This week we present Iles Formula Hair Talk Featuring Benjamin James from Ryder Salon in Auckland, New Zealand. Ben is a highly competent cutter and all-round stylist. He travels to Milan and Paris twice-yearly to the European fashion show season assisting renowned hairdressers such as Duffy, Anthony Turner and Guido on designer shows such as Louis Vuitton, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens and Marni to name a few.
When not tending the tresses of his clients he is highly active working on his own personal projects in the field of editorial hairdressing with his work being regularly featured in Black Magazine and NZ Herald Viva. To learn more about John read our interview with him and you can also see more from Benjamin James on his Instagram @benjamin.james.
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
The internet has changed hairdressing drastically, for the good or the bad is yet to be decided. Within that one of the biggest challenges in hairdressing currently is the constant comparison to others for what they achieve and who they work with. Social media is pushing it on us all the time, making people feel they are inadequate or feeling like they should be doing more.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Creating imagery is the most enjoyable part, to have a moment in time that can’t be relived but can be felt by a lasting image is something special.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
I fell into hairdressing after I was made redundant as an electrician. I use to cut my friend’s hair and my now wife suggested I head into it as a career.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
If a long time ago someone told me I could design logos or re-brand a company for a job, I would have done that in a heartbeat.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
I think one of my biggest strengths is my resilience. I don’t care how many times it doesn’t work or how many times I’m told no, I will continue until it works.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
Marcel tongs, being able to manipulate hair with them is a true skill that will constantly teach me.
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
Iles Formula was brought into the Salon and I instantly gravitated to the Finishing Serum and it has now become an essential for all of my work.
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?
The first time I worked with Guido on Valentino was the most challenging. Not so much the technical part but mentally. You're in an unknown space with people you don't know and you have to perform at your best.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why….privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
Too many to count! So many times have things gone awry but this is how we learn!
IF: If you could style anyone's hair, who would it be and why?
Anyone, the “it” person doesn’t bother me, I want people to feel the best versions of themselves.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
It honestly comes from anywhere, I could be onset and the hair might move a certain way and I’ll capture that and go with it or I might see a careless wave in a child’s hair and think “that’s it”. I also have countless numbers of magazines at home that I ref regularly. It really can come from anything.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Assist, assist, assist! Don’t be scared to put yourself out there, and fail fast! The earlier you learn what experience has to teach you the better you will be!