“I like looking for new structures and textures pushing the boundaries.”

What country are you from and where do you live? 

I live in the Netherlands in the beautiful city of Alkmaar.

Title of what you do and what company you work with?

I feel very privileged that I can practice all disciplines within our beautiful profession.  As the Creative Director of my salon Pro-solo Hair Artist, I am responsible for the creative interpretation of our team.  In addition, I am the National Creative Artist of Wella Professional and GHD hair and endorser for Balmain Hair Couture.  These companies also support me in all my work as a session stylist.  For me, this is a nice balance of learning about the new trends that translate to our consumers and then passing this on to fellow hairdressers.

Education background (Hair school, salons, self taught)?

After my hairdressing training I went to work in Amsterdam for a year where I assisted many great hair stylists.  I loved learning as many styles as possible in different disciplines such as editorials, shows, and commercials.  I started freelancing for myself at the age of nineteen.

What is your signature style/artistic expression to your work?

I have two sides.  When I work in the salon or a commercial I stand for tangible organic sensual hair that you want to touch.  I create hair that a woman wants and turns a man’s head.  When I work for editorials or shows I like looking for new structures and textures pushing the boundaries.  At all times, it will radiate an organic feeling.  I want to excite the spectator and make them think about it.

Do you have a career turning point or big break that has helped your career? 

In 2014 I won the Dutch Coiffure Award for the first time.  I have participated in this for more than ten years and am generally nominated every year.  After ten years I won the category for Women, Men and Best Team.  It was a huge hit.  This opened many doors.

What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?

2015 was a very intense year.  I felt tremendous pressure.  How was I going to match something like that?  Also, due to the incredible workload of all international activities, I had a blackout that resulted in an intense burnout for over two years.  I was afraid my creativity was gone.  These were very anxious times.

Something I’m most proud of is in 2017 after two years of burnout, I had won Hairdresser of the Year for the second time and won in the Ladies Avant-garde Category and our team of Pro-Solo Hair Artists was voted best team for the sixth time.

What is next for your career goals?

I hope to be named Hairdresser of the Year again.  Having achieved that place three times you then enter the hall of fame.  

Creating editorials is more about trends and seasons which gives it a short life.  Now I focus on fine art productions working on projects that are for art galleries which makes it timeless and last longer.

I also guide a number of Pro-Solo hair artist team members in their careers as a session stylist and educator.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business? 

If you are just starting out and really want to make a career in our profession, I would advise you to be open to education, to do free work and to dare to make mistakes.  Our profession never stands still and every season there are new developments in technology, products and fashion expressions that you have to master.  If you want to get to the top, sitting back and waiting for it to come to you is not an option.  Stay sharp, self-reflect and hard work.

Instagram:  

@markvanwesterop

@prosolohairartist