If Toronto has a modern-day Linda Evangelista, it would have to be the always stunning Ashley Brown. She might be able to rock every hair colour under the sun like it’s her natural tone, and she’s definitely tall enough to be a high-fashion model, but the 23-year-old hairstylist has made a career out of making other people look their most beautiful. Based at Cheveux by Darren Kwik on Queen West, which just recently expanded its location on the ground-floor of the trendy Chocolate Lofts, Brown has been Kwik’s right-hand stylist since she started her career just a few years ago. We caught up with Brown before Cheveux’s new location grand-opening private party, taking place this Nuit Blanche weekend…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m a 23-year-old hairstylist working in a trendy boutique studio called Cheveux. I grew up in Mississauga and never really belonged there… I needed to be in the city so I could really show my creativity. What better place then the art and design district?! I grew up wanting to be an environmental technician, but after the first day of training in a hair salon, I knew this was what I needed to pursue. It wasn’t just because I was picking up the trade quickly; it was more about the feeling I’d get making another human being happy and doing something that changed some people’s lives. I live my life around positive energy. I don’t think anyone can afford to have negative thoughts! I love my community and love every single person that sits in my chair! My goal is to listen carefully, cut wisely, and make sure every single person feels as amazing when he or she is walking out of the studio!
What hair trends are you currently obsessed with?
At the moment I’m obsessed with tape hair extensions! They really have come a long way with extensions… We no longer need to apply heat, glue, and beads that tangle and damage hair. (Yet some people still do.) I love giving my clients the long, thick, luscious hair they love in just an hour!
How would you describe your personal style and how does it reflect the way you style your own hair?
My style at the moment is comfortable but stylish. I need to feel comfortable with myself first — that way all my attention is on my client instead of constantly pulling my skirt down. When I say the word “comfy,” I don’t mean track pants and runners; I just mean I need to be able move around without a fashion crisis.
Cheveux just moved next door to a bigger location. What makes the new space so special and why the big move?
The new salon is AMAZING! We have created a salon that makes our clients feel as comfortable as possible. We are a team! And I’m not just saying that; we actually are. We all love each other and teach and learn from one another. Our salon has a bar, a chill zone, and our chairs are designed to make the client as comfortable as possible — again, positive energy!
You are like Toronto’s Linda Evangelista — you can dye your hair all sorts of colours, and it always looks amazing. What’s the key to caring for your hair when you colour it so often?
The key to keeping you hair from falling off your head when styled and coloured so much is just to remember the two things your hair is made of: moisture and protein. When you put heat to your hair, you take the moisture away. Then, when you colour your hair lighter, you’re pulling out the protein. Always remember to feed your hair back what you take away from it. Don’t be afraid to use product. Just remember to clarify your hair when you get a build up.
What’s always in your beauty bag?
My beauty bag is filled with all-organic, vegan Onesta products! I’m in love! They really prove that you can get professional salon results with organic ingredients.