Claiming the helm of Herbal Essences's "indulge your senses" mission, celebrity hairstylist Charles Baker Strahan is Hollywood's go-to guy for lovely locks. The midwest native put his cosmetology degree to use after moving to New York, and went from a mane man-cum-acting student to A-listers' leading man for a little hair TLC. We chatted with Strahan about his beginnings in hair care, his current work with Herbal Essences, and where his cosmetology kit is taking him next.
What's the best thing about being a professional hair stylist?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for me, and my career has provided the following things that I love. Travel to amazing exotic locations -- I’ve literally been around the world a couple times and immersed in so many different cultures. I’ve worked with all walks of life -- Homeless people, women in abuse shelters, people from all religious affiliations, incredibly rich to impoverished, super famous to the girl or guy next door. Those are all the differences, but the common things are what make life interesting and amazing. [Also] making people feel, more importantly than look, beautiful.
You're part of the bicoastal club, with bases in New York and L.A. Which city has the best hair?
The city that I’m in just kidding! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
You've been an ambassador for Herbal Essences for a while now. What's been the best aspect of that partnership?
The ability to be a resource of knowledge for people looking to find inspiration in an affordable and effective way makes me feel accomplished in my career. I like being a friend to many.
Your roster of clients includes everyone from Mariah Carey to Brooklyn Decker. What are some of your hair tips for women on the go?
An appropriate base is key to getting styling predictability and getting the most out of your styling products. My clients have a tendency to receive more abuse to their hair due to the nature of their businesses, which is why I love to recommend the Herbal Essences Honey, I’m Strong collection, which coats each hair strand to help repair the protective outer layer and make it strong against future damage.
We can't forget about the guys. What advice do you have to keep their hair looking as good as yours?
Herbal Essences Set Me Up Texturizing Wax has moldable polymer fibers that allow you to shape and reshape. Men’s hair usually has less styling as in blow dryers, curling irons, etc., so the architecture of the cut is incredibly important. Light styling products that work with that cut help to control elements, like cowlicks, etc., which is why I love wax because you want your guy to have hair that looks like it can be touched.
If you weren't a stylist, what do you think you'd be doing now?
Sculpture, artist, or interior decorator. I’m profoundly affected by sculpture. I’ve had the occasion to go to many great museums around the world, which means I fly a lot and my favorite magazines are Architectural Digest and Elle Décor. I love spaces and the way an environment can make you feel, and I enjoy creating that feeling.