the looks and discuss their ideas for it. Then the leads try to carry that feeling over to the hair and makeup. They’ll come up with a look or two and show the designer and then they go from there. Sometimes it’s spot on and sometimes you have to change things until it fits their vision.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

I think staying current is so important in this industry. How do you keep on top of all the latest trends, techniques and products?

Social media and continued education.

Watching other stylists on Instagram and YouTube and taking classes with stylists I look up to. I’m pretty lucky in that the owner of the salon I work for, Allen Ruiz, is also the Global Styling Director for Aveda so I get to pick his brain AND he brings in amazing educators for our salon.

Also, establishing an open dialogue and collaborating in the salon keeps you open to trying new things.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

I think that mentorship is the best way to pay it forward. You are also an educator. Do you see this part of your career as a way to give back to the craft?

Oh definitely. I think it’s great to pass your knowledge on – what’s the point of keeping it a secret? If I can show someone how to do something new or easier or faster, why not? Then they can get creative with it and maybe teach me a thing or two later.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

What is the best part of your profession?

I really love that their are so many options and opportunities in this industry and that stylists really love what they do.

Share it!

Passion is contagious.

Do you have a daily beauty routine?

I always wash my face and use a NuFace at night, so in the morning it’s lotion, makeup, put a little bend in my hair and I’m out the door. Keep it simple!

What are some of your personal hair and make-up must haves?

Dry shampoo and Aveda’s Texture Tonic. Perfect for traveling too. I also carry a matte red lipstick in case I need to jazz it up.

Instagram: @vwhitmarshhair

How would you describe your personal style?

I would say classic with a few trendy pieces. I wear black almost 100% of the time so I use shoes and accessories to punch it up. Did I mention I love shoes?

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

At home it’s a face masque and a glass of wine, hanging at home with my dogs – other than that, a massage!

Finally – what three words describe you best?

OK, I asked my friends for this one and they said – creative, funny and introvert. I told them “salty” wasn’t an option!

For featured photo artistic credits click here

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