You know that idea that your hairstylist or your barber can become your trusted friend? That you can sit down in their chair and tell them about your day and they’ll listen? Don’t scoff; Ted Gibson is living proof that that idea has merit. Still, as genuine, warm and just plain nice as he is, Gibson is no ordinary hairstylist.
“I’m living my dream,” he says humbly as he rattles off all his accomplishments, which include having an A-list celebrity clientele that trust him with their tresses for performances, the red carpet (from the Oscars to the SAG Awards), and magazine covers, as well as owning two salons (one in New York City, the other in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) plus his own line of products.
A staple of TLC’s hit “What Not To Wear,” now into its 10th season, this dimpled hairdresser doesn’t have much left under things he hasn’t accomplished on his “vision board.” When asked about what’s next on his list, he deadpans, “I want horses. I don’t have horses yet.” I can’t help but laugh at this, and he too breaks and laughs heartily.
He then admits, “I haven’t gotten a cover of Vogue yet.”
Definitely not your typical hairdresser.
Gibson was kind enough to share his hair expertise with Campus Circle, giving readers tips on taking care of their hair, and tells us why he loves his job so much.
Campus Circle: It seems the biggest trend in hairstyling right now is effortless-looking beachy waves. How can readers achieve the look at home?
Ted Gibson: If you’re not at the beach, use two products: The first product would be [a styling cream like my] Tame It Shine lotion, and then a medium- or large-barrel curling iron. Take 2-inch sections, wrap your hair around, leave it on for about three seconds and then release. What that does is it gives you a soft wave like Gabrielle Union, or Ashley Greene, or Reese Witherspoon, when you see them have beachy hair. What happens is that the ends are a little softer and [they] aren’t curly; you just have a really soft wave to them. And then spray with a light control hairspray.
CC: Now that summer’s here, how can we best protect our hair from the sun?
TG: There’s one product in particular, one of my products, and it’s called Hair Sheet. It’s great because it has a UV absorber in it, and it also has vitamins A and D and antioxidants. You know the towelettes to take your make up off? [These are the] same kind of idea but for hair. It helps you protect your hair from the sun, and it’s great for traveling!
CC: Any other summer hair care tips?
TG: If you’re concerned about flyaways or not shampooing as often during the summertime, I would rinse your hair with a cool water rinse. That helps to fill the cuticles, and it also helps to add shine to the hair.
CC: How can you protect your hair from chlorine or the ocean?
TG: Using a Hair Sheet before! But if you want something a little more than that, then I would put conditioner on your hair while you’re at the pool.
CC: Can you give us some ideas for easy up-dos for hot days?
TG: Top-knots are really hot at the moment. Start off with a ponytail on top of your head, wrap your hair around that ponytail, pin and then spray with hold hairspray to hold it in place! Top-knots are genius, especially in summer. If you’re going from day to evening, you can put a headband on, put accessories that have a little sparkle to them, add a barrette –there are many great things you can do.
CC: What’s the one hair product that’s really worth splurging on?
TG: Tools are really important to have. A flat iron is really great [because] you can straighten or wave hair with a flatiron; it’s two things in one. I would splurge on a flat iron that has a dial on it so you can dial up how much heat you need. If you have coarse hair, you want maybe up to 400. If you have fine hair, you can have up to 250 or maybe 300.
CC: What do you think is the worst hairstyle or trend right now?
TG: My tag line is about the individual: “Beauty is the individual.” It’s about knowing what the trend is, but not necessarily being a slave to it. Know what it is, and adapt to who you are. If ombre is a little too much, make it not as drastic. The only thing I would say that wouldn’t necessarily be right would be the bi-level haircut, shorter in the front and longer in the back.
CC: You’re on TLC’s “What’s Not to Wear,” so you’ve dealt with a lot of women in need of a hair overhaul. What’s the biggest mistake women make when styling or taking care of their hair?
TG: They don’t use the right tools, from products to the right shampoo and conditioner. There are many things that are important.
CC: How did you get started in hair?
TG: I am an artist. I do a lot of painting. Hair seems to be the right vehicle for me.
CC: What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
TG: I love the transformation. It can be a woman on my show “What Not To Wear,” to Ashley Greene, Chloe Moretz, Elizabeth Olson, Gabrielle Union, Zoe Saldana, Anne Hathaway. All of those girls that I mentioned and the everyday women I work with on “What Not To Wear” feed my soul. [I love] helping women discover their individual beauty.
CC: Do you have any advice for aspiring hairstylists?
TG: I think being in the beauty business and being a hairdresser is one of the most incredible things in the world. To have the opportunity to make people feel better about themselves every single day, there’s nothing more rewarding. It’s a great business; tell all of them to do it!
See Ted Gibson on "What Not To Wear," airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on TLC.