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A Woman-Owned Salon For UCLA Students: Chatting With The Owner Of Bruin Hair

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

At the end of Winter Quarter, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anya Vosk, the owner of Bruin Hair. After a few years growing her clientele of loyal UCLA students, Anya recently opened up her salon right near campus on 1093 Gayley Avenue. Bruin Hair specializes in lived-in color, which embodies the effortless SoCal aesthetic, but the salon is about more than gorgeous hair transformations. This local, woman-owned business is quickly becoming a hub for UCLA girls to bond and learn from Anya about hair health. 

For a little context, Bruin Hair has been many years in the making. Anya is a former Bruin, who left UCLA after two quarters to enter cosmetology school. After graduation, her career took many turns, including years working at a celebrity hair salon in Beverly Hills. There, she built her network and had the opportunity to work on magazine shoots, with celebrities and at premieres. Just like everyone else, the pandemic affected her business, yet there is a silver lining. During the pandemic, a UCLA student reached out to her for highlights and fell in love with her hair, so she referred a bunch of her sorority sisters to Anya. Soon, Anya became the go-to hair expert for all the sorority girls in the know and began taking on Bruins as interns at her business. The rest is history.

Anya now fully dedicates herself to treating UCLA girls to celeb-quality hair makeovers and teaching us about hair care. Curious to hear Anya’s takes on hair trends? Want to know more about the Bruin Hair community? Check out this exclusive chat with Westwood’s trendiest salon owner:

HC: What do you like about working with UCLA students? 

Anya: I like working with students because of how fun it is, you guys are amazing. I have a young spirit, and I can relate to you guys. I did not name it Bruin Hair, you guys did! All I did was work and everything that has happened has been because of my interns essentially. I am inspired by you guys and watching you grow. Before this, my clientele was much older. Making that leap was the best thing I have done and I have zero regrets. My friends tell me I’m crazy because I get girls who are just starting to experiment with highlights, which is the most difficult thing to do compared to the touch-ups that older clients usually do. 

HC: Tell me about your mentorship role and business philosophy. 

Anya: I would not have the career that I have if I didn’t have a mentor. There’s no better way of learning unless you submerge yourself. I am at the point in my career when I can take on mentees, as I am really passionate about education. I constantly bring in models to help my mentees practice and master techniques. For example, I brought in three girls with different textured curls and asked them for blowouts with volume. I evaluated and then assessed anything that should be done better next time. I’m definitely interested in starting a mentorship program for hairdressers because they teach everything in beauty school except how to build a business, which is the most important part. The quality of service is only 25%; you guys come to us for our personalities, how fun it is to be here, if we’re intimidating or not. I feel like being a hairdresser is more of being a member of the community than a stylist. I dream of having a small beauty school.

HC: Since you deal with a demographic of college girls who are likely stressed, what are the effects of stress on hair? 

Anya: I’ve noticed that the first thing to go is hair when we are stressed. There are other factors that induce hair loss such as dehydration, dry scalp, diet changes, etc. Hair needs to go through TLC after a breakup. 

HC: I feel like girls try to change their hair after breakups. 

Anya: I’ve had girls come in who are like, “Make me blonde.” Maybe not, you’re emotional. I have to make sure [you’re in the right state of mind and making rational decisions.] I also have a thing [where] if they ask me for something out of the ordinary and if I feel it won’t suit her, I’ll encourage her to take some time to think about it. If she still wants it, I’ll do it because I want to make sure she doesn’t regret it in the future. 

HC: What do you take into account when doing a consultation for hair? 

Anya: My appointments are essentially hair education appointments for the most part because most people did not grow up learning how to take care of their hair. I figured out that it is a lot more beneficial to have this conversation about hair. I always try to teach my clients how to blow-dry their hair and use a round brush. I quite enjoy the education aspect because it is so rewarding to see my girls come back and tell me about how they have been taking care of their hair.

HC: Do you work with girls who have textured hair? 

Anya: I do not work with girls with extremely textured hair, as it is a whole separate profession as a stylist. My original specialty was styling and slowly transitioned into color. In LA, we have salons that specialize in curly hair. Their technique is different, even their chairs are different. I haven’t had the time to figure it out, but I am helping my assistant gain education on curly styles and haircuts. I send him to different classes and we’re working on establishing that here in the salon. I refer my clients to other professionals I know because I don’t want to do anything subpar. 

HC: How do you feel about current hair trends? 

Anya: I don’t believe in trends because trends aren’t one-size-fits-all. There are such things as style and image, which are completely different from trends. When it comes to creative colors, I do a full psych evaluation to make sure that she loves it because a lot of the time, you guys see [a trend] on Instagram or Tik Tok, but you don’t think about how it will look on you. Anyone who has a phone can be a trendsetter; we should listen to people who have specialized knowledge and have taken specific classes such as stylists. I’ve taken classes on color and how to match it to people’s skin complexion, eye color, style and lifestyle. Trends are only inspiration, and I can customize from there. 

HC: Are there any hair brands you are really into right now that you recommend? 

Anya: I have staples that I’ve used for many years and they are my favorite products, but I am also a product junkie. I love to try everything, and I will donate products [I don’t use]. If I am in the market for dry shampoo, I will buy every single dry shampoo on the market and make a decision on what I like. I love Moroccan Oil and how affordable it is. I love hair oils — they work for everyone, fix frizziness and add shine. I also really like Japanese products, as standards are higher and the amount of testing that goes into Japanese products is a lot. My favorite products fluctuate just because of how many products are on the market. 

HC: What is an integral part of a hair routine? 

Anya: I think having a proper shampoo for your hair type is super important. The proper routine is to exfoliate your scalp, shampoo twice and use a light amount of conditioner. We all overdo it. Just as you exfoliate your skin, you need to exfoliate your scalp. No one cleans their hair brushes, but you have to clean them because of the old oils they hold onto. Just as doctors clean their tools, you have to make sure your tools at home are clean. Another thing is that clients use styling tools to dry their hair. You should only be using that on your hair when it is 95% dry to smooth it out. When your hair is wet, it is more prone to breakage. These styling brushes do not replace blow dryers. 

HC: Going back to cleaning your hair brushes, what do you recommend for cleaning them? 

Anya: You should use mild soap or any cleaning agent and use an old toothbrush to remove all the impurities from your hairbrush. You should wash your brushes once a month.

HC: To wrap this interview up, what are your top hair growth tips?

Anya: Next time you go to your hairstylist and you have any questions, pick their brain because you never know what you don’t know. Another tip would be to brush your hair all the time. Tip number three is to use a good heat protectant. They vary from $7–60 and that higher price tag comes with more advanced technology. 

If you are looking for a new stylist, you should definitely consider going to Bruin Hair! Anya is incredibly caring and compassionate. She has put so much thought into every detail of her salon to create an experience catered to UCLA students. Anya even put the hair-washing sinks under a skylight so you can look up at the sky and see the planes above Westwood as you are getting your hair washed! You can find Anya on Instagram at @bruinhair, and you can book an appointment here.

Wafa is a second-year Comparative Literature Major on the pre-med track at UCLA. Shes's on the editorial team where she hopes to cover topics on politics, beauty, pop culture, and everything in between.