At some point in life, every woman has had a bad haircut. Except, maybe, for Tiffany Masterson, whose skin-care line focusing on clean ingredients, Drunk Elephant, is one of the fastest-growing brands in Sephora’s history. Ever since they were kids, Masterson has had the good fortune of getting her hair cut by celebrity stylist Chris McMillan (the famed creator of Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” do). Growing up, they would go on family vacations together because their mothers were close. “Chris, who’s five years older than me, began cutting my hair when I was 12 years old,” Masterson recalls. “I had such a crush on him back then,” she adds, laughing. “He’s been one of my best friends and my hairstylist for as long as I can remember.”
Masterson was already considering doing hair care shortly after she launched Drunk Elephant in 2013, but it wasn’t until a few years later that the brand’s devoted following requested hair products. McMillan, who also tends to the tresses of Michelle Williams and Cameron Diaz, had always wanted to partner with his friend, and his contract with another hair-care brand had just ended. So Masterson and her mane man put their ideas in motion. “Chris said, ‘Let’s do a product range that allows your hair to be what it is and removes all the stuff we don’t want on our strands or scalp,’” she says. “He knows hair and I know skin, and scalp is skin, so it just made sense for us to come together and develop a line that addresses both.”
McMillan had another key goal in mind: shift the popular perception of what quality hair care is. “It’s frustrating that people have become OK with using mediocre beauty products just because they’re created by a big social-media star,” says the stylist (who has a robust 300,000 Instagram followers). “Don’t get me wrong. There are some good product lines out there by famous hairstylists — good in that the formulas work. But they’re filled with ingredients that aren’t great for your hair or scalp. With Tiffany’s vast knowledge of ingredients, I knew we could make products that not only perform well but are truly, honestly healthy.”
Their labor of love, which took two years to develop, hits store shelves on April 3, as the brand exclusively confirms to InStyle. Drunk Elephant Hair features a shampoo, conditioner, detangling spray, and scalp scrub, all of which are free of anything Masterson deems potentially sensitizing or inflammatory to skin (e.g., essential oils, sulfates, fragrances, and silicones). The shampoo contains natural coconut-based surfactants, while the heat-protecting detangling spray smooths frizz with plant oils. But the real hero is the scalp scrub, with a formula based on Masterson’s best-selling T.L.C. Baby Facial exfoliant. “Your scalp produces oils that help your hair thrive,” she explains. “Buildup from products and sweat can clog the follicles and affect the way your hair grows. By exfoliating your scalp weekly, your hair in turn becomes healthier.”
For McMillan, who tested the products on his superstar clients, getting the formulas right had real meaning. “I want this line to succeed more than I would if it were just my own because I want to see my close friend continue to do well,” he says. The two are already developing several more goodies, including a hair mask. “This isn’t a onetime collaboration,” says Masterson. “Drunk Elephant Hair will always be created with Chris McMillan. I wouldn’t want to do it without him.”
A Simple Plan For Nourished Hair
From left: Drunk Elephant Hair Wild Marula Tangle Spray ($25), Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner ($25), Cocomino Glossing Shampoo ($25), and T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub ($36); available April 3 at sephora.com.
Photography: Aingeru Zorita. Styling: Caroline Ahrens. Hair: Chris McMillan for Solo Artists using Drunk Elephant. Makeup: Angela Davis Deacon for De Facto Inc. Manicure: Riwako Kobayashi for Atelier Management. Model: Solange Smith for Heroes.
For more stories like this, pick up the February issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Feb 14.