Athena Alberto, sought-after stylist for models and recording artists, dishes about today’s most-requested ’dos
In a city synonymous with super sexy hair, trend watchers always keep an eye on Los Angeles for the coolest looks hitting the streets, red carpets, and fashion shoots.
For the inside scoop on what’s hot right now, we tapped celebrity hairstylist Athena Alberto. At 24, she is already an in-demand set stylist for chic editorial photoshoots, sizzling music videos, and red carpet glam.
Athena’s home base is Alen M Femme Coiffure salon in L.A. when she isn’t working on a set or traveling to style her international clients. Her celebrity roster includes recording artists Lauv, Niki Zefanya, and Izzy La Reina.
We connected with Athena not only because we love the looks she creates; she’s also as passionate about the Leonor Greyl line as we are.
“I genuinely love every natural Leonor Greyl hair product I’ve ever tried,” she told us. “I’m literally in shock every single time, blown away by how the hair feels and looks when I’m done. I especially love that the line is very nourishing. And it smells amazing!”
The hardworking stylist agreed to dish about the most-requested cuts and styles in L.A. Here are her top 6:
Long and Layered
“Long hair has been an L.A. trend forever, but a lot of clients are asking for face-framing layers with their long hair, which I love.”
When Athena gives these clients the big blowout treatment, you can really see how long layers pump up the volume. “It looks so natural, so luscious!” she said.
To create the look, Athena mists wet hair with Lait Luminescence detangling and conditioning spray and then massages Mousse au Lotus Volumatrice at the roots. She finishes with Sérum De Soie Sublimateur on the ends to smooth and minimize frizz.
Curtain bangs are sweeping through L.A. – long, wispy, and great for straight or textured hair. Margot Robbie, Dakota Johnson, and Jennifer Lopez all rocked them on red carpets this year.
Curtain bangs are fabulously face-framing. The trick, Athena said, is styling a flawless look every time and not end up with a disheveled fringe that looks like it’s throwing gang signs.
Her go-to product for curtain bangs? Lait Luminescence, which preps hair with heat protection before blow-drying and hot styling.
Natural Color, Roots ‘n’ All
At least in 2021, hair coloring is on the outs. During COVID quarantines, Athena’s L.A. clients got used to their roots showing and natural hues growing in. Today, it’s less about letting things go and more about realizing they actually love what nature gave them.
If anything, clients are asking for a “root comb down,” also known as a root smudge or reverse highlights. But they don’t want their base color touched.
“The grow-out is so good,” Athena said. “Clients prefer it because, well, who wants high maintenance these days?”
A great way to enhance natural color and shine is to apply Leonor Greyl’s Soin Repigmentant conditioner. Enriched with meadowfoam seed oil and coloring pigments, it comes in five shades to amplify hues while leaving hair incredibly soft.
Those hair accessories you thought went out with Y2K are baaaack. Remember big claw clips and mini claws?
“L.A. has been going through this very ’90s trend with women wearing very baggy jeans and clipping up their hair,” Athena said. “Clips are all over L.A., and everyone has the same ones they bought on Amazon.”
Claw clips deserve their comeback. They’re a genius way to sweep hair into a casual updo – full twist or half up, half-down – that anyone can do.
Classic long hair is going longer, so many of Athena’s clients are inquiring about hair extensions, one of Athena’s specialties.
“With all my clients, I start by asking about their lifestyle because, to be honest, not everyone is going to be able to take care of paste-in extensions. They are more permanent and time-intensive to apply and maintain,” she said.
Many clients instead opt for clip-in extensions and ponytails that blend seamlessly with their natural hair. It’s something they can wear daily or save for special events.
Because the extensions Athena works with are made of real hair, they should be washed and pampered like your own tresses. Athena’s go-to deep conditioning product is Masque à l’Orchidee, enriched with botanical oils and plant proteins for strength and shine. She also mists hair with conditioning and protective Lait Luminescence before styling with heated tools.
Especially for fashion and music video shoots, more clients are asking Athena to style their baby hairs – those wispy little strands around the forehead and sideburn area – into dramatic swirls and sleek little loops.
The technique, also called laying edges, dates back to the 1920s (think Josephine Baker and the finger wave era) and lately has been increasingly popularized by the Black and Latinx communities. Creating the style requires an edge tool with a pointed end and a high-control gel for laying hair flat against the face.
Most recently, Athena used the baby hair technique to style Izzy La Reina for her latest album cover.
“It adds flare, especially to certain sleeked-back hairstyles like a high ponytail,” Athena said. “It’s just fun!” The alcohol-free styling gel Gel a l’Hibiscus and matte finish modeling and sculpting balm Baume Bois de Rose work great to secure the baby hair look.
As you can see, cool L.A. hairstyles aren’t restricted to blonde and balayaged beachy waves this season. Want more tea on the trends from L.A.? Follow Athena on Instagram @athena_alberto