Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Insider's Look: Hairstylist Ted Gibson

Ted Gibson, hairstylist, interview, beauty interview, hair, hair products, Angelina Jolie hairstylist, Gabrielle Union hairstylist, Anne Hathaway hairstylist
Last week was a notorious one, fellow beauty chicks. I got to spend some valuable time with the one and only Ted Gibson! (Click here for a little gushing on that front.) And in the time we spent together, he let me in on all kinds of interesting secrets -- from how he got started in the hairstyling business to some of his favorite products and fun moments from his career! Keep reading to discover more about the super-fabulous Ted Gibson.

How did you know that you wanted to become a hairstylist?
When I was 21 years old was when I really discovered it. When I was a kid, I kind of wanted to play with hair but my dad wouldn't let me. He was a major in the army, I was a high school athlete -- played football and track and baseball and everything -- and I didn't really know that was what it was going to be for me. A friend of mine was a hairdresser and he said, "You know, you should really think about being a hairdresser." And I thought, really? And he said, "Yeah, you'd be great at it!" And next thing I knew I was in school, and I was doing competitions, and was really good at competitions, and next thing I knew I was living in New York City!

So were you just always playing with people's hair?
I was when I was a kid, but my dad would be really upset about it if I did too much. And I remember when I told them [my parents] that I wanted to be a hairdresser, they said, "Really?" They're not saying that now!

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Since the Bandostick, you've done this whole line. What is your favorite product?
I would say Hair Sheets. It was my first product out of this line that I developed. Because I feel that it's the most innovative. I think that the best form of flattery is when someone knocks you off, and there have been two people that have knocked us off, but I don't think they're as good as mine.

How did you come up with the idea for them?
A friend of mine used Bounce fabric softener on her hair all the time to control static. I thought it would be great to come up with some kind of idea where you don't necessarily smell like a laundry detergent. And I said you know, I've never seen a towelette for hair. And I wanted to create something that would have some benefit for the hair and you could carry it around, not have to worry about it, take it through customs, take it wherever you go!

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How did you come up with the idea to move into bath and body? What pushed you in that direction?
I always -- which is good and bad! -- I always listen to my girls. And my girls were always telling me how they use Daily Cleanse and Daily Nourish as a body shampoo and a body conditioner. And I said, "Really? Okay, so you know what, Ted, you should really come out with a body shampoo and a body conditioner!" So that's really the conception of how it came about.

And what kinds of products do you have coming down the pipeline?
We have some shine products coming up -- there are four, it's called the Luster series. We also have some other things, dry shampoos and things that are coming out for 2009. And probably a couple more salons.

What are some highlights in your career?
The first time I met Angelina, flying to do the covers of Cosmo and Marie Claire in the same day. Flying to Japan and to the premiere of a movie with Angie. Doing Annie Hathaway -- the first time I met her was in my salon, and we've become really good friends. To Gabrielle Union, I do her in LA and she's so beautiful! And how I feel like we're kind of brother and sister. So I think that these are really incredible highlights in my career, especially since I've been living here [in NYC] for 11 years, I've been in the fashion business for 8 or 9 years.

I love doing fashion shoots, I just did a shoot for Harper's Bazaar on Sunday. I did Lela Rose in the morning -- I had to leave from Lela Rose and go straight to the fashion shoot for Harper's Bazaar, finish that and then go back immediately for a show.

Are there any other shows that you've worked on that have been so amazing?
I would say Lela Rose, definitely. This [Spring 2009 Fashion Week] was my fourth season.

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Ted Gibson with his product line in the foreground

What makes this one so special for you?
She really respects who I am, and I really respect her as who she is. It's a collaborative effort, but she has an idea. It's nice to work with someone that you can really understand what it is that they want, because I know as a hairdresser that's the business that I'm in. That yes, I'm an expert, but I also have to listen to what it is as you, my guest, what it is that I can do to help you feel the best that you can feel about yourself.

It's the same kind of idea with doing a red carpet effort, before the Oscars or the Emmys or the Golden Globes. That you're in this hotel room, it's already high, high, high stress, and with that high stress, being able to know exactly what to do in order to make them feel the best that they can feel. Because pictures the next day with people scrutinizing what you're wearing andyour hair and makeup, that's really hard. So I love being a part of that process and helping them feel good about themselves.

What do you think are the biggest trends for spring?
We're still in it! I still think the bob is really hot. Women love that! And for me as a haircutter, it's fun to do that. Because I've been doing long hair and waves forever and it's gotten a little tiring. So in the salon it's nice to see being able to be a little more creative, and cutting women's hair and putting layers in gradually.

Is there any trend that you think is done?
No, because I think it's about an individual. Like, I don't think girls always buy products from head to toe -- like they buy a Prada jacket mixed with an H&M shirt to Converse sneakers. And I love that, and I think it's really the same thing with hair. That so many things are so evolved that there's not one specific thing.

Like I watched the Rag & Bone show, and I thought it was great, and how it was so androgynous. And I really think that's kind of the way it's gonna go. I love that, and I'm inspired by that. I'm inspired by the 80s, I'm inspired by the 70s, I did Marc Bouwer and we were inspired by the 60s. So I'm inspired by a lot of different elements and the combination of all of them really becomes something spectacular.

Are you constantly walking down the street and getting inspired?
Always! I have my camera with me all the time. Because anything can evoke something. I was thinking about the movie American Beauty, and how he was filming that piece of paper floating around. And it's so true, that it's the beauty in everything.

When you're not doing all your hair stuff -- which is probably not very often! -- what do you do for fun?
I love to work out, I love to bike. I love Facebook! I love being able to play with my dog. I got a car last summer so I love taking it out on Friday afternoon and leaving the city for the weekend, it's kind of nice!

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With hairstylist Ted Gibson


  1. Awesome interview, Jamie! I love how you really got his personable side through - I feel like I know him!

  2. I met Ted Gibson years ago in NYC. While he is super charming (especially with women), there is very little substance. He's making oodles of money (~10X mark up) selling temporary beauty.

    All his products over-promise and under-deliver.