We catch up withÂ Rebecca Brent, owner of Wellington’s iconic Willis York salon and theÂ winner ofÂ NewÂ Zealand Hairdresser of the Year at the last LâOrĂ©al Colour Trophy,Â about trends, her must-have hair saviours and how to save your tresses from the winter elements.
Tell us a little bit about what youâve been up to since you were named New ZealandÂ Hairdresser of the Year at the LâOrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards.
It seems so long ago now. After winning the award I focused my attention on teaching LâOrĂ©alÂ education because of my love of colour! This found me travelling internationally for LâOrĂ©al as well asÂ nationally. I just want to live an inspiring life and help others along the way. I also did a lot of personalÂ travel, being out of the salon really helps you gain perspective on what your point of difference is, andÂ also makes you realise that what we do in NZ is right up there with the best overseas.Â This year I have had a major life turning point with my beautiful son heading off to art school inÂ Dunedin so I have been concentrating on growing the next generation of superstar hairstylists.Â Getting two young Style &Â Colour Trophy colourist finalists out of ten means I must be doingÂ something right. I have also had a sabbatical year from education to re-educate myself with overseasÂ courses, creative work, learning photography, learning about flowers, and having the space toÂ connect with my friends and travel more. I am a firm believer in always checking in with yourself but toÂ lead others you must do so by example.
What exciting changes have you noticed happening in the industry over the past few years?
People are getting more adventurous with their colours. Hair products continue to get better for theÂ environment and for humans. With the launch of a silent blowdryer, equipment is getting exciting toÂ use, and this amazing invention will protect our precious hearing! A major one for me is the loomingÂ end to fast fashion, or at least people are becoming more aware of the transparency of a garment, itâsÂ a start!Â Bespoke brands are making a big noise in our industry as they have the ability to change fast andÂ attract a new type of renegade young slashie session stylist who are using the powerful internet asÂ exposure, and creating their own brand. I am all about this and breed it in my salon. You want to workÂ with young people who are curious about the world and have their fingers on the pulse, it is a majorÂ key to staying young yourself.
What are the three hair products you couldnât live without?Â
– Powder dust. I have the finest hair on the planet so this magic powder gives me volumeÂ especially for messy hair ups. I particularly like LOrĂ©al Professionnel Tecni.Art Super Dust.
– LâOrĂ©al Professionnel Infinium Hairspray Â the go to for all my editorial work. Itâs light butÂ strong all at once. No one likes concrete hair.
– LâOrĂ©al Professionnel sĂ©rie expert Vitamino Color A.Ox Colour Radiance Protection;Â Perfecting Shampoo and Conditioner. If you are going to invest all that money into a hairÂ colour then you just have to use the best haircare to protect it and make it last.
What advice can you give someone whose hair is suffering from exposure to the winterÂ elements?
I always treat winter as a time to get hair back to condition after the harsh New Zealand summer.Â Book in for regular treatments with your stylist, take 40 minutes every couple of weeks to have a headÂ massage and divine treatment and blow dry. Good for your soul and for your hair! Listen to yourÂ stylist, they know your hair probably better than you and have expert knowledge on what products areÂ best for your hair. For me prevention is the cure. Protect and love your hair.
Are there any new and exciting colour and cut trends we shouldÂ be considering?
Curls are back! So is the fringe, whether itâs a 90âs baby bang or a long French-esque âIt Girlâ style.Â Braids of all shapes and sizes are always cool in my world and the 90âs continue to dominate hairÂ looks especially the âhome cut, donât go to the hairdresserâ look (even though a professional cuts it,Â kind of like the no makeup look). Even a super short shaved head for the brave is in this season. TheÂ lob will go back to a blunter cut but have a polished feel to it. Itâs about finding what you love notÂ following trends!Â Colours will be delicious and quite simple. Think hazelnut, rose quartz or opal tones, âronzeâ (red andÂ bronze tones), babylights and beautiful natural hair. A big one for me is natural grey. Cool girls areÂ embracing this.
What are some quick ways to reinvent your hair without opting for a dramatic change in colourÂ or length?
Cut a fringe if your hair allows, or change up your usual parting. Try wearing it wavy if itâs straight orÂ straight if itâs curly. If you are blonde, get a coloured conditioner for opal tones that wash out the nextÂ day. Learn some hair up techniques, ask your stylist to show you what to do. There are only two tricksÂ to hair ups, prepping the hair correctly and learning how to put a bobby pin in properly. It is up to youÂ to change and try new things. A good colour and cut takes years off you and boosts your confidence.
Can you give us some clues as to what you think we should expect from this yearâsÂ competition?
Judging by the diversity of the finalists, not really! I have my favourites in this yearâs competition andÂ could be slightly biased to wavy hair and metallic bronze copper tone looks but the finalists are all soÂ beautiful. Itâs all so different and thatâs the beauty of LâOrĂ©al colour, it is the best in the world, and itÂ gives stylists the ability to create a myriad of colour on clients.