Celebrity Stylist Lee Rittiner Launches All-Natural Line of Four Hair Essentials
Posted On Nov 21, 2017
By Ruchel Louis Coetzee
Lee Rittiner, celebrity stylist and indisputable conqueror of the modern red carpet up-do, talks to New You about launching TOTALEE, his all-natural line of four essential on-the-go styling products, to stay fab on the fly!
Celebrity hairstylist Lee Rittiner is no stranger to some of the biggest super-watt stars in town. Diane Keaton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Chrissy Tiegen, Mila Kunis, Cameron Dallas, Madison Beer, Rocky and Jay Alvarez and Jessica Biel have all sat in his chair. And now that he’s about to open his own salon this fall on LA’s trendy West Third Street, you can bet getting time with Lee is going to be nearly impossible. But even though his prowess over tresses has become the thing of Hollywood legend, the person he kept in mind when crafting his just-released line of high-performing, thoroughly affordable daily haircare? His mom.
“She has been using all the best styling products over the years,” says Lee of his super stylish, perfectly primped parent. But once she tried her son’s recently released four essential product line, TOTALEE, she was hooked—and we were, too.
Distilled down to an embraceable, daily four-step system, TOTALEE offers on-the-go glamour for the everyday extraordinary woman—who doesn’t have time for multi-multi-step, super confusing (and expensive) products (what is a curl immersion co-wash cleansing conditioner, anyway?). “Most of these products make it so difficult to get what you need,” says Lee, “I wanted to bring women a simple natural line that is healthy for them, healthy for their kids, healthy for their day-to-day lifestyle and I wanted to give them something that actually works at an affordable price point!”
A good Southern boy, Lee grew up visiting hair salons with his mom and sisters more often than he cared to remember. And if his muse was his mom, his innate inspiration was borne from the desire to help ease the lives of the busy modern day women he’d been observing for a lifetime. Surrounded by a large female presence growing up, he was acutely aware of how much time and money was wasted on unnecessary products. And as a pro in the business, he often observed the complete dissatisfaction of many existing products on the market. Nothing seemed to work effortlessly or cost effectively, especially when brands began touting different products for essentially the same use. It was all this that pushed Lee to take his particular know-how and create his own formulas.
“Where the average trial was about thirty, I went through about fifty eight different trials for just one product because I wanted it to be perfect,” he said. “I have always been an overachiever. Anything I delivered to my clients, I wanted to make sure I didn’t let them down. And being on television and the internet, people are going to trust that I’m giving them something that actually works – it’s just how I was brought up to always deliver the best products.”
After graduating from the prestigious Graham Webb Academy in Washington DC, Lee completed his master training at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Los Angeles where he learned the architecture of the perfect coif (a Lee Rittiner haircut is known to last at least three months). Upon graduating, Lee landed at Jonathan Antin’s salon as a member of the television show Blow Out, where his notoriety grew and led him to work alongside industry leaders such as Serge Normant, Sally Herschberger, Garren and Oribe. And his star continues to rise. When it comes to red carpet season, Lee is on everyone’s speed dial ever since he was awarded “Best Updo” of the 2013 Oscars red carpet. For Lee, he prefers to be defined by talent than hype—something that is evident in his new, must-have hair product line.
The TOTALEE line, available online at (totaleehair.com, $29.99) contains four key dermatologist tested products made up of high-quality, all-natural ingredients including peptides, probiotics, and proteins to help tame and style even the most stubborn of strands. There is Wash (hydrating and color brightening shampoo), Rins (weightless, humidity-tested conditioner), Mist (volumizing leave-in spray with UV protection that helps eliminate oil and split ends), and Work (smooth-drying, scrunch-and-go cream elixir), all of which are free of parabens, surfactants, and sulfates.
“With shampoo, I’m a minimalist,” he says, explaining his reason behind the formula of Wash. “I never wanted hair to be weighed down or too dry, so I was always looking for that perfect balance of a volumizing shampoo, a hydrating shampoo, a moisturizing shampoo, a color-save shampoo, and a color-enhancing shampoo by playing with different natural ingredients.” For example, he uses witch hazel instead of alcohol, which can dry out your hair and isn’t good for you in the long run. He’s also an advocate for time in between shampoos, the better it is for your hair. “If you keep shampooing your hair every day, you’re going to strip your hair and your scalp of the oil it actually needs. But, if you start shampooing every other day to every two days, you will start to balance out your scalp and you wouldn’t have to shampoo as often.”
What we love about his conditioner, Rins, is that it is nearly weightless, but with moisturizing, hydrating qualities that don’t leave hair feeling oily or too heavy. How does he do it? “Rins works by infusing the hair shaft with proteins and peptides to reduce the appearance of split ends.” he adds.
Volumizing texture spray, Mist, also detangles and hydrates hair. “Now you can get out of the shower and spray it to help comb out your hair. Then, when you go to blow-dry it, it is going to give it fullness and life. It’s also going to give you hold for whatever style you’re trying to achieve that day,” Lee says.
Mist also has a UV protectant that helps not only protect your hair from the sun, but can also help save your color and protect your scalp. Another added bonus in Mist is a heat protectant that acts like a lacquer over the hair shaft to protect it from the heat and any damage to the cuticle “We also have a humidity protectant in it. I can officially say that it’s been tested in the heat of Miami and it works!” he laughs. “My shampoo and my conditioner and my mist help styles last, do not weigh the hair down and keep hair perfectly positioned.”
The final product in the set is a product called Work. According to Lee, the bond-builders in the formula act like a Band-Aid on the broken ends of hair. “Nothing can actually mend a broken end except for a haircut, but we still need to help the in-between. I created a product that you can use after the Mist or simply alone,” he says. “It’s a blow-dry cream that you can also use as a curl cream.”
The difference between Work and most other products on the market with bond-builders in their formulas is that with Work, women don’t have to rinse it out 10 to 15 minutes later. “The reason I called it “Work” is because it’s working on your hair all day long,” he explains. “My mom uses it as a curl cream. When I gave her this she said, hands down, her hair never looked bouncier, her curls never looked more defined, her hair never looked wet or weighed hair down and it was the perfect balance for her hair.”
And that’s kind of the secret to his success. What drives this man of the mane is a deep-rooted kind of care that manifests in making women feel completely confident—and that’s TOTALEE beautiful.
The entire TOTALEE line is available online at www.Totaleehair.com