One has to wonder what tricks the stylists to the stars possess and if the little things really do set them apart from other people in the industry. As the North American Ambassador for Herbal Essences and the stylist behind the coveted locks of Mariah Carey and Leighton Meester, Charles Baker Strahan has shown us exactly what he is capable of. But we want to know more. When someone is well versed in the art of styling wigs, celebrities, and commercial shoots, we know they have to be prepared for anything. So Charles let us dive inside his kit and showed us exactly how to pack like a Mane Master.
“First, I want to talk about the bag itself. I’ve used rolling suitcases for years. I have lived either in NYC or LA since 2000 and I used to have to replace my suitcases almost every year (and sometimes twice a year) with all the travel and wear and tear of the city. But I got this backpack from Patagonia about 3 years ago and I love it! I was visiting family in Boulder, Colorado and when I saw this backpack I thought “YES!”
It’s weatherproof, soft-sided, light and incredibly durable. The other key is it allows me to be so much more nimble. Any New Yorker will tell you that there are times of day where the subway is hands down the most efficient means of travel – have you ever tried to drag a rolling suitcase onto the subway? It’s a nightmare and you generally get the same looks from people that someone does getting on a red eye flight with a screaming baby. There is also the super fun moment of trying to get through a screaming crowd of fans with a pop diva and a rolling suitcase… No thank you!
It has a few zipper compartments and generally speaking I can fit anything I need in it for pretty much any situation. Inside there are great zipper bags where I store my products; bobby and hair pins/elastics and other up-do items in, brushes etc. I got them from a store called Muji. They keep things that should be together, together and (heaven forbid) a styling product opens up inside you only have to take care of the mess in that little bag as opposed to your entire kit.
I always have a set of ‘in case of emergency’ things, like Altoids for fresh breath, Oscillococcinum which is a homeopathic remedy in the event that you are around someone sick or feel a cold/flu coming on. These have saved the day for me! Extra Vitamin Supplements to give me that extra boost if I’m running low on energy or if I’ve been traveling. And last, but not least, a phone charger as well as 2 clean towels in a ziplock (because sometimes we shoot in interesting places and you don’t want to set your things on surfaces or sometimes things explode in your bag).
PRODUCTS AND TOOLS
I am a HUGE fan of my GHD Air Blowdryer and flat iron. I love the rose gold color but the technology is my favorite. The blowdryer is designed ergonomically for dexterity while drying, ionic drying maintains moisture and gives great shine and excellent wind speed. Also, it doesn’t overheat the hair when drying/styling. Many dryers will “cook” the hair straight, which prevents you from being able to add curl back into the hair, this one doesn’t and I love it. Simultaneously I get a frizz free blowout on my curliest girls. Obsessed! The styler/flat iron has a tri-zone heat technology for even heat and sensitivity to the hair’s heat absorption. As different hair absorbs heat differently the styler is designed with a sensitivity (3 sensor areas) to insure the iron maintains 365 degrees, which is the exact level of heat to reshape it each time you pass it through the hair. Straighten, bend or wave – you’re good as gold. Rose gold that is.
I’m a marcel iron fanatic. I find them so much easier to be dexterous with and I use them to reshape the hair a number of different ways then I ever could with an iron and a spring shell. I’m old school like that though – I’ve used these Gold ‘N Hot irons for years.
Boar bristle brushes to polish the hair. There is a variation of density and stiffness of bristle for greater control depending on the brush and ceramic centers on some to boost smoothing and styling on dryer hair textures.
I will use 3-4 brushes at the same time to set hair. Wedging them in like velcro rollers to cool as I move on to another section. Clients crack up as they see themselves with brushes hanging off their head, “let’s just leave it like this” is often said. But it gives a killer full body blowout that leaves your clients hair feeling almost weightless.
Herbal Essences! I’ve been the global ambassador for the brand for 7 years (yet somehow I haven’t aged a day). I’m beyond grateful to have been a part of the P&G family and to be able to provide information about these affordable accessible beauty products to people anywhere. There is a solution for pretty much anything I would come across within their products and I have created some of the best thing in my portfolio with these products. I love the dry shampoo, cleansing conditioner, dry oil, volumizing soufflé and mousses, their gels are killer for those wet slicked looks, and the aerosol hairsprays. And… people always love the scent!”
For more #manespiration, follow @charlesbakerstrahan.