Ruslan Nureev is living the dream. From attending beauty school in Russia to working as an assistant to celebrity hairstylists Harry Josh and Chris Appleton (of Kim Kardashian fame) in LA, Ruslan is quickly working his way up the ranks in the beauty industry making a name for himself as a solo stylist. Having already styled celebs like Jessica Alba, Zendaya, and Victoria's Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes for the runway, Ruslan's epic signature braid hairstyles have also taken Instagram by a storm showing off his creativity and imagination. We caught up with Ruslan to learn more about his life in Russia, how he ended up assisting some of the industry's best, and who his dream client is.
How did you get started in the beauty industry? Did you always know you wanted to be a hair stylist?
I’m from a small town in Russia and in our last two years of high school, we take a class in which you can choose what kind of occupation you’d like to learn from, such as seamstress, carpenter, chef, driver etc. I chose a hairstylist - I don’t think I always knew that I want to be a hairstylist, but surprisingly, I was first in my class among 29 girls 3 boys. I guess this is when I realized that I want to be a hairstylist (I was 16 years old at that time.)
After I finished high school I moved to Moscow, and went to hair academy there - it was the best one in the country. After graduating, I got lucky and stayed there to work as an assistant.
What was your “big break” as a hair stylist?
My big break as a hairstylist was when my boss at the time, Harry Josh, got sick a day before a big job (Victoria's Secret press day with VS Angel Jasmine Tookes), so I had to take over his job. It went really well and after that I started working with VS girls by myself!
Victoria's Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes, styled by Ruslan Nureev
What would you say is your signature as a hair stylist?
Braids and braided hairstyles are definitely my signature. I love how you can spice up any hairstyle with it and do something different! I don’t like boring hair, I like cool, edgy, creative hair.
What are the most challenging things about your career? What is the most rewarding thing?
The most challenging thing is to start in this industry. It’s really hard to become an assistant to a well-known celebrity hairstylist. I got lucky and became first assistant to the legendary Harry Josh because my good friend Ty was his assistant before me and he recommended me. I started training with Harry, passed my test at the end, and my dream came true and I started assisting!
The other thing I’d say is when you are being an assistant, you have to be a ninja. Be quiet, swallow your pride, and be grateful for working and learning and getting experience and connections in the industry.
The most rewarding thing is when you get to work with all the celebrity clients and get to learn all the tips and tricks from the best.
What was it like styling alongside Chris Appleton?
Well...it was like the best thing in the world!
Chris Appleton is the the second celebrity hairstylist that I got to be first assistant for. He is just incredible! The amount of knowledge I got from him is probably worth more than the amount of knowledge I would have gotten from being hairstylist for 10 years. He’s just incredible and the nicest...it was a pleasure working alongside with him.
Who are some of your fave clients to work with and why?
All my clients are my favorite, I love every single one! But I'd say I really love when my client lets me do something interstellar and different than the usual!
What is your favourite way to use hair extensions?
I use hair extensions all the time, and you can basically incorporate them to pretty much any hairstyle
What are your fave hair trends at the moment?
My favorite hair trend is accessories. I love how nowadays you can put so many different things in your hair and be cool! I’m all about accessories right now.
Zendaya, styled by Ruslan
Who is your favourite hair stylist at the moment or someone you would like to work with?
Hands down Chris Appleton! I’ve never seen anyone better than him. I also really like Adir Abergel.
Any styling secrets for those at home?
Yes, if you’d like to achieve a wavy look, I’d recommend getting a professional curling iron or wand. When you curl your hair always try to hold your iron horizontally, and switch directions. If you do one piece toward your face, do another one or two the other way. That way you get an effortless, wavy look.
What’s your ultimate go-to “2 minute” hairstyle for the on-the-go girl?
A very high, messy topknot. It always looks cool, just make sure the knot is messy, not with a ponytail base - it looks better that way.
Who is your dream client?
Kim Kardashian is my dream client.
Who is your “hair muse?”
Lady Gaga! I’ve never worked with her but she is so awesome, and would be the best client to have. She's always down to do something cool with her hair.
What advice do you have for any newbies starting off in the industry?
Most importantly, be nice, and work hard. Follow all the major hairstylists and makeup artists on Instagram and get inspired by them. And of course, work hard and never say no to a job, even if it’s free. You never know, maybe that test shoot will help you get a new client or just get good exposure.
-As told to Luxy Hair
All images courtesy of Hair by Ruslan and Ruslan Nureev.