Celebrity Hair Stylist Tippi Shorter Joins Aveda To Serve The Myriad Forms Of “Textured” Hair

May 15, 2013  |  



When it comes to beauty and style advice, there’s no shortage of “experts” ready with tips, but few have the knowledge base that comes with 20 years of experience. Tippi Shorter has not only put in two decades honing the craft of coifing, but has styled a comprehensive range of hair textures.

From Tracee Ellis Ross’s fluffy cloud of coils to Beyonce’s blonde-streaked strands to Lady GaGa’s ever-mutating mane, Shorter’s ascendancy to the created-for-her role of Aveda Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair seems as natural as the hair she’s been styling and educating consumers about her whole career. To be clear, Shorter’s position is not restricted to African-American hair care.

Shorter says she is focused on treatment and education for all kinds of textured hair. She explains, “You are textured naturally,” that is, your hair grows wavy, curly or coily from the scalp or “You have straight hair and you want to create texture.”

For Shorter, who divides her time between New York City and her husband’s native Kansas City, this association with Minnesota-based Aveda is as professional as it is personal.  “I love the opportunities I’ve been able to have and been given, and I’ve earned that,but it does require a lot of travel and I’m not getting any younger; and my daughter is not getting any younger.”

“After 10 years of traveling the world, it might be time,” she says, for something new. 

MadameNoire: How did your role at Aveda come into being? Did Aveda come to you knowing they needed to specifically address the needs of textured clients or did you approach them?

Tippi Shorter: I’d say, it’s kind of full circle for me. The first official salon that I worked at was at an Aveda salon. During New York Fashion Week a couple of years ago, I met this guy. Maybe two years ago, he called me [and said] ‘Aveda has this great show they do every couple of years and we want you to be a part of it.” This was October 2011.

The show was great. Overwhelmingly successful and from then on, I was asked, ‘Are you gonna be working with Aveda?’ At the time I had my own hair care line, and legally, Aveda won’t allow you to work with them if you have your own line. [They told me], “If you ever decide to no longer do your own line, give us a call.’ I felt like I could offer something to the brand [so, when I] decided to discontinue my line [we resumed talks].

I’m helping them create education on textured hair. I would be the first person to do that in this arena. Years from now, my daughter will be able to say my mother helped create that.

MN: Most people think of “textured” hair as hair that isn’t chemically treated or kinky/curly hair. How do you define “textured hair”?

TS: It’s really broad. Wavy, curly, coily hair.  We’re also talking about creating wavy, curly, coily hair. You are textured naturally [or] you have straight hair and you want to create texture.

MN: What properties make textured hair different from non-textured hair, as far as how it needs to be treated?

TS: It takes understanding the characteristics of the hair. How smooth is the hair? How coarse is the hair? How thick? How fine? With straight hair, …apply heat and you can pretty much get it to do what you need it to do. With naturally textured hair… there are “pockets” in [the hair shaft that make it curly or coily]. You need products that fill in the “pocket”.

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