At EISS, we’re excited to shine our Stylist Spotlight on Ashley Romanowski (@hairbyashleyr), Stylist at Poppy Salon in Durham, North Carolina
What’s your favorite product from EISS?
How do I choose just one when I love them all?!?! The Moroccanoil treatment
and Dry Texture Spray
are tied in my book! I LOVE the MOT because it works for literally any client's hair and texture. The moisture and shine is unlike any other product I’ve used. I love dry texture spray as well because it's like the icing on the cake, that last finishing touch that can elevate any look.
What new skills would you like to learn?
I’m wanting to dive deeper into some new, trendy haircuts! I really enjoy all the color and balayage classes out there however I’m ready to complete my guests look with some fun, exciting haircuts.
Who’s your biggest mentor?
My biggest mentor is Shannon Atkinson. She is the owner of Poppy Salon and has quite literally changed my life. When I first started working for the salon company I was happy to come in, slay some hair and leave but she saw something in me that I didn’t quite see in myself. In 1 year she helped me raise my credit score over 100 points, budget to pay off debt and has trained and promoted me to salon manager and salon educator. I wouldn’t be the person, leader or stylist I am today without her!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find most of my inspiration through nature! I love being outdoors and when I see a color combination I love, I snap a pic and save it for a future color client. Anything from bugs, birds, leaves, the sun rise and set, clouds, flowers, I love it all!
What's the most rewarding part about being a stylist?
The big reveal at the end of a service and the guest relationships!
I LOVE big transformations whether it's a big color change or a drastic haircut length, seeing my guests face when they see the end result is why I do what I do! Ten years in and I’m so grateful to be in an industry that allows us to truly get to know the guests we service. Through the years we have experienced so many good and bad things together, getting engaged, married, having children, buying houses, divorces, sickness etc. I'm thankful they trust me to not only give them beautiful hair and a great guest experience but also open up to me to get to know them on a deeper level!
What's your favorite cutting or coloring technique?
Teasylights are my go to! I focus primarily on Blonding and Vivids and I’ve developed a technique (infusing techniques from all of the highlight classes I’ve taken) using teasylights to give the clients the brightness and dimension they're looking for without the high maintenance and upkeep.
My favorite cutting technique is actually a weight removal technique I use on my thicker hair guests. It looks scary to the guest but the results speak for themselves. I take a diagonal thinner than a baby light section and cut it off directly at the scalp. I do several sections around the head focusing away from the part and hairline and in those denser areas of the hair. It grows out flawlessly and gives the client an all over lighter feel.
What about your favorite styling technique?
My go to styling technique is soft beach waves using my Moroccanoil flat iron
, perfect defense and last but not least, dry texture spray!!
How do your clients feel about that?
99% of my clients love for me to beach wave their hair! Most of the pictures/reels I post on social media include beach waves for the styling, my clients enjoy it because they look and feel like the IG models! At this point they have come to expect it and truly look forward to it at each visit!
What is a word of advice that you have for new stylists?
Find a salon with an associate program! I started off in the industry just being thrown out onto the floor and I was not prepared. I messed up more hair than I'd like to admit in the first year. If I had an associate program or mentor at that time I can’t imagine how different my journey would have been. We all know you learn the basics in school so finding a salon and mentor to fill in the gaps can be a game changer!
Also, start an IRA or 401K NOW!! Our industry doesn’t receive benefits as most so investing in your future is key. I LOVE my career but I'd also love to actually retire and not work until I’m 90.
How do you like to spend your days off?
I have a 7 year old daughter who keeps me busy but when I do get time off I enjoy listening to true crime podcasts, taking my dog Nyla on hikes, going to the beach or pool and traveling! I just want to show my daughter the world!
Favorite pick-me-up in the middle of a busy salon day?
Iced Caramel Macchiato with blonde espresso. Everyone who knows me knows I’m addicted to Starbucks and I’m not ashamed!