Q&A: TJ PEPPER #HAIRBYTJ

Meet TJ Pepper. Think she’s just all good looks?! Think again. Hair magician. Super mom. Amazing musician. Killer friend. Half of team Wilderness Barbies. The Thelma to my Louise. And.. she’s married to a stud. And that’s just what I can ramble off the top of my head!

Let’s start off by letting them in on who you are, and where you are from!

I am TJ Pepper, I am a Master Stylist at Élan hair studio and a Platinum key educator for KEVIN.MURPHY. I also Sing in a special events band called Big City All Star Band, and have two boys, aged 9 and almost 3. I’m born and Raised here in Winnipeg, MB, but love to travel!

With so many talents under your belt…Why hair? How did you decide to go down that road?

I’ve been attracted to this Industry since I was a high school student- Constantly coloring my friend’s hair, and cutting my poor brothers hair. After graduation I tried University for a few years, but after some encouragement from my Hairdresser, I enrolled in Cosmetology and never looked back!

Well, I think we can all agree that you chose the right avenue! I know that the hair on MY head thinks so! Where do you find your inspiration to be so creative? What inspires you? Who inspires you?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but I definitely find myself spending hours on Instagram looking at all the amazing work out there! Social media has impacted our industry in a major way, and not just from a marketing and advertising angle. We’re now able to see what Hairstylists (and clients!) all over the world are doing. Trends are becoming more global, rather than localized, and more rules are being broken everyday.
I’m also lucky to work for a Fashion driven Brand, KEVIN.MURPHY. Kevin is an extremely Sought after Session Stylist. This means He is either doing editorial hair for Major Fashion Magazines, or designing looks for Fashion Houses to use during their Runway shows. I get to learn from the man who creates trends, rather than follow them. His work and the amazing team of Style Masters that work with him keep me so inspired!

With so many new trends, and styles it must be hard to pick a favorite. But! If I were to make you choose just one…What is your favorite hairstyle to create?

I love to style hair that looks lived in. Real. Giving Clients a cut and color that will actually work with their lifestyle, so they can feel pretty everyday, not just the day they get their hair done!!

I know these are usually locked in the vault.. But just this once, can you let us in on any of the upcoming trends for 2016?!

Short Hair is here to stay- you’re seeing a lot of bobs on Celebrities these Days… and if you are willing, an Undercut is a great way to make that classic look feel modern fresh and edgy

Also i think the ‘swag’ (swingy shag) is going to be a big look this spring and summer. A Choppy fringe with irregular dimensional layers for a collapsed texture. More and more women are embracing their natural wave and, and this is a great way to show it off!

5 secret or at home hair tips!… GO!..


1. Go Sulphate Free! Find a great shampoo and conditioner that contains no sulphates. They will oxidize or ‘rust’ your hair so the color will look faded and dull quickly, and make your hair feel brittle. For the cold Prairie Winters, my personal favourite is KEVIN.MURPHY’s Hydrate.Me wash and rinse.

2. Don’t over wash- There is no need to wash your hair every day.. I try to have my clients wash every 3rd day, (or every second if their hair is very fine). The more we cleanse our scalps, the more oil our body will produce, so we quickly develop a vicious cycle. For those days in between, a little dry shampoo along your hairline and part line will go a long way!

3. Cold water is Key- if you want to try a vibrant red, ashy Grey or a platinum blonde, always wash with cool water. the warmer water will wash more of that Color down the drain.

4. Splurge on a good Blowdryer- Chuck that nasty old Conair and find something Ionic or ceramic. These dryers can break down water molecules so your hair can dry faster, and contain technology that can dry your hair from the inside and outside, cutting down your blow dry time, minimizing damage and leave the hair looking shinier. Any time you are using a brush you should always have a concentrator nozzle on as well!

5. Always use protection! …from heat. Flat Irons are now reaching temperatures of 450 degrees, (hair melts at 500) and UV rays are continuing to get stronger. so it is so important to be using a heat protector EVERY TIME we are going to be exposing our locks to heat especially if you are trying to grow your hair. There is a huge variety of professional options out there, so finding one that fits your regular routine shouldn’t be difficult. Our KM range carries heat protection in everything from a smoothing cream to a spray-in conditioner. We even have a beach-texturizing spray with extra UV protection for your Hot Vacation

Seriously…Is there anything you can’t do?!

Ha! plenty- I’m terrible at Drawing, i”m constantly loosing keys. I suck at water-skiing ( although I keep trying) and an exceptionally bad basketball player, just to name a few. I always wished I could sew…

How do you juggle such a busy life?! Between work, music, kids, hockey practices, and play dates.. And hubby time.. Any tips for staying sane during the crazy times in life?

I quickly learned how to become organized after my second son Tucker was born. I had always struggled with Time management and scheduling before that. But I’m old school.. i have the Giant Mom calendar on the fridge in the Kitchen, and I write EVERYTHING down on there.. My Husband and I sit down about once every two weeks and update it.. I’m a Huge believer in the Tribe. I am so lucky to have a fantastic group of friends and and family to help me raise my kids in a happy, healthy environment. I couldn’t do half of what I do without my mom to. She’s fantastic.
As far as staying sane, I try to balance family time, hubby time and solo time… I find I’m a better parent if I get some time without the kids around once and a while.

Okay, time for some randoms!..One item/person/habit/thing you can not go one single day without/doing.

Gotta be singing… Its a major stress reliever for me too, nothing feels better after a stressful day than cranking the tunes and singing along at the top of your lungs!

How many times do you have to listen to a song you love before you hate it.

Usually half way through the first listen I know. I’m annoyingly opinionated about music.

How many times have you hurt yourself while dancing in the shower?

Only once. since then I discovered Singing in the shower has a much lower injury rate.

How many bottles of wine have you finished without actually pouring any of the wine into a glass?

If we’re counting my early 20s, I’m sure more than I care to admit.. these days if I’m going to be chugging anything out of the bottle, I need the whole next day off- and that’s pretty rare!!

What was the last thing you ate?

I am currently eating a red velvet cupcake from Sweet Impressions… and making a mess of myself while doing it.

Alright, so tell us…What’s next for TJ Pepper?

Spring is usually a busy time for me- The salon is busy, and I’ll do hair at some big trade shows in Western Canada working with KEVIN.MURPHY. I’ve got some great gigs lined up with my band as well! As soon as Hockey season is over, any free time will be spent at the lake. We bought a cabin this fall, and I can’t wait to spend some time up there making memories with my two little Peppers!

You can follow TJ on Instagram! @tjpepperhair

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