We met Kristen on a hot, kinda dreary day in NYC. She was working out of a salon on Bond Street called Suite 303. You walk through a vintage sunglass shop to get to it, and after we did, we were greeted with the sunniest smile from one Miss Kristen Shaw. She’s tall and relaxed in a very un-New York kinda way. We soon learned why as she told us stories of her dreamy Southern California life in Venice, Los Angeles where she lives with her boyfriend, Nick, and dog, Sadie.
Kristen is a hair stylist first and foremost, but she’s also a salon owner. Her spot is called Cabin and it’s tucked away off the trendy, much-trafficked Abbott Kinney Blvd in the heart of Venice. Kristen is known for her signature surfer, cool hair, which must be why Playa Founder Shelby Wild tapped her to become Playa’s official style ambassador. (If you missed it in our shop, Playa is the clean, no fuss line that channels total beach vibes and is getting all sorts of buzz). Oh, and did we mention Kristen has a cute letter press stationary line as well?
This is a girl after our own heart; She does what brings her joy and shines brightly because of it. We stopped by her new bungalow to get to know her, and her beauty philosophy, a little better, and so you can too:
The Moment: Hi Kristen! How are you? Where are you?
Shaw: Good morning! I’m in my house in Venice, CA, funny enough having a cup of bone broth as I type this (ha!) and I’m feeling good this morning. The weather has just started to change and the mornings are cool and I find that helps propel me into a positive, productive mindset for the day.
The Moment: How do you like living in Venice? How does it compare to New York?
Shaw: I love living in Venice, and for different reasons, love New York. Both of these places have a piece of my heart, as they took care of me and taught me so many things about myself throughout my 20’s after leaving Illinois. I moved to New York when I was 19, and my experience was inspiring and also very fast paced- between work and partying, there wasn’t much time left for anything else. I was always feeling quite curious to create more, do more, meet more inspiring people, and that eventually took me to LA. Living here in Venice, now being 30, allows me to take the time I need for the things that have grown important: nurturing Cabin and my Celebrity and fashion styling work that takes me on adventures around the world, drawing, being out in nature, and quality time with my friends while surfing, camping, exploring. That being said, my love affair with New York will be forever and that equally makes me happy to have a dose every so often.
The Moment: Venice is known for it’s iconic surfer, easy living aesthetic. It must influence your style a lot living so close to the beach. What is the inspiration you take away from living where you do?
Shaw: Style is such a cool thing, because it really can come from anywhere. I had this inspiration for style that came from my mom- a beautiful woman who loved doing her hair and being a lady in that way, but then dressed very tomboy. That balance inspired me when it came to styling hair and developing my love and language for the quintessential feeling of being a woman. Having a deep love for french style (my years in New York and on the east side of LA propelled this,) mixed with the effortless quality of the lifestyle in Venice has bred a way of seeing things that I absolutely love when it comes to beauty.
The Moment: So, you’re the definition of a serial entrepreneur – you have your salon Cabin, you make stationary called Cabin Paper, and you’re the ambassador for Playa. Tell us about all your endeavors. And have you always been like this? Doing so many things as once?
Shaw: It can seem like a lot huh?! Juggling feels very natural to me, and I can date it back to when I played multiple sports in high school (all overlapping training), while also being student body president, being in theatre + making art- I thrive (d) on ideas, and goals- coming up with something and then problem solving it is second nature for me so when it came to me finding myself freelancing as a hairstylist- I unexpectedly couldn’t have found something better to do since I often juggle many clients and jobs in a week.
As all things morph, I became curious about what would happen if I made a space that was my dream spot, with salon rules + an aesthetic I always wanted but couldn’t find and Cabin was born. Cabin is my private, 2 chair hair studio on Abbot Kinney Blvd here in Venice. I rent it out to beauty professionals that inspire me, and provide a beautiful space for them to create and take clients in. I have my favorite retail in the shop, varying from Joan Didion novels, to must have beauty products to my paper line, Cabin Paper. After drawing most of my life as a backdrop to being a hairstylist, I decided it was time to bring my illustrations to life. It’s a new quest and very exciting to watch it come to life.
The Moment: How did your partnership with Playa come about? Why is it such a perfect fit for you?
Shaw: Playa came into my life at an amazing time- as I had just closed the doors to my old shop and was in transition, figuring out my next move. Working with Shelby is a no brainer for me- Playa embodies a thoughtful, effortless essence for women near and far from the beach. While I also love my wild styling work that doesn’t have anything to do with the typical consumer, being an ambassador for a brand that is influencing our every day woman to enhance beauty she already has, is exactly the type of movement I am going to be a part of.
The Moment: Why was working with a clean hair care brand important for you?
Shaw: For every day use, a clean hair care brand is essential. I love feeling so confident about a brand like Playa, who are making such positive and revolutionary changes in our industry. For your scalp- the most gentle cleansing you can do, the better. Most shampoos strip your hair of the oil it needs to stay strong, and so Playa is a dream.
The Moment: How would you describe your signature hair styling techniques? What are you known for? What is your hair philosophy?
Shaw: From a styling standpoint for red carpet and fashion, I love to take the approach of beautiful shapes, structures, and textures- whether it’s high gloss and geometric, or airy, piece-y texture, I love finding a place with hair where all the elements marry and create something beautiful for the eye to play on.
This rolls over into how I cut hair, too, a balance within the hair that works for any style. I look for ways to cater your cut to your facial structure, to your lifestyle, to your body type and that is how I determine length, shape and the carving I’ll do.
I don’t know necessarily that I ever do just one thing, but I would say if there is something I cater in, we’ll call it a sexy, broken in, version of you.
The Moment: What does beauty mean to you?
Shaw: Beauty to me is the essence of the soul.
The Moment: What other products you do use on a daily basis? Walk us through a day of beauty with Kristen.
Shaw: Outside of Playa, I also use Davines for my haircare. For my skin care, I wake up spritz Rose Water spray on my face, and use the Face Balm from Earth Tu Face. I put the face balm everywhere- lips, tops of eyes and around eyes. I use a Bobby Brown concealer, Nars Bronzer, and finish again with the Rose Spray. I use Maison Louis Marie #4 oil perfume, and Poppy and Someday lip tint before I head out the door.
The Moment: How does food and overall wellness play into your beauty routine?
Shaw: It’s everything- the health of your skin and hair come from what is happening inside your body- so listening to what you need on the inside will inevitably play a role outside.
I try to be as mindful as I can by eating clean foods that work for my stomach ( I’ve had years of terrible stomach problems that I’ve been overcoming) and in turn, my skin, mood, and health of my hair greatly improve.
The Moment: What is your beauty motto?
Shaw: Less is best.
The Moment: And lastly, how do you stay in the moment?
Shaw: Breath work and mediation- both of these things fuel all the other elements that make up my current day.
Special thanks to Kristen Shaw!
Photo by Kristine Lo
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