At the impressionable age of seven, when most children declare with confidence that they will grow up to be an astronaut, a president or a ballerina, Kylee Heath was proudly claiming hairstylist as her destined profession. The proof is in written in the decades-old Dr. Suess classic My Book About Me, where kids are encouraged to spill fun facts about their appearances, favorite activities and future hopes and dreams. “Styling was always in my blood,” said Kylee, who now has a client list of Academy Award winners and red carpet staples like Reese Witherspoon, Rashida Jones and Kristen Stewart. “I just want to help keep these ladies gorgeous and smiling.”
In fact, this month’s Town & Country features a draped-in-Dior Nicole Kidman looking the epitome of sophistication and beauty thanks, in part, to Kylee. With an arsenal of Oribe products on hand, Kylee created the high-bun look that made the first Town & Country cover of 2017 (for a complete step-by-step, see below).
Kylee is a long way from Santa Cruz and the hippie, little beach town where she penned her certain career path at a very young age. Her big break came from an assisting position at The Wall Group, which plucked her out of the salon world. “It’s just been a whirlwind from there,” she said. But the game-changer that took her from highly sought-after helper to leading lady behind the scenes was when she got the opportunity to work with ogle-worthy Sofia Vergara. “It changed my life and my career forever.”
Years later it’s clear that she is one of the lucky few successfully living out her childhood aspiration as she chats with us about her impressive career highlights and how she uses Oribe to stay on top of the styling world.
Get the Look:
- Spray Foundation Mist on damp hair from roots to ends and blow dry, directing the hair back and up so it easily goes into a high bun.
- Create a ponytail (in sections) for a strong foundation. Make a five-inch circle section at the top of the head where the bun will be and leave the back, sides and front sections down. Pull the center section into a tight pony on top of the head.
- Add the back section into the ponytail and secure it to the middle. Then add the sides and front section and secure so they all join as one.
- Spray Superfine Strong Hair Spray into hands and lightly smooth the hair all around the face, pulling back towards the ponytail for sleekness.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to comb the hair back and spray again.
- Break the ponytail into three sections. Lightly tease the first section, wrap it around the base of the ponytail and pin it into place. Wrap the second section in the opposite direction and pin in place. Wrap the last section around and pin. Give the hair a final spray with Superfine Hair Spray for shine and hold.
When you wrote “hairstylist,” in the Dr. Seuss’ “My Book About Me,” did you ever imagine that you would be where you are today?
I had no idea. I just loved the idea of making people feel beautiful. I always think ‘if my 10- or 16-year-old self could see what I am doing now, she would freak out.’ It puts things into perspective when I think of it that way.
Did you always know you wanted to work with A-list clientele?
Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, I had no clue that celebrity stylists existed. I knew I wanted to be in Southern California where there was more opportunity, and I also knew I wanted to do editorial styling. At the time, celebrity work seemed out of reach so it wasn’t my priority.
Tell us about a few career highlights.
Some of my career highlights have to be styling commercials for CoverGirl and Head & Shoulders, campaigns with Sofía Vergara and doing award season with Rosamund Pike.
How did you grow your Instagram following to an audience of almost 26k?
It’s funny when I think about the fact that almost 26k people are interested in what I’m doing. It makes me laugh and it makes me proud. I think my followers mostly come from clients giving me shout outs and tagging me.
What is one hairstyle that will always stand the test of time?
Braids—No matter what shape or form they take, they will always be around.
What was the most challenging project you ever worked on? Why does it stick out as such?
When I went to the Cannes Film Festival in 2013, I landed but my hair kit did not arrive for another 36 hours. It was my first time in Europe, and I was going from the airport right to work. That was one of the more stressful things I have gone through. In the end it all worked out, and I learned a big lesson—always travel with at least one blow dryer, one iron, one comb, one brush and pins in my carry on.
What is one beauty tip that should become a ritual to everyone?
I think by now everyone knows about coconut oil. I put it in my hair and on my face; I use it to oil pull (swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes to draw toxins out of the body); and I cook with it.
Also, don’t be afraid to wash your hair every other day, but be sure to wash your face at least once a day.
What are your Oribe favorites and how do you use them?
Maximista Thickening Spray: I like to prep my clients’ hair with some sort of foundation or thickening spray, and this one is a staple when I want volume, which is most of the time.
Dry Texturizing Spray: I use this all the time to get the perfect beach hair or undone waves.
AirStyle Flexible Finish Cream: I love using this to smooth frizz and add texture to a short cut or throughout the ends.
Superfine Hair Spray: I use this to add texture and polish off a look.
Glaze for Beautiful Color: I use this at home and love it! It smells live heaven and leaves my hair feeling silky.
If you could only have one Oribe product in your kit what would it be?
It would be Superfine Hair Spray because it is workable and can be layered for a sleeker look.
What is your everyday hair routine?
I let my hair be free and never wash it right before bed. I usually sleep in a braid, and if I wake up and don't want to wash it, I brush out the underneath where it gets matted and use a tiny bit of dry shampoo on the top. Occasionally, I’ll use a salt spray to give it a little more texture.
What are some words or advise that you live by?
Trust the process and be kind. When I overanalyze (and get grumpy) things start to go south. I try to put what I want out there and trust that it will fall the way it’s meant to fall.
If someone has five minutes to style their hair in the morning, what should they do to look as polished and put together as possible?
If you want to look polished but you’re in a time crunch, just dampen the top of your hair and comb it back into your favorite sleek style. I suggest a middle part with a low ponytail, sleek low bun or high ponytail/bun.
Who is your role model?
This is a hard one because I look up to so many people, but I’m going with Oprah. She is a badass who created an empire and inspires women of all ages.
Who is your dream client?
Blake Lively. She has the most beautiful hair and always looks stunning.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Pinterest, magazines, and most often, my own head. Sometimes I just play and end up somewhere interesting.
Hair trend that you are most excited to see resurface?