Exclusive: César DeLeön Ramîrez, Celebrity Hair Stylist – his Puerto Rican heritage and his career

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Beauty Hair

César DeLeön Ramîrez grew up between inner-city New York City and the island of Puerto Rico amidst hairspray and rollers in his family’s hair salon. An artistic maverick, César was determined to carve a long-lasting space for himself within the beauty and fashion world early on. Following his first celebrity client, actress Elizabeth Berkley he did just that. Today he is known for his work on several celebrities, including Ciara, Christina Aguilera, Normani, Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Arianna Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Kehlani, Russell Wilson, Becky G, Laverne Cox, Erika Jayne, Solange, Rita Ora and many more.

Always inspired by Caribbean people doing amazing things, we were very excited for the opportunity to connect with the creative genius behind some of our favorite celebrities’ iconic looks.

Caribbean POSH: Can you tell us a bit about your Puerto Rican background and how it has influenced your career as a hairstylist?

César: I am extremely connected to my culture and like most Puerto Ricans I’m very proud. I feel blessed to have lived the first 13 years of my life on the Island but moving to NJ/NY felt like another version of Puerto Rico. My culture is about strength, joy, and unity three attributes that have helped shape me and my career. The diversity in my culture has also helped me diversify my skills to be able to work with all hair types and textures. 

Caribbean POSH: Does your family still own a salon in Puerto Rico? Were they impacted by the recent passing of Hurricane Fiona?

César: No, unfortunately, they don’t still have a salon but my family still does live on the island. They have been affected, everyone on the island is affected because there is a lack of help and a fragile infrastructure so the island is in very bad conditions which makes it very hard for people to live and thrive. 

Caribbean POSH: You’ve worked as Global Artistic Director for L’Oréal ’s multi-texture brand Mizani, and as Brand Ambassador for John Paul Mitchell. What were those experiences like and how did they come about?

César: I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with and represent two of my favorite Hair Care brands. L’Oréal and Paul Mitchell. Both were amazing experiences that helped me grow to be a better artist and overall a better person. 

After years of building a relationship with L’Oréal I was asked to come on as an Artistic Director for their multi-texture brand Mizani. My role was to help relaunch the brand by adding my diverse approach to hairstyling and it was a success which I’m very proud of. 

When Paul Mitchell approached me to be a brand ambassador I was working with Winnie Harlow who is also an island girl and also was asked to be a brand ambassador. That was a very proud and important moment for me as it was the transition out of COVID and a way to remind the world about the beautiful bond between clients and stylists. The PM brand has always been such a huge inspiration in my career and with their stance on veganism, inclusivity, and Pro stylist support. 

Caribbean POSH: You are the co-creator of a progressive lifestyle beauty brand called WILDFORM which celebrates hair pieces, wigs, and accessories. Can you tell us a bit about the brand and how it has been a game changer?

César: Wildform was an idea between my best friend Caroline De Sousa and I. The idea was to help change the stigmas in the beauty industry. Over 5 years ago we started creating this idea that beauty brands would be green, sustainable, eco-friendly, and also spiritually enlightening. 

With Wildform we want to show the world that beauty truly does begin on the inside and that inner beauty is equally as important as outer beauty. 

Caribbean POSH: Are there any new haircare products or tools you’ve discovered in 2022, that you are absolutely in love with, and why?

César: With the amount of haircare brands on the market, it is so saturated that it’s truly overwhelming. I tend to stick to my classics which I know work very well like Unite Hair, R&Co Blue, L’Oréal, and Kenra. I’m mostly excited for my brand Wildform to launch its wet line, hopefully soon, because I have a lot of great ideas for products and tools that are missing from the market. 

Caribbean POSH: What is that one product that you would freak out over if it’s missing from your hair kit?

César: My wig blockhead. LOL… there’s been times when my assistant has forgotten to pack my wig head and since I mostly custom make and style wigs not having a head makes it very challenging to say the least.  

Caribbean POSH: More and more women of color are choosing to wear their natural hair. What are your go-to products for caring and styling textured hair?

César: By far I think Mizani has a wonderful arsenal of products for all hair textures. Natural hair comes in all textures so it is important to have a brand that catered to all textures. 

Caribbean POSH: Over the years you have garnered recognition for impeccable vision brought to New York’s fashion runways. What has been your biggest challenge ever faced backstage during a show and how did you overcome it?

César: Well backstage at FW is always a challenge. Whether it’s a lack of space or an electrical issue or late models, something is always going wrong. I’m actually very well known for working well under pressure so I never lose my cool. I just stay calm and manifest that all will work out. At the end of the day, it’s just fashion. Life will go on lol!

CIARA’s look at the 2022 Tom Ford show by César DeLeön Ramîrez

Caribbean POSH: What was the inspiration behind CIARA’s look for the Tom Ford Fashion Show? And how did you achieve the look?

César: Ciara’s Tom Ford look was inspired by the clothing. I was afraid to go too simple or too pretty and make her look mature. Instead, I wanted a fun, edgy, rock star vibes. Since the clothing had a 70’s vibe I decided to go with a 70 ’s-inspired modern wolf cut. I used a Wildform wig and I custom-cut and styled it using Unite Hair Care products. 

Caribbean POSH: You have trained with top stylists such as Michelle Caruso and Jo Blackwell-Preston. What would you say has been your greatest takeaway from your training with such stylists?

César: Jo and Michelle were both incredible, strong, supportive, and talented women bosses. They taught me a lot about being responsible and about integrity. A lot of who I am really stems from them. I learned from them how to carry myself professionally and how to treat my clients with respect. 

Caribbean POSH: You have trained with top stylists such as Michelle Caruso and Jo Blackwell-Preston. What would you say has been your greatest takeaway from your training with such stylists?

César: UUUFFF that’s a hard one. I’d have to say that styling someone who I grew up watching and admiring on TV always feels surreal. Winning a Hollywood beauty award was awesome. Working with brands to develop products. Starting my own brand Wildform. These are all things I don’t take for granted considering where I come from. 

César DeLeön Ramîrez

Caribbean POSH: Do you have a funny or crazy hair story that actually in the end taught you something?

César: Yes. It’s embarrassing but I once tried to turn down a client at the salon because I was really busy and thought he wouldn’t pay my prices. I looked like a fool saying NO. I later found out he was one of the world wide most successful shoe designers with a huge empire and he was nice. That taught me to be humble and to never judge another human. Since then I have said yes to all opportunities because you never know where they will take you. 

Caribbean POSH: What advice would you share with an aspiring hairstylist looking to advance their career? – Especially one in the Caribbean trying to get into the mainstream entertainment world.

César: I have always said that education is everything. You must educate yourself and master your craft first. Then educate yourself in business and social media. Then really master truly “being” with people. Be fearless, only you can stop you.

Founded in 2005 by Virgin Island native Janette Brin, Caribbean POSH is a fashion and lifestyle magazine blog on a mission to empower Caribbean Women. Visit our website to learn more about the magazine and our annual Caribbean POSHgirl POWER Brunch.