This week Iles Formula Hair Talk welcomes Jehnna Foster from Kennaland Studio in Brooklyn, New York City.
Check out all hair works by Jehnna on her IG @jehnnafoster
Have a look at Kennaland and make an appointment.
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
Well, given the global pandemic, I think the new biggest challenge is to find a way to work safely. I believe as hairstylists, we are already very clean and sanitary because of the rules of hygiene that we are required to follow. Now, we have to learn how to take these measures even further, so that not only we feel safe returning to work, but also for our clients that are coming to see us.
I get a sense of community from all this though. We are all learning to navigate our new normal together and sharing how to safely return to work. It's empowering, to see hairstylists come together while apart like this.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Making people feel beautiful and more confident! As a hairstylist, I wear many hats. Indeed, I work both behind the chair and on house calls as a stylist and colorist, so helping my clients feel like their most radiant selves is everything to me. I especially enjoy styling hair on set and photoshoots, collaborating with the creatives, and coming up with a beautiful vision of hair.
When the model loves her/his look(s), it really comes through on camera, helping them step into their character is very special to me.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this line of work?
I very much chose hairstyling as a career! I remember being a junior or senior in high school, sitting under the dryer at my childhood salon, processing a full head of highlights. I was reading some magazine Glamour, Elle or Cosmo when I stumbled onto an article about how if you were unhappy or unsatisfied with your career you should consider turning your “hobby” into your career.
I grew up in rural Wyoming, and was always competing in horse shows and FFA (Future Farmers of America) speaking events. Usually for these, I was styling my own hair, my horse’s obviously, and I was also doing a lot of my friends’ hair! At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, what college to attend, what to study… but a light bulb went on when I read that article: doing hair is a career!
I ran my eyes around the salon, thought about women I had long looked up to, and thought I needed to seriously consider this path . I then flipped to the fashion editorial of that magazine and found on the last page the credits with the mention of “hair by ***”.
I dreamt of my name being there. I was enrolled in the local beauty school soon after that. I have not looked back since.
Being a hairstylist is not an “easy” career. It involves working long hours, standing all day, dealing with the public and customer service and, having to constantly learn and refine your craft. However, all these are also the reasons for which I am so passionate about it. If it did not challenge or excite me it would be time to move on.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
Interior designer or florist 100%! Balance, color, shadows, light, design… are all things that excite me. I have always been drawn to beautiful interiors, architecture, and well the furniture, flowers, and plants filling those spaces. Plus, I always find very satisfying any opportunity to build a floral headpiece or weave flowers into the hairstyle I am doing.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
I am a Taurus, so I would say loyalty on the personnal level. It's a quality I am forever grateful for.
Professionally, I would divide this in two parts because of my different hats, colorist and stylist.
As a colorist, hair painting/ highlights, is just my jam. It is like meditation for me. I get lost in creating those lights and shadows. As a stylist, I would say my blowouts and overall styling are my strenghts.
I also learned something very early on in my career, that has changed my life forever. You can give someone the most beautiful color, cut, and/or blowout of their life, but if they cannot go home and recreate it themselves they will never appreciate it as they should.
Everyone that sits in my chair I work with, to teach them how to style and care for their hair. They've just invested a lot of money into their look, so knowing how to properly blow it out and care for it are the long terms perks for that investment.
Plus, it helps build trust, loyalty and referrals. In doing so you’ll never have to “sell” a product. Instead, you are simply giving them the what, the why and the how, the rest just happens naturally.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
Hands! Never underestimate their power and what you can accomplish with those hands. I love using paddle brushes, particularly my Mason Pearson and the S Heart S brush which is also amazing. Daily, I always recommend using a large paddle brush.
Although I first resisted it because of the price point, look and getting use to, I would also say the Dyson Blow Dryer. I got hooked after using it for a whole season during Fashion Week. I will say this though: there are plenty of other great professional blow dryers out there with realistic price points, the quality of your blowout is largely due to your technique of using a dryer.
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How did you discover us and which formula is your favorite?
I was introduced to Iles Formula when I started working with Kenna Kennor of Kennaland Hair a couple years ago. He told me the first day we met how I would love it. Well Kenna you were right! What more could a minimalistic, plant-based, multitasking hairstylist ask for!
For half of my career now, I have been moving away from the huge hair care companies, there millions of products that really you only use and sell a small handful of anyway.
Iles Formula just works on a vast range of different hair textures and types. It's user friendly in that there is one shampoo, one conditioner, two styling options (Curl Revive and Finishing Serum) and a mask, leaving no room for confusion or over complicating hair care. Plus, it just simply performs on set and behind the chair!
I don't know if I have a favorite. However, I can hardly imagine my life without the Finishing Serum, it is truly one of a kind.
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?
Nothing really specific other than reliving every color correction I have ever done. Or, anytime I have been stuck on set and the creative team wants the hair to be one way, the brand wants the hair another, and the poor model has two hairs on her head and you then glue in 3000 extensions to finally go back to a ponytail!
Honestly it's during challenging moments that we grow the most. Even when I am faced with some crazy color correction, a difficult day on set or a difficult client, I come back to the basics and my mindfulness practice. Every problem has a solution.
Remain calm, take a step back, a deep breath, break it down, keep it simple, you got this! And, if you are truly stuck, stay humble and ask for help. Again, you will grow from this.
While I believe in “faking until you make it”, I also believe in asking for help and learning from others' experiences to grow.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…. privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
Beauty school!!! It was during the early 2000’s,when all the hair styles were super stripy, chunky, color blocked, and with crazy disconnected cuts. I even had a chunk of my own hair burnt off by a fellow student. It just wasn’t a cute moment for me both personally and professionally.
Another moment that haunts me, happened during a cover shoot while I was living in Dubai. The model had a snatched up high ponytail that I had nailed (of course!) and it was a very windy day, but I was cautious to keep it looking perfect. I went away from the shoot feeling happy.
The editor was happy, the photographer was happy, all was well. When I finally saw the actual cover and the shot chosen, I wanted to crawl under a rock.
There was a crazy hair piece in the tail that look completely out of place, especially against the bright blue sky. I wondered why they didn't photoshop that one strand out. It seriously drove me nuts. However, I believe it bothered me more than anyone else because I had already worked with that publication many times, and continued to work with them.
Let’s just say I became a little more weary about keeping an eye on the hair while the camera is flashing.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
This is a hard one, because the ones that I would want to style or color, I either have been lucky enough to work with in the past already, or at least have been involved in assisting with their hair.
I will say this though: I believe in putting not only my work out there, but also creating a whole aesthetic which combines my work, my personality, and what lights me up. I want to share my sparkle. I believe those that I want to work with will come to me. There is a lot of power in manifesting your dream clientele no matter where you are in your career.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
Currently, I am most inspired by design/architecture, florals and shadows (also nature). Light ultimately creates a story and lighting is everything. So the way the sunset reflects off the windows of highrises in the city, or the way a tree's leaves are gently blowing in the wind and casts its shadows and shows streams of light… I find magic there. It feeds my soul and inspires me both personally and professionally.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Be curious. Find what lights you up. Do not be afraid if and when changes happens. Learn from your mistakes and always stay humble. Trust your own path, no two careers look alike.
Seek a mentor, someone you maybe aspire to be like, or you admire for the way they work/what they are working on. I have had several mentors at different stages in my career, and I know there will be more in the future. Each has helped me grow professionally, grow personally, and I have learned valuable and lasting lessons from them.
And, should they read this, I take this opportunity to say thank you!
What do you want to do ?