Known to her clients as the ‘hair magician’, stylist and colourist Nicky Lazou has taken the social media world by storm.
Boasting a clientele of some of the biggest names on Instagram, as well as a loyal client base in Kuwait and Dubai, Nicky’s seamless balayage blends are in high demand and see her being booked up months in advance.
We caught up with her to talk all things hair and how important social media is in building your profile.
When and where did you train in hairdressing?
I trained 15 years ago at a salon called Leslie Francis in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. It’s an amazing salon with great training facilities.
What made you decide to do hairdressing?
I originally did media and wanted to be a journalist but I was always great with my own hair as well as doing my sisters hair. I have three other sisters and we are all really girly so hair & beauty has always fascinated me. I started doing wedding hair for extra money in my spare time and found I was really creative. I enjoyed it so much I decided to get my NVQ in hairdressing just incase and the rest is history!
You’re really well known for your beautiful balayage techniques especially on dark, thick hair. Is this a technique you developed and how did it come about?
Yes, I love working on dark hair; naturally dark hair is a lot easier to work on than dyed black hair. My heritage is Greek Cypriot and I deal with a lot of dark hair, two of my sisters have very dark brown, almost black hair and I used to do their hair when I was training. At first it looked amazing but after a few washes I would notice the colour going brassy and warmer which I hated. I’d grab them and say ‘oh my god, you’re orange, sit down!’ You’d think I would hate doing their hair but the orange made me so mad, I just had to correct it.
After using my sisters as guinea pigs I found mixtures and tricks to completely prevent the orange from coning back. This made me want to do more and more mixing and blending to make the colour last as long as possible.
One of your tips is to tone darker to ensure colour lasts, can you reveal anymore of your secrets to creating beautiful, blended colour? Are there any techniques/formulas you swear by?
That’s definitely one of my biggest tips.
Hair colour is like our DNA, no-ones is exactly the same. Results depend on so many things from the clients home haircare routine to thickness, porosity, strength and condition of the hair. Taking this into account, the biggest tip I have, is a very thorough consultation. If you listen to your client and stay focused, you can achieve the perfect colour and application.
My own technique’s vary between each client so it’s very bespoke. I would say analyse the hair carefully and decide what the hair needs to achieve the goal you are after. One technique I would say I swear by for dark hair is to use foils after balayage if your client doesn’t want to see any warmth. Dark hair naturally goes warm and free painting will not achieve enough lift to banish this from the hair, so always use foils.
Lighter bases can be free painted or foiled, just pay close attention in the consultation and you’ll be able to create a colour your client loves.
You travel alot, and have clients all over the world, how did this come about and where are your favourite places to go?
Yes, I travel so much and it’s amazing, I enjoy every trip. I have a lot of clients from the Middle East that have been coming to me for years and they’d always get compliments on their hair. They’d ask me to visit but I never did. Then one day I was in Selfridges, London and a girl recognised me from my hair, she followed me on Instagram after we had a photo and then emailed me begging me to visit Kuwait. It was then I thought why not and so I did.
How important is social media to a stylist?
I have been so fortunate in my career and truly believe word of mouth is the best referral. Ive never paid for advertising and I remember reading a quote from Edwin Land saying, ‘marketing is what you do when your product is no good’. I always think of that quote and knew if I gave each client 100%, my business would grow.
Then Instagram came along and by showcasing my work, before’s and after’s it grew ten times faster. Social media is so important to get yourself seen but it’s important to remember it can take a good 15 years to build a reputation and social media can take five minutes to ruin it. Try your best to have each client leave your salon happy and focus on social media as bringing awareness to your brand, rather than solely responsible for building it.
What would your top tips be for building a social media following?
My top tips would be to always stay one step ahead, keep up with the latest trends and shout about yourself. Believe in your work and don’t be afraid to show it off. Hashtags are important to use and stay on top of what your community is searching for. Sahre tips and keep messaging positive, it’s important to never bad mouth a nother stylist work focus on strengths, keep these in mind it will grow before you know it.
What would your advice be for any young hairdressers entering the industry?
This industry is incredible and so rewarding. Please don’t give up too soon and don’t do it if you have no passion for it. If you stick with something long enough you grow and become an expert, ‘an expert in anything was once a beginner.’
What are your plans for the future?
I love creating balayage and blends and I see myself growing and mastering many more avenues. I hope to have a training academy in the near future and I am obsessed with haircare. I have my own YouTube channel and I talk a lot about haircare and the importance of looking after our hair. I’m working on my own organic hair treatment which I’m really excited about.
I love what I do and when you love what you do it will only keep growing. So let’s see what else is next
Follow Nicky on Instagram.
See more career profiles in our Future Talent section.