Behind the Look: Charles Baker Strahan

charles-baker-strahanBesides coifing celebs and models like Leighton Meester, Kathy Griffin,  Lauren Conrad, Lily Aldridge and Molly Sims, I've also had the privilege of having my hair done by Charles Baker Strahan, Celebrity Hairstylist for Herbal Essences.  He's one of the most genuine people in the biz and truly, I mean truly, knows his craft.  His beauty philosophy is so well thought out, it might make you think twice about your hair the next time you leave the house.

Describe the most exciting project you’ve worked on lately. There are so many varied experiences that I have had and that I am truly grateful for. From being the celebrity stylist for Herbal Essences, to being on the E! Series "Scouted" and other on-camera experiences, and even the transformational color/cutting work I get to do in the salon - it's all so exciting.

My current highlight is working with Kathy Griffin on set for the E! Fashion Police.  We have had a relationship for over four years now, which is hard to believe how fast time flies, but our relationship has evolved and she gives me a lot of freedom to change her color and cut and style her hair in so many different ways. The show gives me the license to kill and I'm determined to make her hair different every episode!

What’s your beauty philosophy? Beauty and truth are constantly evolving. The greater the relationship I have with my clients and the more that I know them and their "essence,” the easier it is for me to open up their esthetic and show them how the physical expression of beauty is the truth of the moment they are in.

I love showing people how far they can stretch themselves and how varied they can be in that expression. Beauty and your physicality are your unspoken ways of telling the world around you who you are and how you would like to be received. Be intentional in your choices but open to the possibilities of how you can change. Being fluid with your identity lends to being graceful and that is truly beautiful in any situation.

  1. What are your top five must-haves in your kit and why?  Herbal Essences Naked Volumizing Soufflé – it is an ultra-light and flexible mousse ideal as a base product to do just about anything
  2. Herbal Essences Wild Naturals Illuminating Dry Oil – helps to restore taxed and tired follicles needing shine and softness
  3. Boar bristle round brushes - they polish the cuticle and create shape that allows hair to have life and movement which is essential
  4. GHD Air Blowdryer - the tri-zone technology provides even heat that reshapes the hair but doesn't "cook" it. So, if you straighten the hair you can go back and add curl after
  5. Marcel Irons Hot Tools – you can be more dexterous with them – I can do almost anything with these


Have you discovered any new products lately that you find impressive?

The things most important to me and impressive are the ones that have been around forever. However, I do love it when they take a product and update it, like dry shampoo. Dry shampoo has changed SO many people’s “hair life” in the last few years!

Spill your best beauty advice. The thing I tell EVERYONE is not to try too hard. If you have a look that you are going for, use it as inspiration but leave room for the unexpected. Watch how your hair is responding to what you are doing without judgment and you might suddenly find that what's happening is better than what you were initially going for.

Also, my favorite aha moment is when someone was caught in the rain or they are running late and don't have time to “do” their hair so their hair has the chance to just do its thing and ends up looking great. Be easier on yourself - chances are you'll learn to embrace your uniqueness instead of lamenting why you don't look like someone else. You're always going to be you!

What’s the one tip or trick that you think all women should know? If you just took a hot shower and turned your bathroom into a tropical rain forest, don’t try and style your hair in that environment!

Put your product in your hair while it's still wet. Use the water in the hair to give you an even distribution and wring out the excess moisture before letting it dry. If you are spending most of your effort blow drying really wet hair with a round brush, you are mostly just wearing yourself out. Let the product do its thing and this will likely cut your styling time in half.

It’s also important to remember heat changes the shape of hair and coolness sets it in. So when heat styling, let your hair cool in order to lock in your style.

Keep up with Charles Baker Strahan on Twitter and Instagram.