Hairstylist Clayton Hawkins Talks Working With Olivia Rodrigo and His Viral TikToks

Clayton Hawkins has made a name for himself in the beauty industry for the last decade working as a Living Proof ambassador and as a celebrity hairstylist for the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Elizabeth Olsen, Dove Cameron, Elizabeth Banks and others.

However, in the last few years, Hawkins has leveraged his hairstyling expertise for his TikTok account, where he’s grown his following to over 28,000 and has become one of the many emerging #HairTok influencers.

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“I was one of those people that was so broken out by COVID[-19], like I was definitely leaning into the fear,” Hawkins said. “I was like, ‘OK, well I’m never going to work again and the industry is done. Movies will never come out again and no one will ever need to promote anything,’ So, I was like I’ll just start making videos and I started putting wigs on and I sort of did it as a joke. I didn’t think anyone would really take it seriously and it just took off.”

Hawkins is known on TikTok for his colorful assortment of wigs featured in his videos, which blend comedy, nostalgia and the classic hair tutorial. The hairstylist’s main content franchise is trying out vintage hair tools that he finds on eBay, like a ConAir Quick Gems device from 2004 or hot rollers from 1990. He also posts timely tutorials, like how to recreate Pam Anderson’s messy bun, and tips and tricks for every day hair looks.

“It’s something I have total control over, which I think is really cool,” Hawkins said about his TikTok account. “When you’re working with clients, a lot of times things are out of your hands. When making videos in my room, I’m in control and I can do whatever I want.”

Hawkins has had an interest in hairstyling since he was a child, stating he would “literally ask Santa for wigs” at Christmas. He then developed his expertise in middle and high school by doing his classmates’ hair for prom, but didn’t see himself working as a professional stylist until his early twenties when Olsen, who is his childhood best friend, introduced Hawkins to her hairstylist Mark Townsend.

Townsend saw Hawkins had a knack for hairstyling and encouraged him to go to beauty school. After doing so, Hawkins worked as Townsend’s assistant for five years before going off on his own.

Hawkins explained he built his celebrity clientele by “saying yes to everything” and making sure he made his clients feel happy and comfortable.

“Being out in the public eye and under so much scrutiny, it seems easy, but it’s not,” he said. “My job is sort of to just be there and make everyone feel safe and comfortable at home. It’s not about me. In this wig room, I am the diva and the star, but when I am with a client it’s not really about me.”

Hawkins also explained his strategy is to create timeless looks, especially at milestone events like a client’s first Oscars or Grammys. For Rodrigo, who he styled at this year’s Grammys when she won three awards, his strategy was to go classic.

“She’s so young and you don’t want to do anything that will age her,” he explained. “When any of my clients have a really big event, say it’s someone’s first Oscars or it’s their big moment, you always want to be like, ‘how is this going to look in 20 years?’ Because these pictures will run in 20 years with all of their milestones. You just want to do something that will age well and be classic.”

Going forward, Hawkins isn’t slowing down with his celebrity portfolio or his TikTok. Hawkins has plans to visit Living Proof’s salon and lab to see the science and formulation that go into the products, which he’s planning on documenting on his TikTok.

“I try not to hop onto trends,” he said about his TikTok. “I just stick to what I think is fun, which are silly hair tutorials. Sometimes the videos do really well and sometimes they are literally ‘floptinas,’ so you never know. That’s the TikTok roll of the dice, who cares?”

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