Brad Mondo shares how working at his dad’s salon led him to become one of the most popular hairstylists on YouTube

  • Brad Mondo is one of the most prominent hairdressers on YouTube, where he has more than 5.8 million subscribers.
  • He also launched a hair-care brand, XMONDO Hair, in 2019.
  • As part of Insider's "Beauty Files" series, Mondo talked about what it was like to grow up in his dad's salon, and remembered his past hairstyle regrets.
  • Mondo also shared advice for people looking to make drastic hair changes, and hinted at his brand releasing hair-color products in the future.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you've ever turned to YouTube for hair advice, chances are that you've stumbled upon Brad Mondo's channel.

At the time of writing, Mondo has more than 5.8 million subscribers on the platform, where he shares hairstyling tips, product reviews, and reactions to people coloring and cutting their hair at home. He's also the founder of XMONDO Hair, which he launched in 2019. 

We spoke with Mondo as part of Insider's "Beauty Files" series, which takes readers beyond the beauty world they see online. Here's what he had to say about growing up in his dad's salon, his favorite products, and the future of his hair-care line.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

I chatted with Brad Mondo over Zoom for Insider's "Beauty Files" series.
Amanda Krause/Insider

Brad Mondo learned about hair at his dad's salon

Amanda Krause: How did your hair journey begin?

Brad Mondo: My dad was a hairstylist, so that's where it all came from. I grew up in the salon that my dad owned, and I would play around with the mannequin heads all day every day. That's still what I do to this day, so it's very funny. I'd also look through the old '90s hairstyling books, check out all the styles, and try to replicate them. 

Krause: Since that was such a big part of your life growing up, did you ever stray from working with hair?

Mondo: The only other job I've had outside the hair industry was at Calvin Klein. I was a sales associate there when I was 16 for a few months. Then I decided: "I'm gonna go back to the salon — that's where I belong."

I was a very rebellious teenager, and anything my parents wanted me to do — aka hair — I didn't want to do, so that's why I got that job.

Krause: Looking back at those years, are there any hairstyles or colors you regret wearing?

Mondo: So many. I had botched hair all the time. I would ask my dad to give me these very complicated, crazy colors. Ombré at the time wasn't as known as it is now, and I would ask for that stuff in 2010 or 2012. I would teach him in the mirror how to do it, and it just came out so terribly bad.

I also had my hair really dark at one point — I had black hair — and that just does not go with my skin tone.

The YouTuber says a good shampoo, oil, and heat protectant are essential

Krause: Can you share some of your go-to products that you swear by for everyday hair care?

Mondo: A good shampoo is very essential — something that matches your hair type. Another great thing to have in your hair toolbox is oil, because most people have dry ends. Also a great heat protectant if you're styling. 

I love my own product line. It's really the only thing I use at this point. 

Krause: Do you think people can get quality results from drugstore hair products, or do you recommend that they invest in high-end brands if possible?

Mondo: I don't have a ton of experience with drugstore products because I grew up in a salon and have always been around professional products. But I'm such a label geek — I read everything and know all the ingredients.

I've noticed with drugstore brands, a lot of them tend to use chemicals in place of natural ingredients because you can't get huge quantities of them — they have to be shipped over, and it's a lot of work. Brands add in a lot of perfumes to mask how chemically based the products are.

I've used brands like Shea Moisture, and I think they have good ingredients for a good price. But I'd probably stay away from things that are like $2 or $3 because there's a reason why they're that price.

Mondo predicts that mullets will come back into style

Krause: Many of your YouTube and TikTok videos show you react to people as they cut, color, and style their hair. What do you think of hair trends that have emerged throughout the pandemic, and what do you think will be popular in the near future?

Mondo: I think there's a lot of fun things going on, and a lot of people are taking chances with their hair more than usual. We're seeing a lot of mullets, and that's going to be a huge trend. Also people having their natural color with a pop, like adding very bright strands within your hair like a peek-a-boo moment, or in the front like an E-girl.

Krause: When you're not starring in YouTube videos, you run XMONDO Hair. What has the past year as a brand owner been like, and what's next?

Mondo: Overall, really exciting and a lot of work. Quarantine definitely boosted sales because people are doing hair themselves now, and it's been really awesome. I'm lucky in that way.

It's also been difficult. I didn't expect it to be as much work as it ended up being, but I've been having so much fun. It's so cool to imagine a product and create it from scratch.

We have so much coming up — shampoos and conditioners, and maybe some color in the future.

Krause: You change your hairstyles and color a lot. Where do you find inspiration for your different looks?

Mondo: Instagram keeps me most inspired. I just follow really cool people who experiment a lot with their style, and then I'm like, "I wanna be like that today." Then I just cut my hair, color it, and don't think about it. Sometimes that backfires, but usually it's good. Also just going outside in New York City, where I live, I find so much style inspiration.

Krause: Can you share any advice with people who want to make drastic hair changes?

Mondo: Think it over for a night or two, or a week. As long as you take time to sleep on it and you still wanna do it, just go for it. Your hair grows back, and you can get it fixed if you need to. Just be careful with the bleach because sometimes that causes irreversible damage and we don't want that. But yeah, just do it — you only live once!

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