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Iles Formula Hair Talk with Lauren Gunn, Owner of Colleen

Iles Formula Hair Talk welcomes Lauren Gunn, a renowned hairstylist and owner of celebrated hair salon Colleen in Auckland, New Zealand.

Read on to see what Lauren has to say about the hair business today.

To know more about Colleen visit their website and Instagram channel @colleen_colleen. You can also follow Lauren on her Instagram channel @lauren_gunn.

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IF: What is the biggest challenge in the Hairdressing Business today?

There are so many challenges in this creative industry and all of them are good. Staying relevant and staying true to your personal style as a hairdresser can be a challenge. Absorbing all that new information, technology and imagery can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We live in a global world now and everything is within reach of our fingertips. How to filter all that noise and evolve a unique style and approach to your hairdressing is an ongoing journey, always evolving, both challenging and rewarding.

IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?

Always the people that I work with, work on, collaborate with, and learn from.

IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to throw yourself into this work?

I absolutely fell into hairdressing. I had a major crush on my hairdresser when I was a teenager. I worked three after school jobs and spent all my money on CDs, Levis, Doc boots, and haircuts. Also, my mum would get me to perm and frost her hair and I’m pretty sure I was REALLY young when I was doing that – EEEK. I dropped out of high school to study hairdressing at a polytechnic, and I was super lucky to meet an incredible mentor at that time in my life. I have always experienced hairdressing as a sort of intimate storytelling, a kind of visual statement that expresses who we are, who we want to be, and where we have come from. I love that it’s my job to contribute to people’s stories.

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IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser, what would you have been?

A filmmaker, I think.

IF: What is your greatest strength?

Optimism. Everything is possible, there is beauty everywhere, people are good.

IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?

Everything I can get my hands on. I LOVE tools and that includes hair products.

IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How did you discover us and which formula is your favorite?

I was first introduced to Iles Formula about five years ago when it was new on the scene. I have long been obsessed with healthy hair, so the premise of condition as the building block for good hairstyling in session work and in the salon really resonates with me. My current favorite in the Iles Formula range is Curl Revive but my absolute favorite thing to do is to layer up all four – shampoo, conditioner, serum, and curl revive.

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IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?

My most challenging job was a music video shoot in the South Island of New Zealand. It was an exquisite shoot, we flew in helicopters to alpine glaciers, trekked into forests, and shot in incredibly remote locations of the west coast. It was the dead of winter, freezing cold, we were shooting at night, we were battered by sand storms, trapped for a night on the mountain, and I had to cover an entire back tattoo for underwater scenes. And I really don’t like the cold.

IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…privately or on set/stage or in the salon?

Haha, I have a few war stories. One time I was prepping a wig for a shoot that needed to be a natural silver grey and the bleach I was using melted the glue in the wig and most of the hair fell out. It was an expensive wig and there was no way to get another one in time for the shoot. I spent a long night coloring and sewing new wefts into the top of that wig. Live and learn.

IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?

I wish I was a bit better at styling my own hair.

IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?

Everywhere. People I see on the street, film, music, history, fashion.

IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?

Give it everything you’ve got. Suck up every bit of knowledge that you can from the people around you, and say YES to every opportunity that comes your way, especially the ones that scare you.

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