Having 500,000 loyal followers on Instagram, owning and running a thriving, new salon and serving as CosmoProf’s first brand ambassador, Larisa Love has achieved tremendous success by, quite simply, being herself. Known for her signature chairspinning hair transformation video posts, Love quickly became a highly sought-after hair artist. The eye-catching videos showcase her exquisite talent featuring natural to vibrant hair colors—while always conveying a sense of fun. The combination has mass appeal. It certainly captured the attention of CosmoProf. The company’s senior marketing director Rachel Jud says, “Larisa’s raw talent, ambition and drive are very inspiring to us ... She works hard and isn’t afraid to take risks— and those are qualities I think we can all be inspired by.”
Born in the Ukraine and raised in a strict religious household, Love moved to the United States with her family when she was 6 years old. She attended Marinello Schools of Beauty in Pomona, California, graduating in 2010 to pursue her dream. The focused discipline she learned as a child served her well as she worked and fed the well-oiled social media machine responsible for making her the artist she is today. Here, Love opens up about how she maintains balance in her busy life, a possible new wet line and her hopes to open more salons and an academy in the future.
Beauty Store Business: Do you go back to the Ukraine often?
Larisa Love: My life is immensely busy now, especially with owning a business, so going back to visit has been nearly impossible; but I would love to when the opportunity arises.
How has social media helped your brand?
It has made my career more amazing than expected by being able to reach thousands of people through just one post. It’s free marketing, if used correctly.
How do you deal with negativity online?
I let it go and don’t pay attention to it. Instead, I stay focused on my goals.
What are some of the changes you’ve seen on Instagram and social media over the years?
Pages are becoming more and more professional, which is making it a lot more competitive. So, one must continuously stand out by being unique and staying creative.
Where do you think social media is going?
It’s definitely a trend that is not fading anytime soon. It is now the new era of showing off your work. Almost like an online portfolio, available 24 hours, anywhere in the world. It’s the new way of living life through a click of a button.
You teach classes with Philip Ring and Jacob Khan; can you tell us about that project and how it started?
Phil and I have been friends for a few years now. Our chemistry was instant and we just knew we needed to collaborate and provide our followers with an amazing new way of teaching classes. We eventually decided to add Jacob as we felt his cutting techniques were impeccable and we are now an amazing trio!
You are CosmoProf’s first brand ambassador ever! Can you explain how that happened and a little about your experience with CosmoProf?
I was invited to do a meet and greet at a CosmoProf-sponsored event. That’s when they noticed the impact I had on the industry, and the outcome was so impressive they decided I would be the perfect fit as their very first ambassador, and, of course, I accepted! My relationship with CosmoProf has been a dream come true.
What are some of your duties with CosmoProf?
Brand awareness, promotions, travel and education just to name a few.
How often are you traveling?
Minimum two weekends per month. Typically, about 10 shows a year.
What is a typical day at a show like for you?
It includes prepping models, live demos, teaching exclusive techniques, meet and greets, dinner with my CosmoProf family and a few hours of rest.
How do you decompress?
I try to squeeze in a personal vacation every three months. At shows, you are constantly getting flocked by your loving fans ...
What has being in the limelight as a talented influencer been like?
It has been the most rewarding experience and I just feel so blessed. Luckily, have people around me who keep me grounded, which keeps me humble, so it’s been a smooth transition. I still sometimes can’t believe fans are there for me, which gives me motivation to continue to be a role model for other aspiring artists.
What is the most challenging thing about owning your own business?
Being on the clock 24/7 and making sure that my staff is content at all times as well as my clients.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Being your own boss and creating your own atmosphere where you can provide your clients with a magical experience.
How did you develop your haircutting skills?
I am self-taught and developed my knowledge through practice with trial and error.
How did you develop your creative niche with color?
I have always had visions of what I would want created on myself and so I would practice with my own hair, which then led me to replicate it on clients at an expert level.
How far out is your schedule booked?
I purposely only book six months out now due to my sporadic traveling schedule.
The opening of your salon, you’ve said, is a dream fulfilled. How does it feel to finally be in your dream creative space?
It feels unreal. Every day I feel like I’m going to wake up from a dream!
Your salon is gorgeous and completely custom. How was that process for you?
I’ve always had a passion for interior design. As a little girl, I dreamed of having my own salon and have always had a vision in mind, so it was easy to execute it and make it come to life.
What’s it like being a successful woman in a male-dominated industry?
It feels amazing to be able to empower and inspire other women.
Can you tell us about the brands you collaborate with?
I collaborate with brands that I am passionate about and love, such as Joico, Esquire, Wella, Puff Me as well as others I find at CosmoProf.
You are so true to yourself and believe in the brands you use. Why is it so important that hairstylists and influencers support brands they actually love and use?
In order to have a loyal clientele, you have to believe in what you use, and when I find a product that meets my expectations, I stick to it.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
“I am pursuing a career in hair because of you.”
What was your most recent highlight?
Opening my dream salon and having amazing artists under me.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
It’s a bit too soon to speak about it. It’s very exclusive and I can’t share just yet —but stay tuned!
How do you find balance?
Currently, I am still searching for it because I am a new business owner and am learning every day.
Where do you get your creativity?
From my everyday surroundings. The Earth itself has endless color schemes. If we only take a moment to appreciate what’s around us, everyone can discover their inner creative artist.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up at 7 a.m., go to work, then the gym and home.
Who are some artists that inspire you?
Jacob H. Khan, Philip Ring and my team at my salon: Olivia Casanova, Garret Arter, Tonia Jost and Geraldo Caton.
What’s something you’d like to see change in the beauty industry?
I would love less gossip, more competitions and a lot more support amongst all artists.
When are you going to start your own line?
Soon. Stay tuned!
What are three things you have with you at all times?
Starbucks coffee, my phone and my hat.
What is a piece of advice you can offer to entrepreneurs/stylists looking to start their own business?
To stay inspired and to never compare yourself to others. Also, double your budget!
What are your future goals?
To open more salons in different states and to open my own academy. What do you want to be known for? For making dreams come true.
[Photography by Jason Bennet]