Sparkle, Fizz, Clink comes to mind when I think of Celebrity MUA and Stylist Raina Love. A Native New Yorker and Caribbean Girl, Raina sprinkles a dash of fabulosity and realness down every trail she blazes. A licensed cosmetologist of 17 years, Raina’s extensive resume includes contributions to a great roster of many mainstream platforms including ; O Magazine and Love and Hip Hop. A divorcee of 3 amazing sons, Raina continuously proves herself as the untraditional renaissance woman. Check out my latest chat with Raina below:
What inspired you to pursue the Beauty Industry?
When I was in the military I was pregnant with my first child and would braid all the black female soldiers hair with extensions. People were supportive of me bcuz I was good and had a baby on the way. Since I was good at it I said when I get out I will go to beauty school.
Raina is more than beauty extraordinaire; she also has a highly influential voice. I find myself either in tears from laughter or with a high peeked fist screaming PREACH! When I read Raina’s Rants, do you think clients gravitate to you more because you keep it real and relatable?
I actually do think clients gravitate to me because I’m so relatable and I’m raw. Some ppl are scared to be themselves, I am not. The right client will make her way to me. Of course I am professional when I’m with my client but they also aren’t deterred bcuz of my outspokenness on certain matters. This is who I am naturally. Ppl know when you’re faking it & when you’re not. Clients tell me I’m there spirit animal and they live thru my vocalness.
What was your first job as a hairstylist?
My first job as a hairstylist was being an assistant at a “First Impression” in Valley Stream, NY. The salon was owned by Cheryl ‘Salt’ James of the Grammy award winning group “Salt & Pepa.” There I learned how to do precision cutting, how to treat and bring Hair back to life and how to maintain it properly. I also was the weave queen there. But my clients all had healthy shiny bouncy hair underneath.
In your opinion, what’s the best and toughest part of your job?
I’ve been licensed for 17 years. The toughest part of my job was always trying to explore who my client is so that I can determine what style of hair and makeup is best for them. Now it’s easy bcuz I understand human psychology more and bcuz of that I am able to listen better and execute efficiently. The hardest part in this social media age was me figuring out my niche. I now have that figured out and draw the type of audience & clientele that fit my niche.
What are the keys to success in the Beauty Industry? Also, what advice would you give to an aspiring hairstylist or MUA?
The keys to success in the Beauty Industry is to truly stay focused . Be open to learning all the time no matter how long you’ve been in this industry. Never think you know it all. Assist even when you’re at the top of your game bcuz new doors continue to open even when you do that. Read, attend classes and seminars. Find your tribe and stick with it. Just like with any industry there will be cutthroat ppl, learn to rise above it and keep moving. Cry if you have to, vent but don’t stay there in the cycle of sorrow.
What are 3 products that you can’t live without?
Mac Peach luster prep + prime highlighter pen (gives me that natural glow under my eyes, bridge of my nose and chin. I have to have it or I feel insane. Fenty foundation #440 … because my Bajan Queen did the damn thing with this foundation. It’s exactly my shade, my undertone and keeps my skin oil-Free. I don’t even have to set the foundation. It stays on all day. (I also use her blush/contour stick & killawatt in trophy wife! I would die w/them. NARS gel pencil liner in Via Venetto. She stays put even when I cry. It’s thee blackest liner on the market and my clients adore it too.
Who is your spirit animal and why?
Eartha Kitt is my spirit animal. When I started to study her I’m like.. “I am her.” She’s blunt, direct, no nonsense, petite, dancer, singer , but still sweet and elegant. She was a warrior in spirit and rose above adversity. I am her. She didn’t care what anyone thought of her and wasn’t afraid to tell the truth. She was a beauty and I simply adore her.
If you’re able to share, who has been your favorite celebrity client thus far?
I have a couple of celeb clients that are my favorite. Vanessa Simmons was so sweet when I did her hair. Star Jones has a very easy face for makeup and was the consummate professional. But the star from “Love & Hip Hop” Tara Wallace is also my fav. We actually have a real friendship. She’s like a big sister to me. I talk to her about every and anything and our friendship is honest and raw. I stay at her house sometimes after we go out because I’m too tired to travel back home and I eat breakfast there. So the love is deep and real. We are both Virgo women and have sons who’s birthdays are a 2 weeks apart and they’re besties.
Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
I’m still working on the bridal division of my company and making a name for myself in the bridal world. But I do have a product coming out soon. I want to protect it right now so I won’t speak on it. But I’m so excited I can cry. It’s going to be amazing.
Choose one word to describe your work.
One word to describe my work: Chìc