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If there is one man we'd trust with our tresses, it would be celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson. Not only is he the mane man for stars like Priyanka Chopra, Saoirse Ronan, Lupita Nyong'o, Brie Larson, Logan Browning, Rachel Brosnahan and Tessa Thompson, but he gave Sandra Oh her now-iconic curly bangs, kicking off one of our favorite hair trends of 2019.
To add to that, Gibson and his husband, celebrity colorist Jason Backe, are the brains and talent behind the innovative smart salon STARRING by Ted Gibson, which features first-class service with Amazon tech and shopping.
Needless to say, we were so excited to have a stylish Ted Talk with the man. Score his tips, tricks and product recommendations below!
What got you into hairstyling?
Well, the story goes...WHEW! It was 1987, New Year's Eve, and a really good friend of mine is a hairdresser. I said to him as the clock struck 12, "I always thought of being a hairdresser." He said, "YOU SHOULD DO IT. You would be great at it." Next thing I knew I was in school.
I remember when I picked up a pair of shears and a comb and how I tingled from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. I knew I was in the right place. I was 22 years old. In Texas, this could be considered a little old to start beauty school [laughs]. I am so glad I made that statement that night. Going to beauty school was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.
How did you get into working with celebrities?
This is a great question. When I started working in the fashion business, it was still models on covers of magazines. Living in NYC, we created the trends because I would do fashion shows in NYC, London, Milan and Paris. Like in The Devil Wears Prada (I cut those bangs on Anne Hathaway, btw), where Miranda Priestly talks about Cerulean Blue.
I didn't want to do celebrities because if you were a celebrity hairdresser you lived in California and you weren't that good. If you lived in NYC, you were because the runway created the trend. So with that being said, if I ever wanted to do a cover of a magazine I need to do them. So I bit the bullet and went for it.
I had built a great reputation in fashion all the major publications Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Cosmo, etc. Lucy Sykes, the fashion director at Marie Claire said, "We are shooting a celebrity. Patrick Demarchelier is shooting Cosmo in the morning. We are shooting in the afternoon, and its Angelina Jolie." I finally said YES! It changed the course of my career and life.
Your clients include women with all types of hair texture. What products do you recommend? Is there one product that works on all hair types?
I created STARRING Shooting Star Texture Meringue for this purpose. To be able to pull something out of my bag that I can use on all types of hair.
Let's talk Sandra Oh's curly bangs, which have kicked off a trend we love. Was that your idea or hers?
I LOVE THEM TOO! It's so funny how these things work. I was shooting a cover with Sandra and I was prepping her hair. As I was looking at her in the mirror and deciding on what I wanted to create, I asked her, "When was the last time you had bangs?" She said when she was a little girl. I said, "I think it's time to cut them."
And anytime I have this conversation with a woman about bangs its usually the same response: NO. I had them when I was a kid. I say, "Well, for one, you aren't a kid any more. And I am not your mom cutting them." [Laughs]
Sandra agreed and we LOVED THEM. I had no idea they would be the talk of all award season and create such a great trend for curly haired girls. One of my proudest moments. I am so grateful.
Tell us about your groundbreaking smart salon. Your Amazon partnership is brilliant, IMHO.
THANK YOU! My husband—celebrity colorist Jason Backe—and I decided we would never open another salon again. After having three salons in three different states, we would NEVER open another salon again. NEVER SAY NEVER [laughs].
Well, when we decided to create another brand called STARRING products and salon #starringsalonconcept, we knew we had to do something different. For a woman to leave her house these days she is looking for an experience. So that's why we created the FIRST SMART SALON IN THE WORLD.
How did that come about?
We had this idea that how could we think about what the salon of the future would be and the outdated current salon model. That over 50% of woman view going to the hairdresser is almost as painful as going to the dentist. We love flying first class; when you are in first class, you are having your own individualized custom experience. From the hot towel to the screen to the service.
So with that being said, we created just that. What we call CLOUDS, which are semi-private 13-feet high by 9-feet long and 8-and-half feet wide. You have the ability to custom your own experience. From 12-plus lighting options powered by Alexa and Amazon, to a Fire tablet where you can read magazines shop or watch your latest Netflix or Amazon Prime show to shopping.
Our front windows are all shoppable, with STARRING Shooting Star Texture Meringue. Just take out your phone, open your Amazon cart, and items can be to your house in two days. When you come to the salon, we don't have all of this excess inventory on shelves.
Are you planning to open more salons like this?
YES. My goal is to franchise and license the concept.
Which, if any, drugstore products do your clients use?
I love Elnett Hairspray and Batiste Dry Shampoo in the Sweetie fragrance.
What products are always worth the splurge?
A good shampoo and conditioner like Goldwell Dualsenses Color Brilliance Shampoo & Conditioner.
Goldwell Dualsenses Color Brilliance Shampoo & Conditioner
This shampoo is as gentle as water that can be used daily and has a FadeStopFormula which will minimise color fading with every use. Color Brilliance Conditioner detangles hair instantly and creates shine and luminosity for color treated and non-color treated hair.
Your No. 1 styling tool is…
A really good hot curling iron.
Any non-traditional items/products you recommend or use to achieve a specific style?
• One of the things to keep your ponytail right is use a toothbrush to smooth out the hairline.
• Always a cold water rinse after your conditioner to close cuticle and refresh scalp.
• When you are creating beach waves switch directions back and forth so that you will have a more natural feel to the hair.
• And use green tea to stimulate hair growth.