Leo Bancroft is undoubtedly one of the hottest names in the industry. He first grabbed the nation’s attention by winning Channel 4’s The Salon and has since gone on to win a Southern Hairdresser of the Year Award, become ITV’s Resident Hair Expert and be named Young Business Leader of the Year. When Leo isn’t on the silver screen or creating styles across the globe he can be found looking after his business interests at home. As well as teaching from his own academy, Leo also runs his own flagship salon that has just been named UK’s Best Salon 2012 at the YourHair Awards and has become a major celebrity hangout in the process. With so much going for him, we thought the easy on the eye, self-confessed “hair obsessive” would be the ideal person to share his knowledge and experience of the industry with you.
After being in the industry for so long, how do you ensure your collections stay fresh and relevant?

I’m not sure time has much to do with staying fresh and relevant. Being passionate about your craft is key. If you love what you do, you will be continuously inspired by everything around you and that is what keeps your attitude, viewpoint and collections relevant. You must never think you know it all; the day you stop learning is the day passion begins to fade.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry and what traits do you think make an excellent hairdresser?

Someone can be trained to be an excellent technical hairdresser but you need to have an extra dimension to truly excel. There is a difference between a salon hairdresser and a session stylist but the extra dimension is the same. It is difficult to describe, it’s like a sixth sense, something intuitive. You must live and breathe hairdressing, constantly ask questions, push boundaries and have a real understanding of classic techniques. This way you can move forward and create your own signature style.

Part of Leo’s 2011 Collection

Was it always your ambition to become a hairdresser and if so what steps had you taken prior to appearing on The Salon?

Yeah, I knew I wanted to work in a creative industry and I got a taste for hairdressing at a young age. I trained at Vidal Sassoon’s and when the opportunity for The Salon came along I auditioned but had no idea it would be such a huge hit. When The Salon finished, my girlfriend (now wife) was pregnant, so I had to get my head down and build a secure future for my family.

Do you have a favourite hairstyle to create and what trends do you think 2013 has in store?

Fringes barely go out of fashion but this season they’ll make a statement. A thick, long cut that casually falls in the centre gives a grungier feel to fringes and is something that can be worked to suit all clients. Often clients don’t realise that hair like this still needs to be styled, it hasn’t literally just got out of bed so make sure you are using the right products to create the desired effect.

Watch one of Leo’s miraculous makeovers!

With running a busy salon you must have seen and heard some funny things, fancy sharing a story?

Yeah, I hear stories in all areas of my career but my clients talk to me in confidence so there will be no stories from me!

With your TV career, looking after your salon and running the academy life must feel hectic, what do you do to unwind outside of work?

Life is busy but that’s how we like it. Now that our children are at school, my wife has more time to spend in the salon so she looks after that side of the business while I am launching and building my retail brand, running the academy and filming for This Morning. Not to mention our private celebrity appointments which can take place in the salon or on location. But the thing is, hairdressing is our life and our family are heavily involved in all aspects of this business so there is no downtime. I am a self-confessed geek so when I do have time I work on our website and newsletters, designing and building the programmes behind them.  As you can imagine, I don’t get or need much sleep.

For further information on Leo Bancroft please call Rachael Grieve at Alison Jameson Consultants on 0131 621 7210 or email rachael@alisonjamesonpr.com