The cult of celebrity is here to stay. Times are tough, and although some of us long to see supermodels front and center on Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, we have to face the fact that Sienna Miller, Angelina, and Beyonce sell more covers. While some have found this decade-long fascination with celebrity hard to take, others have used this explosion to their best advantage. Hair and make-up stylist Byron Williams is one such person.
One would think that Byron would just be content with a salon in Beverly Hills that has an enviable celebrity clientele. However, Byron Williams’ aspirations go beyond the comforts of a Beverly Hills lifestyle. Always concerned about the protection and care of a woman’s crowning glory, Byron has come out with a line of innovative, affordable hair care products called Spirulina. With his well-researched line, Byron Williams is prepared to make his mark in an industry already oversaturated with products that purport to deliver great results.
After styling hair and make-up for Erin Wasson’s runway show during New York Fashion Week, Bryon spoke with the Fashion Spot about his new products, his love of styling, and the many things on his horizon.
tFS: How did you become interested in make-up and hair?
Byron Williams: I am an only child, and I used to play with my cousin’s Barbie and Charlie Angels dolls. I know it sounds cliché, but a lot of hairstylists styled doll hair as kids. After high school, I knew my life’s profession would include something in fashion, or something to do with beautifying women. My parents weren’t too keen on my choice – they wanted me to continue my academic studies. To please them, I went to community college for a short time, and then later I went to beauty school.
tFS: Why are you called the “the celebrity hairstylist to the stars”?
BW: I guess that’s because I do have a sizable celebrity clientele. I have styled Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, J-Lo, Drew Barrymore, Eva Mendes, Joy Bryant, Amber Valetta, Robert Downey, Jr., Peter Farinelli, and others. When you love what you do, you don’t concentrate on whether you are styling a celebrity or not. You are just enjoying your work.
tFS: When you get a new client or celebrity, what process do you use to decide how to style them?
BW: It depends on the event that they are going to, and what they will be wearing. If I have a celebrity as a new client, I do my research and think about how I would style them differently then they have been styled previously. For example, if I am working with Rachel Zoe, and Rachel informs me that the celebrity will be wearing Versace gown, which could be a print or heavily embellished, I may simplify the make-up and hair. So it varies.
tFS: How did you become associated with Rachel Zoe?
BW: We met several years ago during NY Fashion Week when she was still based in New York. She came to my salon, and I did her hair and make-up for a celebrity event. She was building her brand and client base, as was I, and we just kind of hit it off. When I started my product line, Spirulina, she loved it, and has been a huge supporter of my brand.
tFS: What is the difference between styling Hollywood celebrities and styling for an East Coast celebrity look?
BW: In NYC, I find that people are put together very well, and they dress more chic. Maybe because there are four seasons. In LA, everyone is more casual. But because there is an overwhelming Hollywood influence, people are more done up for something as simple as going to the grocery store, or a simple luncheon. I have clients who come to my salon twice a week so that they look coiffed all the time. So, as a stylist I have to be aware of those differences.
tFS: Are there any new make-up or hairstyling trends that our readers at tFS should know about?
BW: At my salon in Beverly Hills we have been doing the old Hollywood glamour look a lot, with a deep red lip. The hair is more set. We have moved past the smoky eye and glitter, glowy-skin embellishments.
tFS: Why this new venture into your own line of hair products?
BW: I have always been into hairstyling products, and after opening my salon I realized that I wasn’t really happy with some of the products on the market. Most of these products didn’t suit the needs of my clients. So I decided to create my own line of products that keep up with the changing trends in fashion, and which also meets the everyday needs of celebrities and consumers.
tFS: Why did you call your line Spirulina?
BW: When I was researching the market, one of the products that really caught my attention was the organic product Spirulina, which is a blue-green algae that is very effective in helping to protect cells from damage. This product is particularly good for celebrities and models who sometimes suffer from hair cell damage due to the constant photo shoots and the daily grind of the profession.
tFS: Could you talk about the products in your line?
BW: There is the Spirulina Illuminating Shine spray, which helps protect your hair from cell damage. We also have a wheat conditioner and shampoo, and an almond extract conditioner and shampoo.
tFS: Many hairstyling products purport that their product is natural and organic, so what makes yours different from the others?
BW: Many products that have organic ingredients are very expensive. The more organic ingredients there are in the product, the more the product tends to cost. We differentiate our product by our lower, affordable price points.
tFS: A lot of women are working with weaves or extensions these days. How does your product support this trend?
BW: So many of my clients wear hair weaves and extensions. In fact, about 70% of them do. Extensions can damage and weaken your natural hair. The type of glue used for hair extensions can melt under harsh, sodium-based shampoos. My product line is sodium-free. The Spirulina Hair Spray has proteins that actually repair and rebuild hair weakened by extensions and weaving techniques.
tFS: What’s next for you?
BW: I am continuing to build my brand and product line. I have some new sulfur-free hair products coming out later in the year, and I am creating a cosmetics line that focuses on mascara and lashes.
For more information and Spirulina and Byron Williams’ salon in Beverly Hills, go to bybyron.com.
Photos courtesy of Byron Williams.