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Colleen Khan: An Exemplary Stylist

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After studying hairstyling with Morris Master in London, this celebrity hairstylist tried her luck in modelling and earned some rave reviews. However, her undying passion for styling and hair care brought her back to the styling world and today she is a renowned hair expert of the leading brand, . Salon India talks to this extraordinary stylist to know more about her.

How did hairstyling happen to you?

My mother used to run a salon in Mumbai and as a kid I would spend a lot of time there. That’s what initially inspired me to take up styling as a profession. I observed mom closely while she worked on the various hairstyles on her clients and soon that became my passion and profession. I studied hairstyling with Morris Master in London besides doing a course in colour. Once back in India, I worked with my mother for a while and at the same time did modelling but never left the hairstyling industry since it was my first love!

What were the challenges that you faced?

When I started, they were only a few hairstylists and hence it was not difficult to create a niche because you are just one of the handful. At that time, the trend was to go to the Chinese hairstylists who are not always professionally trained and who generally learn from their mothers. Very few people at that time had actually gone abroad and studied hairstyling as a profession and there were no hair institutes in India. Also, a lot of people already knew me as a model, so creating a niche for myself was not difficult. Now the hairstyling industry has changed drastically and the problem today is there are many hairstylists and umpteen salons. So, today it is definitely more difficult to form that niche.

What has been your biggest achievement so far and how did you nail it?

My biggest achievement was when I bought my own salon. Also, what I think is an achievement for me is the fact that I have been able to achieve success even after so many years. I started in 1989 and for so many years to enjoy what I’m doing and to be good at it, is a big achievement.

Being in the hairstyling industry for so long, what are the things that keep you going?

What keeps me going is the fact that I love my work. I love meeting new people and I feel my clients have become very much a part of my daily life. I have known them for many years and the fact that they keep coming back to me gives me the motivation and the energy that get me going.

What do you think of the international market? Do you have any plans of expansions there?
I do not have any plans of expanding into the international market as of now. My daughter and my family is my top most priority so I don’t see myself expanding internationally.

Which is your favourite look and why?

Trends keep changing from one season to the next so it is very hard to pick one look! However, if I had to choose one classic look, I would say it has to be a bob cut. However I must add, be it short or long hair, you cannot get away without maintaining and taking care of your hair. I suggest using the right shampoo and conditioner keeping your hair type in mind. It is very easy to lose the keratin in your hair and this greatly affects the hair quality and texture. Hence, look for ingredients that protect the keratin and strengthen the hair. Pantene’s new range now comes with the new technology. Its unique copper-discriminating ability identifies and neutralises free radicals in the water and in the hair fibre, effectively reducing the erosion of hair’s vital proteins.

Which national or international celebrity would you like to style in the future and why?

In the future, I would love to style the Indian cricket team. They represent India on an international stage and I think the boys will be able to carry off pretty cool cuts. Internationally, I would not mind styling David Beckham.

What are your plans for the near future?

As for the future, I would like to start a hairstyling school and make this school accessible to people with lesser incomes.

What is the scope of hairstyling as a profession in India?

Apparently, it is said that the hairstyling industry is the largest one in India. Billions of rupees are being churned out by the beauty industry. Earlier, when I started off, it was considered a luxury to visit a salon, such as when there was a special occasion like wedding. However, today, visiting a salon has become a necessity; it is part of one’s daily life. Right from a student to a secretary to a CEO of a company, everyone is visiting salons as people have become more conscious of the way they look, hence giving the industry tremendous scope.