When Oprah Winfrey’s longtime hairstylist Andre Walker was retiring, he helped find a replacement — no small task. Because let’s be honest, not just anyone would fit the bill for this job. But thanks to her skillset, personality, and work ethic, Nicole Mangrum, owner of a Chicago hair salon for 14 years, got the gig and has been Oprah’s personal hairstylist for more than six years. She’s also worked with Michelle Obama and Gayle King, among a slew of other famous faces. So, what nuggets of hair wisdom does this seasoned pro have to impart?
Top Tips for Hair Health
To maintain healthy-looking hair, Mangrum says to “condition hair regularly and get a trim at least every three months” because “most hair breaks from either over-drying or excessive split ends.”
Tips for Finding Your Most Flattering Hairstyle
For haircut, “First consider your face shape and natural texture,” says Mangrum. A skilled hairstylist will help guide you to what works best specifically for your features and hair type.
For hair color, “You want to find a shade that complements your skin tone. For example, cool undertones look best with ash browns or icy blondes. Warm undertones with velvety chocolate browns, golden blondes, and coppers. Neutral undertones can wear most colors.” She advises to “be realistic” with your expectations. (Because if you bring a photo of Jennifer Lopez’s hair in, know that you don’t also get the face or the professional hairstylist to style you. And Jennifer’s face shape and texture may not match your shape and texture.) “And most importantly,” Mangrum says, “Rock your hairstyle with confidence.”
Top 3 Product Must-Haves
It should be noted that for photoshoots, Mangrum totes a 70-pound bag with her tools and products. She means business.
- Redken Fashion Work 12 Versatile Working Spray for Color Treated Hair: “I love it because it’s a versatile working styling spray with a touchable hold that never feels sticky or weighs the hair down.”
- Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Spray: “It’s great because it decreases my drying time and adds heat protection and shine to the hair.”
- Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: “It helps create volume, texture, and the perfect messy waves.”
Top 3 Tools
These are always on hand.
- 1 1/2-inch flat iron and 1 1/4-inch curling iron: “You can use these irons to create many different curl patterns and waves.”
- Denman Brush: “It’s great for detangling and I use it a lot for blow-drying.”
- French hairpins: “I style many wigs and French pins lock in a wig like no other, without damaging or putting holes in it.”
Top Tip for Hair in a Hurry
Mangrum has achieved a look for Winfrey in as little as five minutes (a bun). Her top picks for hair on the fly? “Throw it up into a messy bun. And adding a hair accessory can go a long way. Or, if you have curly or wavy hair, let your hair dry naturally and rock your natural texture.”
Something Everyone Should Know About Styling Hair
“When round-brushing or curling your hair, let the curls cool before brushing out. It seems basic, but many people don’t let their hair cool and then wonder why their curls don’t last.” So once you’ve put heat on your hair, let it rest. When hair is completely cool, that’s when you run a brush through.
The Hairstyle that Makes You Look Younger
A ponytail. “It makes most women look more youthful by tightening and elongating the face and accentuating the facial features.” It’s a look she’s certainly perfected for the seemingly ageless Ms. Winfrey.
Best Lesson Ever
“I’ve always been taught that being a hairdresser is a position of great responsibility and high honor because you are dressing hair and dealing with a human being with emotions and insecurities. So always respect and hold sacred the space you create with your clients.”
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