Guy Tang is a hair superstar who documents his amazing journey on Instagram and YouTube. His video channel, which has stormed to more than two million subscribers and over 160 million views, is full of amazing tutorials, transformations and inspiration.
He created the stunning Mydentity Color line, aimed at bringing fun and excitement into hair colouring. We spoke to Guy about his journey, and how he is making the hair community a happier, more accepting place.
Concept Hair: It’s great to speak with you, Guy! First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Guy Tang: Hello to all the #Hairbesties in the land, this is Guy Tang, your No.1 #Hairbestie. I started as a platform educator for an international hair colour company for seven years. I love sharing my techniques and what I know at hair shows.
CH: What made you get into hairdressing?
GT: I actually started with photography during high school and I realised that I took pictures of women and their hairstyles. Then I started playing with hair colouring and it made me fall in love with hair.
CH: How big a part has social media had in your success? How did your huge following come about?
GT: I started doing YouTube videos as a personal blog of my adventures in life and a part of it is hair. I noticed that I get a lot of views with my hair tutorials, so I started sharing more of them online. At that time, I didn’t know the magnitude of the impact I made in the industry. When I was starting out, not a lot of people wanted to share their secrets. I feel like our community had a stunted growth and I wanted to make that much-needed change.
‘Unique hair colours’
CH: You’re regarded as the original King of Balayage. Why did you decide on becoming a colour specialist?
GT: I love doing both. You can only do so much with Balayage but with hair colouring, there’s no limit as to what you can do.
CH: What inspired you to create the Mydentity Color line? What does it offer that other colour brands don’t?
GT: The Mydentity Color line has a lot of unique hair colours that I formulated with my chemists in the lab. I wanted to create a colour line that fills the void in our industry. I created unique tones like Rose Gold, Silver Smoke and Dusty Lavender that have now become a colour staple and made other companies follow suit. Mydentity will always have a pulse to what’s new and hot. It will set trends and inspire hairstylists to be creative and explore new things.
CH: Why should young hairdressers learn to use creative colour?
GT: It’s in demand, if a client comes in and asks for a hair colour that you can’t do, they will find a way to have it done elsewhere. That’s a lost opportunity. Creative colours can be wearable in everyday life. It’s more accepted in corporate, healthcare or other formal settings now.
CH: Tell us a bit about the #hairbestie community on social media.
GT: #hairbestie is what I call my followers. We are like a family – we share knowledge, expertise, experiences. We bounce back positive ideas to each other. We are an inclusive community that doesn’t tolerate online bullying.
CH: You seem to have a really close connection with your staff. What qualities do you look for in your team?
GT: Most of my #mydentifiers started as #Hairbesties, they followed me on most of my hair shows and I got to know them online and in person. Loyalty, honesty and someone you can rely on through thick and thin are the qualities I look for to be a #mydentifier.
‘Money can’t buy everything’
CH: How important is education for you?
GT: Knowledge and continuous education is key for anyone’s evolution.
CH: Who’s the most remarkable client you’ve had?
GT: Ita – she’s a client in her 70s and I have been colouring her hair for about eight years now since I moved out to Los Angeles from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I kept her as my client because she let me do whatever I want with her hair. She’s a sweetheart and my #Hairbesties know about her because I did a YouTube video with her and I do live videos whenever I do her hair.
CH: What’s your worst client story?
GT: When a rich new client came in from another country and demanded to have her hair done for $10,000 without an appointment. I was doing my regular client’s hair at the time and she offered to leave so I could take the new client. I declined her offer and she got insulted – she claimed she flew in just to see me. I had to call building security and their personal security got involved. It was a mess and I made a point to them that money can’t buy everything.
CH: What are you most proud of achieving?
GT: Creating #Mydentity and seeing it being loved by many people makes my heart soar.
CH: What’s the hardest thing about the industry?
GT: Dealing with politics.
‘It’s a fun industry’
CH: What’s one thing that you wish the wider world would understand about hairdressing?
GT: That it’s a fun industry. We don’t deal with death and dying, don’t be so serious.
CH: What’s your best tip for young hairdressers?
GT: Always be yourself. Because when you know who you are, you will have the courage to do anything you dream of.
CH: You’ve even branched out into music! Tell us a bit about this other side to you…
GT: Making music is my passion, it truly makes me happy. Most of the songs I have written so far are in conjunction with Mydentity. I wrote a song for the launch of the Naked Collection Hair Color called Naked. My latest single SuperPower is for the Mydentity direct dye SuperPower. When people come to my hair shows, they remember the class and the music. So every time they hear the song, they remember the experience.
- What can’t you leave the house without? Phone
- Favourite city in the world? Los Angeles
- Best dish you’ve ever eaten? Chicken Pho
- Instagram or YouTube? YouTube
- Who is the last person who phoned you? My husband
- Favourite hair colour? Rose Gold
- If you could cut anybody’s hair – alive or dead – who would it be? Kate Middleton
- Worst haircut you’ve ever had? When I was in another country and there was a language barrier
- What do you do when you aren’t working? Work out or write music
- If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? Glitter
This interview was taken from the Autumn issue of Concept Hair magazine.