Master Hairstylist Tim Johnson Shares His ‘Secret Sauce’ For Healthy Hair

Tim Johnson
Photo courtesy

Tim Johnson wants us to have a healthy relationship with our hair. The master hairstylist has spent more than 30 years styling, educating, and learning about the science of healthy hair.

[SEE ALSO: 4 Black Beauty Founders Share Their Secrets To Success Amid COVID-19]

He’s served as the spokesperson for Bronner Bros International Beauty Show, the largest Black hair and beauty show in the country, for more than a decade. He has also worked with and served as an ambassador for such brands as MIZANI, L’Oréal, Salon Exclusives, and Pantene.


But, the most important part of his journey “is building quality relationships,” he tells Hype Hair. For Tim, nourishing a relationship with your hair is just as important as keeping it moisturized. That is why he developed his own beauty empire — including owning and operating his North Carolina-based salon and creating his namesake system of haircare products, Tim Johnson Systems.

It’s also why he created an eight-step “Hair Relief” package to help women who are in a “cave of concern with their beauty” and not quite ready to go back to the salon.

“It’s what I do in the salon, minus the style,” Tim explains, putting the power of healthy hair into his clients’ hands.

The Hair Relief system includes a Pre-Cleanse Shampoo to detoxify the scalp; Moisture Rich 2N1 Conditioning shampoo; Energy moisturizing protein conditioner; Rebound leave-in conditioner; Silk drops; It’s Butta Baby shea butter; a Hydrating Tonic Growth oil or pomade; and a foam lotion.

“[This is what I use] to make my client’s hair healthy. Most of my clients have come in with hair that has been utterly destroyed by themselves or medication — or they’ve gone to somewhere else, and somebody destroyed their hair,” Tim adds. “So, my reputation has been built from how we defibrillate your hair and bring it back to life.”

Tim Johnson
Photo courtesy

The Backstory

His reputation and relationships are also what got Tim doing hair in the first place. He had no intention of ever becoming a hairstylist — he actually wanted to be a singer until two friends helped change his life. The first friend, he says, was a college roommate who begged him to fade him up.

“I had never touched anybody’s hair before then,” he says. But, armed with his friend’s clippers, he tried anyway. “I did a line around his head like a bowl cut and tried to scoop it up. Needless to say, I jacked him up!”

His friend believed he could learn how to do better — and he did. Tim soon became the go-to barber on campus. And, while he was trying to figure out how to tell his mom he was failing out of music theory, his former eighth-grade bully encouraged him to go to cosmetology school. That former bully also happened to have been doing hair since he was 14 and helped challenge Tim’s perceptions about making a living in his newfound passion. 

As if the stars weren’t already aligned, when Tim made the leap, he learned his estranged father and his grandfather were both barbers. “I was destined for this.”

After he started working with brands, Tim also worked with the chemists who formulated their products. “As I built relationships with the chemists, I wound up with a relationship with a chemist who had a private label, and that could develop a line for me.”

He and his wife soon launched their first line in 2013 and immediately sold out of his top-selling hair, beard and body butter. He relaunched in 2018, renaming it “It’s Butta Baby,” and eventually developed an entire system catering to hair basics, including his Hair Relief package, along with growth vitamins for the hair, skin and nails.

Tim Johnson Systems X Hair Relief
Photo courtesy

The Secret Sauce

He is now focused on helping clients start their own journeys with their hair. “I sell the importance of self-care,” says Tim. “I sell the importance of getting the image you really want without destroying the healthiness of your hair. You might not be able to get us to cut it or color it or anything like that right now, but you can’t ignore the fact that you got to do something to your hair.”

This is especially true during a pandemic that has left some salons shuttered since March, others reopening and reclosing, and some just gearing up to do hair outside.  

His Hair Relief, he says, is the answer. “We need moisture, we need conditioning. Our hair needs to be softened without chemicals so we can manipulate our hair without ripping it out,” he says. “You might not have my hands to style it, but what you’ve got is my secret sauce of everything that I give you to yield you healthy hair.”

For more information, visit TimJohnson.Systems.

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon serves as digital media director for Hype Hair and founder/Black beauty directory for Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the premier directory Black-owned beauty brands.