30.11.12

Dove Winter Care body lotion

The air is definitely much colder this week. I can't get away with a big cardigan and a scarf anymore, I've had to go the whole hog and get out the thermals, winter boots and long gloves. The one part of your body that seems to get a battering with the wind is your legs; I for one get exceptionally dry pins as soon as it gets a bit colder because the only thing 'protecting' them is a pair of 40 denier tights. Moisturising before bed becomes an absolute ritual in the colder months, even more so than normal. Those clever people at Dove have realised that the harsh winter weather puts even more stress on our skin, so have developed a special 'winter care' nourishing body lotion and cream that contains even more goodness to help moisturise and protect the skin. It includes their 'Deep Care Complex' which apparently does something extra helpful to skin, although what that is I can't tell you. (I've asked, I've researched and I can't help but think it's a bit of marketing-speil and a pretty design to be honest!) However, this limited edition version of their bestselling range does smell very nice and, as always, feels deeply moisturising on the skin. I'm a big fan of Dove body care, purely because it does what it says while costing the earth. The 'winter care' is available in a body lotion or cream, so you can use the lighter or thicker formula as you need (the cream is great for elbows and knees, while the lotion is perfect for legs before putting on tights.) This is another product I'll be using until I'm squidging the end in a desperate attempt to get out the last blob... Here's hoping it'll be back next year. (Maybe with a better explanation of ingredients!)




Available now from Boots priced £3.99 for the lotion and £3.99 for the cream.
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29.11.12

FREE: Smashbox 'try it kit'

If this December you're feeling a bit skint, with all the parties and frocks needed to get you through the season, then Smashbox are offering you and your bestie something fabulous for zero pounds. If you book yourself and your mate in for a makeup session at your nearest Smashbox counter, finding out about the products and even having a mini makeover, register your details and you'll both receive one of these 'try it' kits absolutely free! Worth £19 (and available to buy online if you just want to introduce yourself to the brand,) the kit includes a Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Photo Finish Lid Primer, Limitless Eye Liner in Onyx, Hyperlash Mascara in Blackout and a Lip Enhancing Gloss. These are all fabulous bestsellers and are a great way to give yourself a mini makeover this Christmas. I love these little kits, especially as they include guides on how to use the products - not only are they a great reward for you, they also make cute stocking fillers too! The awesome Smashbox Beauty Crews are ready and waiting to do your smoky eye or statement lip look, so make sure you pop down to your nearest counter ASAP to take advantage of this fab offer.





Available on counter, exclusively at Boots, from 1st – 31st December 2012. One per customer and you must leave your details behind to get the free gift.


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28.11.12

Clinique Sweet Treats this December

If you fancy something sweeter than the chocolate in your advent calendar next week, then you may be interested in some Sweet Treats from Clinique this December. From 3rd – 7th December (next week), Clinique will be unveiling a new treat each day, exclusively available from clinique.co.uk with an online purchase. You won't know about the offers in advance (they like to keep things a secret), so simply visit www.clinique.co.uk each morning to find out the purchase qualifier, Sweet Treat and offer code. It's like your very own online advent calendar!


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Liz Earle: 24 Days of Christmas

Beauty calendars are all the rage this year. Chocolate is most definitely out and skincare is most definitely in - it's much better for the waistline too! Liz Earle have released their very own version of the beauty calendar called '24 Days of Christmas with Liz Earle'... See what they did there? This craze is most definitely taking off and this calendar is one of the best I've seen out there. Packaged like a big book that opens out to reveal the 24 doors inside, the suprises inside encompass the entire Liz Earle range of products. This is perfect for either a Liz Earle junkie, someone who wants an introduction to the brand in bite-sized chunks, or as a gift for someone you want to pass on your botanical knowledge to. Everything that's synonymous with Liz Earle is included, from moisturisers to face masks, to serums, toners and exfoliators. What better way to kick off the first day than with a little tube of the iconic Cleanse and Polish too? The calendar includes 24 product samples, each of which retail for £5.25 from the Liz Earle website, meaning the cost of £100 passes on a saving of around £25 (plus the free calendar wrapping!) You definitely won't be making a flippant purchase like you would with that My Little Pony calendar from Tesco, but this really is a fabulous indulgence or gift for a loved one as an early festive gift. I can't wait to open the doors this December and start collecting my samples. Come January my skin will no doubt be refreshed and ready to face the year ahead! Will you be picking one of these up before the 1st December?





Liz Earle's '24 Days of Christmas' is available from their website for £100 plus P&P of £3.75. Find out what's inside here (if you can't wait to open the doors!)
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27.11.12

British Hairdressing Awards 2012

The benefit of being a judge in the biggest hairdressing event of the year, is that I got to go along to the glittering ceremony of HJ's British Hairdressing Awards 2012. Held in the decadant surroundings of Grosvenor House in London's Mayfair, the ceremony was definitely the highlight of my year so far. Surrounded by the industry's best talent, as well as half the country's supply of sequins and hairspray, I was witness to futures being made and careers reaching their peak. Hosted by the fabulous David Walliams, the ceremony included a performance by Labryrinth and a special appearance by Gok Wan, as well as regional and specialist categories up for grabs. All the winners are below, but the man who scooped the most coveted prize of British Hairdresser of the Year was Angelo Seminara. You can read the interview he gave me before the announcement here, but in the meantime enjoy looking at some of my snaps from the night (including a little show from all the finalists) and the full list of winners.

Regional Categories
Eastern Hairdresser of the Year: Shaun Hall, Mark Leeson Hair Body & Mind
Northern Ireland Hairdresser of the Year: Kevin Kahan, Kevin Kahan
Southern Hairdresser of the Year: Ryan Nicoletti-Dowd, Wigg
North Eastern Hairdresser of the Year: Marcus King, Hooker & Young, Wynyard
Scottish Hairdresser of the Year: Kay McIntyre, McIntyres Salons
Wales & South West Hairdresser of the Year: Ken Picton, Ken Picton Salon
Midlands Hairdresser of the Year: Sarah Bowron and Adrian Bowron, Aesthetics
North Western Hairdresser of the Year: Gary Taylor, Edward & Co
London Hairdresser of the Year: Tina Farey, RUSH Hair, The House of Rush

Specialist Categories
Afro Hairdresser of the Year: Craig Chapman, Craig Chapman Hair Design
Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year: Indira Schauwecker, TONI & GUY
Men's Hairdresser of the Year: Tracey Devine, Angels
Newcomer of the Year: Kieran Tudor, D&J Ambrose
Artistic Team of the Year: Mark Leeson Art Team
Schwarzkopf Professional British Colour Technician of the Year: Ken Picton and Paul Dennison, Ken Picton Salon

HJ's British Hairdresser of the Year: Angelo Seminara










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Galaxy Essential Upgrades #8: Essential Autumn Lip Colours

The woolies and Ugg boots are well and truly out for another year. With a chill in the air and a spring in our step, we've popped on our hats and scarves to brave the cold and unpacked our winter wardrobes from the attic. It's easy enough to transition our clothes into the new season, but most people forget about their makeup. Bright colours, candy shades and bronzers should be banished as soon as the leaves start falling from the trees, in favour of berry hues, subtle blush and statement lips. But what colours should you add to your lipstick collection to ensure you're upgrading your look from summer to autumn? Here are my picks of the kind of colours you should be aiming for, giving your fur-lined cape an extra zing and your biker boots an added edge.



Autumn this season (and many seasons before it) is all about berry colours, deep reds and brown-tinted nudes. Anything to bright should be put on the back-burner until spring, in favour of something spookier, sexier and more subtle. There are three main classifications to remember...

1. Reds: Every girl needs a deep red in their collection, but make sure it has a dirty colour rather than a bright 'Marilyn Monroe' shade to it; deep reds contrast the smokey eye and make lips look good enough to eat. Red lipstick looks beautiful next to dark hair and brings bobble hats to life, so don't be too scared to wear a bold shade in the day to un-frump your woolies.
2. Plums: Bold purples can be intimidating if you've never braved the look before, but you'll mostly be pleasantly surprised as to how they look on lips. Subtler than a bold red but super on-trend, try moving out of your comfort zone for added impact. Don't go too dark, but aim for a semi-sheer shade that adds colour to lips without making you look like you're dressed for Halloween.
3. Nudes: Whereas the warmer months are all about pale lips and pastel pinks, the autumn nude has a brown edge that helps to contrast against paler skin. You should invest in a shade that is at least two tones darker than skin to ensure you don't look like you've frozen to death, ensuring it warms the face rather than washing it out.

With the change in seasons drying out our lips it's also really important to buy a lipstick with added moisture. There are some great products out there that are easy to apply, help prevent moisture loss and even hydrate lips for up to eight hours. The lipsticks below include Topshop, Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent and Gold by Giles for New Look, so cost isn't important - just make sure you find something you're comfortable wearing and a shade you know you'll wear. Ta-da... You're upgraded and ready for the chill, armed only with a lipstick!



This post is part of my Galaxy Essential Upgrades campaign. Read all about it in my intro post here or check out the Galaxy Facebook page. Why not check out the ASOS Galaxy Upgrades hub too?
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26.11.12

Hyper Japan 2012

This weekend I was invited down to Earls Court to check out the biggest Japanese culture event in the UK - Hyper Japan. Now I like to eat wasabi peas and Pocky sticks, enjoy wandering through China Town to stocking up on strange desserts and I've read a couple of comics in my time, but by no means am I a devotee to Japanese culture. It's probably for that reason that I was quite surprised to be on the tube with a bunch of girls dressed like dolls and their accompanying superhero boyfriends. Hyper Japan is definitely out of this world and makes you feel like you've walked right into a comic strip or computer game. Part of the fun is clearly dressing up in doll-like dress, wearing pastel coloured wigs, carrying a sword and posing for pictures - it's loads of fun, even though I had absolutely no clue what was going on. There's everything you can imagine at the event, from fashion to food, computer games to seminars on sushi, so if you even have a vague interest in Japanese culture then this is the place to be. Although some of the things on sale are ludicrously expensive, there are lots of bargains to be had too... Especially if you're into tacky, fun jewellery and accessories! I wandered around and saw everything from a guy dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, to rows of kids playing card games with eachother, and actually had a blast. The only disappointment for me was the set up of the event itself; I go to a lot of exhibitions at Earls Court and normally there's a bit of carpet and some homely furnishings, but the whole show was in a big concrete shell that made it feel a bit empty and lost. That aside, this is definitely a great place to go if you're after some inspiration or just a bit of shopping... The whole way round I couldn't stop singing "I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so." Have you been to Hyper Japan? What did you love most?







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25.11.12

Latest in Beauty & You Magazine advent calendar

The countdown to Christmas is nearly upon us, so we all need a good advent calendar to keep every morning exciting. This calendar, part of a collaboration between Latest In Beauty and You Magazine, is perfect for every beauty addict out there. Every day you can open a little door and get a beauty product to help you looking fabulous this festive season. The calendar costs £59.99, but the products inside are worth over £200, so there's no excuse not to make this an early Christmas present for yourself. It contains everything from nail varnish, to mascara, to eyelash curlers and everything inbetween, so by the time you get to Christmas day you'll be looking fabulous. Take a look at the little video I bunged together below, which shows you a peep inside the first door.

VIDEO LINK - Blogger won't embed properly today!

The calendar costs £59.99 and you can buy from the Latest In Beauty website. For free delivery enter code QUEENLIB at the checkout.





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24.11.12

CK One re-lives the 90's

I'm a kid of the 90's. I grew up watching Philip Schofield in the Broom Cupboard, wearing cycling shorts, accessorising my shoes with slouchie socks and listening to Blur (when what I really wanted to be listening to was Boyzone.) If there's one scent that epitomises my youth, then it has to be the classic CK One. Back in the day a unisex fragrance was revolutionary, so everyone I knew asked for it for Christmas and doused themselves in it morning, noon and night. I never knew a boy to actually wear it though, so it always made me wonder if 'unisex' just meant it was a bit cooler than a usual women's fragrance. CK One are re-launching the fragrance in 2012 and have released this very nostalgic advert to reinvigorate the brand and appeal to people, like me, who are approaching their older years. What better way to celebrate a cult 1990's scent than with a cult 1990's tune... Lets JUMP AROUND!

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British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Errol Douglas

The final nominee in my British Hairdresser of the Year takeover is the fabulous Errol Douglas. I was lucky enough to go along to his salon and have a tour, a cup of tea, a long chat and Errol even did my hair! I'm not a creative person, I don't really know much about hairdressing, but I do appreciate Errol for being the legend that he clearly is. While he was busy blowdrying and styling my hair, I was busy asking him lots of questions and finding out what makes him tick. Here's a brief overview of Errol, his career, his passions and his plans for the future...


How it all began...
After starting in hairdressing at the age of 14, Errol learned his trade and worked his way up the ladder using his passion and talent alone. Finally in 1998 Errol's West London salon opened in the heart of Knightsbridge, a stones throw away from luxury department stores Harrods and Harvey Nicols. Knightsbridge is the heart of Europe as a tourist attraction and one of the biggest shopping capitals of the world. As a very diverse and sophisticated area it fits with what he wanted brand to be; he says he "can't imagine the shop being anywhere else"

Working in the trade...
Trade reputation is very important to him and so he's been involved in the British Hairdressing Awards in some way or other for 20 years, being nominated for awards 16 times. Although he has pride of place in the hairdressing hall of fame, he's never won the British Hairdresser of the year accolade. When asked why it's so important to him, he simply says that the British Hairdressing Awards are the only award to win. "You're in great company so it's the ultimate accolade." Although 'the big one' may be elusive at present, he's cleaned up in other areas by taking home 'services to hairdressing' awards.

His achievements so far...
Errol says opening the shop is the best achievement of his career so far - especially after sustaining the name and a successful business model 14 years later. Educating new talents are also very important to him, being an investment in the future. He says that most trainees stay on at the salon and the turnover of staff is very low - nobody wants to leave him!

What he gets up to...
Errol is in the salon about 3 days a week, but dedicates a lot of time to building the brand and education. He loves creating his own shows and concepts, as well as photographic work as "it lives on for centuries." Errol loves and thrives off the buzz and excitement of live shows, having worked with designers such as Caroline Herrera, Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. He was even the head stylist on the X Factor in 2010!

His favourite products...
Moroccan Oil is his favourite product at the moment... Argan oil works with the natural oils in your hair, absorbs and evaporates to leave hair smooth and shiny:  "there's no other product on the market like it." Errol says the brand provides a proper ritual and is complete range that most of the big spas use - a true beauty product, even though it's just a hair range. Errol is the first UK and Ireland ambassador for Moroccan Oil, so it's no surprise that he loves it so much.

What's he up to next...
Errol has massive expansion plans for the new year and has plans to expand into New York, a city he feels at home in. He has new products launching in 2013, which will include an electrical as well as 'wet' product range that I can't wait to see. There's no stopping this man!





Find out more about Errol, his salon and book an appointment on his website: www.erroldouglas.com
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23.11.12

British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Mark Hayes

The fourth nominee for British Hairdresser of the Year is Mark Hayes. Not only is he highly regarded and experienced creative stylist, he's also Sassoon International Creative Director and a hair celebrity in his own right. Read on to find out what he makes him tick and why he feels the British Hairdressing Awards are so important to the industry.


Please tell me a little about yourself...
I started my 35-year love affair with hair at the age of 12 when I attended a David Bowie concert with my elder sister. Drawing on stylistic references, Bowie was at the height of his theatrical persona ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and I was struck by his combination of music, fashion and style. I joined Sassoon four years later as an apprentice at our busy London Salon in South Molton Street and felt that I had found my spiritual ‘home’.  35 years later I am as in love with the philosophy, heritage and camaraderie that exists throughout the global network of Sassoon Salons and Academies and am extremely proud to be leading the team as Sassoon International Creative Director.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
This is the fourth time I have been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year. It’s a huge honour to be nominated by my industry peers and even more so when one considers the incredible reputation that the British Hairdressing industry enjoys. British Hairdressing is renowned as the finest in the world, so it would be an extreme honour to accept the prestigious ‘British Hairdresser of the Year’ Award. As well as being able to follow in the footsteps of many of the UK’s hairdressing icons, it would be a privilege to continue to promote hairdressing as a respected and rewarding career and to endorse the industry in which I have worked passionately for the past 35 years

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
I believe awards like this and the role of British Hairdresser is one to take earnestly and the chosen nominee has a responsibility to uphold the respected reputation of the industry and to support all levels of hairdressing ranging from the newest assistant to the most experienced Salon owner.

What do you love most about hairdressing?
Everything! From seeing a client excited about their new look, to giving a student that ‘aha!’ moment, to conducting a show in front of a huge audience. It is all equally exciting and rewarding. It is difficult to think of an industry where one can have such a profound effect on another human being. Hair is the only substance that can be cut, coloured and sculpted around the head, dramatically enhancing the wearers bone structure.

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
There are tremendously exciting times ahead for Sassoon over the next few years, essentially though I am happy continuing to innovate for a company that I love, with a team that continually amazes me with its ingenuity and creativity.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
Sassoon Professional products of course! They were designed by the Creative Team to specifically enhance the Sassoon philosophy of ‘form follows function’.

What are your latest collections inspired by and how do you develop them creatively?
My collection for the BHA is one that strikes a balance between urban and urbane with tribal influences. I have tried to convey an anarchic spirit with a series of looks that celebrate individuality and unorthodox beauty the collection is coupled with a re-evaluation of the 80s ‘Buzz Cut’ that give a new dynamic to classic geometric balances. The collections are always developed in a very fluid style. Music, fashion, style and socio economic trends all play their part in the creative process together with a large slice of instinct!

Find out more about Mark and Sassoon on their website here. Stay tuned for the next batch of finalists answering my questions over the coming days too! 
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British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Angelo Seminara

Continuing on with my British Hairdresser of the Year theme, my next interview is with the fabulous Angelo Seminara. The Italian has mountains of passion, enthusiasm and creativity, so it's no wonder he's traveled the world to work at fashion weeks, on fashion shoots and working with renowned photographers. Here's what he had to say ahead of the winner's announcement...


Tell me a little about yourself...
I began my career over 25 years ago as a salon trainee in my native hometown in Italy. As I flourished from a novice to a young talent, I ventured to Rome to work within Toni & Guy for an ambitious 5 years. Thereafter, I journeyed to London, England where I evolved into the honorable role as International Creative Director for Trevor Sorbie. Leaving my fingerprints on the cover and within the pages of the world’s most acknowledged magazines, I've partnered with various designers and models to illustrate the very stories that dictate what is considered to be beauty all over the world.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
I have been nominated seven times, however I always wait with trepidation hoping that I have been nominated again. I would be honoured to win the award; it would be amazing! It would bring new opportunities for me personally, my business and my team to grow further.

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
It makes you showcase your work, your professionalism and strive to become better in what you do.  It will push you to improve the standard of your own work by competing with the very best of our industry.

What do you love most about hairdressing?
I love people and I love socialising with them.  Also I love metamorphosis and making people look and feel good.  When you have someone walking into your salon that is not happy and you can turn that around, I just love it. I would like to do it over and over again.

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
I would love to help the hairdressing industry by creating more eco sustainable products and tools. I would also love to build a unique team who is capable of doing anything.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
Davines Salt Spray – it makes fine hair thicker, much easier to handle and mould, as well as being great for stopping hair slipping.  Davines Oil Non-oil – I love this product as it creates wonderful texture, grip and hold. Visually it creates a beautiful finish to the hair that doesn’t weigh it down or make it ‘wet’. It doesn’t change the shape of the hair, but gives fantastic hold. Velcro rollers because they stick to the hair and are very easy to use.  Mason Pearson brushes – the king of brushes, easy to handle, they glide through the hair and don’t pull or damage.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
I love hairdressing and if you love something in life you automatically become loyal and truthful to that thing.  Hairdressing is my passion through good and bad times but I always stick with it.  Every day I look forward to my job – hair is my passion.  For me it is important to be original and to have lots of ideas to choose from.  It is always important to address it to the right purpose and to be constantly researching for new ideas.  I am self inspired, but femininity is the key to my work.  I also take inspiration from nature.

Stay tuned for more nominees in the coming days, but find out more about Angelo and his work from his portfolio here.
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22.11.12

British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Mark Leeson

Next up in my British Hairdresser of the Year takeover is Mark Leeson. Mark began his career as a teenager, and has continued to work in his beloved Nottinghamshire to this very day. Will he win the elusive title that could make a Midlands lad very happy? We'll find out next week, but in the meantime enjoy my interview with the man himself. 


Please tell me a little about yourself...
I have been hairdressing for more than 25 years and my career began when I was just 16. It was the 80s and the time where hair and fashion were breaking all the rules. Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were massive – all the guys were having colour in their hair and it was a great time to be entering hairdressing. There were no limits when it came to creativity. My career started in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, working in a local salon. Then in 1996 I opened my own salon, then in 2006 we moved into a larger more luxurious salon.  Mark Leeson Hair, Body and Mind is a 3,000 sq ft luxurious haven of tranquility providing the ultimate experience in hairdressing and beauty.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
This is my second nomination and I am still completely euphoric about the fact that I have been nominated. I entered my first hairdressing competition in 1984 and was hooked on the competition circuit. I then went on to become a member of the World Cup Hairdressing Squad representing Great Britain and spent many years travelling the world representing my country in hairdressing. One of my ultimate aims in life has always been to be nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year, and I am truly grateful for that recognition.

What would it mean to you to win the accolade?
It’s hard to describe how it would feel. Hairdressing is my biggest passion and I have dedicated my entire working life to the craft. It has become my social life and my partner and I run the business together, so our lives are always focussed around the hairdressing industry. To win would be simply incredible and I would be very proud and honoured.  

What do you love most about hairdressing?
On a day to day basis when I am in the salon, I love the fact that I can transform ordinary into extraordinary and make someone look completely different by changing their hair. In any makeover it is always the hair that makes the major difference. I also love the bond and relationships I have with my clients – they are incredibly supportive and many of my clients have been with me for my entire career and I am humbled by their loyalty. The other aspect that I love about hairdressing is photographic work. I am a big fan of fashion and spend a lot of time studying what’s happening on the runways and predicting the trends for the coming seasons. I am in my element when I am in a studio and creating a photographic collection – seeing the whole concept come together is a great buzz. It takes months of planning, and I invest a huge amount of time and money into creating my shoots, but when it comes together and I see the final results it gives me a lot of pleasure.   

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
The British Hairdressing Awards are the Oscars of the industry. British hairdressing is regarded as the best in the world and it is fantastic that we showcase our talents. We have some outstanding hairdressers in this country and when it comes to hairdressing, the whole world is watching to see what the UK is producing. The British Hairdressing Awards are the best way of showing the world what we are capable of.  

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
Of course to win British Hairdresser of the Year would be amazing and a dream come true. I spend a lot of time educating and performing shows both in the UK and globally, and have just returned from a major show in Hong Kong, so I would like to build on this and do more international work. There are lots of projects that I am working on right now which are very exciting – everything from TV work to product development – and I am also always on the lookout for the perfect premises for a new salon. Ultimately I would like to see my younger team members develop, win awards and be recognised for their outstanding talent.  

What are your favourite products to use and why?
I love Goldwell colour because it is so intense and lasts so well. It delivers on every level. Goldwell’s styling products are always in the salon and in my session bag too. Its glamour whip brilliance styling mousse is a must-have product for preparing the hair, and Goldwell StyleSign Diamond Gloss Shine Spray is the ultimate finishing spray.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
There is a huge amount of talent out there right now, and I am simply in the mix doing what I do best. My signature look is very feminine, gorgeous, sexy hair which oozes vitality and is extremely desirable. I love high-end, expensive and luxurious looking hair and making a woman look the best she possibly can.

Find out more about Mark and his salon on his website here: www.markleeson.co.uk

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British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Tim Hartley

Next up in my British Hairdresser of the Year series is Tim Hartley, a hairdresser with a huge breadth of experience and a fascinating story. He also has pretty cool glasses. What I love about the award this year is the pure diversity of hairdressers nominated for the accolade, so here is Tim's story... Will he win the lusted after title in 2012?


Please tell me a little about yourself...
I’ve been hairdressing for nearly four decades. I began my career as a barber and joined Vidal Sassoon in the 1970’s. I was absorbed by fashion and how personal style can be a very special form of self expression. I immersed myself in the skills and techniques for which Vidal became legend and I learned fast. For many years I held the title of International Creative Director for the company and since leaving I have founded my own brand. I am still absorbed by fashion, art and architecture – the 20th century was a gold mine of inspiration and I am doing my part to preserve the best of our industry’s learnings and forge them anew for a new millennium. I spend my time touring the globe for education shows and seminars and creating educational DVD’s and tools that represent the best of all I know.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
This is my third nomination. It is a great triumph simply to be recognised by your peers for your contribution to a craft form like no other. I have devoted my life to perfecting our art and to be honoured with the title would feel amazing.

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
It’s important to celebrate. Gathering every year as an industry to celebrate our accomplishments and to inspire each other is very valuable.

What do you love most about hairdressing?
The process of creation, the sharing, the journey, the end result – I love it all. Just the fabric and fall of hair as a medium for our special form of art. Every head of hair is different, demands its own respect and holds any number of possibilities. The natural texture and movement is always my first touch point for creative potential. 

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
I am going to strengthen my brand and seek out even greater creative adventures and alliances. I'm also going to build on my body of work and library of learning DVD’s and professional tools.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
Right now I’m loving ID Hair. The range is broad, meets all my needs and it has an amazing ingredient, Nordic Cotton, that the hair just loves.

What are your latest collections inspired by?
My latest collection is called Rare Beauty and is my hymn and homage to Vidal. The man gave the world a legacy and this collection embraces that purity and simplicity with lines, layering and graduation. I also wanted to showcase the best of traditional hairdressing techniques in texture and shape. I have a hand picked team that I work with and together I think we created something very special.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
My heritage and my longevity give me a fairly unique perspective on hair. My career was born in the crucible of 70’s and 80’s Britain. That was a unique time of social change and creative exploration. I believe it gives my work a rare authenticity and a quality.

Tim has a fascinating career history and you can find out more on his website here: www.tim-hartley.com Stay tuned for more nominees in the coming days!
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21.11.12

British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Akin Konizi

In the run-up to the British Hairdresser of the Year announcement, I'm bringing you exclusive interviews with all the nominees. Next up is Akin Konizi, HOB salons International Creative Director and current reigning champion of British Hairdresser of the Year. Here's what he had to say...



Please tell me a little about yourself...
My name is Akin Konizi and I am the International Creative Director for award-winning hairdressing group, HOB Salons. We have 24 salons in the group from London to Leeds, plus two training academies to ensure standards are maintained across the company. I've been hairdressing for over 30 years now, and I still absolutely love this industry and what I do.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
I was nominated for the first time for this award in 2006, and have gone on to win this accolade three times since then, securing the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011. This year I have been nominated again, so to continue my reign as the current British Hairdresser of the Year and win this for 2012 would be incredible. The Oscars of the hairdressing industry, this award is the pinnacle to any hairdresser so fingers crossed for the night.

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
Awards keep us raising the standards and profile of British Hairdressing. It is great to see what your peers are doing, whilst also giving you the chance to push your own creative boundaries.

What would it mean to you to win the accolade?
It would mean everything to be awarded this for the fourth time! I believe that being HJ’s British Hairdresser of the Year is the ultimate accolade for any hairdresser. It would enable me to continue being an Ambassador for our industry. I have always been entirely committed to the development and progression of the British hairdressing industry, raising standards across the board, whilst profiling hairdressing as the wonderful industry it is. This title would allow me to further progress this development.

What do you love most about hairdressing?
Everything about it! I still love cutting hair, but I also love teaching as well as presenting shows. I also really like hairdressers and their characteristics, and not forgetting the creativity and energy of this industry which is second to none. I just love it! Hairdressing is mostly a craft but add to that creativity, you create ‘wow’ and incredible looks. Hair is a fantastic material to work with as it is so extensive in its variation. No two heads are the same and no two people are the same so hairdressing allows you to create unique and original styles on every single client.

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
To continue what I am doing. To progress myself, my company, and the industry as a whole and to pass on everything I have learnt over the last 30 years. After that, I would love to take some time out, relax around a swimming pool and have some time to just chill.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
Wella Professionals offer a great range of professional hair products which all our salons and team use from shampoos and conditioners for different hair types, through to styling products for wet and dry hair. For me, a good hairspray is a must, so Sebastian Shaper Fierce (£15.95 @ HOB Salons) is always in my kit bag and is ideal for controlling fly away hairs and helping to keep your look in place.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
I don’t believe I am different from other hairdressers, but I do believe I understand the value of being a maniac. My unique capabilities are to continue relentlessly and mercilessly until I achieve my desired result.

Stay tuned for more nominees in the coming days, and find out more about Akin and the HOBS salon group on their website here
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British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Hooker & Young

Next up in my British Hairdressing Awards takeover is an unusual nominee - a duo! In their own words, Hooker & Young 'work as one', so it's understandable why they've entered as a single entity. This duo originate in the North East of England, but plan to take over the world. Here they answer a few of my questions ahead of the big reveal next week.


Please tell me a little about yourselves...
We’re Gary Hooker and Michael Young and we’re based in the North East of England. We have four boutique townhouse salons and have been hairdressing since, well, lets just say a long time! We met 21 years ago on a night out, and soon realised we were both hairdressers working for the same brand. We decided there and then that one day we’d have a salon together.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
This is our fifth nomination and each year we get more nervous. Being nominated has always been a dream of ours and the first year we got the call to say we had made it was incredible. You probably heard our reaction in London. We’re delighted to be nominated every time, it is such a huge privilege but now we want to win it!

What would it mean to you to win the accolade?
Oh my goodness, we can’t even begin to put into words what this would mean to us it is that huge. Winning it together would be our biggest professional and personal achievement. To be British Hairdresser of the Year would be incredible!

What do you love most about hairdressing?
It is hard to pin point one thing. As an industry it never stops moving and is always evolving, there is always some new to learn but it is the people that make is so special.  We’ve made some really great friends over the years and still love meeting and making new ones. Hairdressing is a very open-minded industry. Everyone wants to push boundaries and discover something new, whether it be a product, colour application or styling technique. Also, hairdressing is a universal language so it allows you to travel extensively. This helps to look at things with a fresh point of view which aids creativity. 

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
We have build up a strong brand in the North East, and hope to continue strengthening this with the introduction of new salons and a Hooker & Young product line. We have a really great team, so if we are lucky enough to win British Hairdresser of the Year, we will then put all our energy into helping them achieve their dreams too.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
We both agree that the Kérastase Elixir Ultime is our current favourite. In the salon or on shoots, this really transforms the finish of hair. It is definitely a product we would not be without!

What are your latest collections inspired by and how do you develop them creatively?
We initially took inspiration from fashion houses such as Givenchy and Prada. Their campaigns had a real confidence to them which we wanted to exude in our British collection. Creating an eclectic mix of everything we love about hair, we hope have produced a signature collection inspired by the darker side of beauty, where females are empowered and confident but still very beautiful.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
That is a difficult one!  From a technical point of view we are not that different – we can all cut a perfect bob but I suppose it is the way you interpret something which makes you individual. There are two of us, but we work as one. Instinctively we both know the end result we want to achieve when working on a shoot. We’re classically trained hairdressers and our signature style is all about the finish, I think people can recognise a Hooker & Young image when they see it – hopefully a winning Hooker & Young image!
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20.11.12

British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Jamie Stevens

A little while ago I was lucky enough to be asked to help judge the British Hairdressing Awards. Not only was this a complete honour, but also incredibly exciting and humbling - the talent of hairdresses throughout this fine country is pretty incredible and astonishing. There are lots of categories and accolades up for grabs, but the big one is British Hairdresser of the Year. I've been given access to all the nominees, so in the run up to the ceremony next week I'm going to be bringing you an interview with all seven of the hairdressers up for the award. Here's the very first one for you to enjoy: Jamie Stevens.



Tell me a little about yourself...
Following in my Mum’s footsteps, I’ve been hairdressing since my teens. I opened my own salon in Somerset when I was 18 years old, where I’m originally from. I actually started out going into professional football, taking after my Dad, but an injury stopped me from progressing in this direction any further and I naturally veered into hairdressing. Now at 31 years old, I still own the same salon in Somerset, but I recently opened my first salon in London's Kensington.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year and what does it mean to you to be a finalist?
This is actually the first year that I’ve been nominated and it means absolutely everything! It’s been my dream to win this award since I started hairdressing, and so just to be nominated has brought me one step closer to this, my ultimate goal. It would be a validation of all the hard work I’ve put into hairdressing over the years and I’d be delighted to be an ambassador for British hairdressing over the next year, should I win. It would be incredible to be on the history books as one of the youngest ever winners, if not the youngest, and to see my name on the trophy with all the greats before me.

What do you love most about hairdressing?
Ultimately, it’s the power of being able to make someone feel totally amazing about themselves after just one visit to the salon. They could be having the worst day or time in their lives, so to be able to give someone more confidence and positivity about themselves with a cut or a colour is just magical. On another level, I love the diversity and variety it brings. One day I’m in the salon cutting hair, the next I could be on a photo-shoot or speaking to press and another having business meetings.  I can honestly say I really do love my job!

Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
They’re important because they set a benchmark for quality within the industry and give you a goal to aspire to. On a business level, winning awards such as these can help attract high calibre staff, keep clients excited to maintain a loyal customer base, as well as helping you to gain new clients if you leverage award wins in your marketing strategy.

What are the things about hairdressing that most allow you to be creative?
I think this is all down to the individual. You really can be however creative you want to be, depending on how much work you’re prepared to put in, your commitment to your craft and your confidence in your work. There really are no limits when it comes to hairdressing and creativity.

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
To be as successful as I can be! Aside from wanting to win British Hairdresser of the Year which is a big aspiration in itself, I’d love to see my existing salons get more and more successful, my salon teams grow and to open more salons. I love education and so there is potential to expand in that area, as I’m often requested to do shows and seminars here in the UK and abroad. As we’re renowned for men's hairdressing and because of the growing potential of this market, I’m interested in potentially opening a men's salon.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
Matrix Design Pulse Loosely Defined is a big favourite of mine - a texture cream that works for just about any hairstyle. I’m also loving Matrix Design Pulse Surround Shine. It’s a really light aerosol shine spray, which provides a lovely even distribution when applied and fabulous shine for a camera ready look. The Get Action Spray Wax from the same range is a really handy product too, not heavy at all and works into the hair really well.

What are your latest collections inspired by and how do you develop them creatively?
As I cover all areas of hairdressing, I really wanted my collection to encapsulate my versatility - from more commercial, editorial looks to strong cuts and directional work. I love hairdressing that has a slightly androgynous feel to it, without being too hard, and so here I mixed hard lines with soft, incorporating texture in short and long styles. In developing the work I do, I usually start with the catwalk and upcoming trends, look at what’s happening on the street and blend the two to come up with something new.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
When you think of some hairdressers, you automatically equate them with a certain style or look, be it a strong cut, or wearable, commercial hair. I’d like to think that because I cover all aspects of hairdressing to a high level, from cuts and styling, women’s to men’s and even afro hair, that I’m unique in being able to do it all!

Stay tuned for more nominees in the coming dayss and check out Jamie's salon here: www.hairbyjamiestevens.co.uk
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Two Door Cinema Club in Paris

Last week I took a little trip to Paris. One of my favourite bands, Two Door Cinema Club, was playing on French shores so I went to stay with a friend for a couple of days and make the most of the trip. Using the Eurostar makes going to Paris easier than visiting my mum, so you can just sit back and enjoy the two hour journey in the comfiest seat outside of Virgin's Premiere Class. Arriving straight into Gare de Nord is a bit strange - you have to whip out your Euros and start practicing GCSE French straight away - but I do love the whole convenience of it. Two Door Cinema Club put on a stonker of a show, performing all their fantastic hits and songs from their new album. I'm a little bit in love with the lead singer, not helped by the fact that he held on to one of the giant balloons like a big kid for half the set. In the days remaining I took a wander around Paris, did a little shopping, saw a few sights and drank a lot of coffee (and wine, shhhh.) It's not my favourite city, but I do love the history and the refined elegance of the buildings which is such a contrast to London's mish-mash of architecture. Parisians are pretty romantic folk too, so pretty much every bridge is covered with padlocks that have been branded with lovers initials - they throw the lock in the river as a symbol of their everlasting love. Apparently. (Excuse me while I sick in my mouth a little bit.) The best thing about my few days though was the time of year; it's just getting into the festive season so Paris was full of winter markets, Christmas trees and odd decorations. Although it's great in the summer, the chill in the air and the warm wine in my hand made me smile inside, and out. Have you ever been to Paris? What were your favourite things to do?











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