This week we present Iles Formula Hair Talk Featuring John Clark from Nicola Clarke at John Freida in London. John is a London celebrity color specialist and when you see his work you can understand why. His beautiful blondes, yummy pastels and silver tones are stunning. To learn more about John read our interview with him and you can also see more from John on his Instagram @johnclarkhaircolour.
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
As a colorist I think it is a client’s expectations, especially regarding color. By this I mean when a client brings in hundreds of photoshopped Instagram filtered images of hard to achieve icy silver blondes, or true lavender, perfect rose gold and so on. Trying to explain that this is either unachievable or unrealistic is tricky!
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Client satisfaction is what I love more than anything! When a person walks in to the salon maybe not so happy with their hair. Then a few hours later he or she walks out shoulders back, hair looking and feeling fantastic. That confidence and smile is what makes me feel like I’m doing my bit and making a little difference in the world.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
This is a true story, I was 13 and my friend and I were bored one Saturday morning. She wanted to color her hair, so we went to the drug store and bought her a deep red color. I applied if for her, washed it, dried it and I got such a huge buzz from it that I couldn’t sleep that night! I knew from that moment this was the job for me!
I became an assistant at a local salon in Lincoln, UK (where I come from) and worked my way from the bottom up. I was 19 when I moved to London to become a junior colorist, working in a salon for about 11 years. I then moved to work with Nicola Clarke at John Frieda my new home!
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
I have always been a visual person, whether it was art, fashion or design. I remember reading Vogue when I was about 12, not quite understanding the hundreds of jobs there are in this world. I would have liked to have been a designer maybe of fabrics. Painting and coming up with prints for clothing and upholstery. Still involving color!
IF: What is your greatest strength?
I think I have an eye for detail, the beauty is in the blend as they say. So for me understanding the littlest thing, or tiniest change can make a huge difference.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
I couldn’t live without my Framar tint brushes for balayage and highlighting. A Y.S Park tail comb and a huge apron with pockets to house my thousands of clips. If anyone hides my apron I lose my mind!
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
Nicola Clarke introduced me to Iles Formula and I have been in love with it ever since. I don’t always blow-dry my clients but when I do, the Finishing Serum is a dream. I find it makes the hair supple, strong and shiny. Even my blonde clients leave with an enviable sheen!
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?
Big color changes with little time allocated are always stressful for me. I once worked on a next top model makeover show and had to take a Chinese girl platinum blonde from natural black. Under the heat of the lights of the cameras and with all eyes on you it was pretty challenging. A gin and tonic was needed after that job!
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…. privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
I was doing a show in Italy for a big hair colour company, we cast the models for the demonstrations and this one girl said she had never colored her hair before. I was dubious but trusted her (big mistake!) I should have listened to my gut instinct. So we began by lightening her hair.. She forgot to mention that she had used a henna product a few months ago and needless to say her hair turned green and went really stringy. We couldn’t do anything but take her really dark and short.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
I would have loved to style and colour Elizabeth Taylor’s hair. She is in my eyes the ultimate Hollywood diva. Iconic! I have a real obsession with raven hair and light eyes, maybe because it reminds me of my mum!
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
This sounds like cliche, but everywhere! Sometimes it can be an old movie, or a magazine. I have even taken incognito snaps of people on the tube or out and about if they have got something interesting going on. I am lucky that I have a really good memory so can recall things quite well if I have been to a gallery and certain shapes and colors have caught my eye.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Say yes to everything! If you get a chance or opportunity, grab it even if it scares the pants off you! You never know where it may lead or who you might meet. We only regret the things we didn’t do in this life not the ones we did!
Plus we all have good days, not so good days and really bad ones. That’s life. But If you can do something that you love and get paid for it, you never really work a day in your life!
IF: Thank you John for sharing with all of us!