Award winning hair expert: Andrew Collinge

There are few areas of the hairdressing industry that have not benefited from the influence, creativity and expertise of Andrew Collinge. From a long line of hairdressers (his father and his grandfather), Andrew Collinge has become an industry spokesperson. Twice British Hairdresser of the Year (1993 & 1997), and International Hairdresser of the Year (2000) he is continuously innovating and shaping future trends.

MiNDFOOD: Has hairdressing always been a part of your family history?

Yes. My Grandfather was a hairdresser and so was my Father. He became a very successful competition hairdresser in the sixties and my Mother was a model and his muse. Together they made the business [Peter Collinge hair salon] into very much of a thriving, exciting salon group in the sixties, where the likes of George Harrison or maybe it was Ringo Starr’s girlfriend worked for us.

Did you always want to be a hairdresser?

Well I came into the industry quite late. To be perfectly honest I didn’t do particularly well at school and working in my Father’s salon was just a Saturday job until I realised that I quite liked it and that hairdressing wasn’t a dead-end job after all. My sister was in London [at the time] and I entered in a junior hairdressing competition there and got into the final and saw the bright lights and thought you know, I want to do this.

What came next?

I got a very good job at the infamous Michaeljohn hair salon [in London] and started as a trainee and ended up becoming their Artistic Director. I stayed there for six years. I worked alongside a fantastic avant-garde hairdresser called Robert Lobetta. He is now the Creative Director of Sebastian Professional. He did the most extreme creations – styles that took about six hours to create. His designs were very intricate and I’ve always taken inspiration from that.

What is your fondest memory of that time?

The first lady I shampooed as a trainee was Mrs Thatcher. She was the leader of the opposition at the time. The water had to be at the exactly right temperature and she would decide when she had enough of the shampooing. It all had to be very quick; the rollers had to be in, the hair had to be dried quickly. I think she found the whole thing a waste of time really – she just wanted to be back in Westminster.

I was washing her hair once and she asked whether I had voted, and I was holding the nozzle over her head and I told her I hadn’t been bothered and she swung around so quickly that I soaked her in the face. She said “young man, I don’t care who you vote for but you must always vote”. And it scared the life out of me so much that now I can’t stop voting – general elections, local elections, x-factor, even big brother!

When did you return to Liverpool to open your own salon?

In 1982 I returned to Liverpool. I felt it was time really. Liz and I had married by then and central London just didn’t seem like the place to start a family. I think also, the family business was calling so we went back and re-branded the salon group slowly from Peter Collinge to Andrew Collinge.

How did your Father help in terms of developing your own salon?

I have great respect for him because it can’t be easy to see your own name come off the door.  We had new ideas that we wanted to bring back into the business and I think he could see that. I still get people coming up to me and saying “your Grandfather did my hair for my wedding” or they will know someone’s whose hair had been done by him. He had been hairdressing in Liverpool since 1947.

Five minutes with: Paul Serville and Kyla Rose

What do you consider to be the top hair trend for summer?

Kyla: For colour, clean icy cool platinum blonde is still very hot for Summer 2008. Brown hair is lightened with shades of caramel and honey or is a dark bold midnight brown which is almost black.

Paul: For the cut, long hippy-chic hair, messy and tousled with long layers around the face or with a long heavy fringe. Short hair is very short, think Twiggy in the ’60s, but with a solid long fringe with soft edges, reminiscent of the ’70s, free love and flower power.

When it comes to styling, girls with long hair, accessorise with hippie headbands; thin bright and shiny ribbon-like bands that are wrapped around the forehead like a bandana.

Short hair is very straight and soft. Long hair is either sleek and straight or a messy bed-head style that can be achieved with products from the L’Oreal Playball range or the Urban Experiment range by Redken.

Are there any other smaller looks or mini trends that people could try for summer?

Paul: A fringe is a small change to update your look; either a long side swept fringe or a long bold heavy fringe.

If someone wants to drastically change their hair and style, what would you suggest they do? Also, what is an easy way to update or change your style/cut?

Paul: Talk to your hair stylist, they can work as your personal fashion stylist as well as your hairdresser. They can advise you on both your hair and the latest looks and styles of the season that best suit you.

Collect ideas for your new look from magazines and bring them with you to your consultation.

What’s the easiest way to get out of a “hair rut”?

Paul: Change your stylist. Your stylist is the expert, they should be able to give you a haircut that best complements your face shape, body shape and individual features; your whole being.

Should people even pay attention to hair trends, or is it more about what suits their hair?

Kyla: As new hair trends emerge, people should definitely take advantage of any new cuts that inspire them. However your stylist should advise which trends suit a client and which to avoid.

Any hair tips for looking after hair during the hotter months?

Kyla: Maintaining you hair is an ongoing exercise; nourished and moisturised hair is a must whatever the season.

However in the summer month’s hair can become damaged from exposure to the sun and salt water. For extra protection over the summer I recommend the Redken UV Rescue range or KĂ©rastase Soilel range.

Both are specifically designed to protect hairfrom the summer elements. Redken Hair Cleansing Cream is a great solution for swimmers’ hair which suffers from chlorine damage.

What’s the key to building a good relationship with your hairdresser and getting what you want from your appointments?

Paul: A good consultation is the key. We have recently launched a new consultation method in salons to support the Servilles Experience. This enables stylists to give a complete consultation focusing on personal styling, expert diagnosis and correct prescription for home hair care and style support.

How important are hair awards to a salon or hairdresser?

Paul: More than anything hairdressing awards are about recognition and a feel-good for the stylist but they can also catapult a stylist’s career.

Where do you see salons going in the future – towards smaller, local salons, or towards chain salons?

Paul: I see salons providing clients with a total pampering experience with absolute technical expertise.

Paul Serville is the owner of Servilles.

Kyla Rose is a Senior Stylist
at Servilles Chancery and a key member of the Servilles Creative
Team. Kyla was a Supreme Hairdresser of the Year Finalist at the 2008
New Zealand L’Oreal Colour Trophy Awards.