LG Superfan: Celebrity Stylist Adrian Castillo
In our ongoing Q&A series, we feature Leonor Greyl brand ambassadors and superfan stylists who share our passion for luxurious, healthy hair. We talk about their career paths, celebrity encounters, style secrets, and more. This time, we’re excited to introduce L.A. celebrity stylist Adrian Castillo!
Adrian Castillo Dishes About 2021 Trends, His Obsession with LG Mousse and Raquel Welch, and How Hairstyling is Like Jiu-Jitsu
L.A. celebrity stylist Adrian Castillo is a Leonor Greyl superfan who went from sweeping hair in his father’s salon after school to having his own roster of A-list celebrities and clientele in major cities around the country.
Adrian can be surprising in many ways. Along with being one of the most sought-after Hollywood stylists, Adrian is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and surfer. A photo on his Instagram account shows Adrian working a boxing bag, with the playful caption, “Can fix your weave and adjust your spleen…”
Growing up in a family of prominent hairdressers (retired celebrity stylist Art Luna is his uncle), Adrian was destined for a career in hair. He studied at Fullerton College, earned his cosmetology license, and then furthered his education at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica. Adrian’s career launched when he landed a position as one of the assistants to trendsetting stylist Sally Hershberger in West Hollywood before he moved on to Mèche Salon. Adrian lives in Seal Beach with his wife of 10 years, Erika.
In our wide-ranging conversation, Adrian explains why hairstyling and jiu-jitsu have a lot in common, what his predictions are for 2021 hair trends, and how pandemic house calls are keeping him busy.
LG: Adrian, did you always want to be a stylist?
AC: I was always fascinated by the career because I was always around it. My father is a hairstylist, and my uncle, Art Luna, was a pretty well-known hairstylist in L.A. As a kid, I spent a lot of time sweeping up hair and watching my dad. After high school, I was playing football but decided I wanted to try hair. And I actually excelled at it.
LG: Your focus shifted from football to hairstyling? That doesn’t sound typical for a sporty 18-year-old guy.
AC: I was a running back and an outside linebacker. Football was always an extremely fun hobby for me, whereas hair was my ultimate career goal.
LG: We can see from your Instagram posts that you’re still very athletic.
AC: I’ve been training in martial arts my whole life and in Brazillian jiu-jitsu for about 13 years. When I was a brown belt, I won gold at the 2018 NoGi at the SJJIF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. I became a black belt later that year, all the while travelling to different cities for work.
LG: Finish this sentence: Being a jiu-jitsu black belt is like being a hairstylist because…
AC: Ha! It’s a different thing, obviously. But they do have a connection because in both cases you are artistically and creatively able to express yourself with techniques, skills, and tools that you have practiced and developed for years.
LG: How has COVID-19 impacted your athletic and hair endeavors?
AC: No competitions because of social distancing precautions. And, oh my gosh, I’m really missing it. I see my friends training, but I have to be very careful about who I’m in contact with for my clients’ safety. I’m making house calls, and I have clients who want me to get tested frequently for COVID.
LG: How about some A-list client namedropping? Who are your famous clients these days?
AC: I’m so not that guy, but I can list some people I worked with throughout my career, like Scarlett Johansson, Barbara Streisand, Chloë Sevigny, Evan Rachel Wood, Annette Bening, Kate Upton, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Kelly Preston, Christina Applegate, Natalie Portman…
Jane Fonda was one of the first celebrities I blow-dried and styled. I was just starting out on the floor as Sally Hershberger’s assistant. I mean, I knew her name, but I didn’t know her body of work.
LG: Afterward, did you go home and watch Barbarella?
AC: That’s the thing! I started going down a rabbit hole and watching all her beautiful movies, including Barbarella. Another time, I styled Raquel Welch and then went back to her old movies, and that’s when I became obsessed with beautiful bombshell, sexy ’60s Valley of the Dolls hair.
LG: How is that obsession reflected in your signature work and style?
AC: I believe it’s important to always give your client a beautiful feature about their hair. The style should always have a cool personality, even if it’s a simple one-length trim.
I really care about what’s going on around the face and how a cut can enhance a client’s features. I pay close attention to how hair hits around the cheekbone. Some cuts can really open up their eyes or make their cheeks appear more narrow… I obsess over that stuff.
LG: How did you discover Leonor Greyl products?
AC: At Mèche Salon. We display the glass bottles of Leonor Greyl oils, and I always thought it was such a beautiful line. When I started using Mousse au Lotus Volumatrice – wow. If I had to use only one product for the rest of my life, that’s it. I live or die by that mousse. It’s volumizing, smoothing, heat-protective, color-safe, anti-frizz, and alcohol-free so it won’t leave hair sticky. I can do beautiful Victoria’s Secret bombshell blowouts, sexy rocker hair, or effortless beachy waves, all with just that one product. I also love Eclat Naturel nourishing styling cream and Serum de Soie Sublimateur. The serum tames the frizz without leaving hair greasy, and you can use it to refresh hair throughout the day. I actually cocktail Eclat and Serum to create my textured beach waves.
LG: Is it fair to say that beachy waves were THE hairstyle of 2020?
AC: That’s 1 million percent true, at least here in L.A. But I also travel a lot. When I go to New York, Dallas, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas… the trends can be different.
I really miss traveling. I have several clients in each city. Before the pandemic, I would work at Mèche Wednesday through Saturday, then jump on a red-eye to another city, work through Monday, and fly home Monday night. It sounds exhausting, but I loved going to different places and seeing different types of hair.
That’s important because New York is completely different from L.A. If I go with a beach wave in New York, they look at me like, are you freaking crazy? They want smooth and shiny. Working in one city can get repetitive. Here in L.A., everyone wants to look like they’re not trying hard, but sometimes I want to pull out the rollers. Sometimes I want to diffuse the hair.
LG: What’s your hairstyle trend prediction for 2021?
AC: More layers and fewer blunt cuts. I’m starting to see more ’70s looks with peek-a-boo and curtain bangs. And I’m definitely working with more natural textures. People are realizing they don’t need to blow dry their hair all the time. That’s 100% related to the fact that COVID kept people out of salons for so long. Now they’re more accepting of their natural texture.
LG: Well, we look forward to seeing how your predictions play out. Thank you for sharing yourself with us today!
AC: Thank you. I’m honored to be part of the Leonor Greyl family.
Did you miss our earlier conversations with other members of the LG family? Check out our Q&As with Anthony Cristiano, renowned for his work on high-fashion editorials and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, and stylist Ron Pernell, who spoke to us about his career trajectory and early racial biases in the industry.