The self-described A-list hairstylist who’s been in the industry for nearly 25 years talks about what getting hair on the Oscar ballot means for the industry, and his hair predictions for 2013.
Salon Magazine: What did you think about the Oscars last night?
Ted Gibson: Overall, the hair was great. I wish people took more risks with the hair, but there were no disasters so I’m happy about that. What I predicted came true: hair was pulled back, simple, very classic and nothing too avant-garde. There wasn’t very strong makeup or lips—it was playing by the rules.
SM: How do you feel knowing that you added hair and makeup as an Oscar category for the first time in history?
TG: Before, it was always just makeup and costume. When the Academy put hair and makeup on the ballot, it made me happy but at the same time, hair should be its own category. On Twitter last night, there were about two hundred people congratulating me and seeing how amazing it and what that really means for us in the business as hairstylists. That we’re being recognized is a huge step.
SM: Tell me more about what this means for the hairstyling industry.
TG: I’ve been a hairdresser for 24 years. In my 24 years, I’ve been able to work behind the chair, I’ve been able to be a teacher, I’ve done shows and editorial all around the world, I have two salons, my own product line and I work on some of the most famous celebrities in the world. And just the fact of having a beauty school license has allowed me to do so many things. People used to ask me, why do you want to go to beauty school? Why not be a doctor, a social worker, you’re not going to make any money and you’re on your feet all day, and saying things with all these negative connotations, and I think that getting hair on the ballot was a validation. An acceptance that makes me feel really, really good.
SM: I can only imagine Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell today, people know who they are and what they’ve done, all around the world now.
TG: I wept a lot last night, and I didn’t win an Oscar last night, but I felt like I did. That validation was for every hairstylist. What I encourage hairdressers to do all the time is to raise their prices every year because it’s an injustice to us that we don’t value ourselves enough—when we raise our prices, it helps to raise our industry. When we don’t raise our prices and we’re not doing the things we should be doing, people don’t have us in the best light. And I know the power of a good haircut, clients are two different people from when they came into the salon and when they walk out. We’re building up people.
SM: What’s it like to work with high-profile celebrity clients?
TG: I’ve done hair for Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Deborah Messing, Zoe Saldana, Ashley Greene, Angelina Jolie. The great thing about the work I do is that I treat everyone like I’m treating Angelina. To me, it doesn’t matter who it is—my platform has always been about the individual. My tagline is ‘beauty is individual.’ I’ll always consider the texture of hair, and it’s always about the technique and product you use to make someone look really beautiful.
SM: Switching gears, what’s a really hot hair prediction for 2013?
TG: Well, we just came back from fashion week, and at Rachel Roy, the hair was a key part. I think we’ll see the bob with bangs, lots of texture.
SM: What hairstyle are you ready to see out the door?
TG: Ombre. I like it when there’s gradation—for example, some pink on the ends applied with hair chalk. But when it’s dark at the top and then dramatically light at the bottom, I think that’s missing the point. It’s too severe and doesn’t look good.
SM: What will you be up to this year, where can we expect to find you?
TG: I’ll be working on a show called Lisa and Friends, do some charity events, and I’m really excited about my advanced academies in New York and Florida. I just opened those a year ago, and I’m very excited about what this can do for hairdressers, to change their consciousness about hair. It’s not just teaching a haircut, but about the technique. A haircut can’t be applied on everyone, but techniques last, and hairstylists learn to adapt it on anyone.