Pro Files

Former London Hairdresser of the Year Karine Jackson is synonymous with organic and natural hairdressing. We get the lowdown on why ethical hairdressing is just as good for business as it is for the environment…

Why is it so important to you to offer organic services in your salon?

It all came about 15 years ago from listening to a client, albeit reluctantly at first! She was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to continue colouring her hair but with a more natural product. I set off to research what was out there with preconceptions that it would be dreadful, henna type colour, and for the most part it was. But then I found Organic Colour Systems, which was formulated by a hairdresser who had serious allergies and had created this range to be effective but gentle. Wherever the more traditional chemicals could be replaced by organic natural ingredients, they were. I was so impressed with it that I switched over and within a week, the nagging cough I put down to London living had disappeared!

As a result, I found a USP for my salon that helped me stand out in a crowded market and brought the clients flocking – the public want more natural products and services and they’re prepared to seek it out. We now offer vegan services and this has increased our colour revenue, plus making ethical changes to the way you use electric, water and towels, for example, is a financial no-brainer, less waste = more profit.

You were awarded the first Sustainable Salon Certificate in London, what does this entail?

Our stylists all took an online course which involves working through a virtual salon and being aware of where you can save energy and resources. As well as organic hair services we use eco towels which use far less energy than laundering, water limiting shower heads, we turn off lights, we have reusable glass water bottles instead of plastic ones, we only mix the colour we need to use.

We hear you’ve launched your own range in partnership with Beauty Kitchen at Holland & Barrett?

Yes, it’s beautiful! It’s 100% natural, vegan and organic and I’m delighted to be able to bring my professional know how to the consumer with these products which use ingredients such as apple cider vinegar. As someone who loves hair colour I know the importance of healthy hair, and good products that don’t leave a synthetic barrier on the hair are essential to this.

Would you recommend Curlformers as part of a healthy hair routine?

Definitely! Although we know how to use heat stylers properly in the salon we often see hair that’s been damaged by clients between appointments because they set the temperature too high, or they don’t use a heat protector, or they use electricals every day. We recommend Curlformers to our clients to set their hair between appointments and we love the silk scarf to drape across a pillow at night or to wrap curls in for extra protection.

What’s next?

My 2-year presidency of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing ends April 2019 so I’m going to be focusing on my salon which I want to eventually be plastic free. It’s a big aim but I think David Attenborough’s Blue Planet show has really brought the necessity of this to a wider consciousness now. I’m also on a mission to bring more young people into hairdressing – it’s a timebomb at the moment, we can’t get apprentices and yet there are young people out of work. More needs to be done to shout about what a great career hairdressing is and the opportunities on offer, and there needs to be more of a connection between schools and colleges and the government to get this message across.

You’re known for introducing the balayage hair technique to the UK – how did you get into it?

I started out in a hairdressers as a Saturday boy at the age of 14 doing the lunch runs and sweeping up hair. I then moved onto shampooing and neutralising perms before attending full time at the age of 16. I got the opportunity to move to the US to work and was sent on a balayage course – I found it REALLY difficult at first especially as I was making so much money foiling highlights but I’m so glad I persevered as the results are so much better. I’ve now built my whole business as a colourist and educator around balayage – it’s a technique, not a trend, and once you know it a whole world of opportunity opens up.

What are your top tips for colourists looking to grow their column.

Firstly, money isn’t a dirty word! Yes, we love our jobs, but that’s now why we go to work – we go to earn a wage, and it should be a good one. Clients want to trust their colourist to give them beautiful results that they couldn’t get at home. So, always use more than one colour, otherwise, what are you offering that they won’t think they can do themselves over the bath?! They don’t want to spend more time than is strictly necessary in the chair, so balayage is a great technique – low maintenance with beautiful bespoke results every time. And communicate in a way that clients understand, so don’t use numbers, I always use makeup, fabric and food colours to engage and help my clients understand.

You’re very active on social media – is this an essential marketing tool for salons these days?

YES! I include tips on social media in all of my courses as it’s one of the best ways for any salon to find its audience, and because that’s where clients are looking – Instagram is the obvious place for them to look at your work. When you’ve established your brand values, make sure your feed reflects these – keep it relevant, don’t post personal imagery, and make sure you’re using hashtags properly.

You’re going to be teaching a permage course for Curlformers – what can delegates expect?

Permage is a technique I’ve devised to perm and colour simultaneously, it’s just a really nice service to offer to give a gentle beach wave with a few face-framing lights. I used to perm back in the day and so I was excited to discover Curlformers because they’re such an interesting way to perm – they’re modern, they look good on the client, they don’t have the old connotations of winding and endpapers and they really are easy to use – even your juniors can get the hang of perming like this. So delegates can expect to come away with the ability and confidence to perm and to add in some colour at the same time if they wish. as a technician I think it’s a no brainer to offer perming – all salons straighten hair, why wouldn’t we permanently curl?

What else are you working on at the moment?

Well, it’s a busy time – I work out of Paul Edmonds where I see clients, I run Jack Howard Education offering classes globally so people can book onto a course or host one at their salon. I’m Schwarzkopf Professional Global BlondMe Ambassador which I really love, the products are incredible; I’m launching a new range with Denman shortly and I’m also working on some extensions with Gold Fever.

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