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Octavio Molina: Founder, Tavi

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Octavio Molina changes his hair often—so often, that his Supergreat reviews show a different hairstyle depending on how far you scroll down on his page. His most recent reviews show his long hair bleached, in contrast to his dark brown locks from a few days before. If you explore his Instagram, you'll noticed he's gone from a shaved blond look to a dark long-haired look as easily and swiftly as you would wipe off your lipstick to try on another shade.

If you're going to change up your hair as often as Molina does, you need products to keep it healthy—so it definitely helps that he owns his own haircare line (that we swear by over here at SG HQ). It also helps that he was over 20 years of experience as a celebrity hairstylist.

We spoke to Molina about his sprawling career, the changes he's seen in the industry since the creation of Instagram, and the right way to use tomorrow's reward drop: Tavi Aquamarina Mineral Sea Spray—get yours for only 15 Supercoins.

Octavio fixes a model's hair in a photoshoot where two models dressed in all white sit against a white wall.

Instagram @octaviomolinaart

On his career as a hairstylist and how he started his brand:

I've been in the industry for over 20 years. I started at a very young age and I’ve done hair everywhere you could possibly imagine—I worked in Paris, London, New York, Milan, and now Los Angeles is my home base. I worked for tons of designers and brands throughout my career and then in the last I would say, 7-8 years, I've decided to just base myself out of L.A. so I can focus a little bit more on television and work more with celebrities.

The brand has been out in the market for five years. We're locally made here in Los Angeles, a very proud Californian brand. The idea behind the product plan was to create a brand that, one, was made locally here in L.A. and two, to create a brand that was botanical, that focused a little bit more on the quality of the ingredients. I wanted to create a brand that delivers the way that skincare products deliver. At the end of the day, your scalp is part of your skin, so if you don't give your scalp the right nutrients your hair won't grow healthy.

I've always been very careful with what I put on my skin, and I'm a very active person. I was working on American Idol a couple of seasons ago and sometimes you're shooting from 5AM until 11PM, and between that whole schedule you get a three hour break. I would always bring my workout stuff, and I would go on a run or go to the gym, workout during those three hours. So for me when I have a product in my hair, I don't want to sweat it because it's gonna run all over my skin and eventually end up in my eyes and give me some sort of irritation, which was happening when I was not formulating my product.

I lead a very busy lifestyle, I'm on the road a lot with clients and I'm back and forth between L.A. and New York a lot. One of the products that we have is a hair oil, and I have it on me all the time. It's a product that you can also use on your skin—hair care should be looked at, in my opinion, just like skin care. It shouldn't be looked at as its own identity.

Everything that we offer comes in travel size. Shampoo, conditioner, salt sprays, and our oil. Everything comes in a two-ounce bottle, which has been a good a really good thing for us. This month I'm gone pretty much every single week or weekend with a client Friday through Monday and I don't want to check a bag. That's an hour of my day that I could be using on something else, so I need a product that's TSA approved, that I could just get through security in 10 minutes.

Various Tavi products in white bottles are scattered around a table covered with product names printed in black ink on white cards.

Instagram @octaviomolinaart

On the biggest changes he's noticed in the hair care industry:

Social media has given so many people an amazing platform to put their work out there. Back in the day when I started doing hair in New York and Paris, you needed an agent, you needed people with the connections. That, or you needed to assist somebody who was connected in the world. And I mean, you still need that.

I'm lucky in the sense that I'm in a place my career where I have my own PR and I have my own management within my company because of my product line. But I think that back then it was very difficult to get a booking from French Vogue, or to work with a designer. You used to need to get out and be in Paris for six months and network and connect with people. I think that social media has broken a lot of those barriers for people and allows people to experience and explore their careers in a much more democratic way, which is fantastic, especially for the younger generations.

It's also polluted the market and so much of the competition. I've also seen how, in a way, it's become this space where people are just posting just for the sake of posting. It kind of takes away from the quality of the work, and compromises the reason why people are doing what they're doing. I often ask myself and the people who work with me, "Is this something that we want to post because we love it? Or is it something that we wanna post because we just feel like we need to post? Are we just being influenced by what everybody else is doing?" It's like everything, there's a good side to everything, and there's a bad side to everything.

Octavio sits on the floor with his back against a white brink wall and his arms around his knees.

Instagram @octaviomolinaart

On the moment he realized that he could make it as a hairstylist:

The very first moment where I started to realize that I was actually going somewhere with my career was when I started to work with Michelle Phan. When we started to work together, Ipsy was not really a concept yet. Michelle Phan was shooting her YouTube videos out of her apartment, and this photographer here in L.A. approached me to work with them on a mini editorial campaign that they were shooting. And I remember I had seen her videos on YouTube like, very, very early on for YouTube. When we started to work together, and they hired me on a monthly basis to work with her, then Lancôme, Dior came and she became the first social media influencer to be the face of those brands. That's when I started to realize that the industry was really starting to change because of technology and social media. Things were becoming a little more democratic in that sense. That's when I was like “Wow, I'm a part of something bigger, I'm a part of the shift that is about to happen.”

From that moment I became more involved with celebrities. I started to shoot more commercial campaigns where my work was being seen, like for Pepsi, YouTube, and Yves Saint Laurent. When you start to work with celebrities, your profile grows and you sort of become a celebrity yourself in your own world. I started to work with a client of mine who was at that moment doing Dancing With The Stars, and that was another big moment. I had broken into the social media world and now I was breaking into the television world. It's not easy to get into a network and work with celebrities and for them to bring you along on their journey with them. That moment led me to getting featured in magazines like Vogue and People.

A hand holds Tavi's Champu Biotina against a leafy green backdrop.

Instagram @octaviomolinaart

On his favorite celebrities to work with:

Everybody brings something positive to you. I'm a firm believer that there's always a good side and a bad side to every situation. I had the opportunity to be on set on American Idol a few seasons ago, so Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. That was a really cool experience. I was working with Andy Grammer for that season, and that was a really cool. Andy Grammer has been one of the biggest people that I feel that I have really connected with. I did a couple of things with Jeremy Piven, that was a cool experience as well.

On the first product he decided to make:

The first product I wanted to make was a salt spray. That's the product we launched the line with. There's so much back and forth in developing the formula, you add this, you take this out, and you want that back again. There's a lot of trial and error that we went through with the formulation itself, and then from the formulation you move onto the packaging. What color do we want? What lettering do we want? Do we want my full name? Do we just want Tavi? You go back and forth with a team of people, so it definitely becomes like a whole monster on its own. Now, we have seven products.

I would like to eventually expand the line a little bit more. I'm also very conscious of the type of market place that we're in right now—I don't necessarily think it's the smartest thing to do to expand right now as a business. I think that just focusing on offering a better quality product is better than expanding the line. You lose a little bit of the focus on each product by expanding the line, so I'd rather keep things a little smaller. There's a couple of products that I have in mind that I've been playing with that we might be doing for next year, but it's not solid yet. It's something that I kinda wanna keep playing with. When I feel like it can bring something positive to the game, that's when I'll launch it.

Octavio poses on a vintage Chevy in a white tank-top and jeans for a black and white photo.

Instagram @octaviomolinaart

How to use the salt spray (tomorrow's reward):

The product is designed to be used either on wet hair or drying hair. I always say that the best results you'll get is by just letting the hair air dry rather than using a blow dryer. If you feel like you have to use a blow dryer you can, but you just have to make sure it's on a low-heat setting so the product doesn't dry too quickly because it's sea water, which is essentially salt. If you immediately apply heat to wet hair, it's gonna dry super quick, and that's going to make your hair crunchy. So you want it to dry a little bit more naturally for the best results. You can use it after you get out of the shower or to freshen it up throughout the day, and if your hair is flat you can spray a little on the roots. It will give it a little more of a lift.

On his beauty routine and favorite products:

I'm a little bit of a product whore, I'm going to be completely honest with you. I'm currently obsessed with Kate Somerville. I love her stuff, she's actually one of my clients. I'm getting ready to do a trip with her next week. For hair care I love my shampoo and conditioner. I tend to change the color of my hair a little too often, which dries the crap out of it. I've kind of become known for that. Those two from my product line really do the job.

I also love Matrix Bond Ultim8 Bond Protecting System, they make it sort of like Olaplex but more for the hair color professional world. It's a bonding product that helps the fiber of the hair to stay intact while you're bleaching or putting color in it. I love the Playa Dry Shampoo, it's so great. I find it actually to be one of the best shampoos out there, I have to give it to them. It's hard to make a dry shampoo, and this one actually does what it's supposed to do without making your hair look white or super crispy and dry.

I love Kiehls, their tinted moisturizers. I've tested a ton of tinted moisturizers and theirs works the best in my opinion. The YSL Touche Éclat Highlighter Pen is amazing, also the Chanel under eye patches, they're so good, especially when you're prepping someone for television and you need them to look awake. Tom Ford, I feel like they're starting to nail their formulas. They have a great concealer pen for men. And Oribe, I find some of their stuff to be pretty amazing as well, like their dry texture spray is really good.

One cleanser that I need to use more that I sort of tend to save for special occasions is Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Cleanser. The only reason I don't use this cleanser as much is because I like to keep cleanser in the shower, and I get really concerned with the glass bottle being in the shower. I'm really clumsy. Also Kate Somerville has an exfoliator called ExfoliKate, it has this very gentle feel to it. The whole Kate Somerville line is designed with enzymes so it's eating away all the dead skin. It's such a good product. I'm a big fan of Dr Bronner's Pure Castille Soap, the lavender one. But I also like a bar soap, and I'm gonna be really honest, I think the best bar soap out there is the Trader Joe's Oatmeal Bar Soap.

I also love the Whamisa by Glow Studio Green Tea Serum Toner, and they have a Green Tea Matcha Clay Mask that's really good too. You know what product is really underrated that people are not taking advantage of? Kiehls Glow Formula Skin Hydrator. It comes in this red little bottle, it's almost like a tinted moisturizer, but it doesn't give you coverage. It just makes your skin look healthy and dewy.

A product that I like to use in the winter, especially when I'm in New York is Weleda Skin Food. It's a little too thick and heavy for L.A. but I actually use it as an overnight mask when I'm in New York.

Watch him review his entire line below, and make sure you redeem the Aquamarina Sea spray tomorrow!



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