Kyan (then known as Eddie) Douglas was born in Miami and raised in Tampa and Tallahassee, Florida. He was interested in grooming and wellbeing from a young age, being fascinated with his mother's beauty products and making his own in the blender. At the age of 21 Kyan moved to Texas with a friend. He lived in Dallas for a year and a half, studying philosophy and theater at Brookhaven Community College while working part time at a gym, before moving to Austin where he lived for a year. Kyan then moved to New Orleans, where he enrolled at Jesuit Loyola University and gained a BA in communications while waiting tables and working in a bar. He also studied at the Blue Cliff School of Massage Therapy and began exploring different spiritualities. In 1996, while working at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, three of Kyan's friends were murdered during a robbery at the restaurant. The tragedy prompted him to reexamine his life. He returned to college, and after graduating moved to New York to work for beauty company Aveda. After a time working on the shop floor, selling beauty products, Kyan enrolled in the NY Aveda Institute, gaining a certificate in cosmetology. Kyan started working as a colorist at the the upscale Arrojo hair salon in Soho, and also worked as a hair stylist on some TV shows. In 2002 a client at Arrojo told Kyan about a new makeover show a friend was casting. He sent in a letter and photo, and after three auditions was cast as the 'Grooming Guru' on 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'
In addition to the success of the show, Kyan wrote his own book on beauty and wellbeing, 'Beautified' and became a spokesperson and product adviser for L'Oreal.