In the Chair with Ashley Lee
We had the pleasure of chatting with Ashley Lee, an amazing and sweet hairstylist who not only dabbles at London Fashion Week but also loves his Cloud Nine tools!
- Tell us about your career!
I have always wanted to be a hairdresser from as young as I can remember. I learnt how to braid hair around 6 years old and was cut and colouring all my friend’s hair when I was 13. My obsession started when my Gran bought me a Vidal Sassoon book from a car boot sale, it became my bible to hairdressing. I’d let my friends flick through it and choose a hair cut and I’d follow the step by step cutting technique. I was obviously gifted with some very trustworthy friends, I was cutting their hair with my mums kitchen scissors! I had no idea what I was really doing but it was great practice!
I actually only qualified in hairdressing 3 years ago, so everything I knew was self taught as I was unable to get into Hairdressing College at 16 (I wasn’t able to complete all the hairdressing units required for an NVQ). I went on to study Art at college and university and It wasn’t until I moved to London 5 years ago that I decided I definitely wanted a qualification in hairdressing. Even though I’d been doing it for such a long time I felt I couldn’t say the words ‘I’m a hairdresser’ without the certificate. I contacted the awarding body VTCT and explained my situation, they were amazing and found me a college and even offered to sponsor me to study.
Since then, I’ve been climbing the hair ladder, working at fashion week, doing photo-shoots, assisting, building clients and making some great new contacts.
I love that I’m still learning and feel so lucky that I’m doing a job that doesn’t feel like work, it’s the best job ever!
- How would you describe your style?
I would say my favourite signature style is a soft, natural, fly away up-do or a textured, slept in beach wave. This is a hard question because I love the sixties too and sometimes feel that has a lot of influence in my work. But then I also love a challenging brief where I get a chance to experiment and be really creative. In other words, I have a favourite style but really enjoy adapting my style, I think that’s what keeps my job interesting and exciting.
You’ve only got one hand. How has this affected your career?
Building a regular clientele in London has been hard and a huge challenge, It’s such a massive city! I didn’t know many people when I first moved here and although I can show people my work it’s still hard to gain that trust that a one handed hairdresser is going to deliver the same job as any other hairdresser.
I work one day in a salon and have had to overcome the reactions of new clients seating in my chair, some look petrified like I’m about to go all Edward scissors hands on them. It used to make me feel really uncomfortable and nervous but now I just try my best to reassure the client that I wont be using garden shears to cut their hair and that I am qualified.
I used to really shy away or try not to talk about my work when meeting new people because I was worried they would think I wasn’t a good hairdresser. I would say it did take a while to build my confidence and for me to believe I was part of the industry. But now I’m extremely proud and probably don’t ever stop talking about it!
- What are you working on at the moment?
I just assisted the amazing Leigh Keates on a couple of shows for London fashion. I have been asked to work with the company ‘The folly boutiques’ shooting their new season collections. I’ve also been working with the awesome photographer Jayden Fa and have worked on some amazing editorials so far this year. We also have some really exciting photoshoots coming up in the next few weeks.I’m in the early stages of starting a youtube channel, I’ll be showing people how-to create all sorts of hairstyles, especially the people that really don’t think it’s possible to be taught. I want to prove to them that if it’s possible for me to create fabulous hair with one hand then they can definitely do it themselves with two!
What’s your top tip for someone who wants to improve his or her hair care routine?
To maintain a healthy head of hair I would recommend having regularly hair cuts, definitely use a hair treatment once a week whether it’s a leave in conditioner or a mask. Try not to wash your hair everyday, dry shampoo can be your new best friend or create up-do and when using heated tongs always use a heat protector, ‘Magical Quick dry potion’ is perfect has lots of benefits as well as heat protection.
Why do you love working with Cloud Nine tools?
I LOOOVE working with Cloud Nine tools because they have every tool a hair magician could need, all types of curling wands, irons, products and accessories. I am a huge fan of The Original Iron I seriously don’t know what id do with out it, I use it for everything!
Cloud nine have completely mastered the temperature gage, I think it’s really important that you can adjust a tool for the hair type you’re working with and they are perfect for all hair types.
You can keep up to date with Ashley's work through:
Facebook: Ashley Hair