You might know Charlie Le Mindu by his work with Lady Gaga. Or else maybe from his work with Lucky Blue Smith, Joan Smalls, or Lana Del Rey. He also single-handedly brought back the notion of "haute coiffure"—the hair equivalent of haute couture—meaning that he makes incredible, boundary-pushing sculptures out of human hair. Le Mindu has moved increasingly toward the world of art, with a recent solo exhibition, Charliewood, running at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris earlier this year. Last week, his first solo exhibition in the U.S., Charlie Would..., opened in St. Louis, Missouri.
We picked Le Mindu's brain for some life-changing hair advice, which we now pass on to you, below. Time to take notes.
Embrace Your Weird Hair Days
If you have a bad hair day, don't bother trying to make it better. Go ahead and play it up, make it worse. If you wake up feeling like your hair is a disaster, just know that happens to everyone. Just go with the flow, add some volume and emphasize whatever it is that's going "wrong" with your hair. Isn't that so much more fun that desperate attempts to tame unruly strands?
Emulate French Women...Or Don't
If you want French girl hair, Le Mindu says you will have to skip all your usual products and wash your hair as infrequently as possible. But he also wants you to know that you're under no obligation to put French beauty regimes on a style pedestal; he'd rather everyone embrace their own culture and hair traditions.
Copy Styles You Love, But Get It Right
When we asked about the man bun phenomenon, Le Mindu's immediate response was, "horrible." He clarified that the man bun has been around for a long time within the gay community, but was co-opted by other groups of people. Le Mindu didn't necessarily take issue with the borrowing of the trend, but rather with the execution, saying, "They don't always do it right. Some of them look terrible now." Bottom line: Do your research!
Or Maybe Don't Copy Some Styles at All
Not every trend is yours for the taking. We asked which hair trend Le Mindu wished would die. "Dreadlocks on white people," he replied. He explained that dreadlocks make sense with the texture of black hair, and that the style is pretty much always executed better on black hair, so white people should probably just...stop.
Be Extra Kind to Your Hair
If he's learned one thing about hairstyling from working with wigs and haute coiffure pieces, Le Mindu said it's to always use milder, less damaging dyes. After experimenting with color repeatedly on wigs, he gained a heightened awareness of the fragility of hair. Make sure to get that Olaplex, people.
You Definitely Need Better Tools
Just as everyone is looking to Korea for the best skin care, Charlie Le Mindu thinks we should be looking to Japan for the best hair care. Le Mindu explained that hair care in Japan involves more meticulous cuts and fewer blowouts. He prefers hair tools like combs and pins from Japan, and he gets his scissors from a Japanese company that formerly made Samurai swords. Le Mindu says hair care that's more akin to the work being done in Japan will lead to less frequent trips to the salon.
For Best Results, Be Uniquely You
If you want to have a great relationship with your hairdresser, stay true to yourself and really be an individual! Now that Le Mindu is working on such a wide variety of projects, he has to be very selective about which clients he maintains. He only works with people who inspire him and have a strong sense of self. You may never be a Charlie Le Mindu client, but being adventurous may attract someone like him!
Check out Charlie Le Mindu's first U.S. solo exhibition, Charlie Would…, on view until November 19 at Projects+Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri.