Interview with Hairstylist/ Healer Adriana Rizzolo

13668990_10208380147878163_1910084495239438234_nMeeting other hairstylists who understand that beneath the hair of every person lies a key to the door of their identity and sense of self is both a pleasure and an affirmation to me. The more I write and connect with others from around the world, the more I see how potent our jobs as hairstylists are in the realms of healing.

This post is dedicated to all who hairstylists who have struggled in their journey with drugs and alcohol and work very hard to stay on their path of sobriety.

Adriana_Hallie Easley Photography-103Last month at the Spirit Weavers Gathering, I met a woman named Adriana Marie Rizzolo. She had wandered over to the Adornment Area where a group of women were doing each others hair in a grove of Redwoods, and she sat herself on a large fallen log, peacefully watching the action. She, like many other women that I had the pleasure of meeting in my 2 weeks of hair in the forest, felt at home in the Adornment Space Redwood Hair Salon.

A quick detour……

A hair salon, when curated with the right group of people and esthetic, becomes a natural home for those from all walks of life to come and engage with each other and be inspired and grow together. This post is in homage to that very fact, and to Adriana Rizzolo who fit right into that.

I want to take a minute to identify the definition of the word Salon. According to Wikipedia…….

A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.

I love this, and I love what happens in hair salons where all are welcome. The sisterhood and brotherhood and co-inspiring that can happen is tangible. Ideas are birthed into action, bonds are created for life.

This post suggests that t Hair Salon is an important place to spread important news and incite change on a world level. How Hairdressers could be a Secret Weapon Against Climate Change. Just sayin.

12647304_10207199941573743_4082219906579319079_nAdriana, as it turns out, came to the Adornment Space because she knew she had gifts to offer in the form of healing and braiding, and she (like so many hairstylists) could not bare to just stand by idly watching. So, she dove right in.

Over the course of the week, catching snippets of her braid work and her voice and her thoughts on hair, I felt the bonds building of hair sisterhood.

Today, Adriana shares words with us on hair and healing, and her path to recovery.Adriana_Hallie Easley Photography-291

Adriana, where are you from and what are you up to now?

If my name hasn’t already given it away, I am originally from New Jersey. I lived for ten years in Brooklyn and most recently have been living and loving all over Los Angeles.

How long have you been doing hair?

I have been doing hair since I was 15 and I am now 34. So 19 years. Really weird to say that.

What inspired you to pursue hairstyling?

My main inspirations for getting into the hair love were my friends in high school and to be totally honest, I was looking for a way out. I was always creative and found myself super stifled and held back in public high school. I even had a ton of insecurity around creating which was the thing I most related to and loved by then and so choosing hair styling was a guarantee for me to get at least half my school day occupied.

I understand you are in recovery. When and how did you realize that it was time to take that path?

I realized I needed to be on the path of recovery the first time I did cocaine after my father had ended his life and lifelong battle with drugs.  It was a moment of like .. “Really?! That wasn’t a wake up call enough for you?!”  For years I had survived as a hair stylist on cocaine. Doing lines off the same mirrors I showed people their new haircuts with with the money rolled up to my nose that they handed me for my time and service. Apparently, I really needed to understand the depths of addiction and the effects it has for my work in years that had not yet arrived.

Shortly after my father passed I used yoga like a drug. Three classes a day on my days off and after long days at the salon helped me get off hard drugs and start detoxing my body. I didn’t know at the time that’s what I was doing. I began to smoke a lot of marijuana which for me helped mask the grief and emotions that I was unable to deal with at the time. 

A few years later I found a teacher that reflected my worth and Love so intensely I saw that even smoking weed wasn’t meant to be a part of my journey. Some months after my first pilgrimage to study the mystical traditions and practices in India, on New Year’s Eve when I was at my home in upstate New York by the grace of god I chose full sobriety. Everyone was taking mushrooms and I realized I could not make empowered decisions in my life unless I was completely sober. And I wanted so badly to know and understand what Love was all about.

Now a little over 4 1/2 years later I’ve hit other bottoms. Emotionally, financially and in relationship to others, it’s a long beautiful messy journey of becomingfor me. Staying close to the connection of my heart and soul, and helping others see that soul and love within themselves is why keeps me going. It’s why I love offer hair healing sessions so much. It’s anther visible transformation to this energy and Truth that at times feels invisible, although it’s always there.

How has your journey through recovery informed you journey to heal and share with others?

If I hadn’t gotten sober I wouldn’t be able to connect or care about connecting with the tender openness I always intend to bring to my clients, to my work and into my relationships. If I was never an addict I wouldn’t know the intense suffering many of us face, just being human. I also wouldn’t know the extreme depths of joy, compassion  and the lust for life that I’ve starting to come to know and live. I believe we are all on a path of life, of figuring out how to deal with being human. The more we can learn to offer our hearts to one another and ask for help or surrender when is hard, the safer we feel within, the more peace and love exists in the world.

Sobriety helps share my passion of connection and creating with my heart and my hands- with hair, body healing, life transformations, and writing. That has truly saved my life and I’m humbled and grateful for those that have supported and inspired me with their own truths and passions along the way. Thank you so much for asking about that. 

At what point did your hair and spiritual practice collide into a healing practice?

Over the years of working and styling in New York my hair business supported my spiritual and healing trainings. Having the flexibility of a schedule and clients allowed me to go on countless retreats, get to India four times and take me through a few yoga and meditation teacher trainings. My hair practice has evolved with me. The conversations changed, some of the clients shifted, and more and more I am able to hold a space for soul and beauty together.

What are some of your theories/thoughts about the importance of our hair to our sense of self and identity?

WOW! As a longtime yogi I feel like our outer worlds are created by our inner worlds. In my research of people and their explorations of hair and self, it seems like we can use the outer as an extension of what we are experiencing inside. I don’t feel like there are any rules or this means that, because everyone is SO UNIQUE with such different interpretations. The importance, just like anything, comes from what we give it. That is why intention and love can really shift the way we experience our sense of self and our hair. Learning to love your hair is the same as learning to love any part of yourself. It’s all practice and it all helps us to bring out who we are and continue evolving into who we want to be!

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Do you have any hair experiences that have transformed you?

YES! Shortly after my father passed away I felt this intense need to make some major shift in my being. Away from what I was experiencing and facing at somewhat of a young age. I went from black to platinum hair and looking back somehow that experience mirrored this process that was beginning for me from moving from the darkness to the light. THe hair didn’t last that long but that moment really was a marker for the beginning of my more serious healing path and devotion. 

Do you have a hair mantra?

My soul sister Jules offered this to me for my work and now I use it all the time … Let it go, Let it grow!

Who are some of your muses/inspirations?

My muses really come from the women that I work with doing inner healing work, and those of us willing to move past habitual patterns around not good enough and jealousy or what have you. Women like you that are kicking ass doing what they love. I believe the creative energy that moves through anyone doing what they truly love holds the power of a million universes. When we open to receiving that from one another we open our own channels to allow that energy to flow through us in our own ways. I also get a TON of inspiration from the unseen and natural world. The desert and inside the heart of anyone willing to be more open.

Any thoughts on how/what we as stylists can do to take back the corporate hijack of the Beauty Industry?

Well I think YOU are doing a great job! Supporting one another when it comes to more eco-conscious and natural ways of doing things and just inspiring one another with kindness goes a really long way. I always find the only way to make a change is to change the way I am and do things that are not in alignment with the greater good. From that place, many things feels possible. 

I want to empower more connection and love into the industry and help other stylists enhance their abilities to be vessels for love and creative energy I feel strongly about bringing more health and naturalness to the beauty industry. I cut hair according to a persons natural texture and the way they will wear it, and I support locally made products as much as possible.  find others to be exuding beauty most when they feel good and connected to that which is below the skin or hair. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, it’s just that when that kind of attention and care comes from an inspired place within we literally see differently. . 

When we learn how to connect to a moment deeply, which most stylists do all the time, we heal ourselves and others. It’s my favorite thing about people that love doing hair and I want to see more of our naturalness exposed, appreciated and accepted in both people and the products that we use. Moving away from corporations that hurt and towards supporting people that help. We can do this by supporting local brands and salons in your town and as stylists shifting the way we see ourselves from not good enough to change agents that can reach so many people with our love!

Read more from Adriana here, at her online community space dedicated to feminine connection and support for conscious growth. There, you can get info on bookings and healing workshops that she does around the country.

Follow her here on Instagram.

xo, HTHG


Foil Setting Texture Trick!

IMG_0702Hey babes. I have a challenge for you. Grab a friend, some aluminum foil and a flat iron and play around with wadding up foil in different ways, wrapping hair around it, clamping it with a flatiron, allowing it to cool, and taking the foil out. It is super fun!

IMG_0704IMG_0718IMG_0693IMG_0696For this experiment, I made long, thin foil rods with my hands and basically doing a rag curl set with foil rods and heat. The results were just wonderful.

Have fun, and post your photos and tag me!

xo, HTHG

Summer Color/Texture/Form: Hair as Art

Hi babes. It’s officially Summer, which for us means more lazy days of letting our imaginations run wild, spending time outside, enjoying the bounty of the Pacific Northwest flora and fauna, and playing with color via drawing, painting, and hair color.

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I have been exploring the collaboration of color, texture and form in hair designing and it has led me to more of an art-form and less of a practical skill……..This week, inspired by the book Fruits  by Shiochi Aoki,  a lifetime favorite of my daughter Marley, her hair got to a next level of cool.

Just so you all know, when I do her hair, I use no chemicals and only vegan color. She is as much a part of the process of conceptualizing her own color. The process of doing her hair is often the most time I get her to sit still and hang out with me, which is sort of self serving, but I think she appreciates the one on one attention:)

However, when it comes to the braiding and styling, I have to bribe and beg her to let me do it. It often leads to compromise, and sometimes to a drag out fight where I say things like (and I know better) “I MADE YOU! You are my greatest creation!!!!!! This is the last braid I PROMISE!!!!!!! Please! Just one more. Please!”

And she says “Mom you don’t understand how much I can’t stand it when you make me sit still. This is SO not FAIR!!!!”

I assure you that I do make up for the hair braiding abuse by showing our daughters a pretty charmed, lovely (though realistic and grounded) life. #momtruth

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Enjoy the Hair Art, and I hope you all are loving this Summer.


xo, HTHG


A Beehive, Finding Identity, and Raising the Vibration with Stylist/Healer Braeden Blunt

Hi babes. Today I have a really special story to share about a beautiful human, healer and hairstylist named Braeden Blunt, owner of Urban Hideaway Hair and a former co-stylist with me at VAIN.

This post came about because for years I had been wanting to find a man who would be interested in letting me give them a very classic-ly female hairstyle. I was curious to see how it would feel to both of us. When I asked Braeden and he obliged, and we met at his salon so I could give him a floral beehive, a beautiful and healing story emerged in our conversation. This interview is a little capture of our conversation at Urban Hideaway Hair that day.

Once in a while, a person comes along who really helps us understand the world around us better, and Braeden is one of those people. He sets a beautiful example by being true to himself and embracing the societal ‘gray area’ by moving fluidly in between genders to suit the calling of his own soul. This is stunningly powerful healing antidote to the paradigm in our culture that tells us we need to choose one way or the other.

The truth, and where the beauty lies, as Braeden illustrates, is within the contrast of opposing forces in that beautiful free gray space where we can all explore who we truly are. Why choose one or the other when you can have both?

In a world with a maddening lack of safe and sacred spaces to truly be ourselves, Braeden has created a place to exist within a spectrum, to embrace our true selves, to experiment with our identities and learn to embrace all sides.  He has made his life’s work about helping people heal their sense of identity through the craft of hairstyling in a sacred space that he created himself.

Babes, I give you……………

A Beehive, Finding Identity, and Raising the Vibration with Stylist/Healer Braeden Blunt


To begin with, tell us about your hair career, when/how you started, who influenced you, and where you are now.

My first real exposure into the professional world of beauty was when I was living in San Francisco and working for the Aveda Institute in administration. But I would say that my hair story really began with my mother. She survived a major brain injury that left her unable to physically function in ways that most people take for granted, like doing her own hair and makeup, for example. At the age of 20 I became her full time caretaker, and I quickly discovered that helping her with a simple hairdo and a little bit of makeup made a HUGE difference in her self esteem and attitude throughout the day. Over time I learned as many little beauty tricks as I could to help her feel a bit more “normal”, more like her old self. Our morning getting-ready routine became our special bonding time, and she would frequently comment to me…”Braeden, I don’t know why you’re not doing this for a living!”7U6A5137

Of course, we never take compliments from our mothers seriously, they love everything we do. …Now fast forward a few years later and guess who was enrolled in beauty school?

7U6A4781You really change and evolve so much over time as a hair artist and professional, but I can honestly say that my motivation for being a stylist now is the same as when I cared for my mother. I believe that the real beauty of this daily job is helping people heal and find the courage to face the day because they love who they are. They perhaps just needed you to remind them that they really are beautiful. When people can perceive themselves differently in a positive way because of you, that’s a very powerful and rewarding feeling.

What inspired you to go solo and start your own studio?

7U6A4558I would like to think that I recognized a demand in the world for something less superficial than what people have become accustomed to expect from the salon world. I think that people are growing tired of hype and gimmicks, and being told that they need to buy more crap because they aren’t good enough. I think people are hungry for something more authentic and wholesome. 

I also just really felt a huge motivation to create! And not just within the hair service itself. 

7U6A4541I am passionate about creating a safe space where people feel comfortable to look within. I believe that true beauty and healing comes from within, by learning to love and accept yourself, and by turning down the noise and garbage from the outside world. 

I wanted to create a wonderland of imagination and possibility, a place where people felt inspired to look at their own lives differently. 

What are your thoughts on gender and hair? 

7U6A4527I feel like contrast has been a big theme in my life. Particularly in regards to gender. I grew up in a household and a small farm town that was constantly forcing me to choose a very black and white reality. I feel like society puts enormous expectations on people to either foster their masculine OR their feminine nature. Throughout the process of discovering my own gender identity I ultimately decided … screw that! I’m tired of black and white! I suppose I have sort of made it my personal mission to show others how to bridge the gap between black and white. I believe that everyone has both a masculine and a feminine nature, and the spectrum may vary greatly person to person. I was born anatomically into a male body, but from a very young age recognized a very dominant feminine energy within me. Over time I learned to love and value both aspects of my nature, and I am so grateful that I didn’t listen to the voices of society telling me that I had to choose one or the other to be happy. This contrast that is within each of us creates a balance, a well rounded individual, and this is the culture I strive to create through hair. 

I think how we wear our hair is an expression of how we feel about ourselves.

7U6A4963We use our hair to creatively enhance different aspects of ourselves and to make us feel a certain way. I love that we are seeing a lot of cultural norms around hair being broken, bent, and shifted. I think that gender bending has become a great way to get people to think about the gray areas of life differently. 

Tell us about your experience with your own hair, which is stunningly beautiful. 

7U6A4298I really try to keep things very simple with my hair. Yes, it is long, but I find that long hair is actually much less maintenance than having short hair. I used to do all kinds of crazy things with my cut and color when I was a teenager, but have found that I prefer to keep my hair much more natural these days. There is a lot going with my style and my image as it is, so although my hair is long and well taken care of, keeping it simple is the name of the game for me. The changes I make to my hair are subtle, and I am always considering things like the health of my hair and how naturally it will grow out without a lot of fuss. 

Healthy hair is beautiful hair, there’s just no way around that one. So the more we tweak and change our minds and stress the hair out, the more we have to compensate for how we are asking our hair to perform for us. I like to imagine other’s hair (and my own) as a living, breathing plant. If you feed and water it, prune it, love it, and nurture it … it will blossom into a beautiful and fragrant climbing rose. If not, then you may be dealing with something more like a dried up cactus, or other type plants that are accustomed to trying to survive in harsh conditions.

It all comes down to the decisions we make about our hair. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, “why do I feel the need to change my hair color again? Why do I suddenly want to chop it all off? Is it an emotional reason, am I dissatisfied with something in my life and just trying to take control by making a change with my hair?” 

I know this was the case in my own hair experience as a teenager making all kinds of crazy hair choices and changes. If we always make decisions about our hair based on emotional reasons, then more than likely we will be dealing with cactus hair before too long. 

I always try and challenge people to look within before they try and micromanage what’s happening on the outside. 

What is your specialty with hair?

7U6A9764 I love texture! I work a lot with curly hair, and I really enjoy that, but I also love creating and adding texture with haircutting. I approach haircutting very much like sculpture, and adding different texture gives your work a special signature and unique feel. 

In terms of hair color,  I am a maniac for balayage! I love how free form the process is, and how the hair literally becomes your canvas. It can be bold, it can be subtle, it can be natural , it can be whatever you want it to be… its just beautiful. 

Who are your muses, inspirations?

7U6A4512My muses are a collection of all my favorite creative arenas. I am inspired by architecture and design, by music, by controversial art and art that forces us to consider things from a different perspective. I am inspired by love and relationships, by the earth, by spirituality, by philosophy, by literature, by photography. I am inspired by things that make life rich and wholesome. I am very careful, selective, and intentional about what I put in my mind. Our actions and life are a reflection of our minds. If you want a beautiful existence, then you fill your mind with beautiful and uplifting content. 

How do you think that our hair is tied in with our identity? Do you have any examples of  hair being very powerful to telling our story of who we are? Transformation?

7U6A9770My own hair story has greatly shaped me into the person I am today. However, at the end of the day, hair is just… hair. Sure, it has a huge impact on how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you, but it doesn’t *define* you. 

Growing up in the Mormon church boys were not allowed to have long hair, it directly defied their strict gender roles. I always wanted to have long hair, so as soon as I left the church in my teen years I stopped cutting my hair. It was a long painful process. And not just because I had an enormous curly mop that I had no idea what to do with, but also because I noticed that as a male (back those days anyway) people treated me quite different with long hair. Sometimes good, sometimes not. It was a real struggle for a while to figure out how to feel comfortable in the gray area, especially when most people were so *un*comfortable with me. 

Eventually I learned that my hair wasn’t the problem… *I* was the problem. Once I figured out how to be comfortable with myself, and love myself, I noticed a huge change in how other people perceived me.  

Today, I love having long hair, not as form of identity, but rather as a way to push people a little bit outside of the generalizations they make about others. I would be perfectly comfortable with myself if I shaved my head tomorrow, but I like that having long hair really allows me to push the limits a little bit. 

7U6A4878I think it’s different for everyone, but hair is funny… it’s one of the few things on our body that we have control over, so we use it to send a message to others about who or what we are. And sometimes we don’t have control over our hair situation. So sometimes the message we send to others is that “I’m doing the best with what I have, and you know what, I still love myself even though I have very little control”. Which sometimes is really the more powerful message.  

Tell us a little bit about your mission with your new salon?

7U6A4268Put quite simply… Love, respect, responsibility, sustainability. I think my actual mission statement spells it out pretty nicely. 

7U6A42357U6A4360MISSION: Urban Hair Hideaway is committed to taking innovative strides toward putting new ideas into action. Our business practices are synonymous with our life practices; acting with integrity and healing the world we live in by creating beauty wherever we go and with whomever we meet. Conversation about awareness, self improvement, and positive change is always on the tip of our tongue, and wherever possible we lead by example. From the environment we create to the services we perform, all of our actions reflect our efforts to raise the vibration of humanity and the planet.7U6A4326


When you are not doing hair, what are your other passions? 

When I’m not doing hair I really attempt to slow things down and reconnect with myself and nature by working in the yard, taking long walks with the dogs, spending time out at the cabin in the mountains, doing yoga, and just trying to pause and really observe the beautiful moments as they happen. There are so many beautiful moments when you just slow down enough to catch them. When I’m not doing hair I am always seeking knowledge and balance. 

Who/what do you feel most gratitude for?

7U6A4892I would say that who I am most grateful to are my parents, each for very different reasons, completely independent of one another. But both in their own way have been very significant teachers in very unconventional ways. My journey with each of them has taught me so much about myself; what my strengths are, and what could use some work. 7U6A5029

The thing I am most grateful for is actually my struggles. I think that struggle has a way of showing us what we’re made of, and also it can magnify the beautiful moments and make them so much more special. Sometimes our greatest struggles can also be our greatest gifts, it’s all a matter of perspective. 

Babes, we are all multi-faceted beings and the cost of trying to conform our identities against the stirrings of our souls to appeal to other peoples sensibilities is painful on a level that most of us can’t even access because it is so deep. Take a minute with that one.

But we can heal, and sharing our stories is such a part of that healing process.

Braeden, thanks for reminding us that our identity is a matter of our own unique personal self, it is a sacred thing, and it can be both firmly fixed and beautifully fluid all at the same time. We can be all of the things if we want, at different times and in different ways. We salute you big time for sharing your story with us.

xo, HTHG

HTHG Summer Hair do: The Flower Part

Hello Hello! What better way to celebrate the Summer and cool hair than with little sweet flowers along your part-line.

Why? Because. Because not all of us can do the glitter thing in real life. (my partner gets rage-y when glitter is around.) And because sometimes a part-line seems to beg for decoration.

And because floral beards and bushes have been done, braided beards and rainbow pits have been done, so the Flower Part seems like an obvious yes.

Flower Parts anyone? I’m sure feeling it. Wear yours to your next Summer Party.

How to do a Flower Part

How to do it? pick some tiny flowers, being careful not to pull their petals off. Use a small dab of sticky hair paste in little bits along your part, stick flowers to them! Done! Thank goodness. It’s really too easy, I can’t believe we haven’t been doing this forever.





Pair your Flower Part with a really strange and cool hairstyle. Get creative, get weird.

xo, HTHG

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