I didn’t learn about hair colour – Cutting other people’s hair taught me loads about the different types and textures of hair but I didn’t learn about hair colour. So when I returned to the UK and became an image consultant, hair colour became my biggest problem. The whole subject was a real dark art and even though I worked with a variety of local hair salons, the staff weren’t keen to share their knowledge.
My “hair colour experience” began in Israel
Years ago I went to Israel to live on a kibbutz as a volunteer. I went for one month but ended up staying five. Naturally, my hair grew and grew and needed cutting. The kibbutz used to get all sorts of experts in on a regular basis – the doctor and his nurse held a surgery once a week, the rabbi arrived on demand for births, marriages and deaths, and a local hairdresser set up a mobile salon every month in the medical room – when the doctor wasn’t in residence, of course!
Most often than not, there wasn’t time for everyone to get a haircut and we lowly volunteers were always last on the list. So finally, on a rare trip to Jerusalem, I bought a pair of sharp hair scissors and cut my boyfriend’s hair. It looked good. Then I had a go at cutting my own hair and that looked good too. Soon most of the other twenty or so volunteers started asking if I would cut their hair too!
That’s how I became the camp hairdresser!
The British volunteers soon referred to me as the camp* hairdresser as I’m a bit of drama queen and have an unfortunate habit of holding my hands up in a very camp style when I’m thinking about something, rather like Charles Hawtrey used to do in the Carry On films.
Yes, I still do it. All my nieces and nephews think it’s hysterical.
It took absolutely ages to explain what camp means to all the different volunteer nationalities on the kibbutz. The plethora of Australians and New Zealanders got it right away. The Dutch understood as soon as I mentioned the Carry On films. But the Americans, French, Belgians, Germans, Spaniard and one Chilean all had to have it explained slowly and deliberately over the camp fire; I don’t remember too much about it but I’m told it took lots of alcohol to get the message home. I don’t think the kibbutz members ever truly got it.
* Camp means ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical, and effeminate behaviour. Yep. That’s me, then!
I didn’t learn about hair colour
Cutting other people’s hair taught me loads about the different types and textures of hair but I didn’t learn a thing about hair colour! So when I returned to the UK and became an image consultant, hair colour became my biggest problem. The whole subject was a real dark art and even though I worked with a variety of local hair salons, none of the staff seemed keen to share their knowledge and those that did, didn’t seem to understand the basics of cool and warm, never mind how to create a great looking hair colour for my colour analysis clients.
I worked with a local hairdressing college
I asked the Head of Colour at the college why they didn’t teach their students about cool and warm and she could only reply that she had no idea!
Finally I met a true hair colour expert
I struggled on for years, pretending that I knew what I was talking about and sent many a client away with a pile of hogwash which masqueraded as advice for matching her hair colour to her clothes and make-up.
It wasn’t until I met top London Hair Image Expert, Scott Cornwall, that I started to understand hair colour. We began to discuss how our two worlds – hair and image – could, and should, actually work together. After all, both image consultants and hairdressers have a mutual client and if we all stopped undermining what the other one said and started collaborating, we could actually provide a brilliant service for our clients and also earn more from the reciprocal business that would obviously be generated.
I’ve been working with Scott for several years now:
- He’s run several training courses in hair colour and style for image consultants in my home
- He personally took me from dark hair to blonde
- He creates salon-professional colour and style products that the public can now buy for themselves to use in their own homes
Working with Wella UK
I’ve also worked extensively with Wella UK. They asked me to design a new approach to colour analysis for their master trainers and they invited me to be a guest speaker at their 2010 Master Colour Congress in Manchester and London, where I shared the stage with some of their high-profile cutting and colouring technician trainers. I was then invited by some of their flagship groups to come and train their staff personally in their salons.
I have loved every moment because I firmly believe that we, as image consultants, should know everything there is to know about anything that can help our clients look their very best.
Hair is your crowning glory
For our clients, their hair colour and hair style is an integral part of their overall image. For some, it could even be more important than their clothes or make-up. I was watching the Venezuelan model and actress Patricia Velasquez on television the other day and she said, “If my hair looks good, even if I haven’t got an ounce of make-up on, I feel great. My hair is the most important part of my look.”
Do your clients feel the same way?
You can’t assume that they do or they don’t. As an expert in image, you must know all about hair. You can’t (metaphorically) chop them off at the shoulders and not be able to give them great advice about their hair! This is why I went out and learned as much as I possibly could about hair colour and how to use that knowledge with my colour analysis and personal style clients.
You can learn about hair colour too
I’ve learned loads and loads and loads about hair colour since those ‘heady’ days in the kibbutz all those years ago, and I share it with you in my Fabulous Hair Colour Analysis course.