Interview

Arrojo Master Stylist Hilary Bilstad

We sat down with the Cheyenne, Wyoming, native to learn about some of NYC’s gems, the best hair care, and how changing your hair can change your life.

In NYC, there are only a few top tier salons truly revered for edgy, sleek hair styling, and Nick Arrojo’s salon, Arrojo, is one of them. Becoming a master stylist at any of their three locations requires rigorous training, natural talent and, perhaps most importantly, that certain charm that makes savvy NYC clients comfortable and satisfied. Sparky redhead Hilary Bilstad wears the title with ease, having moved up the Arrojo ranks to become not only one of the most popular master stylists (She’s often booked to the seams: Call in advance) but also an educator within the company.
Hilary’s expertise extends beyond just hair, however. Having lived in the City for years, she’s become an aficionado of where to go for the best cocktails, what to do when you need to breathe easy and how to make a look pop in just the right way.

Beauty and Well Being sat down with the Cheyenne, Wyoming, native to learn about some of NYC’s gems, the best hair care, and how changing your hair can change your life.

BWB: How is cutting your hair more than just a beauty booster?

Your hair is a huge part of who you are, every day. It shows your personality, and you can express yourself and your creativity through your hair. I always say, when you cut your hair off and make that big change, it’s like cutting off your past and starting anew.

BWB: How do you find the right stylist in a new place?

First, it’s always important to see the background education of your stylist. In many places outside of NYC, you can go to school and then get straight on the floor. But, in reality, you don’t truly learn how to cut hair in school. You need that further education working your way up and continuing to learn. If you’re stuck, your previous hair stylist can recommend someone. At Arrojo, we’re connected with ambassador salons. They’re places we endorse that also sell our products. Use your connections to your advantage.

If you can cut hair well and know your craft, you should be able to cut all types: men’s, straight, short, all types and textures.

BWB: What’s an aspect of a salon that would be a red flag for you?

I’m not into the idea of a specialty salon where they focus on one type of hair, like curly hair, for example. If you can cut hair well and know your craft, you should be able to cut all types: men’s, straight, short, all types and textures. That’s proven to me every day when I have clients coming in saying they went to a specialty salon, they came out unhappy and are much more pleased at Arrojo. Gimmicks aren’t helpful in hair.

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BWB: What are easy ways to make big changes in your hair?

For long hair, add layers for movement, or a fringe (bang) in a non-drastic cut. Or, ask the stylist to change the tool, perhaps from a scissor to a razor to add texture and more seamless lines. For men, switching tools makes a big difference too, or take the sides shorter—or even grow your hair out!

BWB: What are the biggest mistakes clients make in hair styling?

Many times the fringe (bangs) is cut incorrectly. The stylist usually hasn’t taken enough hair for the area, or they haven’t created enough movement. For example, with a side bang, it can be cut in a way where it just falls in the face unfortunately. It needs to be layered to move out of the face nicely. Removing a bit of weight helps it do so. Other things to look out for are messy placement of layering and an unevenness of cut.

BWB: What are hair trends you wish would go away and which ones do you love?

The twisty blowout long bob should go far away! It’s so boring! Every celebrity probably wore it at one point and has been copied endlessly, so it’s not unique. On the flip side, I love the textured hair that’s trending, as well as the strong, shorter haircuts, like bowl cuts or even the mullets I’m seeing on runways. I like that they’re something different and creative, and you can express yourself boldly that way.

I’d suggest the Arrojo products here because they’re really easy to use: It’s all explained on the bottle. There’s no “figuring it out.” And, I consider them “cocktail” products: You can mix and match.

BWB: What’s one look you think more people should try?

I wish more people tried the extreme of really straight hair. To create the look:
Use a thermal protector product like Arrojo Protective Thickening Lotion or Arrojo Shine Luxe Oil to protect and smooth the hair while the hair. Blow dry your hair as straight as you can get with the Arrojo Styling Brush. Then use the Arrojo Flat-Iron to push it to the extreme. I’d suggest the Arrojo products here because they’re really easy to use: It’s all explained on the bottle. There’s no “figuring it out.” And, I consider them “cocktail” products: You can mix and match.

Never sleep with your hair in a ponytail! Also, try satin pillowcases for extra hair health.

BWB: What are your tips for keeping your hair healthy through tough workouts and daily wear-and-tear?

Even if you have your hair in a ponytail to work out, take it out after to avoid ripping. Or put it in a braid so it’s not so tight. Then, use a product like the Arrojo Hair Repair Masque at night to keep the proteins in your hair strong.
Never sleep with your hair in a ponytail! Also, try satin pillowcases for extra hair health.

BWB: Can you give us some of your favorites?

Your favorite peaceful activities… Visiting the Whitney Museum of American Art, Walking on the High Line (enter at Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District), and Enjoying a cocktail at my local bar, MeKong.
Your favorite cocktail bars… Boom Boom Room, The Folly, and The Marlton Hotel.
Your favorite restaurants… My top three restaurants include Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen, and Raoul’s (180 Prince Street), Lupa.
Your favorite makeup products… My favorite products for extra pop are Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Arrojo Wave Mist, and Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

Lauren Kay

Lauren Kay is a New York City-based writer, editor and communications specialist, and she has worked for platforms including Time Out New York, Backstage, ELLE.com, Dance Magazine, Pointe, Make-Up Artist Magazine, and TDF.org’s online magazine, Stages. Additionally, she founded Kay-Communications.com in 2015, crafting corporate and creative materials for a variety of clients, from film producers to entrepreneurs. Lauren is also a NASM certified personal trainer, Xtend Barre instructor, Reiki practitioner and musical theater performer.

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