Inspiration: My Hair Collection Healed Me

Katrina Ruiz

When you’re at your lowest, sometimes refocusing your energy is the only way to pull yourself out. It’s almost like you have to know the full measure of darkness to really appreciate the light coming your way. That’s the experience stylist Katrina Ruiz (@Katrinafaeruiz) felt when she created her hair collection, Laniakea—which means “heaven” in Hawaiian, and is the name of a cluster of gold stars.

“I had lost my father to brain cancer. And, while going through cosmetology school, I was fighting my own battle with cancer,” says Ruiz. “I had four different types of cancer and three different surgeries. The only thing that got me through the experience was my passion for doing hair—that, and thinking about my dad’s love for me, his hopes for me. Every day he gave me the strength I needed to create a beautiful collection, even when I was at my weakest.”

To help others facing cancer, Ruiz started the Beauty Cures Project (@beautycuresproject), an organization that offers specialty services, wigs, makeup and workshops for cancer patients, survivors and loved ones. The group also delivers product-filled baskets to oncology patients in Utah hospitals. “I’ve found that a wig or makeup can make someone—even in the toughest times—smile brighter,” says Ruiz. “I still have a lot of heartache, but when I celebrate my craft, and I do things for others, it heals that pain a little bit.” 


Enjoying this story? Subscribe to the American Salon Newsletter

Get inspirational trends, techniques, tips, education and the latest beauty news delivered right to your inbox! To read on the go, sign up today to get weekly beauty news and updates.

Thinking of her father in heaven, Ruiz reached for the stars and created these mesmerizing looks that feel both cosmic and celestial. “The collection brought me light and peace when I needed it most,” says Ruiz.

Shooting Star: Blowing hair mimics the trajectory of a shooting star.

When a meteor falls towards the Earth’s atmosphere a long tail light follows behind it through the sky. To mimic the meteor’s dazzling stream of light, Ruiz used a blowing section of fringe. She applied Redken Diamond Oil High Shine Airy Mist to give the wafting section of hair a celestial shine.

Orbital Plane: Ruiz beautifully built up hair to create an elliptical shape.

Elliptical shapes are seen throughout every galaxy—moons satellite a planet and planets orbit a sun all in an elliptical fashion. This perfectly elliptical style beautifully blends Ruiz’s astrological theme with today’s highly sought after braided updo styles. “I created the texture by wrapping small sections of hair around a rat-tail comb, heating it with a hot iron and applying Redken Wind Blown 05 Dry Finishing Spray.” 

Katrina Ruiz Solar System

Solar System: Precisely teased and styled hair create a perfect planet.

Imagine an elliptical trajectory from every planet in our solar system, going around and around the sun. Now you’ve got the idea behind this this style. The textural buildup of curved hair created an otherworldly, spherical bouffant. “After removing heat from the hair, I applied Redken Triple Take 32 Extreme High-Hold Hairspray. Then I pulled all the strands apart, giving me lots of texture to tease out and build up.”    

Photography: Keith Bryce; Makeup: Lexi Harker; Hair: Katrina Ruiz; Fashion Assistant: Katie Warden, Lizz Kopta; Model: Calli Gade.