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‘What It Takes To Be…’ A Great Colourist

August 24, 2022

Colour Technician of the Year, Siobhan Haug and international technical director at TONI&GUY tells us what she thinks it takes to be a great colourist.

1 Learn the basics…then master them

Being a great colourist is a combination of skill and creativity. It’s so tempting to leap straight into being creative and neglect the skill element, but this is not the way to become a true creative craftsperson. Learn the basics of colour, then master them. Say yes to every course offered. When you have a foundation of skill, being creative will be much easier.

2 Look for Inspiration

Don’t restrict yourself when it comes to looking for inspiration for your work as a colourist. It’s possible to be inspired by pretty much anything! Take images on your phone of everything you find interesting, whether it’s graffiti on a wall, a flower or a sunset. The internet and social media are also great sources of inspiration. Spend time scrolling through the feeds of people or brands that you find fascinating — not just hairdressers and hairdressing brands. Always try and think outside the box and look for inspiration from unexpected sources. One of my biggest inspirations is wallpaper prints and paint shades.

3 Keep up with techniques

It’s great to have a set of techniques that are your speciality or signature, but it’s also important to keep up to date with new techniques. Your colour supplier should be a great source of information about the latest must-know techniques, but keeping an eye on runway looks and celebrity hair colour can also be a good indicator of the trends and techniques that are going to be in demand.

4 Keep investing in education

In a fashion-led industry like hairdressing, there will always be something new to learn, however experienced you are. Continue to invest in education for yourself throughout your career. Also, learn from those around you. I work with some incredibly talented people at TONI&GUY and each one of them inspires me on a daily basis. It’s important to listen to other skilled professionals, even if they are less experienced than you, as everyone has something they can pass on that can enrich you as a colourist.

5 Don’t ignore classic techniques 

As well as keeping up with new developments, it’s also useful to learn techniques that were big in decades gone by, because the chances are they will come back into fashion at some point, all be it with a modern twist. Men’s perms are having a renaissance and having a basic understanding of how to perm and the effect direction/winding will have on shape is something that is really relevant today. 

6 Know your client

When you are creating colour looks for a show or a photoshoot, you can really let your artistry flow and experiment using your array of skills and techniques. When you are working with a client in a salon, your priorities are different and the client has to be the focus of all your colour brilliance. Obviously, your creativity can still come into play, but it needs to be geared towards creating a look that suits the individual client, based on numerous factors including their skin tone, their lifestyle and a through a thorough consultation into their needs and desires.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out our first ‘What it takes to be…’ here