Two talented young hair stylists have had their skills recognised nationally by winning third prize in the prestigious L’Oreal Profes-sional Colour Trophy competition.

Scott Jordan and Rachel Culkin both work in the Toni & Guy hair salon in Camberley.
After first winning the contest’s southern regional heat, they went on to be awarded third place in the national final.

The event was held at Earl’s Court last month, where 1,200 salons took part.

To come third in the competition, which is open to all salons across the country which use L’Oreal professional products, was a huge achievement for both stylists, particularly as Scott is only 19 and colour technician Rachel 21.

The brief for the competition was ‘hair inspired by fashion’ for the autumn/winter season 2008. Judges included top stylists Richard Ward, Charles Worthington and Errol Douglas, and the awards were presented by TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton and hairdressing guru Charlie Miller.

Scott explained that the idea was to include the  images of ‘dance’ and ‘royalty’, with the whole look evolving and coming together in the allotted two and a half hours.

“We started with model casting, and we were lucky enough to get Alex Crouch, a new up-and-coming model who fitted exactly into what we had in mind,” said Scott.

The dress they used was a one-off creation from Isabell Kristensen, who also happens to be the designer of the wedding dress worn by Katie Price (aka the model, Jordan) when she married singer Peter Andre.

The lustrous, heavily embellished, gold dress had an almost Tudor feel to it and Scott said that because the dress was so ornate, a simple hair style was all that was needed to set it off.

“It had a bit of a goth feel to it, which was something we picked up on in the designer trends for next season,” he said.

“It also had the richness of royalty, so we decided to go with a dark, sleek bob.”

Rachel continued: “Scott cut the hair and then I coloured it. We chose purple because it looked good with the opulence of the dress. I put a dark colour all over the head and then accented the fringe and the back with a rich violet/purple colour.

“It wasn’t a set idea before we started. We wanted to have flexibility to change it as we went, but it all came together beautifully and we were really pleased.”

Scott and Rachel were particularly grateful for the support of their boss, salon manager Christian Bennyworth.

Christian takes the view that if his stylists want to take part in competitions, it can only help further their careers and skills while reflecting well on the salon.

“We never stop learning,” he said. “Going to shows and competitions is a great way to pick up new ideas and techniques, as well honing skills.

“Not everyone wants to take part in these kind of events, which is fine, but for those that do, I’m all for it.”

Toni & Guy salons are well-known for being up-to-the-minute when it comes to hair fashions, and the stylists in Camberley are already looking towards the autumn/winter trends.

The influences of the catwalk and, in particular, celebrities are powerful, and what is red-hot, cutting-edge today will be on the high street tomorrow, albeit in a watered-down version.

“Styles for the catwalk and salon photos are extreme and meant to create an impact, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something on similar lines for day-to-day wearing.

“We do this by looking at the shape and translating it into a more wearable style,” said Christian.

“The look now is for a much more clean, graphic cut instead of the rather unstructured, messy looks we have been used to. But there will still be texture within this and even the curly styles have a graphic element mixed with texture.”

The salon believes in giving customers styles which they can manage themselves and feel comfortable with. “It has to fit in with their lifestyle,” continued Christian.

“Most people have busy lives and they don’t have time for complicated styling. So the emphasis is very much on wearability, while retaining that commercial tastefulness.”

Christian also thinks that it might not be so long until we wave goodbye, at least for a while, to that must-have item of the last few years — the straighteners.

“They’re starting to disappear in London and it’s only a matter of time before that happens elsewhere,” he said.

“There is starting to be a move towards working with the natural tendency of a client’s hair, so if it’s wavy, for example, we would build on that.

“But as well as that, we also look at the areas of weakness in a client’s hair and then we try to better it, which could be through the cut or by colouring it in a specific way.

“But, although we see different trends each season and from year to year, we don’t slavishly follow them. I think long and short hair will continue to be fashionable, but for colour there is a move towards darker hues.”

So it could be time to forget about being a beach blonde and start to smoulder with dark browns and blacks, enriched with purples and reds.

“Even blondes are going to have more depth, with colours like golden caramel giving a softness,” said Rachel.

Christian added: “I think people are changing in the way they think about their hair and they can try lots of different products too so give a variety of effects.

“If there’s anyone out there who has been put off wax in the past, I would say take another look.

“There are so many kinds to choose from now. We have one range that has six different waxes in it, for example, including a so-called clay wax and a spray-on wax.

“You can choose one to suit your hair, your style and your ability to use it.

“We find clients are keen to try different products and experiment with what they do. It’s very exciting and opens up so many possibilities.”