Smart + Stylish Mom Spotlight: Hair Tips from a Top Stylist
This week’s Smart + Stylish Mom Spotlight is on Ashleigh Taylor, a top hair stylist in Washington, DC , owner of Taylor & York salon and the writer behind the StrummerRose baby lifestyle blog (which I L-O-V-E). She’s 37 years old and lives with her 10-month old daughter, Strummer Rose, and her partner in love and parenting, Lou.
I met Ashleigh after seeing her work in Essence magazine in 2008. I was looking for a new stylist to do my hair for my wedding and after the first visit, I knew that Ashleigh was the one. From the time I sat down until the time I left, the whole process was no more than an hour and a half and my hair looked AMAZING.
After the wedding, I followed Ashleigh from the Capitol Hill salon where she worked to another chic salon on U street, where she worked alongside Michelle Obama’s hairstylist, Johnny Wright. Sidenote: I never saw FLOTUS there (not surprisingly!), but I did spot Valerie Jarrett once in the chair. Very cool.
I’ll never forget the time I sat in Ashleigh’s chair and told her how difficult it was becoming to book an appointment with her. Her cuts are flawless and she has this incredible gift of giving every client a style that’s literally perfect for her. And never a dull conversation, ever. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought this, because if I didn’t call weeks in advance, I was out of luck. I told her at that point that if she was in that much demand that should open up her own salon. You can’t imagine how proud I was of her when just a few years later, she did. Ashleigh’s Taylor & York salon is located in the Shaw neighborhood of DC and home to some of the area’s most creative and talented stylists since 2012.
In our interview, Ashleigh talks about what it’s like to be a mom, a businesswoman, a style maven, a blogger and have great hair too. Yes, it’s completely possible. Read on...
Riche: What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
Ashleigh: Being transparent. This experience has changed my life. There are great days and some not-so-great days, all of which I openly share with my clients or on the StrummerRose blog. Countless women have pulled me aside or contacted me personally to express their gratitude for sharing my experiences. To know that “my” life as a mommy to Strummer is helping someone else is mind blowing to me.
Riche: What’s the smartest decision you’ve made since becoming a mom?
Ashleigh: To change the way I treat myself. I made a conscious decision around the time that Strummer was 5 months old to not be so critical of myself as a new mom. I am the first, if not only, example of a woman that she is going to see. The way I treat myself is the way she is going to inevitably treat herself too.
Riche: What’s your favorite thing to do with your daughter?
Ashleigh: I love when she falls asleep in my arms. Strummer is turning out to be quite the aggressor! She has the energy of at least 3 grown adults. She hums to herself when sleep is about to take over. So to hear her hum and to see her calm down and slowly give in to the sleep...it’s heavenly. I cherish these times because I know that one day soon she’ll be too big to be cradled.
Riche: What’s your favorite thing to do when you have some much-needed alone time?
Ashleigh: OMG, blast the radio in my truck! I looooove music! I’m the one who you hear pulling up to your house before you even see me. Of course when Strum came along, the volume immediately went down and most times “off," but when I have those few moments when she’s not with me, I BLAST IT!
Riche: How would you describe your mommy style?
Ashleigh: I’ve always had a sense of “me” as it pertains to style. It just so happened that it fell in line with what’s popular...LOL. I always wore a lot of flowy or baggy pieces and muted tones, so when I became pregnant, I didn’t have to buy anything new. Now that Strummer’s here, I stick with that. A lot of vintage pieces. I love Alexander Wang and Vince.
I make it a point to invest in a good sandal or boot. Stuart Weitzman for my boots, as they are hella comfortable and crazy stylish at the same time. Stuart Weitzman’s 50/50 boot has saved my life on several occasions. In fact, it’s the best boot ever made, in my opinion. I am standing all day and then coming home to a baby, so comfort is a must-have for me. Not to mention the off-chance that I have a gathering to go to after work, so they have to be stylish too.
Riche: What’s your secret to being a great mom and looking great too?
Ashleigh: Knowing that I was a woman first before my baby came helps. A lot of the same care that I took for myself pre-baby has carried over to now. Even more so because of the example I want to set for Strummer. I still keep my regular “womanscaping” routine: nails/waxing, etc. and sometimes I bring the baby with me.
I am a visual person. I often look in magazines, Instagram and people in general for inspiration. I’ll see another woman whose appearance speaks to me. I’ll take something from it, whether the shoes or how the shirt was tucked in and then process it in my little memory for when I need a pick-me-up.
Riche: What’s your best advice for other moms who are looking for a hairstyle that’s easy to maintain?
Ashleigh: Unfortunately, there is no “easy" way to have a stylish coiffe. Even a stylish ponytail takes some effort. I’ll say this though, it’s a fast and slippery slope to the frumpy mom look if you're not careful.
Color and/or cut is an easy way to express style without having to do a lot. Who has time for a hair routine with a 10 month old? I don’t. The right color makes you look a little younger; the right cut makes you look a little more sophisticated. Either one makes you look like you care.
I cut my hair when i was 7 months pregnant. It was the best thing that I could have ever done. The cut spoke to my style when I didn’t have the energy for anything else.
Riche: What’s your best advice to moms for maintaining healthy hair between those much-coveted visits to the salon?
Ashleigh: Be sure to invest in a great shampoo and hair mask. My faves are Davines, Mizani and AlfaParf, which are all retailed at Taylor & York. For curly hair, I love Moroccan Oil’s curl defining cream. Hot oil treatments with reg ole' olive oil are easy and effective too for all hair types. Also, be sure to invest in great tools: a paddle brush, a Denman brush, wide tooth combs; and satin caps, scarves and pillowcases to protect your hair while you’re sleeping.
Riche: Last, but not least, what's your fave BambiniWare product?
Ashleigh: The Burpa Sleeve!
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant