Day in the Life of Beauty: Oscar Blandi Lead Colorist, Kyle White
Glam checked in with with celebrity hair colorist, Oscar Blandi's Kyle White, as he navigates a star-studded schedule, black-and-white photograph hair color references, and a Daniel Craig gym sighting! Here White shares his daily routine as well as a picture of his adorable puppy, Coco:
7:00 AM: I always begin my day by having a quick espresso with my boyfriend, Corcoran real estate agent Tim Cass, and taking a morning walk with my thirteen-year-old Cairn terrier, Coco, before I shower and dress for a long day of coloring hair. I tend to wear mostly inexpensive black clothes like Topshop or H&M on workdays because hair dye is flying everywhere, and almost everything I own has bleach stains all over it. I do, however, have a collection of shoes and watches that I alternate between – I love my Prada shoes for those long days on my feet.
I head uptown to the Oscar Blandi salon, my second home, where I've been working for the past fifteen years (wow, I'm getting old!). I’m very close with Oscar – we've been together forever.
8:30 AM: I try to get to the salon a little before my first appointment, which is usually at nine. It gives me time to put away my bag, eat breakfast, which usually includes egg whites, whole-wheat toast, and a protein shake, and check my e-mail before I start coloring hair. Once I begin there's no telling when the flow of clients may stop, so I like the extra downtime in the morning. I check my schedule for VIP's like editors and celebrities so that I can properly prepare my assistants, ensure that priority clients are taken in promptly, and everything goes smoothly. I try to educate my assistants to recognize industry names to help them grow and better understand how to work with VIP clients. Before working with me, they usually think that Anna Wintour is the season right before spring!
9:00 AM: Today we have 20 clients, the first is at 9:00 a.m. and the last is at 4:00 p.m. Broadway and television star Megan Hilty, who is currently on the NBC hit show Smash, sent me a message over the weekend asking if I'd brighten her color first thing today because she's shooting the cover for her new album. I see her along with my other two 9:00 a.m. appointments prepped and waiting in my three stations. I always double book my first appointment because I've learned through the years that in general women think of hair appointments as tentative. I've wracked my brain on this one, but I still have no idea why – although I book two clients, sometimes they'll both be late or not show!
I quickly greet the ladies and my three assistants, Jana, Megan, and Eddie. My first two scheduled appointments are regular clients so I promptly apply their color, and save Megan for last. This gives us a chance to discuss her color, and I can focus on her without anyone getting upset. I can't wait for the new album, not to mention the second season of Smash! I also colored Anjelica Huston’s hair during the first season, and they both inspired me watch the show. I became totally addicted!
10:30 AM: I notice celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle arriving for his appointment. I met Kristofer more than a decade ago when we were both working with Mariah Carey, and I think it’s amazing that we're all still working together. I give Kris a big hug hello and begin touching up his color while we catch up. I tell him about how I stood in the freezing rain at the taping of the Rockefeller Center tree lighting so that my boyfriend could see Mariah sing “All I Want For Christmas is You” live. Truthfully, I really wanted to see her too, despite the weather! Kristofer said that he saw a video of the performance, and we both agree she looks and sounds amazing, as always.
11:30 AM: I see my assistant Eddie seating a new client and giving her an information card to fill out for our records. I introduce myself, and she does the same then continues, “I hope you don't mind that I brought some pictures of the color I want.” She proceeds to show me three very old, black and white pictures, and one of them is from a newspaper. The first time someone brought me a black and white photo as an example of color it threw me for a loop, but after a while I figured it out. It's the contrast between the highlights and the base color that they like. I continue the discussion, letting her know that I think she's looking for a cool blonde highlight with a lot of contrast. She takes a deep breath and says, “I knew you would get me!” I instruct my assistant on what to mix, and we get to work.
12:30 PM: Oscar Blandi asks to see me in his office to discuss our mutual client’s hair color, Naomi Watts. He just finished shooting the cover of Vogue Australia with her, and I'm dying to hear how it went! I bring my lunch with me: turkey on rye with mustard, and unsweetened iced tea, to grab a bite while Oscar fills me in on the shoot. Oscar shows me some images on the computer, and the hairstyles look amazing! I feel proud to work with such a talented hairstylist. We then talk about Naomi's hair color as I finish my lunch.
1:00 PM: I'm foiling highlights into the hair of one of my regular clients. I feel guilty that I'm not chatting as much as I usually do, but she has long hair down to her waist and I just found out that Jill Zarin is coming in. I'm trying to be as focused as possible since I have to fit in another appointment, and talking slows me down.
As I finish the top foils, I notice her long hair is hanging in front of her face, completely covering it. I start thinking that must be uncomfortable for her, so I try to clip it up out of her face but it seems to be stuck on something. I peek around to see if it's caught on a piece of jewelry, like an earring or necklace, but I don't see anything so I decide to give the hair a firm tug. Suddenly, something shoots out of her mouth and hits the mirror. My assistant Eddie reaches in front of her and holds up a long lock of her hair, and dangling from the end is a glob of gum. As I finish her highlights, I can't stop wondering how she didn't notice that her hair was stuck in the gum she was chewing. I come to the conclusion that in my line work, I’ll never cease to be amazed.
1:30 PM: Jill Zarin shows up. I love her! She tells me that her current hair color doesn't feel happy, and she wants a happy color for the holidays. After years of thinking about how emotion translates to hair color, I've worked it out – happy color is light or bright color. I immediately suggest adding highlights to her red hair color, and her positive reactions proves my hunch to be correct.
2:00 PM: I've learned through the years that when a new client sees me working on a celebrity, she immediately feels neglected. They always feel like I'm giving the celebrity special treatment no matter what I do. I notice one of my clients staring at us, and make my way over to her to give her extra attention and chat a bit.
4:00 PM: I set Jill up with a blow dry and begin my last client of the day. I walk through the stations and try to judge by Jill’s facial expressions if she's happy with the new highlights. When I see her smiling and laughing with the stylist, I give a sigh of relief and relax for the first time today.
5:00 PM: At the end of the day, I like to get a large cup of Starbucks coffee and go into the office to talk with the salon manager, Angie. While I'm on the floor coloring hair, Angie is handling everything else that may be happening such as clients complaining, important calls or e-mails – anything you can think of. We have a quick re-cap of the day and she reminds me to pack a bag of color for my dear friend and client, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Frederick Brandt. I rarely make house calls, but Fred's schedule is so hectic and he's such a good friend that every so often I make an exception for him. Finally, I grab my Prada backpack and head home.
6:00 PM: I grab a protein bar and meet my trainer, Tommy, at the David Barton Gym on Astor Place for my workout session. I notice Daniel Craig working out on the bench press next to us and I can't believe my eyes. Tommy tells me he works out there all the time. I try to do exercises that keep me close enough to see him, but he never notices me looking. This has a medicinal-like effect on me, and I completely forget about the stress of my day.
7:00 PM: Tim, Coco, and I sit down to dinner that consists of grilled chicken over brown rice with a side of red sauce and a Crystal Light. We both talk about our day. I spend most of the meal talking about Daniel Craig but manage to mention Megan and Jill. Tim's Australian and loves Naomi Watts, so I give him the news about Oscar shooting with Patrick Demarchelier for the Vogue Australia cover too.
8:00 PM: I check my e-mail and see a Twitter notification. Jill Zarin tweeted about how much she loves her new hair color. I think to myself how generous of her that was, and then send a thank you tweet back.
9:00 PM: I channel surf the TV for about an hour and come across a rerun of The Real Housewives of New York on Bravo.
10:00 PM: Tim walks the dog as I set the alarm for 6:00 am. I go to sleep and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.