Sam Villa is one of New York City’s top authorities on haircare. Beyond being the founding partner and namesake of the Sam Villa brand, Sam is the Education Artistic Director for Redken 5th Avenue. His work as a stylist has led him to being a multi-time Stylist Choice Award Winner for Favorite Platform Artist and Educator, in addition to winning Favorite Overall Educator of the Year from the same organization in 2015. In turn, Sam carries the reputation of being the pro that teaches the pros how to do hair.
Last month, Sam Villa unveiled two new products, the Sam Villa Limited Edition Signature Series Light Professional Ionic Blow Dryer and the Sam Villa Limited Edition Signature Series Sleekr Professional Straightening Iron. The blow dryer, priced at $190, is lightweight and includes two rotating concentrator nozzles and a deep bowl diffuser. The straightening iron, priced at $150, includes exclusive rounded plates coated with tourmaline and three heat settings. Both can be purchased via www.samvilla.com.
How does the first blow dryer you ever created compare to the new Signature Series Light Professional Ionic Blow Dryer?
Sam Villa: It’s actually the same dryer. People love it so much we have kept it the same, but occasionally will offer the blow dryer in different colors.
What makes your Signature Series Light Professional Ionic Blow Dryer different from other dryers on the market?
SV: It whispers quietly and weighs less than one pound. The nozzle stays secure on the dryer but stays cool enough to move in different positions for proper air flow and positive ergonomics.
What is the process like of making a blow dryer? What is the most difficult part of it?
SV: For us, the process needed to include what stylists were asking for: light in weight, comfortable in the hand, powerful and hot enough to smooth the hair with incredible shine. Some dryers are so damaging to the hair because of too much heat.
Dryers aside, what are you currently working on?
SV: A 1” Marcel Curling Iron that converts to a curling wand — imagine two irons in one. Professional Marcel curling irons are difficult to find and we wanted to focus on marcel yet with an added feature…a wand!
What do you teach at the Redken Exchange?
SV: My passion is teaching and the Redken Exchange is where learning happens. I teach a Class called “Directors Cut with Sam Villa.” This class focuses on haircutting and longhair dressing and all about adding value behind the chair. This class is about information that they can immediately take back to the salon and immediately apply.
How did the opportunity to teach come about? Was that always something you had wanted to do?
SV: I grew up around sports, either playing or coaching, and I really believe that is where I developed my skills as a teacher. The very day my father — who was a barber — took me to my first hair show to see Vidal Sassoon, I knew then and there that I wanted to be a platform artist. A teacher. And as a teacher, I must never cease to learn.
Is there a professional accomplishment of yours that you are most proud of?
SV: I am most proud of being voted by hairdressers from around the world as four-time Behind The Chair Educator Of The Year. This tells me I am doing and saying the right things.
If you weren’t working with hair, what would you be doing instead?
SV: Coaching a sport at the secondary level, no doubt.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
SV: I love spending time at home and playing a game I love: golf!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
SV: Cacio E Pepe — all about the cheese bowl and pepper!
Any upcoming events or concerts you have tickets to?
SV: I want to attend the next Summer Olympics. I want tickets…now!
Finally, Sam, any last words for the kids?
SV: Learn, learn, learn as much as you can and as often as you can. Focus on “how you can” vs. “why you can’t.” If I can do this, you can! Success is like chasing a butterfly the more you chase it the more it alludes you. Yet if you focus on the task at hand, success will land softly on your shoulder!