When she was nine years old, Ellin started braiding her sister's hair, and soon all of the girls in her Mount Vernon, New York, neighborhood were lining up at Ellin's door. By age 14 she had her own chair at a local salon. At 16 she met Susan L. Taylor, then Essence magazine's fashion and beauty editor. She created Taylor's trademark hairstyle and has been braiding the editorial director's hair for the last 20 years. While still in her teens, LaVar helped develop a new method for hair weaving that revolutionized the art. She created "Invisible Braids," a technique that, for the first time, made weaves look completely natural. In 1979 Essence magazine featured the new look, bringing Ellin LaVar instant international recognition and acclaim.
Her creativity, discerning eye and quick hands have been in full demand to enhance the appearances of Sanaa Lathan in "Out Of Time", Predator 1 and 2; Julia Roberts in Knotting Hill, Stepmom, and Runaway Bride; Whitney Houston in The Body Guard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife; and Kevin Bacon in Sleepers. She also created natural-looking braids for Forrest Whittaker for his leading role in Ghost Dog. LaVar was key hairstylist for the film The Best Man, and the amazing wig created for Whitney Houston in Cinderella won her a coveted Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stylist in a Miniseries.
Hair is Ellin's passion. For all of her life, it seems, she has loved designing new hairstyles and creating natural looking hairpieces and wigs, which she has often made herself. In addition to the dozens of magazines and newspapers that have profiled her work, she has been prominently featured on MTV, The Oprah Winfrey Show and also starred in her own reality show called, “Hair Trauma”. Featured on WE TV. Also, her salon American Express Gold Card has been featured in American Express ads across the country.
When not flying around the world to work on films and with clients, LaVar works in her welcoming and intimate salon, LaVar Hair Designs, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Fashion-forward women from around the world flock to the West 72nd Street salon for LaVar's artistry in hair design, which many say is the best in the world. Ellin also spends much of her time promoting her hair care line, Ellin LaVar TEXTURES, which is carried in all CVS/pharmacy drugstores across the country, making her the first black female to have a nationally distributed hair care line by a major drugstore chain.
LOCAL 798 I.A.T.S.E.