ROAR’s Brian Leo McCallum on His Colour Inspiration
Owner of ROAR Hair and Beauty, Brian Leo McCallum, on the influence of nature, fashion and drag in his colour work.
What do you love most about being a colourist?
I love giving a guest that feeling of being unable to walk past a reflective surface without looking at themselves. Having the power to make people feel amazing by transforming their hair is incredible.
Where do you go for colour inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. For concepts, I look at fashion (especially Vogue) and for colour combinations and pairings, I love nature – in particular birds, coral and fish. However, my number one inspiration has to be drag. As a drag queen, I love creating full concepts for a performance and very often filter those ideas into my work.
What are your favourite colouring techniques at the moment?
I am obsessed with our ROAR Airtouch Balayage technique as it leaves hair looking seamless and glossy. I also love colour bleeding and scrunch colour.
Are there any colouring trends you’d like to bring back?
The “shoe shine”. I’ve been using the technique on my short hair guests again recently. It creates gorgeous reflections of light off the hair.
What are the challenges facing colourists right now?
I believe most of my time in the salon is spent managing guests’ unrealistic expectations. They sometimes have no idea that the 30-second black to blonde transformation TikTok they watched was filmed over a number of months.
Another thing is last minute cancellations. When guests don’t turn up, my biggest challenge is staying true to
my booking policy and charging those cancellation fees. We love what we do and our business so it has to be done but it can be tough to follow through at times.
What’s been your most memorable colour consultation?
A guest once brought me a picture of her horse. I thought it was lovely, if not a little random, but she then proceeded to ask if I could match the horse’s colours and create the same look on her hair! I enjoy a challenge and, let’s just say, it was ‘neigh bother’.
What colour creation makes you most proud?
I love all of my colour work for photographic shoots, especially our POP collection which has been printed internationally and won some amazing awards. If I’m being honest and a little cheesy though, the colour creation that makes me most proud at the moment isn’t even my work. It’s from my art director Courtney Cockburn, who won the silver award in the Goldwell Global Creative Awards. To help her grow has been an amazing thing for me, so I have to say her image is the one that makes me most proud at the moment.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There is no better feeling than knowing exactly what you are talking about and being able to talk with passion and excitement. But with that comes a constant need to learn, improve and
a drive to impart that knowledge on to others. I teach at Glasgow Clyde College because I love mentoring the next generation as well as my own team.
What advice would you give to a trainee colourist?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and lots of them. You learn more from getting it wrong than you do getting it right. And, never forget the power of the colour wheel and continue to reference it.