5 MINUTES WITH: BENJAMIN THIGPEN

5 MINUTES WITH: BENJAMIN THIGPEN

Interviewed By: Nateisha Scott

A specialist in his craft, Benjamin Thigpen is the go-too Groomer for shaping, styling and prepping men for photoshoots, the red carpet and TV. Clients include Willem Dafoe, Timothée Chalamet and Kieran Culkin with his expert skills gracing the pages of GQ, Esquire, W Mag, Paper and Man About Town to name a few. In between working with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Moschino and Rag N Bone, Benjamin is working on his own projects, training at the athlete gym PERFORMIX and gaining new skills such as home cooking.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?

Well, I am a hairstylist, specifically a Groomer and I specialise in “Red Carpet Ready” for men and this can range between editorial, advertising and TV/Film.

THAT’S EXCITING, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS CAREER?

I was humble enough to learn from those around me whilst building solid relationships within the industry. I knew my place, I listened more than anything and speaking when I started to have a voice. At one point, I stopped thinking about the competition because I was hustling from one job to the next.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PROJECT YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

W Magazine featuring Bruce Willis & Emma Heming by Steven Klein. I was assisting the great Christiaan Houtenbos and he had to fly to London for a Marc Jacobs show while leaving me to handle the remainder of the shoot. The last picture ended up being the cover and I was 24 years old at the time.

THAT’S INCREDIBLE! WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I am currently working on my own projects within the beauty industry. I am being a bit more selective with what brands I associate myself with but more to come on this.

OH SECRETIVE! WELL LET US START WITH YOUR MORNING GROOMING ROUTINE?

I start the day by wearing a hat, it sorts of sets my hair and then I compliment it with a light product like Oribe Airstyle Flexible Finish Cream. For my face I use the La Mer Matte Lotion which then gives me a natural glow with a slight matte finish. Works great in the Summertime!

FOLLOWING ON TO YOUR EVENING ROUTINE?

In the evening I may do a slick look using the Oribe Star Glow Styling Wax pulling the Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Moulding Paste through the ends and the front for a hold. If I am out for a low-key night, I will use a nickel sized amount of Matte Waves Texture Lotion with a small amount of Oribe Airstyle Flexible Finish Cream on the ends for an undone natural look.

SPEAKING OF YOUR ROUTINES AND PRODUCTS YOU ENJOY, WHAT SIGNATURE PRODUCTS CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

More focused on hair than skin, I was never a mask guy until I came across 111SKIN. I always found them to be messy and always had an issue applying the mask because of my beard. However, the Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask and the Celestial Black Diamond Lifting & Firming Masks actually work! My skin feels tight and smooth, with a natural healthy glow.

DO YOU HAVE ANY WELLNESS HABITS THAT YOUR CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH?

Absolutely! I workout 5 days a week and occasionally twice a day if I can only get 3 days in the gym that week. It helps my mood and I sleep much better at night. Every morning I have a scoop of Vital Reds GUNDRY MD with 3 teaspoons of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Vital reds have a blend of super fruits, natural fat burning ingredients and probiotics. It helps your body maintain higher energy levels, better digestion, and healthier looking skin. The 3 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar are said to lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes, help with weight loss/specifically belly fat whilst lowering cholesterol and improving heart health.

MORE ON YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE, THAT IS QUITE THE DEDICATION?

My physical training consists of cardio for 45 minutes 4 times a week while mixing in High Intensity Training and weightlifting 3 times a week. My gym in New York, PERFORMIX HOUSE, is a private training facility that allows me to go in to get the job done without being distracted. PERFORMIX consists of trainers that are there to help you reach your body goals whether that is to lose weight, tone, work on injuries, gain muscle or to live a healthier lifestyle. The classes that are offered to the public are by no means easy and are very intense. Whether you were an athlete before, you will most definitely leave as one.

NOW YOU ARE SELF-ISOLATING AND WFH, WHAT IS YOUR NEW SCHEDULE AND HOW ARE YOU STAYING PRODUCTIVE?

As I mentioned before, I was never a mask guy but 111SKIN has changed that for me. In the beginning, I loved the Celestial Black Diamond Mask for firming and lifting the face but as of recent I am a BIG fan of the new Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask. Just the name alone says everything I need at this time. Also take this time you have home or wherever you may be quarantining to practice some daily skincare routines that you normally wouldn’t have had the chance to before, I am currently experimenting with serums both in the morning and evening and my favourites have to be the Y Theorem Serum and Celestial Black Diamond Serum. Remember, stay distanced & stay safe..

WHAT ARE YOUR ON THE GO ESSENTIALS?

As I said before, I was never a mask kind of guy but that has changed. I travel a lot for work, internationally and domestically which tends to dry out my skin. The moment I get in my hotel room to decompress I throw on a 111SKIN mask to rejuvenate and replenish my skin.

HOW DO YOU WIND DOWN IN THE EVENING?

Slightly dirty Vodka martini, no vermouth, very well stirred with Olives.

YOUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION?

SALL OVER Italy! The Amalfi Coast (specifically Positano, Ravello, and Sorrento), Capri, Rome, Florence, Puglia … only wishing for the days we can travel again.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE GROOMING INDUSTRY GOING?

A The grooming industry has grown tremendously. Years ago, people came up with the term “Metrosexual” which is not in anyone’s vocabulary today. Men are actually comfortable with a daily skin /regimen. Whether it is to go and have a ‘spa day’ at a Gentleman’s Lounge or straight raze at the barber shop, men want to look and feel their best. Some will go as far as to use concealer to cover up dark circles, hyperpigmentation, redness, acne, etc.

OUTSIDE OF GROOMING, WHAT OTHER INDUSTRIES ARE YOU INTO?

A fairly new passion of mine is Cooking! Since COVID19 self-quarantining was a big problem in the beginning days because I hadn’t a clue what or how to cook. I would walk in the grocery store and just go from aisle to aisle trying to pre plan meals and decide what vegetables or fruits I could re-use in other meals.

FINALLY, THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

You can never be educated enough in anything you do. There is always room to grow, catch up with trends, new styles, tricks, etc. When I have led fashion shows in the past, I too, learn a thing or two from the assistants who I am teaching the desired look for the show.

Discover the edit

Interviewed By: Nateisha Scott


A specialist in his craft, Benjamin Thigpen is the go-to Groomer for shaping, styling and prepping men for photoshoots, the red carpet and TV. Clients include Willem Dafoe, Timothée Chalamet and Kieran Culkin with his expert skills gracing the pages of GQ, Esquire, W Mag, Paper and Man About Town to name a few. In between working with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Moschino and Rag N Bone, Benjamin is working on his own projects, training at the athlete gym PERFORMIX and gaining new skills such as home cooking.

Tell us about yourself?

Well, I am a hairstylist, specifically a Groomer and I specialise in “Red Carpet Ready” for men and this can range between editorial, advertising and TV/Film.

That’s exciting, how did you get into this career?

I was humble enough to learn from those around me whilst building solid relationships within the industry. I knew my place, I listened more than anything and speaking when I started to have a voice. At one point, I stopped thinking about the competition because I was hustling from one job to the next.

What has been the best project you have worked on?

W Magazine featuring Bruce Willis & Emma Heming by Steven Klein. I was assisting the great Christiaan Houtenbos and he had to fly to London for a Marc Jacobs show while leaving me to handle the remainder of the shoot. The last picture ended up being the cover and I was 24 years old at the time.

That’s incredible! What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my own projects within the beauty industry. I am being a bit more selective with what brands I associate myself with but more to come on this.

Oh secretive! Well let us start with your morning grooming routine?

I start the day by wearing a hat, it sorts of sets my hair and then I compliment it with a light product like Oribe Airstyle Flexible Finish Cream. For my face I use the La Mer Matte Lotion which then gives me a natural glow with a slight matte finish. Works great in the Summertime!

Following on to your evening routine?

In the evening I may do a slick look using the Oribe Star Glow Styling Wax pulling the Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Moulding Paste through the ends and the front for a hold. If I am out for a low-key night, I will use a nickel sized amount of Matte Waves Texture Lotion with a small amount of Oribe Airstyle Flexible Finish Cream on the ends for an undone natural look.

Speaking of your routines and products you enjoy, what signature products can you not live without?

More focused on hair than skin, I was never a mask guy until I came across 111SKIN. I always found them to be messy and always had an issue applying the mask because of my beard. However, the Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask and the Celestial Black Diamond Lifting & Firming Masks actually work! My skin feels tight and smooth, with a natural healthy glow.

Do you have any wellness habits that your currently obsessed with?

Absolutely! I workout 5 days a week and occasionally twice a day if I can only get 3 days in the gym that week. It helps my mood and I sleep much better at night. Every morning I have a scoop of Vital Reds GUNDRY MD with 3 teaspoons of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Vital reds have a blend of super fruits, natural fat burning ingredients and probiotics. It helps your body maintain higher energy levels, better digestion, and healthier looking skin. The 3 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar are said to lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes, help with weight loss/specifically belly fat whilst lowering cholesterol and improving heart health.

More on your fitness routine, that is quite the dedication?

My physical training consists of cardio for 45 minutes 4 times a week while mixing in High Intensity Training and weightlifting 3 times a week. My gym in New York, PERFORMIX HOUSE, is a private training facility that allows me to go in to get the job done without being distracted. PERFORMIX consists of trainers that are there to help you reach your body goals whether that is to lose weight, tone, work on injuries, gain muscle or to live a healthier lifestyle. The classes that are offered to the public are by no means easy and are very intense. Whether you were an athlete before, you will most definitely leave as one.

Now you are self-isolating and WFH, what is your new schedule and how are you staying productive?

As I mentioned before, I was never a mask guy but 111SKIN has changed that for me. In the beginning, I loved the Celestial Black Diamond Mask for firming and lifting the face but as of recent I am a BIG fan of the new Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask. Just the name alone says everything I need at this time. Also take this time you have home or wherever you may be quarantining to practice some daily skincare routines that you normally wouldn’t have had the chance to before, I am currently experimenting with serums both in the morning and evening and my favourites have to be the Y Theorem Serum and Celestial Black Diamond Serum. Remember, stay distanced & stay safe.

What are your on the go essentials?

As I said before, I was never a mask kind of guy but that has changed. I travel a lot for work, internationally and domestically which tends to dry out my skin. The moment I get in my hotel room to decompress I throw on a 111SKIN mask to rejuvenate and replenish my skin.

How do you wind down in the evening?

Slightly dirty Vodka martini, no vermouth, very well stirred with Olives.

Your favourite travel destination?

ALL OVER Italy! The Amalfi Coast (specifically Positano, Ravello, and Sorrento), Capri, Rome, Florence, Puglia … only wishing for the days we can travel again.

Where do you see the grooming industry going?

The grooming industry has grown tremendously. Years ago, people came up with the term “Metrosexual” which is not in anyone’s vocabulary today. Men are actually comfortable with a daily skin /regimen. Whether it is to go and have a ‘spa day’ at a Gentleman’s Lounge or straight raze at the barber shop, men want to look and feel their best. Some will go as far as to use concealer to cover up dark circles, hyperpigmentation, redness, acne, etc.

Outside of grooming, what other industries are you into?

A fairly new passion of mine is Cooking! Since COVID19, self-quarantining was a big problem in the beginning days because I hadn’t a clue what or how to cook. I would walk in the grocery store and just go from aisle to aisle trying to pre plan meals and decide what vegetables or fruits I could re-use in other meals.

Finally, the best advice you have ever received?

You can never be educated enough in anything you do. There is always room to grow, catch up with trends, new styles, tricks, etc. When I have led fashion shows in the past, I too, learn a thing or two from the assistants who I am teaching the desired look for the show.

SHOPPING EDIT

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND SERUM

Y THEOREM REPAIR SERUM

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND SERUM

Y THEOREM REPAIR SERUM

If you were to advise a London guide, what would be on your list?

Well, As I grew up in Notting Hill, it will always have my heart and if I was recommending spots in London, a wander around Notting Hill would be high up on my list. From there it would be all the best shopping destinations, the iconic private members club, Annabels, Harrods and Liberty’s for any cute and unique gifts. I would always pop into 111CRYO at Harrods for the Cryo Facial and treatment for the ultimate recharge. Sometimes the city is great, but the beautiful secrets of the English countryside is something that should be experienced.

Your In-Flight Essentials?

I don’t have a routine per say and I am certainly not as thorough as Naomi Campbell but I would apply the Meso Infusion Lip Duo and I would always wipe my phone down with anti-bacterial wipes, in fact I do this every day, the bacteria build up is no good for the skin.

In terms of Industry, where do you see the hair industry going?

Well Instagram has changed so much and has impacted the way we consume and learn within the industry, especially with so many creatives, but I still find that a massive amount of people come to the professionals to share the knowledge on how to carry out or complete a desired look, more than ever there is power behind ‘how-to’ videos.

A very valid point and in terms of 2020?

In terms of what we are to see in 2020, things are going to be super creative and we will see a wider awareness for people doing their own thing and it will be expressive and artistic. People will move away from the overtly glamorous looks and will create looks they can tailor to their everyday. As it’s currently Award Season which is the busiest time of the year leading up to the Met Ball, hairstyles are certainly more elaborate, and everyone loves an up do. I would say the most timeless look has to be the blunt bob, it comes around year on year, but it is effortless and timeless.

Outside of hair, what other industries are you into?

I am hugely into Interiors and I would describe my style as 60s/70s glamour, think elaborate and dramatic but I often fantasise about 80s Dallas and Joan Collins and I have to reign myself in. I also love Baking; it is the ultimate way to relax and I find that it is my meditation and therapy. If I’m in the USA I would bake a lot of cookies as everyone is obsessed with then over here and in the UK, I would bake more traditional styles like a lemon tart or an apple tart – it allows for me to be creative outside of my job.

Finally, the best advice you have ever received?

It would have to be from my grandfather, he would often say to me “it’s not how well you’re doing but how well people think you’re doing”. I haven’t successfully implemented it however you can look to Instagram today and people see our work and are blown away by it, but we can be so hard on ourselves and not appreciate our own work ourselves.

 

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