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The $8 At-Home Box Color This Celeb Stylist Swears By

Tommy Buckett knows good hair. His tousled touch and effortless aesthetic make him the perfect stylist for a certain set of clientele: Those who want to look timeless yet modern. Or polished and sophisticated, without trying too hard. His roving group of celebrities includes Elizabeth Moss, Darcy Carden, Maggie Gylenhaal, Molly Shannon, Ali Wong, and Sadie Sink. I’ve had the pleasure of a Buckett blowout a few times in my career, and he just makes you feel good–both in the chair and in your hair.

With hair trends feeling very lived-in lately, this sort of approach is more resonant than ever. While immaculate blowouts and sleek strands will always be around, embracing what feels natural certainly is a welcome alternative.

He’s now a partner at the New York salon Marie Robinson, and his past credits include stints at Sally Hersberger and as the lead stylist for Serge Normant. When I called him up for this interview he was at the salon, ducking away into a quiet space so we could properly chat. “I’m boss now after all these years–after my 20-year career this is definitely a new hat to wear, but I’m loving it,” he says. “The best part is seeing young people get excited to do hair.”

Here, what’s in his tool kit lately.

Tried-and-true: Quality hair brushes.

“One thing I’ll always have in my kit are these brushes from the Japanese brand YS Park. They’re a really nice blend of boar bristle and plastic so you get that really nice tension in the hair. Plus the hair just turns out smoother, shinier, detangles easier, and doesn’t snag. Plus you get the most amazing bend with them.

“I’ve had these brushes forever. I used to save up money and buy them, but then they last just a really long time. Buying nice brushes for yourself feels like such a luxurious treat, but once you have one you’re set for a while. If you do a lot of blow drying or styling, it’s worth getting a good brush.”

YS Park G-Series Curl Shine Styler Round Brush$ 130Crafted with 100% natural boar bristles, heat-resistant nylon pins, and natural woods, this brushes are a work of art. They may come with a higher price tag, but if you style your hair often, they’re worth the investment–as Buckett notes, they last forever. There are a lot of brushes to pick from at YS Park, so browse around and see which one(s) are suited for your hair type and style. This one is ideal for smoothing and giving a loose wave.

The up-and-coming: An innovative hair oil.

“I recently started using this brand called Monpure London. At first, I didn’t know anything about them, for full transparency. But then I was introduced to the founder and he explained to me that the whole brand is really about scalp health and how the hair responds to scalp health. He’s [Natanel Bigger] obsessed with the hair follicle.

“How do you get better hair? How does your hair grow longer? Whatever you want with hair, it all starts with the scalp. The brand has all these scalp scrubs, treatments, and serums that help keep the hair follicle fat. The fatter the hair follicle, the healthier the hair is-and the more it will grow. When your scalp is stressed, these follicles shrink, and that’s what actually makes the hair fall out and makes it dry.

“I love the products and am honestly really excited to see what they come out with in the future. There’s a lot of exciting technology in scalp care emerging–like serums that can actually reverse graying or products that could have hair grow back in different textures. It’s all cool stuff that could actually happen at some point.

“They just launched this hair oil–it smells beautiful. It’s made with Jasmine from France and all these essential oils. It’s so stunning on the hair.”

Monpure London Ultralight Hair Oil$ 79A sophisticated blend of high-quality natural ingredients that put in the work. This formula uses castor oil, vegan keratin, coenzyme q10, argan oil, and wheat germ oil to seal the cuticle, add shine, fortify with antioxidant protection, and protect against damage.

The pleasure: A Dyson.

“Hands down the best splurge is a Dyson Blow Dryer. It just works. If you are a blow dry girl, this gives the best salon-quality blowout at home. It’s crazy to think you’re going to spend $500 on a hair dryer, but it is worth every single penny. Plus it has lifetime warranty. If you buy one, you are set for the rest of your life.”

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer$ 430Whenever someone asks me about getting a Dyson, I echo Buckett’s sentiments: Worth. Every. Penny. Not only will it improve the appearance of the hair, it’s literally better for the hair fiber. It’s heat styling sans the heat damage. I cannot recommend one enough.

The set: A luxury shampoo, conditioner & serum combo.

“Iles formula’s products change the way your hair feels. It just gives your strands this softness–and it smells gorgeous.

I especially love the shampoo. Usually shampoos can be stripping. But this cleanser actually makes your hair feel softer after. If your hair is really filthy and dirty, just rub it until it starts emulsifying. Then rinse it out and give your roots a second shampoo. At this point you’ll get a really beautiful lather. The conditioner is great, and the leave-in serum is fantastic for detangling hair.

“They’re expensive though. But a little goes a long way. And it’s mind blowingly different the way your hair looks and feels.”

Iles Formula Signature Collection$140Stunning, clean formulas justify the price point: The ingredients are high-tech, with raw, virgin, and sustainably sourced botanicals. For example, the serum uses nut oils, silk and ceramides. And the sulfate-free shampoo uses vitamin B5 to fortify the strand while cleansing. Each is topped with a natural, and allergen-free fragrance of white tea, so even those with sensitive skin can use it. You can opt for the whole collection, or buying each individually will run you about $40 to $60 a piece.

The steal: An ammonia-free box color.

“I love the Olia hair color from Garnier. It’s a permanent hair color in a box. I started using it in the pandemic when people couldn’t go into the salon, and it works great in a pinch. It offers shine, coverage, and the shades are really true to match. Box colors get a back rap, but this one is really nice.”

Garnier Olia Ammonia Free Hair Color$ 11This at-home hair color is ammonia free (which can be very drying for the hair) and made with 60% botanical oils (which are very conditioning!). The color payoff is rich, and the hair fibers feel so hydrated after. A perfect option for covering grays, evening out tone, and touching up roots in a pinch.

The signature: A cool girl cut.

“People come to me for this cool, effortless haircut. It’s the cool girl hair where you don’t have to style it–you could if you wanted to, but you can also embrace the natural texture. It’s that messier, layered, tousled haircut. It’s a little shaggy, maybe there’s some longer curtain bangs.

“Growing up as a stylist, I assisted Sally Hershberger. I mean she did the Meg Ryan shag cut! And so everyone came to her for this not-so-done, texturized haircut, and what’s really great about them for maturing women is that they instantly make you look younger. I was so inspired by that, and it still influences the way I cut hair 20 years later.

“I feel like when I want to give people a haircut that when they leave, they can take it home and make them look really good. You’re always going to get compliments on your hair when you leave the salon–but what about a month, two months? I love it when someone comes back and says, ‘Oh I’m still getting compliments on my hair cut.’

“Here’s the deal: COVID really changed things. It brought people back to that place of embracing their natural texture. People are always going to want a beautiful blow dry–that will never go out of style. And people will have times where they want to feel and look glam. But let’s be real, not everyone is going to want to do this all of the time. So you want a cut that will look good on the days where you don’t want to do anything.”


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