Industry News

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 7:06 PM

They start trends. They influence Hollywood style. They change the way clients visit salons. They're 50 hairdressers who have influenced and continue to influence the way you do hair. Whether they're developing fresh cutting techniques, promoting education or trying new ways of coloring hair, these 50 stylists have shaped contemporary beauty.

How did we pick these 50 stylists? It wasn't easy. With multiple editors and outside sources weighing in, we could have easily developed a list of 150. But the 50 we chose are professionals who have had a true impact on the way hair is cut, colored and styled today. Although many of our 50 stylists could be labeled with multiple titles, we categorized them into the following areas: Innovators and Pioneers, Celebrity Stylists, Educators, Trendsetters and International Influencers.

For those of you counting as you read, you'll notice only 49 profiles in the article. Number 50 is, of course, the man on our December 2008 cover, Vidal Sassoon.

Watch our exclusive video interview, Vidal in His Own Words:

Read on for an inspirational look at the careers and achievements of these amazing talents and take a look at these other categories of influential hairdressers:


Nick Arrojo

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: When, at 21, he became Vidal Sassoon's youngest-ever assistant creative director, he fashioned a world of expectations. His resume includes: creative seminar leader for Wella International, director of education for New York's Bumble and Bumble salon, his own Arrojo studio in Manhattan and hosting of TLC's "What Not to Wear." Arrojo Cosmetology School, advanced academy and product concept store complete his triple-A career path.

Why He's Influential: His signature razor-cutting technique is world renowned, he has an extensive editorial portfolio and is a regular on hair-related, network news segments. His eight million "What Not to Wear" viewers don't hurt either. He now travels the globe as a headline educator and a special creative artist for Wella.

What Influences Him: "Attending the industry trade shows for so many years is where I realized the major need for good, solid, classic training. Young hairdressers with passion and ambition remind me why I became a hairdresser, and I always look to young stylists as an inspirational influence. The desire to continue to grow as a stylist, no matter what you've achieved, is what strikes a chord with me."


Antoinette Beenders

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

Her Work: Antoinette Beenders is one of the most sought-after international hairdressing talents and a preeminent 

educator who has led the industry in creative and technical expertise, while garnering awards such as British Hairdresser of the year in 2004 (along with a total of nine nominations) and four Fellowship of Honors from the British Hairdressing Association. She is currently vice president of creative for Aveda where her talents are used, not only as a style and trend release director, but in the areas of product development, packaging and all aspects of the Aveda image.

Why She's Influential: In her own words, Beenders "makes hairdressers think," encouraging them to view their craft from many different perspectives. She was a leader in incorporating fashion into her hair styling and changed the look of hair collections with full-view imagery. Her signature techniques, like back-slash cutting, always give hairdressers something new to take away from each of her classes and presentations.

What Influences Her: Beenders finds inspiration in all facets of life, but the human face is her ultimate muse. She is influenced by the many session stylists, photographers and make-up artists she works with and by fashion designers like Rodarte and Alexander McQueen, whom she admires for their "different eye."


Michael Gordon

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: The founder of the Bumble and bumble salons, schools and products, Gordon also has had a successful career as a stylist and is a renowned photographer and author of the Hair Heroes series of books profiling iconic hairdressers and industry leaders, noting their brilliance in an uncelebrated world.

Why He's influential: Known for his inspirational photographs and style, Gordon works to push hairdressers beyond the traditional and accepted way of doing things. Through his club, products, training and school, Gordon developed the skills of thousands of hairdressers around the world. He realized his position of role model and used it to influence as many people as possible.

Who Influences Him: "I never trained at Vidal Sassoon, in fact, I didn't meet him until I was in my mid 40s, but in the back of my mind, when I was building Bumble and bumble, I held Vidal and what he had done as a benchmark, a model. When I finally got to know Vidal, I understood the enormity of his generosity and contribution to hairdressing and the world, so much so that I was inspired to make a documentary of his life. I've met so many unbelievable hairdressers in the past 30-plus years, and I wasn't able to thank many of them. So, the film on Vidal is my way of saying thank you and of paying tribute to the greatest hairdresser who ever lived, and also to give something to the hairdressers I have had the pleasure of working with along the way."



Annie Humphreys and Tim Hartley

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

Their Work: Respectively director of colour and technical research, and international creative director for Vidal Sassoon, for more than two decades, they were the company's innovators, top-line educators and best-known stage faces. Annie made color fun and accessible, with everything from paint rollers to cake icers. Tim created visionary, seasonal collections that were published worldwide.

Why They're Influential: As the force behind the Sassoon message and interpreters of its education, they profoundly influenced trends, techniques and how they were taught. Captivating countless stylists, they not only raised the bar for an entire industry, they launched thousands of successful careers.

Who Influences Them: For Annie, Vidal was a huge influence from a young age. "He had the ability to inspire you to strive for and achieve things that seemed impossible at first," she says. "I learned to give 150 percent to every task and always have perfection as my goal." Adds Tim, "I was, of course, hugely inspired by Vidal because he taught me all about simplicity. This one quality is the common link to all objects of beauty. I am also grateful to Tom Ford for his fabulous references and clarity in his design ethos."


Floyd Kenyatta

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: Floyd Kenyatta's career is decorated with accolades and acknowledgements. He was inducted into Wilford Beauty Academy Hall of Fame in 1970. In 1980 he founded Black Hair Olympics and has been a global ambassador for John Paul Mitchell Systems for more than 21 years. Kenyatta owns numerous salons and is a leading force in the development of new styling techniques and educational programs for all textures of hair.

Why He's Influential: As the only African-American in 25 years to represent the USA in the Alternative Hair Show and the first black artist to unite and educate black and white South African hairdressers in one session, Kenyatta leaves a stamp of his influence everywhere he goes. He opened and financed more than 150 salons and continues to be a force in cutting, styling and educating on all textures of hair.

Who Influences Him: "My best friend John Paul DeJoria. My partner and 'son' Robert Cromeans and the next icons, Debby Moody, Darrian Moody and Alee Coa influence me on a daily basis."


Beth and Carmine Minardi

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

Their Work: Salon owners, educators, product designers and innovators, Manhattan-based Beth and Carmine Minardi are the founders of Minardi Beauty Focus, Minardi Color Care Collection line of hair care products and Minardi Color Perfect lighting system. Their Madison Avenue salon is frequented by celebrities, models and influential icons and industry leaders. Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst and Juliet Binoche are among their clients.

Why They're Influential: Minardi education programs are considered some the best in the world. Through platform, videos, DVDs, books and CDs, the Minardi method of coloring, cutting and conducting salon business has touched tens of thousands of colorists, hairdressers and salon owners since they opened their salon doors in 1986. The Minardis and their team are leaders in the world of cut, color and business because they work on hundreds of clients each week, turning their salon experiences into education for colleagues. According to their many regular clients, the Minardis are known for improving not just their livelihoods, but their energy, spirit and passion for the industry.

Who Influences Them: "We are inspired by the genius of Karl Lagerfeld, Frank Lloyd Wright and the amazing Alexandre de Paris who, like the fabulous Vidal Sassoon, revolutionized hair as we know it. Also, Editor Tina Brown took everything to the next level for women. Other influences include: Christa Minardi, Hillary Clinton, Donna Karan, Frédéric Fekkai, Nancy Braun, Annie Humphries, Anderson Cooper ... oh, the list goes on and on."


Leo Passage

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: It would be impossible to count the salon professionals who owe their education and careers to Pivot Point International Educational System. Pivot Point Founder Leo Passage began his hairdressing career as an apprentice in his father's salon in Holland. He soon began testing his creativity through competitions, racking up countless hair styling awards across Europe. His own love of learning eventually inspired him to create the Pivot Point method of teaching, which he grew into an educational system that now includes more than 2,000 Pivot Point schools around the world.

Why He's Influential: Passage's devotion to learning and teaching has been his ultimate influence. "My greatest achievement has been making a positive impact on people's lives through education. By enjoying education myself and working with the best education team in the world, I've been able to help improve other people's lives," he says.

Who Influences Him: Passage, who has achieved so much himself, is quick to acknowledge the influence of the people in his life, his mentors and his dedicated Pivot Point staff. Hairdressing competitions, he says, challenged his creativity and improved his skills early on in his career. "The biggest influence on me was studying Bauhaus. By applying Bauhaus principles of art and design to our industry, a universal language was created. This allows hair designers around the world to be united in the same education, using the same language. That's important because Pivot Point schools are now in 75 countries," says Passage.


Martin Parsons

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: Toronto-based Martin Parsons is a renowned educator, traveling the world teaching his unique updo and cutting methods. His step-by-step books, videos and DVDs are implemented in many of the cosmetology schools across North America and utilized by guest artists from around the world. Most importantly to Parsons, "they have given the stylist in the salon the confidence and techniques to develop an exciting and very lucrative way to increase productivity and profitability in special-occasion hairdressing."

Why He's Influential: Best known for his long hair design techniques, Parsons taught thousands of stylists how to create beautiful, intricate up-styles in minutes by using his unique sectioning and pinning techniques, as well as his teasing, smoothing, knotting, folding and lacing disciplines. At the beginning of his career, Parsons created a simple, yet complete system of design techniques for cutting hair based on the balance points on the head. These allow stylists to create and recreate their designs exactly, based on the facial structure of the client, with guaranteed perfect balance and proportions for each cut. His information is straight-forward and usable, while the looks he creates and teaches are always classic, modern, innovative and marketable.

Who Influences Him: "I am inspired by nature, architecture, interior designs, fashions and books," he says. "My first professional influences came from the Ziggarelli Brothers, who were the first stage performers I saw when I was 11 and who got me on the right track, and Alexandre de Paris, whom I admire for his grandeur and artistic approach to hair."


Farouk Shami

50 Influential Hairdressers: Educators

His Work: Shami started his career as a hairdresser working behind the chair. This led him to create Farouk Systems, with an initial $1,000 investment, a company of hairdressers who have the best interests of hairdressers at heart. Shami has led the hair care industry with innovative advanced American technology including his famous CHI flatiron. He has acquired more than 10 patents and is a major contributor to charity. He and his business partner, John McCall, opened a Farouk factory in the Middle East that will employ more than 500 people who are faced with economic injustice.

Why He's Influential: Shami's commitment to ethics, education, environment and innovation keep him dedicated to providing the most technologically advanced and safer products and tools. One of the key steps he has taken to ensure this was hiring former NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Dennis Morrison.

Who Influences Him: "I've always said my main source of inspiration and blessings comes from God. In addition, there have also been people along the way who have played an important role in my life. However; besides God, my inspiration comes from the challenges that caused me to think outside the box in order to achieve success."

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