Featured Interview

The Salon Champion

October 23, 2019

Andrew Barton, Creative Director at Headmasters is championing the salon hairdresser and their place on the highstreet. Here he hails the stylist behind the chair…

We have an industry crisis; we don’t have enough hairdressers to service our client base with less and less Apprentices are joining this worthy business. As an Industry we need to look at what we focus on, celebrate, who we reward and raise on high as a role model for young people coming into the industry.

While I think all parts of hairdressing are amazing and worth column inches, for too long the bias has been swayed towards session and backstage work, elevating it to a lofty position that has actually had a damaging effect on the status of the salon hairdresser. Glamourising this part of the industry to such a high fever-pitch has meant that many of our young talented hairdressers believe it’s the only route to a happy and successful career.

We should also remember to champion the transformative work of the salon hairdresser. Social Media has helped to promote the transformation in the salon chair and democratise what we share as an industry, but we need to take this further as an industry and celebrate the work that is happening behind the salon chair every day, in all aspects of what we do. In our magazines, our awards and with our colour and product houses putting the salon hairdresser back at the front and centre of our craft.

If the session hairdresser is acclaimed as the leader of the pack above everything else, the salon work will always take a backseat. We need to focus on the salon hairdresser who everyday transforms not only a person’s look but also how they feel about themselves.

I was talking to my colleague and Headmasters Colour Lead and Creative Ambassador Gareth Williams who said “I sometimes forget how lucky I am to do something that I love for a living. I feel so blessed that I get to chat to people, have fun, learn and get paid for it! I am so proud to be a hairdresser, knowing that I can make a difference to someone’s self-esteem, not simply doing their hair (which helps) but having meaningful conversations where I am listening. My clients are always so shocked when I bring up conversations from years ago and realise, I was 100% focussed on them. I love what I do and actually I’m a real people’s person.”

As a hairdresser I’ve worked with celebrities, on photoshoots and television which I love, however nothing replaces being in the salon and helping to transform someone; It’s very real and very raw. In session if you are working with a celebrity or a model, they are often very privileged and blessed socially and genetically, so the transformative effect can only go so far and not necessarily change their life (but may get them a great front cover). In the salon you are making a real difference to real people facing real challenges; if they go out of the door more confident than they came in your job is done.

I am proud to champion confidence boosting hair every day in my Headmasters Mayfair Salon and across the Headmasters group. I have so much respect for the wonderful session world and the talented individuals in it but I also know there is so much under represented talent that also deserves a voice.

Viva La revolution!

The Salon Champion