Celebrity Hairstylist Ashanti Lation Talks Normani’s Met Gala Hairstyles, and More!

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Ashanti Lation is the woman behind the healthy haircut of all our favorite celebrities. From Winnie Harlow to Latto and Normani, Lation is responsible for creating all the flawless to-dos that stand out everywhere. From high fashion editorials to dazzling award shows and performances, to the Met Gala red carpet!

Lation has always been passionate about beauty and hair care. She started her hairstyling journey in fourth grade and officially started taking on clients at age 15. Today, the New Orleans native is the proud owner of VIP Lux Salon & Hair Boutique. She has her own line of hair care products, VIP Luxury Hair Care, which turns the head of anyone who uses it.

Read as Lation shares what inspired her to launch her own salon and hair care line. Also, what to look for when finding a personal beautician and natural hair care tips. She also talks about the exclusive details behind Normani’s Met Gala look!

Jadriena Solomon: A very significant experience that forever shaped your relationship with hair care was when one of your cosmetology teachers gave you a super perm and you suffered from a scalp infection because that you had an allergic reaction. This required you to receive steroid injections into your scalp to regrow your hair. Can you tell us more about the lasting impact this experience has had on you?

Ashanti Nation: It definitely made me even more selective with who I let my hair touch. Mentally I faced depression for some time after the experience and physically the incident damaged my hair follicles for years. Looking back on it now, I can say it was something that had to happen for me to become who I am today. Kind of like my superhero origin story. It was from this experience that I drew my strength and finally developed my hair superpower. But this is a newer level of understanding. I was very angry about this for years. Fortunately, I never met her during this healing period. I would have been bad.

JS: How were you able to use this traumatic experience to your advantage in your career as a hair guru and celebrity stylist?

AL: The trauma of this experience taught me to recognize trauma in others, especially my clients. I’ve learned to listen to their concerns about their hair and health, instead of always assuming I know what’s best because “I’m the professional.”

It also prompted me to start researching different techniques and ingredients that promote hair growth because mine was delayed for so long and I was desperately looking for solutions. My personal brand and my business benefited because I was able to use my discoveries to grow my clients’ hair, earning my reputation as a healthy hair specialist with “growing hands.”

JS: What are some green flags women should look for when looking for an esthetician they would like to use regularly? How can they know if they have found the right person for them?

AL: The atmosphere is very important. He’s someone you’ll spend 1-4 hours of your day with on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, so you’ll want to be comfortable around him. You can get a good idea of ​​someone’s personality from their personal social media profiles. Also, do your research. Google the stylist for reviews. Some green flags would be things like punctuality, customer retention, booking and payment methods, and most importantly – photos and video.

JS: You have your own hair salon, VIP Lux Salon & Hair Boutique. As well as a hair care company called VIP Luxury Hair Care, which offers a range of products to support healthy hair and scalp. What inspired you to initially start your salon and hair care business?

AL: Well, the living room has been a natural evolution. I have always been a leader in my industry. I was the manager of the first salon I worked for when I was 19 because I always tried to behave with a certain maturity and professionalism.

Starting my hair care brand was the culmination of my experience as a stylist and my pursuit of healthy hair solutions for myself and my clients. It made sense to put my knowledge and passion into formulas that I knew could help so many people.

JS: It’s thanks to one of your products, the Gréaux drops, that you actually caught the attention of singer Normani. Was she your first celebrity client? And if so, how was this transition into the world of celebrity hairstyles?

AL: Normani is my first regular celebrity client, but before we met I had worked with a few celebrities, such as Faith Evans, Tamica Lee and Brittany Howard. I had also worked with many film and TV productions, like Southern Charm, Queen Sugar and a few others. But each opportunity prepared me for the next and ultimately for this moment I’m living in right now.

JS: Normani definitely made a statement when she graced the red carpet at this year’s Met Gala. What was the inspiration behind her hair? And can you tell us more about the style, the color, the preparation – everything that went into bringing this look to life?

AL: Yes! It was definitely a moment. Of course, this year’s Met Gala theme was called ‘Gilded Glamour’, inspired by New York’s Golden Age, so we wanted the hair to be a modern take on hair from that era. We decided to go with a rich wine hair color to create a slight contrast to the black velvet, complementing the color of the dress without distracting. We also knew early on that we wanted to go for a big hat to seal the deal, so once that was selected it was time to create the perfect hairstyle to complete the look.

For the curly bun, I first used our Silk Shot Spray and Serum to straighten Normani’s natural hair. After curling and creating that dynamic swoop in the front, I used our Elite Edge Control to coat its edges and back. From there, it was just a matter of finding creative ways to secure the hat to make sure we didn’t have any red carpet mishaps. I’ll just say there were a lot of bobby pins and hairpins involved.

JS: It was your first time styling a client for the Met Gala. As a New Orleans native, how did it feel to be in New York and go through all this experience?

AL: I’ve had so many great moments in my career, but this was definitely one of the greatest. It was a bit overwhelming applying my craft to one of the biggest social events in the world, but I pulled myself together and did my thing. I was a bit surprised by how many people in my hometown paid attention to this moment and how many congratulations I received since the event.

JS: You’ve also worked with another up-and-coming artist, Latto, who recently opened up about embracing her natural hair more and learning how to keep it healthy. What tips do you share with her for taking care of her natural hair, that you would like to share with our readers?

AL: Latto is so sweet and down to earth. I really liked working with her. Without saying too much about her hair, I will just say that I have recommended a few ways to keep her natural hair frizz-free while wearing it. I was happy to hear that she was embracing her natural hair more and I look forward to helping her achieve her hair goals in any way I can.

JS: You recently launched your healthy hair diary, an e-book full of prompts and tips, as a tool for people to track their growth, empower themselves, and reconsider certain hair habits. Between that, your fabulous line of hair products, and your salon, you’ve already accomplished so much. What’s next on your list?

AL: I just took over the hairdressing industry, one project at a time. But seriously, I’m working on a few things with my team that will definitely raise the bar, both for my personal career and for the companies and brands I’ve founded. Nothing I’m willing to give full details on, but be on the lookout for a few new products being added to the VIP luxury hair care as well as more digital products around hair health and education, and a brand new brand added to the VIP Luxury Brands range.

JS: In an interview with vogue, you shared your mantra which is “hair changes people’s lives”. And it certainly changed yours – from celebrity clients, to world travel, to attending incredible performances and events, and to the success of your business and products. What do you enjoy most about being a celebrity hairstylist?

AL: It’s funny, because for a long time I kind of shunned celebrities or the Hollywood side of the industry. But after more than a decade behind the pulpit, I began to be open to different opportunities and experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE my clients, my staff and my salon. But there are just certain levels of success and achievement where I feel like being a celebrity hairstylist will work in my favor. So finally, with an open mind and heart, I fully embrace the spotlight, exercise my faith, and am ready to rule hell!

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