We could rattle off a list of impressive clients hairstylist Teddi Cranford has worked with over the years (and don’t worry, we’ll surely get to that). In order to understand her path, it’s first important to highlight three family members who have influenced her past, her present, and, undoubtedly, her future.
Cranford, whose birth name is in fact Teddi (it’s not a nickname), found her passion for hair growing up in Portland, Oregon, where she spent hours at her Aunt Jody Mathey’s salon, Wooptido℠. “I was always interested in hair,” says Cranford. “In the ‘90s, I remember my mom always getting her hair done. My mom was also a makeup artist at the Dior® counter. Between my aunt owning a salon and my mom doing makeup at the mall, I was just around beauty all the time.”
The third impactful female came into Cranford’s life decades later — after beauty school, working for Bumble and Bumble®, and hustling alongside a number of renowned stylists. Juniper, Cranford’s 3-year-old daughter, arrived during another life change. “I got pregnant right when I opened up my first business,” says Cranford who had just started White Rose Collective℠, an agency for wedding and event hair and makeup that later evolved into a downtown NYC salon. “It was a very wild first year.”
These days, Cranford’s mom runs the agency and handles the bookings for White Rose Collective. “I couldn’t do this without her,” she says of her mom Tracy Mathey.
Thanks to mom, Cranford’s businesses stay organized, so that when she isn’t working with her clients — including models Behati Prinsloo and Emily Ratajkowski, actress Jemima Kirke, and Glossier® founder Emily Weiss — she’s bonding with her little one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“I love that she kind of pulls me out when I'm being a little too hard on myself,” says Cranford of her daughter. “I spend the majority of my time outside of work with somebody who is just wild and living their best life, and has no idea about Instagram® or facials or the maintenance it takes to be feeling your best self.”
In our chat, Cranford talks about her beginnings, treatments she loves, and how to get her signature waves.
Spotlyte: How did early exposure to the industry impact your adolescent years?
Teddi Cranford: I was the girl in high school who played all the sports, but did everybody's hair — and did everyone's hair for prom. It always came super naturally to me. When I graduated high school, I didn't feel attached to going to college. I knew at such a young age that you could really have a successful career doing hair. I went right into beauty school.
Spotlyte: What were your early days like, after beauty school?
TC: I went to Beau Monde Academy℠ in Portland, Oregon, and I graduated when I was 20. I thought I wanted to work in film, and I moved to LA for a couple of months. I actually shadowed a hairdresser on the set of The OfficeTM. Film is not what I thought it was. It wasn't all like glitz and glam.
Spotlyte: Once you figured out film wasn’t for you, what was your next career move?
TC: I realized in that moment that I wanted to work in fashion and be where all the runway shows were happening. I sold my car, moved to New York — the classic story — I didn't know anyone. I got a job at Bumble and Bumble. At that time it was the only salon that really had access to going to Paris and being exposed to the world of fashion. I was at Bumble for four years.
Spotlyte: How did your experience at Bumble and Bumble influence your work?
TC: I got through the program really quickly, and I started assisting Jimmy Paul, who does a lot of editorial work. I also assisted an editorial hairdresser named Laurent Philippon. I was exposed to a lot. I had all these clients, I was traveling to Paris, I was doing everything that I wanted to do, but it wasn't enough. I was like, this isn't where I'm meant to be.
Spotlyte: What do you consider your big break?
TC: I did my research and found Guido Palau. I contacted his agent, wanting to know how I could be a part of his team. They put me on a show with him. It was Fashion’s Night OutTM nine years ago, with Naomi and Giselle, and Karolína Kurková. I got noticed by someone on his team. After that, my whole career changed. For the next five years, I was working with him.
Spotlyte: What convinced you to start White Rose Collective?
TC: I did Pamela Love's wedding during the end of my time with Guido, [which] Vogue® covered. It was just natural and effortless. Something clicked that I should connect people that I was working with backstage — all these really talented freelance hairstylists and makeup artists — and make them accessible to brides.
Spotlyte: You were putting dream teams together. Now, you have eight employees who all contribute to creating great hair. What does your personal hair regimen entail?
TC: I keep it super simple. I love when hair feels super fresh and clean. I use either the Oribe® Signature Shampoo and Conditioner or I use the ApotheCARE EssentialsTM Booster Shampoo and Conditioner.
I'll either let my hair air-dry and use a little bit of oil. I use Diptyque® hair and body oil for my hair. It's a dry oil. I love it, because it's not heavy at all. I will put a little bit of oil in my hair, brush it with a Wet Brush®, and just let it air dry.
Spotlyte: Is there a technique that you use to get your look?
TC: With the Y.S. Park 50G3 brush, everything's going away from the face. We're twisting it back, and then kind of stretching the wave out and down, so you're not getting this big straight blow out; a polished version of how natural wavy hair would dry.
Sometimes I'll use a one-inch curling iron and just wrap my hair around it, being loose with the sections. I’ll mix the sizing with big sections and little sections. I'm not too precise with the hair. Like everything's not so perfect. I like the imperfections.
Spotlyte: How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
TC: I have a relaxed approach, like a little nod to the ‘70s. I also like those little three Bridgette Bardot bits in the front — sexy, face-framing bits — but keeping it really long.
Spotlyte: How does your personal life influence your style and your job?
TC: I am a single mom living in New York. I'm dating. I like to put my best foot forward. When I have a woman in my chair, I want her to feel sexy and fresh, but not over-the-top — not trying too hard — just, this is you. You woke up like this, and you weren't at the salon today . . . but you were.
Spotlyte: How has your three-year-old daughter, Juniper, changed your beauty routine?
TC: I work in an industry where people are coming to me for advice, so I can't let myself go. That's not an option for me, personally. In the last year, I really made a conscious effort to prioritize my time and work out my skincare routine.
Spotlyte: What makeup products are you using?
TC: I have been using the Laura Mercier® Tinted Moisturizer forever. I noticed recently that I need a little more coverage, so I just started using FentyTM foundation; Bobbi Brown® Face BaseTM will go on first, and then I’ll mix that with the foundation. I use Laura Mercier blush. I like creamy blushes. I've been using Dior mascara since I was 16.
Spotlyte: What skincare products do you use?
Spotlyte: What beauty treatments do you get regularly?
TC: I get HydraFacials® at Williamsburg Beauty Spa℠. I'm really adamant about doing my facials every two weeks, and getting my nails done every two weeks at PaintBucket® in Williamsburg. They have a really good gel manicure. I have microblading, which has saved me from having to do my brows. I'm a high-maintenance, low-maintenance kind of person.
Spotlyte: What’s a new treatment you’ve adopted into your routine?
TC: I just discovered IMD Beauty Spa℠, which does a lymphatic massage. These Brazilian women, they like to massage the fuck out of your skin. They rub magnesium all over your body, wrap you in plastic, put you in an infrared for 20 minutes, and then this woman just like goes to town on you. It is amazing. I peed for 24 hours straight after that.
If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before using a gua sha or rolling tool.
Spotlyte: Is Juniper into hair or beauty? Do you think she'll follow in your footsteps?
TC: She's kind of like me in the sense that she's into soccer, but she loves the glittery pink things. If I'm putting on makeup, she wants to put on makeup. If I'm working out or playing soccer with her, she'll totally immerse herself in that. I do feel that she is very aware of what it is that I do, and is intrigued and wants to be a part of it.
Spotlyte: What has your little one taught you about beauty?
TC: I wish I had the collagen of a three year old! She just has such a carefree approach. I think I can get a little caught up, and if I didn't work out or if I didn't do something, I can kind of get in my head. I look at her, and she's just so carefree and has this amazing energy that pulls me out of it.
Spotlyte: What’s your take on injectables?
TC: I go to Dr. Blinski, who owns Plump℠. I do filler and I’ve gotten injectable wrinkle reducers twice.
Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
Spotlyte: Have you adopted any wellness rituals over the years?
TC: I do SoulCycle® at least three times a week. It's very quick and easy.
Spotlyte: What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?
TC: The best advice I ever got was never have two bad days in a row. I am somebody who is constantly striving for balance, between being a mom and the business. I do love to socialize. It’s mindful. If I went out last night, had my dinner, had my drinks, I do need to have a healthy night tonight. When it comes to food and drinking and just being a woman in New York, with girlfriends who like to go out, I'm very mindful of that balance. Although it's hard, I'm doing the best I can.
Spotlyte: What are some key takeaways you’ve learned from being in the industry?
TC: With platforms like Instagram, you can choose your own journey. Everybody can be their own brand.
The biggest thing I've learned through having a team and working my way up is that I'm really only as good as the person next to me. I love that I've cultivated a team of girls who I work with every day who continue to inspire and believe in the vision and the brand. I feel more empowered because I'm working alongside people that have kind of grown with me.
A lot of people get a taste of success in this industry and just think they can do everything on their own. It’s super important to value people who helped you get to where you've gotten, and the people who help you day-to-day. I'm really big on just treating everybody how I'd want to be treated.