Confessions Of A Celebrity Groomer

Photo: Courtesy of Florido.
When a celebrity steps on stage for a performance, onto the red carpet for a premiere, or in front of the camera in any capacity, he or she has likely been coiffed to perfection by a full glam squad.

Just look at your favorite male celebs. That haphazardly pushed-back bedhead? A beach-vacation glow? Trend-setting facial hair? In most cases that's not happenstance; it's the work of a Hollywood groomer — the people who are responsible for every part of their male client's appearance, apart from what he's wearing.

But don't think it's just another cushy job in the entourage. Unlike many hairstylists and makeup artists, who have their specialties, a skilled groomer must be able to do it all —from cutting, styling, and even coloring hair, to covering up a blemish or sunburn and even adding a natural-looking radiance to skin when their client is sick, hungover, exhausted, or just looks a little dull. Plus, they have to make it look like he, quite literally, just woke up like that.

Naturally, a few men lead the pack when it comes to setting grooming trends, and there's no denying Justin Bieber is in that group — maybe even fronting it. But his perfect swoop and dewy skin are only as strong as the man behind them: Florido, the L.A.-based groomer who's been looking after the Bieb's appearance for the past six years, at home, on set, and on the road.

Our first question — "How is Bieber's skin so glowy?" — quickly turned into a bigger conversation about Florido's self-made story, his passion, and his down-to-earth gratitude for every opportunity.

Sit back and prepare to soak up equal parts good vibes and priceless grooming insight:

His Big Break
"I used to be a dancer and I was also working in a salon. I would have to move my day to go to auditions and then get back to work. One of my mentors [told me], ‘You’re great at all of your passions, but if you focus 150% into one of those things, I promise you that shit will start to happen.’ I decided I wanted to focus on hair, because I [could] actually work with clients one-on-one and be a part of the creative process.

"My last big [dance] audition was for Justin [Bieber]. I went in, danced, and they said, ‘Stay for the callback.' But it wasn’t until that evening and I had clients in the salon, so I thanked the choreographer and [left].

"Then, before they left for tour, the choreographer called me. He said, ‘Hey, I know you do hair but do you also do makeup? Because they’re looking for another groomer.' It was like 10:30 at night and I started screaming in my house, 'Oh my god, what the fuck is happening?!' I’m like, 'Okay, calm down, Flo, calm down.'
"People always tell you that you just need that one great client to set you off. I am so grateful that Justin gave me a chance."
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Client To Friend
"I honestly didn't think [Justin] would like me. A lot of the time, guys want a pretty girl to be in front of their face, but he’s grown to love me and he says, ‘I love how comfortable you are in your skin.’ I'm a single gay dad, and I feel like most straight guys don’t know how to take me; in everyday life I’m used to straight guys being weird with me being so open and out there.

"Here we are almost six years later, and I am still here. We’ve gone around the world, and he’s shown me so much. He’s taken me to all these cool places, and I’m like, Is this a dream? What is happening?!"
Jack-Of-All-Trades
"I cut and color Justin's hair — and sometimes I dance, too! I will be like, ‘Oh my god, can I be in 'Sorry' tonight?’ And sometimes he’ll let me be [his] stand-in. We did X Factor Australia, and Justin was like, 'I'm done with rehearsing,’ and I said, ‘I’ll be right up!’ I have the funniest video!"
In His Kit
"I like using Oribe’s Dry Texture Spray; I use that on everyone that I do. When the hair is super-clean, it feels kind of heavy and doesn’t have any grit in it, so that really helps me get the texture and volume that I want so that it styles easily.

"Leonor Greyl makes a really good pomade that works for every hair type. It smells really nice, like rose. It's soft and matte, and never looks greasy."

If you go with an open mind, the universe will reward you.

Florido
Game Face
"I will apply the [Tarte] Smooth Operator powder; it has this stuff called Amazonian clay. I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but it fills the skin. It's nuts. It’s got this kind of iridescent finish that’s illuminating. And when the skin gets oily, it just looks like dewy skin. It doesn’t look like they’re wearing anything. This is what I do on everyone."
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Bright Eyes
"I will put a de-puffer on the eyes — Boscia makes this de-puffer stick — then I'll apply a really good eye cream. Then I will just cover it with concealer, and you’ll never know they’re dying of the flu. [laughs]"

Cool Cuts
"[The haircut] really depends on the person — and I work with so many different clients. With Justin, it’s not like, ‘Oh, this is in, we’re doing this’ — he will literally throw me a curveball and be like, ‘I’m growing my hair’ or ‘Let’s shave it' or ‘Let’s color it.' I am so thankful that he always challenges me.

"I just go with whatever he wants to do, and it always becomes a trend. It’s so weird to me. I forget that people look up to his style; I don’t even look at it like that. I will see people with his hair at his concerts! I’m so glad that he's not just sticking to one box."
Photo: Dan MacMedan/WireImage.
The Art Of Bieber's Slicked-Back Hair
"That is a process. You have to use a root-lift spray and then dry the hair in the direction that you want it to stay. Then I will even put a texture powder in; Unite makes this Expanda Dust that I use. Then I'll use a pomade to slick it back or finish with hairspray, but you have to layer in the hairspray to get it to stay. That's what I do on Justin whenever he wants it slicked back."
Hair Mistakes
"The biggest mistake that guys make when grooming themselves is trying to cut their hair themselves. Unless you’re really good, don't — I don’t even cut my hair myself.
"Over-styling the hair, too. A lot of the time, people think that I do more than I do. People make Bieber hair tutorials for YouTube. I am really flattered, but I was watching some the other day and there was this one where he says, ‘You know he probably uses like two cans of pomade,' and this and that, for a look that I literally only used Evian water spray [for] — but I am so glad you think I use all of that stuff! [laughs] This guy busted out the flat iron, the pomade, the hairspray. You don't need all that."

On Finding His Mentors
"I met [hairstylist] Riawna Capri when I was a dancer. It was one of those things where she was doing hair and I was dancing in a music video. I was working for free because my friend was the choreographer. So I met Riawna and I grilled her. I told her I was in beauty school, and from that moment on she took me under her wing. Now I work at Nine Zero One Salon with them, too. I look up to her and Nikki [Lee] so much.

"Sometimes in life, you just have to do the free things when you’re just starting out. If you go with an open mind, the universe will reward you."
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