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The Power Of A Good Haircut

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The Violet Files

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The secret to finding your perfect haircut? Ask Ted Gibson for advice!

Written By
carrie barber

Name: Carrie Barber | @carrie_barber
Known For: Art Director
Where to Find Her: Los Angeles

Recently I watched the documentary on Franca Sozzani, Chaos and Creation, and I was completely mesmerized by her wavy blond strands. The film sent me into a deep Google search of iconic hair; i.e., styles that are instantly recognizable and make people think, I want that.

I have always been adventurous with my hair. I am an impulsive Aries, and my mantra has always been, It will grow back. How will you know until you try, right? I’ve tried the Twiggy pixie cut, I’ve had long hair that covered my nipples, and I’ve worn baby bangs, long bangs, and everything in between—including a very unfortunate early 2000s asymmetrical bob that was nearly identical to Kate’s from Jon & Kate Plus 8. You know the one.

But after all the good, bad, and very bad haircuts I’ve endured, I was ready for something iconic. I reached out to celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson (he’s a favorite of Rachel Brosnahan, Lupita Nyong’o, Priyanka Chopra, Tessa Thompson, and Sandra Oh), who is also the founder of Starring. Going in, I wanted a chin-length bob with a lot of volume and versatility, à la Irina Shayk at the Golden Globes. We scrolled through my #saved hair folder on Instagram and I walked him through how I currently style it.

“The length of the neck, the eyes, the jawline, and the cheekbones can all be enhanced depending on the shape of the haircut,” Ted said. He is a technical hairstylist, so his number-one goal is to bring out the unique features of his clients. When I sat down for my consultation, Ted explained that my features make it possible for me to have any cut (shout-out to my parents for good genes!). “For you, I don’t want it to be so sharp,” he said. “It’s going to be softer and show off your texture—more of a French vibe.” At this point I let go and allowed Ted to take the lead.

hair cut tools


“The consultation tends to be the most important dialogue of the service,” Ted explained. “I always lead with my professional recommendation, which is what I think would be best.” He then goes through the history of the hair. When was your last cut? What shampoo and conditioner do you use? How do you style it? What kind of work do you do? Are you willing to have your hair cut every six to eight weeks? How much time do you spend on your hair? “I think more than ever we are all influenced by similar things,” says Ted, “but it is my job to show the clients beauty potential they didn’t know was possible.”

ON MAKING A BIG CHANGE: “I always say if a woman changes her hair drastically, she is looking for a new man.” *Note: I am very much in love.

ON WET VS. DRY CUTTING: “It depends on the setting. If I am in my salon, generally I cut wet because a great shampoo is a stress-relieving experience. If I am on set shooting a cover or editorial, it’s about dry cutting. No shampoo needed.”

ON BRINGING REFERENCE IMAGES: “I think a haircut should be tailored to each guest who sits in the chair. It’s about delivering on the feeling of an image versus of giving the client the exact cut in the picture. You want to be careful not to show a photo that looks like someone that you can’t emulate.”

ON SAYING NO: “I am always frank and honest with my clients. You can’t look like Rosanne Barr and bring in a photo of Gwyneth Paltrow and expect a miracle. I always lead with my professional recommendation, and we go from there. Not everyone sees my vision, but I say what I think and she can choose whether to follow my advice.”

blow dryer

“Face shape is not the only thing I consider when cutting hair,” Ted said. “Every cut should be versatile regardless of texture. It should also be fun.” In terms of face shape, here is a good place to start:

Square: side-swept bangs for softness
Round: create angles around the face, try bangs, and wear longer than the shoulders—this elongates the face
Oval: the most versatile face shape
Diamond: layers and a side part to open up the face
Heart: long bobs and pixies

When it comes to maintaining your new cut and style, ask your stylist. A lesson is incredibly important so you can learn how to use the right tools and ensure that you’ll always have the best hair in the room.

I was not planning on going this short, but I trusted Ted—and I’m glad I did. This truly feels like my haircut; it’s meant for me. My face structure changed, my neck looks longer, and—not to be dramatic—I feel like it has changed my life. I feel more confident, and no matter what I am wearing, I feel chic. This is my iconic hair.

carrie barber

A woman who cuts her HAIR is about to change her life.