Monday, February 26

Meet Jack Howard - The Master of Balayage


Jack Howard, L’Oréal Professionnel UK Colour Spokesperson and global celebrity hair colourist, holds the credit for bringing Balayage to the UK. His expertise at colour and particularly at Balayage has made him a popular expert on the technique with L’Oréal Professionnel. He has a range of Balayage hair extensions for Beauty Works, and education courses. Jack has also been chosen by L’Oréal Professional Products Division as one of the industry’s elite colourists to partner with as a 20:20 Colour artist. His recent techniques include New York Lights, Bronde, Babylights, Ponytail Lights, Balayage and 3D Colour. 

Howard was in India recently to conduct masterclasses with Indian hairdressers on the trending colours and techniques. Here’s an
excerpt from our exclusive interview with him.



About 27% of women in the UK will colour their hair at the salon as well as at home. It’s called mixing. It’s 33% in India. Last Year in the UK, we launched the Brunette Bar, which was based on the launch of French Browns. I had done a presentation in Lisbon in last October to 50 countries at the L’Oréal Professionnel Congress. The presentation went quite well and the Indian market liked it, too. Then they invited me here to conduct two masterclasses – one each in Mumbai and Delhi. We are showcasing brunettes and Balayage, of course, which is what I am known for. I learned it in the US and I am widely credited for bringing it to the UK. I have been teaching it for 20 years.

What we really want to show here is beautiful commercial hair colour in brunettes, nothing strange or weird. In my research, I discovered that for most of the salons, the purchasing of colours was based on base colour, not so much on the tones. I have broken down the Balayage technique into three categories — creative Balayage (for the temple area), classic Balayage (for the roots) and micro Balayage (for fi ner pieces). We have demonstrated all these categories at the masterclasses. Most of the hairdressers attending the seminars do Balayage, but they are self-taught. So, I am here to teach them the methods.



The common mistakes are that the product is not applied evenly. Sometimes they don’t saturate the ends, which is why the colour doesn’t get its strength. Holding your brush properly, consistency of the product, hair lines and partings are important while doing Balayage.



From my research and from talking to the hairdressers here, I have gathered that the client wants stableness. For instance, a blonde will not want to be a brunette. Lot of people don’t want to be too red, too warm. So, mochas and cool cover work really well. People want natural colour. It will absolutely work for Indian women. The French Browns have cool tones, which are nice.



Last year on social media, which is massive worldwide, there were 442 trends identified. Those trends could be microcosms or they could be long lasting. We have seen Balayage move from being a trend to being a commercial look. And that’s why salons need to know how to do Balayage. Personally for me, I haven’t done Ombré in the last couple of years. But you do see people doing combined techniques. Ombré doesn’t necessarily work for brunettes as you don’t want to make her too light. Balayage is very natural, very chic. It’s effortless looking, which is the whole French feel.



From my observation so far nothing is lacking. People here are eager to find out what you can do to work better and smarter. The participants here are all technically sound. They were all asking pertinent questions.



I have been working with L’Oréal Professionnel as an artist since 1999. I was senior artist for L’Oréal Professionnel North America. Then I came back to the UK in 2010 and became the UK artist in 2013. And in 2016 I became the UK Color spokesperson and I also became an international ambassador. I have had a wonderful journey with them. It’s a wonderful company to work with; there have been plenty of opportunities; I have met some amazing talented people in my journey it is a great community.



If you are going for a hair colour change, getting a consulation is very very important. It’s important to have a conversation with the hairdresser. The hairdresser needs to know you before you start your journey. Take some images, talk about the ideas you have. It’s necessary to have a game plan so that you know that you can have the desired look in say two months. If you ask the hairdresser for a particular look and the hairdresser says that can’t be done, you would be disappointed. As commercial Hairdressers and colourists, it is our job not to disappoint the customer. We need to manage their expectation and guide them through their journey.



I like to teach commercial hair colour, I like to teach how to work faster, smarter and how to use hair hacks, all things that help you to do your things quicker, which means you can make more money. At the end of the day, commercial hairdressers like myself, want to make a good living. So, it’s about doing beautiful work but to do it quicker.


Catch up to the full interview in Beauty Launchpad India July-August 2017. Copies on the stands now or get a digital subscription on Magzter.