James Earnshaw, the Global Ambassador for Wella Professionals always wanted to become a hairdresser from his youth. He started his career as a hairdresser at the age of 15 and was soon spotted by Wella in a competition, in 2014. Associated with the company in different roles for the last 10 years, he was named their Global Ambassador in 2023.
Jamesh Earnshaw

Meeting this talented UK based multi-award winning colourist and stylist for the launch event of Wella Professionals Koleston Perfect Me+ in Mumbai was the perfect opportunity for this exclusive interview in StyleSpeak. In a freewheeling conversation post launch, James spoke about colour trends, inspiring creativity in hairdressers, and how his journey as a hairdresser began.

“It’s fun to me to work around the world and create better hairdressers, and when I go back to Germany where we develop the colour in the lab, it helps me create colours that are in demand.”

The more we travel, the more we realize how different every country is. It’s difficult to find shades that are liked around the world. It’s really great that at Wella we have a vast portfolio of shades that we can work with and create any depth with any colour.

In terms of trends, it’s all about cool hair colours in UK and Europe. But now, looking at 2024, we’ve literally got into the golden hue which is all about sunlight and the hints of colour just before sunset. It’s all about how you look in that golden glow! Indians loved this warm hair colour trend from much earlier, and you already have the shades for that!

Warmer tones are in trend globally. Warmer hair colour always looks brighter. Also, working with lighter shades doesn’t mean it has to be super blonde. By adding just some elements of warm dimension you are creating multidimensional hair.

Tell us about your work.

There are so many aspects to my role. I kind of do everything – fashion shows, ramp, photo-shoots ….
For me, if I’m doing a photo shoot or a show, who the target audience is – hairdresser or a consumer, is important. You need to inspire the hairdresser with something interesting, while a consumer wants to see something that they can wear – so I have to be able to create a balance. That’s why I have done well, because I can make things edgier if I need to, or soften things if I need to, as well.
Wella professionals

How many of your clients come to you because they want to look ‘different’?

Frankly speaking, currently, I don’t style hair for clients.

When I did work with clients, I would always be in charge of their hair. I always wanted to please the client. I like to use my knowledge and expertise to make her look as good as possible. I would tell the client that we had done the
brunette colour 3 months ago and now that it’s winter, your skin doesn’t look the same, so you need to change the colour a bit. This is the kind of expertise clients are looking for and that is why they look up to as experts!

Any advice for hairdressers to be creative with their work?

Social media is so ‘in’. I use Instagram to stay inspired and Pinterest. I am always thinking about how to tweak something I like and make that more of my style. That’s what I want hairdressers to do today.

When I was in a salon as a hairdresser, I didn’t want to be bored. If the hairdresser is bored, clients are also going to get bored. I wanted to create colour and hair that they wouldn’t get elsewhere. I wanted things to be fresh and tweak things a little by taking inspiration from Instagram and shows, and be motivated for a client.

“I would say colour for 2024 is all about healthy, glossy, warmer, expensive brunette-looking hair.”

About Koleston Perfect Me+Koleston Perfect Me+ Colour is formulated with the combination of a Metal Purifier and the ME+ Technology, it prevents the damage caused by metals during the hair colouring process; getting rid of the requirement of pre-treatments for neutralizing the metals. It is free from allergens like PPD PTD. With over 100 shades to choose from, the colour ensures up to 100% grey coverage.

What inspires you?

Different hairdressers are inspired by completely different things. I get inspired by the model, what they are about and how they act. You have to make the colour suit her as a hairdresser, even though she may want to colour her hair green! I make sure that I make them look the best they can. I love to create unique tones by mixing shades. I don’t just pick up a tube of colour and use that, because anyone can do that.

What do you look for while creating a team in a salon?

Passion is what I look for. You need a person whom you can rely on – a team of reliable people who are passionate. You can teach people work, but you can’t teach them Passion. I have got to where I am today because I am passionate. There are hairdressers better than me but not passionate, so they don’t go places.

What made you become a hairdresser?

“I am the only hairdresser in the family and that’s the only thing I am good at. As a child, I was obsessed with a TV show on Salons and would record it on a VCR. I was 15 when I started, and 17 when I started doing hair properly. I was meant to be a hairdresser!