Behind every fly Black celeb are bomb professionals known as the glam squad. They handle wardrobe, makeup and, of course, hair. We recently sat down with tress pro Tym Wallace, who has all the ladies dying to have their strands “tossed by Tym.” The Chicago native styles hair for Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, Yara Shahidi and the list goes on and on. Here he tells us how he got his start, names his favorite products and gives his tips for maintaining healthy hair.
ESSENCE.COM: When did you discover your passion for hair?
TYM WALLACE: On the South Side of Chicago, a lot of us did hair out of the house. My friend’s mom was a hairstylist. Growing up I would see her clients come in one way and leave with a completely different demeanor. That always intrigued me, but never to a point where I thought I would do hair.
I started paying attention to it the older I got. I would go to the salon with my aunt and whatnot, and a year after high school, my friend was like, “You got an interest in hair. Why don’t you do that?” So I did a tour of the school I ended up going to, and on my first day, I fell in love. I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
ESSENCE.COM: Have you ever had moments in your professional career where you doubted yourself?
WALLACE: Absolutely! It took time to get to a place where I didn’t. But just knowing that the gift that God gave us is specifically designed for us and that nobody can take it away gives me a sense of confidence that this is for me. My skill, my aesthetic, is what God gave me, so I need to be confident in that.
ESSENCE.COM: What was your first “I made it!” moment?
WALLACE: I think it was my very first Oscars. I had two clients on the red carpet, and I was like, This is it.
ESSENCE.COM: Which two clients?
WALLACE: I had Taraji and Octavia Spencer on the 2017 Oscars carpet—which is the red carpet of all red carpets—and I was like, Wow, this finally happened!
ESSENCE.COM: Do you have a favorite client?
WALLACE: I do. I have some others, but I guess it would be Taraji—because we’re together all the time. Our relationship was off and on for two years and consistent for two. For the past two years, I’ve been doing everything with her, and you know, you build a rapport with someone you literally go everywhere with. Empire is the only thing I don’t do. I do all of her films, appearances, photo shoots and press. So she’s like my boss and my big sister.
ESSENCE.COM: Is there anybody you haven’t worked with but would like to?
WALLACE: Definitely. I would love to do Janet Jackson one day. She’s an icon. And there’s Beyoncé. Rihanna, because I feel like we would get along well. Sarah Jessica Parker—she’s somebody who just gets it. And J.Lo, of course.
ESSENCE.COM: You work with a lot of different textures. Do you come up with the styles yourself and present them to clients, or do they come to you with ideas?
WALLACE: It all depends on the client and the event they’re going to. For the most part, it’s mainly me. I just take into consideration the event, wardrobe and makeup. So there’s a collaborative effort with the glam. We all have to work together to create the look, but there are moments when the client is like, “This is what I want to do. Let’s go for that.” And I execute it from my perspective. It’s all about the look. As long as the look is right, we’re good to go.
ESSENCE.COM: What are your favorite hair products?
WALLACE: To keep the hair hydrated, I love using a deep conditioner. Oribe has a fabulous one. Moroccanoil—I love a good leave-in conditioner. That’s for chemically treated, natural, any texture. It’s a 10 is a great company that has amazing products to seal the hair. They give it so much body and control frizz. And a company called Form also has a great leave-in conditioner.
ESSENCE.COM: What is your key to maintaining healthy hair?
WALLACE: If you keep your hair hydrated, your scalp clean and your ends trimmed, then you’re good!
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