In the world of hair, Kim Kimble reigns supreme. She’s beautified the locks of an impressive who’s who of A-list stars, including Lady Gaga, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Iggy Azalea, and Beyoncé. Starting as a shampoo girl for her mother’s salon, the Los Angeles native’s over two-decade-long career has been filled with milestones. Kim rose to mane fame as hairstylist and salon owner and, later, as a TV personality and founder of Kimble Beauty and K2 Beauty, becoming one of the most sought after celebrity hairstylists in the world.
We sat down with Kim for an exclusive chat about all things coiff-related, from which wigs look the most natural to fall’s hottest hair trends and, of course, what it’s like to collaborate with Queen Bey.
The Lady Loves Couture: Hair is the ultimate accessory. What tips do you have for shopping for clip-in hair and extensions?
Kim Kimble: When it comes to add-on hair, there are many different types of hair and varieties of textures so you want to make sure to find a place that has a variety. Also, you want to find good textures that blend really well and colors that matche well too. To customize your look, you can always use a temporary color rinse on your extensions and your hair to help them blend more evenly. When it comes to the type of hair, I prefer using human hair for longevity. Synthetic is also good for curling and some styles come pre-curled.
TLLC: You basically revolutionized mainstream wigs and the hair extension process with your innovative use of lace front wigs, which in the past were almost exclusively used for theatre production. When did you realize that this technique could and would change the human hair industry so radically?
KK: Thank you! I used them for years for music videos, special clients, and fashion shoots. When I started making them, it was instant gratification. I find that the lace front wigs look more natural. I can work with them and develop them to meet the needs of each individual client. I always have hair ready for my clients in case they want to change a style last minute. I received many calls requesting lace front wigs that looked more natural due to hair loss. We have our own line of wigs and clip-ins. I believe that this is something that is going to continue to grow in popularity.
TLLC: Tell us about the early moments in your life when you realized you had a special gift for hairstyling.
KK: I am a third generation hairstylist and it took me some years to realize that hairstyling was my gift. I grew up watching my grandmother and my mother so hair styling has always been familiar to me, but it wasn’t until later that I realized this is what I am meant to do. I have a lot of creative energy; growing up I would make paper dolls that looked like all different types of women. One day, my mother looked over at me styling the dolls hair and said that I was “playing with my people.” I think she saw that I had a gift at an early age. I love to create new looks, design hair, wigs, and hairpieces. I consider myself the Marc Jacobs for hair wigs.
TLLC: You have a unique distinction to your work. In your own words, define beautiful hair?
KK: To me, beautiful hair is healthy hair. Healthy hair is hair with a great cut, great color, and it actually is healthy. Those are three things I look forward to always achieving with my clients. Beautiful, healthy hair needs to be shaped properly and have the right color.
TLLC: What’s hot in hair these days?
KK: Right now, wigs are hot! Everyone has to own at least one. Color is also still really big. For the future, hair color is becoming more jewel-toned. I see highlights and lowlights that are more metallic and jewel-toned as the next thing; fine highlights of gold, platinum, and copper will be big.
TLLC: What are fall’s trendiest ways to style our hair?
Summer styles tend to lean towards naturally curly styles due to the heat and humidity but fall styles tend to be sleeker. Blowouts and straightened hair are what’s trending this fall. Fall hair is more stylish with more use of color. During the winter, you may go dark depending on where you are. African-American women with natural hair can also find other ways to wear their hair, like with rod sets, so it’s not just wet or wash-and-go styling. You can set your hair at night while it dries and take the rods out for a stylish look that is easy to achieve.
TLLC: What products do you recommend for preventing hair damage, as summer turns into fall?
In the summer, the hair has a tendency to dry out. As we look to fall, (1) hot oil treatments are a great way to replenish the hair from dryness and heat. I also recommend using a (2) hair reconstructor for your hair once a month when using chemicals, or if you use a lot of heat on your hair. To help with damage, you can use a reconstructor 2-3 times a month. Hair needs that from time to time for strength and to rebuild after wear and tear caused by chemicals and too much heat.
TLLC: Tell us about the Beyoncé journey. Did you have a vision in mind from the beginning that reflects what actually became such a trailblazing legacy?
KK: My working with Beyoncé is more of a collaboration. When I work with an artist, I have to pay attention to who they are and what they do. She was always blonde, but we wanted to make it more of a neutral blond and less gold, using low lights. It’s a collaboration. We work together to create her vision. Her brand is to have sexy, flowy hair that doesn’t have too much fuss to it. Beyoncé’s signature look is a nice body wave – which became what she uses in her performances. She really knows how to work her hair. To this day, she still wears it that way – even with a bob. She likes texture because it goes well with her personality.
TLLC: You’ve conquered celebrity styling, product development and retail, and television. What’s next for you?
KK: You would think that I’m finished right? There’s so much more to do! I have a son and I’m helping him with his education. I want to give back and help to expand the business. Madame C.J. Walker inspires me and I want to put my stamp on the haircare industry. I am a producer on my show, LA Hair, and I’d love to create more television shows because I like the creativity aspect of it. I also like photoshoots and think that’s something I would like to explore as well. I enjoy being an entrepreneur and want to continue being one; I look forward to expanding my salon business all over the country.