Even Brad Mondo still bleaches his own hair off
If you’ve ever thought about bleaching your own hair or giving yourself bangs, chances are — in an effort to figure out how — you’ve come across the sage advice of Brad Mondo. Known for his reaction videos and hair tutorials, the creator has come a long way from helping out at his family’s salon to owning a haircare empire — with products targeted toward everyone from hair novices to salon professionals. And with over 7 million subscribers, it’s clear that Brad has been one of the leading YouTube hair experts to look to whether you want to try out a wolf cut or attempt a proper balayage.
With that kind of household recognition, we knew we had to sit down with Brad ahead of this year’s #BeautyFest on June 16 in Los Angeles. From predicting whether bold hair colors are here to stay and what fans can look forward to on his upcoming XMONDO launch, here’s what the internet’s favorite hairdresser has to share.
Derek: Hi Brad! We’re so excited to have you join us at this year’s BeautyFest — and in particular, you have a special challenge for this year’s festival. Tell us what the concept is.
Brad: We have three young up-and-coming hair stylists that were challenged to create a masterpiece hair color moment on their client based off of visual inspiration that I presented to them. So they had about an hour and a half to color the hair, do whatever they wanted, and then I guided a bit, gave them some pointers — and fans will get to pick the winner.
Derek: We’re so excited you did it, you’re a real natural at hosting. Maybe this could be your new part-time gig, a new side hustle.
Brad: I mean, I'm trying. If you have any hookups, let me know.
Derek: Well, Ellen DeGeneres, she just retired. There's an opening.
Brad: I’m into it!
You have to screw up to learn what not to do! I’ve even made mistakes on my own hair.” Brad Mondo
Derek: You've become so well known for your experimentation with hair and hair color. Take me to the beginning. Were your first attempts at multi-color hair dying as good as we’ve seen today?
Brad: Oh my God. I was so bad at first with color. You have to screw up to learn what not to do! I’ve even made mistakes on my own hair.
I remember one time specifically where I was bringing my friend from blonde to brown and I turned her hair green. I knew that was clearly not right. That’s when I went to hair school. I also grew up in my dad's hair salon, so I learned from my dad and from hair school, and now we're here. And now I know how to do hair!
Derek: So, how did you go from your dad's salon to ruining all of your friends' hair to becoming one of the largest hair creators on YouTube?
Brad: I've always been obsessed with YouTube, watched every single video imaginable. Every day after school I would spend like four or five hours just watching videos till I went to sleep. I would study how people made it on the platform and what their content was like and what I had to do to make it. And I never knew how to connect the two — hair and YouTube — together.
Later on in my life, I was posting a lot of different kinds of content but couldn't really figure out how to make it work. There was nobody really watching my videos. I came home one day and I was like, I think I had seen like a thumbnail of this girl ruining her hair and decided that I should just sit down and put my camera up and just record a video.
It was hardly edited, there was not a good title, there was no good thumbnail. And I posted it and overnight it had like 300,000 views, and I had like 400 subscribers. So I said, "Okay, something's happening here, let's take advantage of it." I started posting five days a week for an entire year, and now we're here.
Derek: And that was the first video that sort of took off — your original OG reaction video.
Brad: Still doing it five years later!
I've always been obsessed with YouTube. I would study how people made it on the platform and what their content what their content was like and what I had to do to make it.” Brad Mondo
Derek: Brad, I had no idea you being so judge-y could be so successful.
Brad: Ha, you didn't get that vibe?!
Derek: I'm so surprised by this 😉 You're also so well known for your collaborations videos. Who have been some of the most iconic collaborations?
Brad: I think the Charli D’Amelio and the Joana Ceddia videos were very iconic. Our brands aligned so well and those videos just exploded. And it was just so much fun to make over a couple of people who didn't care at all what I did with their hair. They're so iconic and people started replicating the looks after we were done with them.
I love to collaborate with people who really align with who I am, and with those two, it's like I'm not even working because it's just so fun to do.
Derek: Charli didn't care about her hair at all?
Brad: Before I met her, we were texting and she was saying that she doesn't want a big change — maybe a little trim or her hair darker. Then I get to her house and she's like, "Oh, you can just do whatever you want." So I decided, "We're going to do this whole bright pink piece around your head," and then she did it.
Derek: Between your reaction videos and Charli / Joana collabs, you also launched your brand, XMONDO. When did that start?
Brad: We started about three years ago with one product called Glitterati, which was this very glittery, innovative styling serum. Then we grew into the entire market of hair care with shampoos, conditioners, pomades, curl products, a color line — you name it. In the last three years we launched like 32 products.
Derek: 32 products is huge! Without giving too many spoilers, what are you working on next?
Brad: We have our new Recalibrate line, our bond building line, which everyone in the world is obsessed with. It's very technology-driven and will give you really healthy, strong, shiny hair.
Then there's also another component, which is still very much a year away, but we're working on a new type of color line that will instantly change your hair color with very little effort. We think it will evoke confidence in the consumer. Everything I do, I like to relate it back to confidence-building and making people feel good about themselves. Because if I'm not doing that, then what the hell's the point?
Derek: Color seems to be such a big part of your brand. Do you think bold, bright colors are a fleeting trend or do you think that's something that we're going to see all the time? Am I too old to have pride-inspired rainbow hair?
Brad: I'm sorry, we need to color your hair. That would be so fun!
Color became much more popular during the pandemic. And I think it all coincides with each other to just have a world that's much more colorful and unique” Brad Mondo
No, but I mean, color became much more popular during the pandemic, which I was really lucky to have launched my color brand during. And XMONDO really blew up because of that. I see color just growing. I see across the market of every area of business where people are letting their employees have colored hair at work or have tattoos. And I think it all coincides with each other to just have a world that's much more colorful and unique and everybody has their own style. So I see it just continuing to grow.
Derek: Ahead of all that’s to come at BeautyFest, if there's any tips that you could give — not only to the young people that were involved in the challenge — what are the biggest and best tips you would give a fledgling hair person today? A stylist-in-training, so to speak?
Brad: Education is key. So important. I think some hairstyles don't get enough education, and that's a whole different issue, but I think that you need to continuously be watching trends and learning online. YouTube is a great platform to learn about the newest and best techniques. I remember a time where there were no tutorials online and you had to go to classes, and now it's just accessible on your computer for free so take advantage of that.
YouTube is a great platform to learn about the newest and best techniques. I remember a time where there were no tutorials online and you had to go to classes, and now it's just accessible on your computer for free so take advantage of that.” Brad Mondo
And then just getting some guinea pigs and testing things like I did! You have to screw up to learn what not to do. I think that's very important, too. I've learned those lessons so many times of what not to do and have not done them since.
Derek: So having friends who love you enough that you can mess up their entire look.
Brad: Derek, you’ll be the first makeover on my new talk show and I'll purposely mess up your hair and see what happens!
Derek: Ha! Well, Brad, I'm so happy that you are at BeautyFest this year. I hope that you're tuning in live on June 16 at 4 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET on YouTube.com/BeautyFest.
Brad: I'll be tuning in, and thank you for having me be a part of it!