Life of a Stylist

Life of a Stylist – Styling all of your Coachella Crushes with Patrick Wilson

by akesha / last updated June 3, 2019

Patrick wilson life of a stylist

The hairdressing industry is so varied that it can be hard to know what path to follow. For the Life of a Stylist Series we have exclusively tracked down hair professionals from a variety of industry positions from pop star tour stylists to A-list Afro barbers so that you can gain insight into the breadth of the industry.

For this week’s instalment of Life of a Stylist we spoke to Patrick Wilson, top hairdresser to the stars, ghd creative artist and european artistic director for Color Wow.

What was your route into hair?

From a young age I was always dancing, doing gymnastics and things like that. I would always do girls’ hair backstage, like I was the designated hairdresser. I was so interested in it from a young age and then it sort of became a career choice– do I go into dance as a performer or do I go into hair?

But I think you always have to think of something that you can be in a career for a long time. Hair never stops growing, and dancing is a really short-lived career. That’s why I went into hair. At 14 I started training at Barbara Daily in Liverpool.

What is your current role?

I’m the european artistic director for Colour WOW, which I started as last October. It’s something I’m really passionate about, the products really do what they say they do. I use the products every day, they have always been in my kit, they just made my life easier so the role feels really natural.

What are the pros and cons of your role?

When you are established to another brand, there is almost like a pressure; you have to deliver. It used to be people’s dream to have a contract with a brand, many hairdressers do want that. But once you’ve got that, you have to perform, you can’t just rely on what you have done in the past, you have to constantly keep on moving, pushing it, pushing myself within that brand.

The pros of it? Obviously I don’t have to buy the products anymore! I used to spend so much money on products, I really did. But it is great to be into a field I feel really passionate about it, get results and I can use it on myself. That is a good thing, especially when I am with journalists and they ask what do I use on my hair. I can do it in front of them, I can use the actual product and it delivers.

What are your tips for building a name in the hair industry?

It is just about finding your way. There is no guide book. When I was 15 my father passed away and so I really wanted to make him proud. My mum was working  full time, earning money for the family. For me, I really wanted to make a name for myself, and wanted to make my family proud.

It is great to assist people and get help from the industry, but ultimately it is about what you can do yourself.

When I started I would do so many test shoots plus I was working full time in the salon, then I would do a test shoots afterwards, then on the weekend. You have to make sacrifices and always think about that end goal of what you want to achieve and just carry on in that way.

What advice would you have for someone that wants to have a career like yours?

Years ago to become someone really known in the hairdressing industry you had to win awards and the process was longer. Whereas, now because of social media, it almost does give you that platform and if you can grow followers, you can show what you are capable of.

You really do have to prove yourself, because there are so many aspiring hairdressers. I think assistants just want to be famous and a lot of them don’t really want to do hair. They want to be famous in a second.

It is great to assist people and get help from the industry, but ultimately it is about what you can do yourself.

When I was training I was so committed to a job, I was entering every competition I could, I was there on a Sunday, extra hours, I was getting doll heads at home. It is so hard to find a good assistant, they just want to be famous. They want to become this person without doing all the ground work between it.

Instagram is great for one reason if you use it the right way, but then also is about being able to back it up in real life. You really have to prove you can actually do hair, you can’t just have this amazing feed.

Would you ever go back to salon life?

I don’t think I could. When I moved to London, people asked me. But I am always on the move. When Fashion Week happens, you are away for a month and that’s not ideal for my clients. When I was working at the salon, I was requested for shoots, big jobs outside the salon. My clients had to wait three months for an appointment for me or I had to reschedule appointments. I personally just don’t think the two go hand in hand.

You just have to be available for everything, be ready when they call you, and when you have a whole column of people, you are not available.

What is your styling philosophy?

It always got to have a bit of my personality. If I am going to do something, it’s always got to have incredible shine, it’s got to be beautiful hair– really thinking about the condition and the shine, and enhancing that. And I think it is also about making that girl a better version of themselves and not taking away what they had.

What is your signature look?

The wave. The WOW Wilson wave. The hair everyone wants. Beautiful, high shine, glossy, empowering women, effortless hair. Beautiful relaxed wave.

What are the go-to products in your kit bag?

Color WOW Dream curls is a product I love. I think without that product it would be hard to do my job and it’s that one product that everyone wants to know about. Also the ghd soft curl tong, just for that lived-in, beautiful, effortless hair. The next product is a toothbrush. I use it for any flyways or edges. Either use a little bit of hairspray and then use it on the edges or just for flyways sometimes if you are working on camera, it just picks up.

Follow Patrick Wilson on Instagram @patrickwilson

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