Kérastase artist Ashley Sandgren, a stylist at PR at Partners Salon in Gainesville, Virginia, didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in hairstyling, but now she can’t imagine anything better. The Daily caught up with this rising hair star to learn more about what makes her tick.
How long have you been working with Kérastase?
A little over three years. I started as a Kérastase ambassador in my salon, and when Kérastase started seeking audition submissions to become one of their artists, I jumped at the opportunity.
Tell us more!
Each year, Kérastase invites top hairdressers working within their network of salons to apply to become official Kérastase artists, which means you can educate on behalf of the brand and serve as an overarching brand advocate. I submitted a video of myself speaking on camera and creating an updo, and they chose from there.
How did you get your start in this industry?
My mother was a hairstylist, but I never thought I’d follow in her footsteps. I’m a Marine military brat, and when I was in high school I wanted to go to Virginia Tech through the Corps of Cadets, graduate as an officer in the Air Force, become a fighter pilot and fly stealth planes, and then go on to work for NASA. There’s just one problem. I have horrible eyesight—Lasik is definitely in my future. Oh, and I’m not great at physics. Both are necessities, if you want to do that kind of work. So, instead, I went to community college, not knowing what I wanted to major in, and a friend helped me get a job as a shampoo assistant where she worked. My first staff meeting was at their brand-new design academy. The second I walked through the doors I had this overwhelming sensation that this was where I needed to be. That was more than 13 years ago—I wouldn’t change it for anything. I get to make people feel great about the way they look just by playing with their hair. It’s quite an amazing feeling.
Is that your favorite part of the job?
Absolutely. I love making people feel great about how they look and getting to be a part of my clients’ lives. I see them go through challenges, successes, relationships, and kids. That is honestly the best feeling. As for actual skills that are my favorite? I absolutely love formal styling—bridal, prom, updos.
What’s your proudest professional moment so far?
Being asked to educate at Kérastase’s annual training this year. Kérastase launched an Ambassador program, and I was given the opportunity to teach our Ambassador trainers, alongside phenomenal artists.
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Fortifying the fiber and increasing hair resilience day after day Genesis will become your new partner to fight hair-fall. 🎥: our muse @emrata shot by @louisdecaunes . . . *Genesis product assortment, ingredients and benefits are different in the U.S. 🇺🇸. Visit Kerastase-USA.com for more info. #Kerastase #NeverFall #KerastaseGenesis #HairCare #Pic
Have you started using the new Genesis collection yet?
I got to start testing it out before it launched and have been so impressed. It smells amazing. The fragrance lasts throughout the day, and I’m always getting compliments on how my hair smells. I see so much less hair in my brush, and overall my hair is so much stronger, softer, shinier, and less tangled. I shared it with a few clients, and they were instantly obsessed and made me promise to text them the second it comes out.
The Genesis collection was created to combat hair fall. What is hair fall? Is it something you see a lot of?
There are actually two types of hair fall. The first type is biological, and caused by things like genetics or medical conditions. The second type is when your hair is literally breaking off, often due to factors like brushing, excessive heat, and over-styling. I see so much of both in the salon, especially breakage from brushing. It’s great to have something really combating that specific issue.
What’s your favorite product from the new line?
The Serum Fortifiant is definitely the star of this launch. It’s so easy to add to your daily routine. Massage it into your scalp once a day, and it helps strengthen the hair fiber and prevent hair fall due to breakage from brushing. It’s not a styling product, so it doesn’t weigh down the hair or leave it feeling oily.
What’s the biggest mistake people make with hair?
That’s a tough one. Every person and type of hair is different. But I’d say probably the biggest mistake is thinking those at-home bleach kits are a good idea. It most certainly is not a good idea, no matter what anyone on YouTube or some beauty forum tells you.
Are any at-home treatments actually worth doing?
Masques are wonderful. For example, Kérastase masques are super concentrated versions of their Fondants. I also love Homelab; it’s their take-home Fusio-dose treatment regimen. It’s super customized.
What is your biggest haircare or styling pet peeve?
Using a hot tool or blow-drying the hair without heat protection. It’s literally like sunscreen. Not in the sense that it has SPF, but in the sense that you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) go laying out in the sun all day without sunscreen because you’d fry! It’s basically the same concept with your hair. If you don’t have proper heat protection on your hair, you’re just going to do damage.
How many times should you wash your hair weekly?
It depends on your lifestyle. If you go to the gym regularly and sweat often, you’ll need to wash your hair more than someone who doesn’t sweat so much. Also, someone who has overproductive sebaceous glands, may need to wash their hair more frequently.
If you could get your hands on any celeb’s strands…
I’d love to do Helen Mirren’s hair. She’s stunning. Or maybe Blake Lively. I feel like she’d be super cool to talk to—although, if the opportunity presented itself, I think I’d probably lose the ability to speak.
How do you feel about bangs?
It depends on the shape of your face. Just be patient when the time comes that you get tired of them and want to grow them out. It’s truly a labor of love.
Any trends that you expect will be big in 2020?
I feel like softer “melty” color is here to stay. As well as vivid hues. The Pantone color of 2020 is a beautiful blue, so I’d expect to see that shade more in hair.
Are there any throwback trends you hope get resurrected?
Victory rolls! I’m a sucker for pin-up hair.
What about trends that ought to stay firmly in the past?
I pray early 2000s chunky highlights never return.
What’s your worst hair faux pas?
Mall bangs! The kind that come from the top of your head and covered your forehead. Mine looked like a sausage roll. I had to use so much hairspray to get them to stay in place. But the hairspray gave me acne on my forehead, so I would use even more to ensure they didn’t move and my acne stayed hidden, which would cause even worse acne. I was in middle school and didn’t know any better, until a friend of mine said, “You know, if you’d grow out your bangs, your acne would clear up.” I was mortified she knew about the secret acne under my bangs. Luckily, we were close.
What’s your ultimate coif advice?
Your hair is an investment, so take measures to protect it. Use the Kérastase products your stylist prescribes for at-home care. Your hair is the only accessory you can’t take off if you don’t like it, so take care of it.
No Stress Tresses: Kérastase’ New Genesis Line
Tired of seeing copious amounts of hair on your brush? Kérastase has the answer! Their new Genesis line is the first dual-action, fortifying haircare collection specifically designed to prevent hair fall due to breakage from brushing and overstyling.
“It’s normal for people to lose anywhere from 50 to 200 hairs a day,” explains dermatologist Dr. Laura Scott, who participated in the development of the new product range. “Because all our individual hairs are going through their life cycle at different stages, hair falls from random areas around the scalp. If hair falls more than the usual daily amount, becomes focused in a pattern or discrete area, or results from significant breakage of the shaft, that is abnormal and something to be addressed.”
Genesis features a potent formula complex with personalized in-salon and at-home protocols to cut down on hair fall due to breakage from brushing instantly, as well as over time with continued use. It also smells absolutely heavenly, thanks to top notes of bergamot zest, cedar, and lime, blended with basil, rose, vetiver, musk, and tonka beans.
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