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How Brad Mondo's Silent Reactions Sparked a TikTok Hair Revolution

People are legit destroying their hair to get this stylist's attention — and even he's not sure why:

11/20/2020 9:00:00 AM

People are legit destroying their hair to get this stylist's attention — and even he's not sure why:

Why are people destroying their hair to get this stylist's attention? Don't ask Brad Mondo — even he's not sure.

, where people cut and color their own hair (oftentimes in questionable or downright damaging ways) in the hopes that the New York City-based hairstylist and colorist will react to them. Not to offer them tips or even give them words of encouragement — simply to watch them in silence and offer up anything from a pleasantly shocked smile to a wide-eyed look of absolute disgust. No joke: Some people have full-on ruined their hair with bleach just to get this guy's undivided attention.

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Mondo's not new to web virality, specificallyon YouTube, where he's been recording and posting his reactions to at-home hair transformations since 2017. There, he talks through full videos, up to 30 minutes, and explains exactly what's happening to a person's hair as they dye it. He still makes those videos — but by copying and pasting the premise onto TikTok's simplified "duet" format, he instantly surpassed a whole new level of internet fame this year. One that comes with an army of young TikTok followers with vats of

and dyes they aren't afraid to use, so long as Mondo might chime in with an exaggerated facial expression.As the hairstylist tellsAllurevia Zoom call, he simply noticed that more and more people had started documenting their attempted at-home hair transformations on TikTok and ran with the opportunity. "My

first viral video on TikTokwas me duetting a person ruining their hair with color," he recalls of the clip from January 2020. "It got 10 million views overnight, and I was like, 'Oh, people don't even care if I talk in this?' I guess it's the facial expressions people can relate to, and it's fun to watch a professional's opinion on some at-home color."

You'd think that a professional hairstylist and colorist would shake their finger and give a stern talking abouthair healthto anyone who'd dare bleach, color, or cut their own hair at home without any training or experience. Mondo couldn't have a more opposite mindset than that. "Hair grows back… these people clearly just wanted to have some fun that day," he says. "At this point, I just vibe with it."

While lots of people on TikTok understand therisks of at-home hair experiments, some have made unexpected and irreparable damage to their hair in attempts to impress or shock Mondo — and that can be hard for him to watch sometimes. "I've seen some videos where you can tell that the person did not want to ruin their hair and they're distraught over it — that's when I get sad about it."

AdvertisementThanks to his large and voracious TikTok following (which is quickly nearing 7 million people), Mondo's pretty sure he's seen it all when it comes to at-home hair jobs. During our interview, he laments that he'd just watched someone wash their hair dye out in their backyard with the help of a high-pressure water hose: "This guy was hosing her down with it… That was pretty original." He's also seen hair melt away from bleach. He's seen full chunks of hair shaved off as the result of a bad dye job.

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Still, amid all those disasters, Mondo's followers have shown him some extremely impressive feats of. He's using it as inspiration for his own hair-care brand,XMondo, which is expanding to include its very first hair dyes. "I follow so many people who are professionals and who aren't professionals who are doing hair, so I learn so much from others on the [TikTok] platform and just from their hair care routines," he explains. "I used all that information when I was creating my own color line, and I combined everything that I've learned from the consumer standpoint and as a professional to create something that's a hybrid of both."

Read more: Allure »

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