If you’re after a cookie-cutter look, don’t call Rubi Jones. The NYC-based hairstylist’s creative, artistic eye has taken her from stints at the city’s best salons (Bumble and Bumble, Whittemore House) to editorial shoots and runway styling for Opening Ceremony, Badgley Mischka and even Alexander McQueen.
But it was her book, “The Art of Hair,” that first caught our attention. Unlike most beauty how-to manuals, Jones’ tome features models with diverse hair types and hairstyle ideas that are realistic and approachable—with a little bit of edge. That led us to Vanity, the gorgeous ‘90’s-style indie beauty zine she created with a group of artist friends.
Both are visual representation of Jones’s unique approach to beauty. So, of course, we had to find out more about the woman who creates such pretty hairstyles infused with a punk-rock attitude.
How would you describe your personal taste when it comes to hair and hair styling?
It’s definitely something along the lines of "embrace your texture." I spent years fighting my natural hair texture and know so many women who do the same. I encourage and gravitate towards individuals who embrace their natural hair and then evolve their look from that point forward.
We love the simplicity and directness of "The Art of Hair." Will you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to create it and how you wanted it to be different from other beauty books/magazine stories out there?
Thank you! I'm so glad the simplicity and directness comes through to the reader. I wanted to create something that anyone could use for everyday styling as well as something you could turn to when looking to try something new either for a night out or just for fun. My book is different from everything else out there because it is the only hair book that shows tutorials on a diverse group of models. Everyone doesn't have thick, straight, blonde hair, so I made it a point to shoot the tutorials on as many different hair types as I could.
The book is full of lovely and creative styling ideas, from simple braids to more complicated updos. But you advise that no matter what style you're planning for the day, it's best to start with a "pre-dry," which is essentially lifting and directing towel-dried hair with your hands while using a hair-dryer (rather than tugging at hair with a brush). Will you explain what that is and why it's important?
A pre-dry is almost like when people flip their heads upside down to blow-dry their hair. The difference is that flipping your head upside down is a sure way to get frizz. When you pre-dry your hair the way I explain in my book, you're drying your hair almost all the way without using a brush and using your hands to smooth it at the same time, which ends up significantly cutting down styling time.
When it comes to drying hair quickly and with the least amount of damage, are there other tips that you find are incredibly effective?
As you mention with your products, your hair is the most vulnerable when wet. So if you're a fan of a round brush or flat brush blowout then a pre-dry really cuts down on damage significantly because you're not using tension from the brush until your hair is almost dry and therefore not as weak. I also am a huge fan of good styling products.
Are there other big "don'ts" when it comes to preventing damage that you wish more clients knew about?
A big one for me is: Don't skimp on a hairstylist and don't skimp on shampoo and conditioner. Your hair gets rejuvenated every time you cut and color it as well as when you wash and condition it at home, so use the best products you can afford and find the best stylist you can afford as well.
You also produced an indie beauty magazine, Vanity, which is incredible. What was the impetus behind that project?
I started my zine at a time when I was aching for a tangible creative outlet. At that time, the Internet felt quite overwhelming to me and I felt like I needed a break from it so I decided to make a ‘90s-style journal to share with others. I'm really happy with it and so excited to do another issue when I feel the time is right. That's the best thing about it: there is no client, no timeline. I can do it whenever I want and however I want to.
And last but not least, we'd love to know about your own hair routine. What's your typical approach to styling your hair and are there products or tools you can't live without?
I'm pretty low maintenance — I wash my hair whenever it feels dirty, which varies between every 2 to 8 days. Other than that, I use a styling cream for moisture and let it air dry. I also use a vitamin water to refresh my curls in between washes.
Images courtesy Rubi Jones and “The Art of Hair”