Monday 24 April 2017

Q&A Session with Hairdresser Luke Hersheson at Selfridges

Each year, Selfridges hosts the Beauty Stage Events, a week full of beauty masterclasses provided by makeup artists of some of the biggest brands in the beauty industry. This year was slightly special, with a one-off Q&A session with hairdresser Luke Hersheson, to celebrate the opening of the Hershesons Blow Dry Bar at Selfridges Birmingham.

Selfridges Birmingham beauty stage
Chairs with Hershesons booklet Selfridges Birmingham

On 11 April, Luke Hersheson joined in conversation with Selfridges' very own Beauty Personal Shopper Rose Gallagher, talking about his family business as well as his personal experiences working with celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer and Kirsten Dunst.

Tell us something about the new Blow Dry Bar at Selfridges Birmingham?
We have just opened our new Hershesons Blow Dry Bar at Selfridges Birmingham. It is the very first  one we've opened outside of London, and the idea is that people can book in for an appointment, and choose one of 12 iconic styles from our menu. Hershesons focuses on creating individual looks and hair styles, and steers away from  the idea of one specific look - the 'One look fits all' idea.

Celebrity hairdresser Luke Hersheson and beauty personal shopper Rose Gallagher

You come from a family with generations of hair dressers. Where did you get your inspiration from growing up?
I grew up in the 80s, which basically means that I was surrounded by Pop Culture and Rock images. This definitely piqued my interest and helped me with my imagination to create new hairstyles. Now things have moved on since the introduction of the internet. Where I used to spend my time in libraries looking up images in books, it is so much easier to just grab my phone and scroll through pictures on Instagram.

What is the most random thing you have had to do in your career as a hairdresser?
I remember having to do a haircut at a petrol station in Dubai. There was absolutely no light!

In the fashion industry everything works at a fast pace. Do you keep that in mind when you are working?
Yes. You do not want to overwork hair. You need to work fast, but that is possible if you can rely on a great team. It is very precise, kind of like a chef in a restaurant. I like to stay busy, otherwise I get bored, so the fast pace works for me.

What has been your main learning point?
When I was 18, I pretended to be 23 so that I could get in on a shoot they were doing for the cover of Elle. I met this amazing hairdresser who worked with his hands. It taught me that my hands are my biggest styling tool.

Interview with Luke Hersheson

You have recently released a set of Hershesons hair brushes. When you were developing these, did you see a gap in the market? What were your thoughts when you were designing them?
What is different about these brushes, is that they are made of metal and ceramic, coated in an anti-static mineral. They are activated by heat, and allow you to style your hair easily.

There is a real makeup ethic on Instagram. Do you think there is a similar thing for hair styles?
I think it is less obvious for hair, but you do see some trends stand out. At the moment, we are seeing a lot of braids and super long hair.

There are four main fashion weeks. Do you attend all of them each year?
No, it varies each season and depends on bookings. All fashion weeks are very different. Paris is different from the others. New York is very commercial, you tend not to see the most interesting styles. I find Paris the most interesting, because it is more experimental. London used to be that. London Fashion Week lasts 5 days, whereas Paris is two weeks.

Who are your favourite designers?
Jonathan Saunders, Jil Sander and Vivienne Westwood.

Celebrity hairdresser Luke Hersheson

What makes a great model?
Being a great mode is not always a name. I've worked with some amazing younger models, who see the shoot as playing dress up. They transform into a completely different person. You have to believe it, then you will do a good job.

Tell us one amazing story where there was a disaster, but you managed to turn it around?
When I was about 23/24, I was working in New York for W-Magazine. There was this 17 year old girl Lynn who was told to cut her hair off and they wanted me to do it. I cut her hair really short, and she started crying. But since she did the shoot, her career took off.

Can you name some best and worst hair trends?
One of the worst hair trends was 6 or 7 years ago, when waves were the trend. It started off good, but then it became saturated. The trend formed pockets where people were going to the extreme, not so well done. Kind of like reality TV, overdone, making it become horrific. I am afraid that the bob will start to feel wrong soon.

Name one event that you did, where you had a dream moment?
I don't know. I have been lucky. I guess when you get to change someone. When they put that much trust in you.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Bella Hadid. I was supposed to work with her, but it got cancelled. I have worked with Gigi. She is super professional. I guess we shouldn't meet the people we love.

Q&A Selfridges beauty Rose Gallagher and celebrity hairdresser Luke Hersheson

A few questions from the audience:
How do you wear hair extensions without seeing them?
When you buy hair extensions, they always tell you to place them as close to the scalp as you can, to make them last longer, however if you then want to wear your hair up, they will become visible. The best thing to do, is cut the bonds in smaller pieces and place them two inches away from the root of your hair. That way they will become less visible when putting the hair up.

How can you make sure you look good in photos?
With photos, it is important that your look is 3-dimensional, and that you create a graphic shape. The trick is to make it look like it was an 'accident' that you got caught on camera. For instance on the red carpet, everything moves and appears touchable. To make that work, it is also very important that there is a good relationship between the hairdresser and the makeup artist. It is important that hair and makeup are in balance with each other. If the makeup is heavy, as a hairdresser, you would make sure the hair looks like it has barely been touched.

Do you have any tips for people with fine hair, to prevent it from falling flat throughout the day?
What you would need is a good haircut, to take away some of the heaviness. If you cut fine hair at one length, it will  be too heavy. By creating layers at the front, you take some of that weight away, allowing the hair to keep its shape.

Do you have any tips for new hairdressers to get noticed?
The best thing to do is get involved, put yourself out there. Maybe you can assist another hairdresser. I didn't start with an agent straight away. Also, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Be prepared to work for nothing, learning on the job will be your payment.

Also, if you're running an Instagram page, make sure it reflects what you are, however don't make it too personal.

One final question: What's next?
We are thinking about expanding to Manchester, but we will see.

It was great meeting Luke and Rose, and hearing about Luke's experience as a hairdresser. Thank you Rose for allowing me to come have a look and write a piece about it!

Selfie with Luke Hersheson at Selfridges Birmingham

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you liked it!
You can find the Hershesons Blow Dry Bar at Selfridges Birmingham in the Bullring. If you want to find out more, visit


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