From the Archive | #MadeByLee

 

LEE RITTINER is a celebrity hairstylist whose work screams to go unnoticed. You may have spotted Chrissy Tiegen, Mila Kunis, Rocky Barnes and Jay Alvarez all sport his perfectly executed lived-in hairstyles while you were scrolling through Instagram or watching a red carpet pre- show. But do not let his effortless style trick you. Rittiner is all about hard work and strife— which when combined with his ability to create masterful precision haircuts it is no wonder why he has named the best hairstylist in the City of Los Angeles earlier this year. During one of Rittiner’s usual busy Saturdays at Alen M | Femme Coifurre Salon in West Hollywood, he sat down with Editor, Angela Butkus to discuss what inspires him as a hairstylist, pointers on difficult hairstyles and his go-to products, some of which may surprise you.

ANGELA BUTKUS:

Where did your passion for hair styling originate and how did you get started in the industry?

LEE RITTINER:

My older sister inspired me to get into the hair industry when I was kicked out of school and had lost a lacrosse scholarship at a Division One school in New York where I was studying psychology.  I was in a sort of purgatory after that and I didn’t know what to do, but my sister was doing hair at the time and she was the one who picked me up and said, “You love art,”—I was a big artist—“you love your own hair, and you love talking to people and helping people so why don’t you try to be a hairdresser?” It was honestly on a whim. The next thing you know, I had signed up for Graham Webb, a cosmetology school in Georgetown in D.C. and that was it. My sister motivated me to try something different.

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ANGELA BUTKUS:

You mentioned that you loved art and were originally an artist. Which type of art was your platform before getting into hairstyling? 

LEE RITTINER: I did a lot of painting and a lot of sculpting. I was taking private art classes from the time I was seven years old until I was nineteen. 

 
 

ANGELA BUTKUS:

Is there any particular hairstyle that’s known as your signature? 

LEE RITTINER:

My trademark is effortless hair. I always wanted to create “the easy hairstyle”. I want my clients to be able to replicate what I do, but I also tailor the lookto that person and what will be right for them. I think something that got me a lot of notoriety was the lob. That mid-length lob got me a lot of attention because my technique for that style stems from my ability to make things super effortless. 

ANGELA BUTKUS:

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The lob is certainly one of those hairstyles that seem to give hairstylists some difficulty. What advice could you give fellow hairstylists that would help them master that style? 

LEE RITTINER:

There are a lot of things I look at when doing that hair cut. I look at the distance of the client’s collarbone to their chin and I really look at the length of their neck. It’s all about getting that length to be perfectly above the shoulders where it is an A-line shape resting down onto the collarbone but not too long so that it’s doing that weird bell-shape where it kicks out on the shoulders. You really have to tailor it perfectly to the person’s frame and body shape.  You have to make sure you’re over-directing the hair properly so you don’t cut off too much length and so that you don’t make it look too square.

ANGELA BUTKUS: 

What are your favorite products or tools to style hair & which products do you recommend to your clients for everyday use? 


 

LEE RITTINER: 

My go-to styling products are ORIBE’s Dry Texturizing Spray, Sachajuan’s  Ocean Mist Spray as well as Jen Atkin’s Ouai Wave Spray. I like SUPREMO’s Magic Move, which is my favorite pomade. As for daily use like shampoo and conditioner— and I know everyone is going to judge me when they read this but I will debate this forever— but I will recommend Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner to my clients.  

ANGELA BUTKUS: 

What is it about Pantene that you love so much? 

 
 
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LEE RITTINER:

Pantene does everything that a shampoo needs to do. You can apply it to any type of hair texture. When people are like, “Oh, this shampoo is too heavy,” Pantene won’t be too heavy. When they’re like, “Oh, I need volume,” it will give you volume. When they’re like, “I need shine,” it will give you shine. It literally hits every single marker. The biggest complaint amongst hairdressers is that it has silicone in it and they fear that it’s going to create build-up. However, if you use a cleansing shampoo once every 6-8 weeks, then you can avoid that. My argument in favor of silicone is that it is sealing the hair down and it’s making the hair look shiny. I would rather my clients have some silicone in their hair so that it looks shiny and healthy than have them using an organic shampoo that’ll make their hair look dry to begin with and then have them flat iron, blow dry or curl their hair on top of it. They’re creating more damage that way. 

ANGELA BUTKUS: 

What has been your favorite place to travel to for inspiration? 

 
 

LEE RITTINER: 

The diversity of cultures in L.A., Miami and New York definitely give me inspiration for new creative practices, but if I were to choose one, it would probably be Hawaii. I love that the Hawaiians have this thing about everyone having to have super long and gorgeous hair. It literally looks like everyone came out of a Pantene ad. They have long, luscious, silky hair. Hawaii is  inspirational to me because they’re all about natural hair. 

ANGELA BUTKUS: 

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

 LEE RITTINER: 

Two things—One when I shot Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and when I was recognized as the best haircutter in the City of Los Angeles this year. I’ve been lucky enough to have done so many fun things. I shot an ad for BeBe once and then it became a billboard. That was another amazing moment in my career. It’s just that I came into this industry with the personality that I had to strive to be one of the best and I’ve worked so hard to get where I’m at, so when you see your work on a billboard or on the cover of Sports Illustrated or even seeing a Vera Wang ad you did in Harper’s Bazaar, it’s one of the coolest feelings in the world. 

ANGELA BUTKUS: 

Since you’re working in the beauty industry and if asked to describe beauty, how would you define it? 

LEE RITTINER:

I’m someone who tries to find the silver lining in everything, so I feel that you can find beauty in just about everything. It’s not something you can define—it can be found during a hard time, or it can be found in softness. Beauty can be hot and it can be cold. It’s just having that ability to look and think outside of the box and just find something that can bring someone an instance of good feelings. 

 
 
BEAUTYANGELA BUTKUS