2023 NAHA Master Hairstylist of the Year Allen Ruiz - Bangstyle

Behind any great work of art, there is a story. Within the fabric of hair, this story is told through color, cut and styling. Proving himself a master bringing together all of these elements, Allen Ruiz’s latest collection Lamia, earned him a 2023 NAHA as Master Hairstylist of the Year. Allen is no stranger to the NAHA’s, having won his first ever entry in 2007 for Stylist of the Year; he has entered ever since and now holds 4 NAHA titles. It’s no secret that there’s a precision to Allen Ruiz’s work that allows him to create fluid movement within a stagnant image — which might be why we’re so drawn to his creations. The latest, created on wigs features structured elements with exacting detail and a high-shine finish that’s out of this world. Hear more about Allen’s story, his collection and how he created this winning collection.

Allen Ruiz 2023 Winning NAHA Master Stylist of the Year Collection 

Tell us more about you as an artist. How did you get into hairdressing and competition work?

Hairdressing is something I always wanted to do since I was a kid. I remember watching a talk show segment with a celebrity hairdresser doing a before and after make-over. Watching that stylist so effortlessly transform their model’s appearance and seeing that immediate change in the model’s confidence and mood really appealed to me. At that moment I knew I wanted to do hair so I could make people look and feel good.

Antoinette Beenders is the person who gave me exposure to show and competition work. I was assisting her at different awards shows and in watching the presentations I’d think to myself, one day I’m going to enter. I finally entered my first NAHA competition in 2007. I ended up winning “Hair Stylist of The Year” my first time out which felt like a fluke. I’ve been entering every year since that first win and now have four NAHA titles. 

Your Master collection is absolutely stunning – can you give any insight into how these styles were created? 

All of the looks were created using wigs. We molded and shaped them into place using hairspray, large hat pins and clips. We then meticulously adorned crystals varying in size to the wigs using eyelash glue. It was definitely a time-consuming process. To sculpt the wings took approximately 3 hours each look and to affix the crystals 3-4 hours per look. 

How has your style changed over the years?

I’ve always been about creating beautiful hair. I think I definitely take more risks now than I did earlier in my career. I’ve always put craftsmanship first, but now I like to make edgier/bolder choices in photography, wardrobe and hair color.

What was the inspiration behind this collection? 

This Collection was inspired by the couture showmanship of ballroom and the moody elegance of film noir. The amount of time it took to adorn the wings with rhinestones was one of the more bespoken couture elements we spent hours on. It’s really the tiny details that make all the difference. 

What was your biggest challenge in creating this collection?

Because I constructed the wigs in Austin and shot in Minneapolis that definitely posed the biggest logistics challenge. I had to package things really carefully to ensure no damage was incurred but this was something I’ve never done before or had to account for. Thankfully my partner Heath is a packing master. Boxes, packing peanuts, bubblewrap, TLC and fingers-crossed was the winning combo in everything arriving safely and without damage! 

What does your collection say about trends or movements within the industry?

My collection was a huge play on wigs which have the ability to instantly transform someone. Wigs are being used more and more in the celebrity realm and I see consumers starting to gravitate to wigs for temporary transformation also. I think we’ll see more and more wigs being used across the board.  

Did you have any hero products when creating this collection?

Aveda Control Force was essential, we couldn’t have done it without that product. It’s a strong hold hairspray that allows you to effortlessly mold hair without it flaking or showing any residue. It helped me build and layer the shape I wanted. What I did was just spray hairspray and then use my diffuser to mold and shape and then spray it again. 

Based on your experience, what styling trends can we expect to see more of this season?

I think we’re going to continue to see more wigs and high shine. Shine never goes out of style and was a big part of my collection. I think there is going to be another big 80’s reemergence. Full on hair and make-up. More and more clients are requesting perms again. We’ll be seeing more big hair and dramatic makeup a la Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” girls and what Lady Gaga donned on the Red Carpet at The Oscars. 

When you aren’t traveling or styling hair, what do you do for fun?

I love to keep it low-key when I have a rare day off. I enjoy spending time with friends, family and my babies (French bulldogs Holli & Fin). Anything from relaxing at Town Lake, catching a movie, indulging in my favorite Mexican fix Polvos, impromptu trips with my nieces and nephews to South Padre could be on the agenda. 

Allen Ruiz at the 2023 NAHA Awards

Collection Credits:

Collection Name: Lamia

Shoot Credits:

Hair & Concept: @AllenRuizStyle

Photography: @Montyphotographic

Creative Direction @AntoinetteBeenders

Make-up @PeterPhungus

Supported by @Vwhitmarshhair @Ruiz_Salon Team

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