The many celebrities who prize exquisite, versatile and easy-care hairstyles have made Ellin LaVar one of the most sought after hair designers in the hair-care industry. Her roster of well-known clients includes Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston, Naomi Campbell, Missy Elliot, Iman, Mary J. Blige, Venus and Serena Williams, and a host of other female and male stars who will never tell.
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.
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.
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.
Mary J. Blige