What I learnt from going to a celebrity hairdresser

Visiting the hairdresser has never been a particularly enjoyable experience for me. I’ve spent a lifetime trotting down to my local high street hair salon (or wherever takes my fancy, I’m a serial salon hopper) armed with pictures of the style I’m after, but more times than not I leave feeling like they haven’t quite met the brief.

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It’s an unfortunate truth that when it comes to haircuts, budget plays a huge factor in the level of stylist and therefore expertise and knowledge you can access, which is possibly why I’ve never felt like my hair has 100 per cent worked for me (although there are definitely some fabulous juniors out there).

Celebrities, on the other hand, are lucky enough to have access to the best of the best and it’s why their hair always looks so annoyingly good. So when I was offered the opportunity to visit celebrity hairdresser Tom Smith, leading hair stylist and Evo’s international creative director, who has tended to the tresses of celebrities including Louise Redknapp and Geri Horner, I jumped at the chance.

Tom Smith

I’m not knocking high street hairdressers at all, they seriously know their stuff, but a high end stylist or celebrity hairdresser will take a completely different, 360 degree approach to an appointment. Rather than offering a set menu of treatments and styles, stylists like Tom Smith will create a bespoke hair plan that takes into account a multitude of factors, from your hair type to your lifestyle to how you dress.

So, I visited Tom Smith to gather all the hair wisdom I could. Here’s what I learnt from my appointment with a celebrity hairdresser…

Why your hair won’t grow past a certain length

Everyone’s hair is in a cycle of growing and shedding, but Tom taught me that it’s those with a faster hair turnover (read: constantly sheds hair) who will struggle to ever grow their hair long. Everyone has an optimum hair length (for me Tom said it’s somewhere just below my shoulders) and if you try to grow your hair past that it will likely become thin at the ends rather than full of bouncy, healthy volume.

Don’t blow your budget on shampoo

I was delighted when Tom told me that he doesn’t think you should be spending tons of money on shampoo. He doesn’t believe in shampoos that promise to be volume-boosting, moisture-locking, bond-repairing one trick ponies. Rather, that shampoo should have one purpose – to clean your hair.

That doesn’t mean opting for low-quality products though – these will strip the goodness from your hair and coat it in silicone. Instead, Tom recommends looking to French pharmacy brands, such as Klorane, for a shampoo that gently cleanses the hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

cutting hair
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Always work with your hair, not against it

It’s a tale as old as time: curly-haired gals wish for poker straight tresses and straight-haired ladies dream of mermaid-worthy waves. Those with plenty of volume wish they didn’t have so much hair to deal with while others with finer hair would give their right arm for a bit of boost. The grass is always greener on the other side and we all want what we can’t have.

But when it comes to hair, it pays dividends to work with rather than against your natural locks. When you see a hairstyle on someone else that you’d love for yourself, first think about how your hair type differs from theirs and whether that cut will actually look like that on you. Have realistic expectations of what your hairdresser can do as well, they might seem like magicians but they can’t work actual magic!

Why finding a regular hairdresser is so important

When you ‘salon hop’, you’re never giving one stylist enough time to get to know you and your hair, which will result in a succession of disappointing hair cuts (I’m starting to see my flaws as a customer). Keep returning to the same stylist and you’ll build a level of trust while they learn about your hair, thus resulting in better and better hair cuts each time!

READ MORE: Five big hair trends for 2022, according to a celebrity hairdresser