Master Cosmetologist, entrepreneur and celebrity stylist, Pat Williams, knows a thing or two about hair. From working as a technical expert, to artistic director, to master educator she has honed an arsenal of skills that allow her to share what she calls her “gift” in a meaningful way with brands and consumers across the country and internationally. Dig into this interview to learn more about what it takes to be a successful stylist, and the common mistake that you’re probably making on your hair and should correct ASAP!

You have quite the impressive resume, having owned hair salons; worked with brands like Johnson Products, Paul Mitchell, Lancôme, and Fashion Fair; acted as Technical and Artistic Director for Revlon Professional, and currently working as a Beauty Expert, Master Educator and Event Manager for Creme of Nature, Lottabody and Roux Products, sharing hair care tips for natural and relaxed hair with consumers. What qualities and skills does it take to achieve and maintain such a high level of success as a stylist?
The qualities and skills necessary to achieve and maintain success in my business include “knowing” my business; staying abreast of what is trending and being able to translate those trends; working to give back and help others; and never looking at what I do every day as a JOB.
My license as a Master Cosmetologist gives me the foundation to do hair, make-up and nail care. I decided to step out of that box and teach as a platform artist for major manufacturers, educating other hairstylists, communicating with consumers at trade shows, and of course, talking with my clients in the salon. I am currently traveling two weeks out of the month globally. This is my “GIFT.”

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
The most rewarding part of what I do is two-fold. As an Event Planner and owner of MOSAIC Model and Talent Management, I have an opportunity to help others work. When I am talking to a consumer about hair care and see that light in the eyes, I know what I have said makes sense and she is going to have healthier hair because of her understanding of what her hair really needs. There is a saying, “An educated consumer is my best customer.” Hair education is key to healthy hair and I am rewarded when I can make a difference.

You've won multiple awards for hair cutting, styling and chemistry, which must require a high level of creativity. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
The “Gift” transcends through all that I do. The inspiration comes from different places. When I am planning a new haircutting trend, I sometimes get inspiration from Architectural Digest magazine. I go to the streets for inspiration in styling trends. In every city that I visit here (in the US) or abroad, I spend time walking and watching. I am fascinated with chemistry and hair. I test hair products before they are launched and I have learned from my work with the research and development department at Revlon. Understanding the chemistry of hair, the pH of products and how they affect hair is key to being able to help others understand what (product) to use and how to use the product. A successful hairstylist understands that CREATIVITY is Chemistry, Cutting, and Styling.

Your portfolio of celebrity clients includes Oprah Winfrey, Iman, Mary Mary, and Yolanda Adams. What is the one piece of hair care advice you give to your celebrity clients that you would be willing to share with our readers as well?
I worked with celebrities for a long time and found that due to their lifestyles, many of them change their styles quite often, usually with hair enhancements. This is true of many consumers as well. I give the same advice to celebrities as I give to consumers. Hair can only be curly, wavy or straight in ethnicity. Know and love your hair. Hair needs protein and moisture. Eat foods rich in protein, and drink lots of water. Do not overwork, or over process the hair with product or enhancements.

Tell us about your personal hair routine. Do you have a set regimen that’s tried and true, or do you like to change it up a lot?
My hair is fine and I LOVE hair color. In 2000, I decided to go natural. I shampoo twice a week, condition with a protein-infused deep conditioner and use a styling creme for my wash and go. I use a foaming mousse for my twist outs. I color my new growth every 8 weeks.

What is the most common mistake you see people making when attempting to care for their own hair?
The most common mistake I see people making when taking care of their own hair is using too many products. Cocktailing product can be used in initial styling, a leave-in treatment, mousse, shine product, and edge control for example. You should not continue to use all of these products on the hair after 3 or 4 days. Remember that your hair has sebaceous glands that secrete oils to your scalp daily. Add to those environmental pollutants that attack your hair (the same “stuff” that settles on car). When all of this is in your hair and you continue to add product, your hair will not perform. It will be overburdened with product. Shampoo and start again for a fresh look.