“Never Say Never” — A Chat With Rockstar Educator Larisa Love

Watching Larisa Love at the recent International Beauty Show-Las Vegas, it became pretty clear this woman doesn’t exist on a mode other than “full throttle.”

In between setting up her eponymous brand’s large booth on the show floor (during which she confessed she cried eight times), teaching, taking selfies with admirers, and running her booth — the rockstar colorist, educator and entrepreneur graciously took the time to chat with American Salon about her journey, her advice, and a few of her favorite things.

Larisa Love teaching a hair color class at International Beauty Show-Las Vegas
Teaching in Las Vegas in 2024. (International Beauty Show - Las Vegas)


AS: What do you prefer: going to a hair show, or working at one?

LL: I love going to hair shows like this. It’s so inspiring to me just being here. We’re surrounded by like-minded, amazing, cool, badass people who have the same passion.

But to be quite honest, I didn’t even know hair shows existed until CosmoProf was like “do you want to go do a meet-and-greet at a hair show?” and I was like, “what’s a hair show and who’s going to want to meet me?”

I love working at shows, especially recently, because I’m going as my own brand for the first time in a very long time. Before, I used to go with other brands — and I still do — but now it just feels a little bit more close to my heart because I’m going as Larisa Love for Larisa Love.

So it’s just like all my hard work has really paved its way and now I’m finally seeing the results. I love working at a show, just because finally, I’ve made it.

Is there anything about teaching that you really didn’t expect to happen when you first started?

Just becoming an educator at all! If you met me back in the day, I used to say I never want to teach — which sounds so crazy now.

Because I was such a naïve, selfish little girlie back in the day. I was like ‘I don’t want to be teaching people MY techniques and have them copy me!’ It was so stupid of me.

Now it’s like a whole different mindset where I get to inspire and elevate the industry with the art that I create. And so it’s funny because now, the number-one thing that I do as an artist is that I’m an educator. So never say never!


What would you go back and tell a young Larisa just graduating from beauty school, that would have made a difference in her career?

What I would tell her is not to be so naïve and open your eyes to the industry. And to not only think that being a hairdresser means being behind the chair.

Because to be quite honest, behind the chair was the only world I thought I was going to be in. And that is literally now the tiniest part of my world now.

So what I would have told her is, be more open to the industry as a whole and figure out your part in it.

A lot has changed since you started out. What would be the most helpful thing for new graduates to know as they’re stepping into a career in today’s beauty industry?

The number-one thing I would say to anyone that’s starting in the industry is to find a mentor.

And it’s okay to leave them if they are not growing and not caring about you. If you are just the broom, it’s time to go. You want someone that will teach you and elevate you and educate you.

If you feel like you’re not getting that, then go to someone who will. Because there are a lot of people out there who are more than willing to share their wealth. How else are you ever going to grow and be on your own? If you are investing in their business, then they must invest in yours.


Who’s your mentor?

My mentor is Nina Kovner from Passion Squared. Whenever I have any questions about the industry or just about life, I go to her. She’s so knowledgeable. She’s a vibe. I love her.

How do you stay inspired?

Inspiration is one of my favorite topics. I feel like it’s like a flow, a wave we go up and down. There are some weeks when I’m like, fuck this. And other weeks I’m on top of the world.

So finding inspiration is crucial. As an artist, we need that inspiration to keep us going. One thing that has worked for me is that I really try to stop and look. I feel like we’re so go-go-go all the time, we’re so tunnel vision and always in a hurry, that we don’t see the beauty around us.

I travel a lot and I love just to take photos of different colors — honestly, I take pictures of doors and shit. Because there are so many cool different colors around the world that we just miss all the time.

When I talk to my clients I don’t really look at hair inspiration for color. I have an album of photos I’ve taken in my travels that I just think are cool — cool combinations, beautiful textures, beautiful colors. So when a client’s like “I don’t know what I want to do” I say, hey — let’s look at my album.

It just elevates the experience for them and elevates me as an artist, because it shows that I see art differently.

Some of the colors and textures from Larisa Love's inspo album
Some of the colors and textures from Larisa Love's inspo album (Larisa Love)

What are the pro tools you can’t live without when you’re going to color someone’s hair?

Besides Joico hair color:

FRAMAR’s Big Poppa Foils. I love them. They can really handle wide sections. Honestly, I don’t know what I did before these foils. They’re life changing, because you can take such large sections.

Larisa Love Hair Twigs. Not only does the client look like a cute Harajuku girl but when I’m highlighting, I can wrap the hair around the twigs and I don’t have to go back and forth. It saves a few seconds which leads to minutes which leads to hours.

Rat-tail CarbonLite comb by Olivia Garden. It’s so good for blending, for weaving out babylights and teasing.

The power of teasing the hair correctly can give you  beautiful results that allow a gradient, fluid blend.

When I’m taking out babylights, I’m weaving out literally two or three strands each for each babylight because you want it to look very sunkissed and natural. You don’t want it to look stripey when the client wears her hair up.

FRAMAR Big Poppa Foils; Larisa Love Hair Twigs; Olivia Garden rat-tail comb
Larisa Love's go-to color pro tools. (American Salon)


What is a non-negotiable piece of advice that applies to every hair stylist?

Taking care of our bodies is definitely part of the artist experience. I want to be a long-term hairdresser and to do that you've got to start now, not when it’s too late. Carpal tunnel is a real thing in our industry.

Use a swivel shear. One of my favorite shears is by Sam Villa. It is very affordable for how amazing this Japanese light metal is, and you don’t have to turn your thumb — it turns it for you. It makes a huge difference and it will over the years.

We have to respect our bodies. Doritos is not lunch. Coffee is not breakfast — and I’ve been there, done that. So how do we eat? By actually taking breaks, cutting out breaks for ourselves in between our day.

Overworking is overrated. It’s cool until you start hating what you love doing. Understand and recognize the signs of burnout: decreased energy, emotional exhaustion.

I feel like everyone’s been there multiple times, because we are such yes people. Yes, I’ll take you at 7 in the morning; yes I’ll take you at 9pm, yes I’ll take you on a Sunday.

In my 20s, I said yes for way too long. Now, my favorite word is NO. Because by saying no you implement healthy boundaries.