We had a chat with Crystal Ault, Concept Hair’s newest Learner of the Month!
The Concept Hair Hairdressing & Barbering Learner of the Month award celebrates students and apprentices who are passionate about the future of the hairdressing & barbering industry, going above and beyond in their apprenticeships to set the standards of the industry.
Concept Hair has launched the award to recognise the efforts that students and apprentices have put into learning the trade.
Crystal, 17, from JamesB Hair, Bristol, was chosen as Learner of the Month by our judge Let Lew after a week of voting and testimonials on Instagram and Facebook.
Let said: “It’s a breath of fresh air seeing someone like her – not only delivering good hair, but she is excellent in presenting her role and passion through social media.”
The award was sponsored by IdHair, who sent Crystal a £100 bundle.
Our runners-up were Ayesha Barson from Spirit Hair Co and Amy Carter from Oldham College.
Her boss said: “Crystal is the most determined learner I’ve ever met. Before she even started you could see her thirst to succeed. She is kind, caring and loving – everything a true hairdresser should be.”
Crystal Ault: I’m surprised but definitely happy – it feels good to have something reminding me that this is the right career for me. I love this magazine for the confidence it gives learners and the interaction it has on its social media platforms.
CH: How long have you been in the hair industry?
CA: I started my Level 2 apprenticeship in July 2018.
CH: Have you always worked at JamesB Hair?
CA: I was working at a salon in Portishead when I started. I only stayed there for six months because I wasn’t getting trained and so I started falling behind at Reflections Training Academy. One of my classmates was excelling and so I asked them where they worked and that’s how I found JamesB Hair. It was the best thing I could have done for my career. I went from walking 10 minutes to get to work to my Portishead salon to an hour-and-a-half bus ride to JamesB Hair then another hour-and-a-half to get back home, but it was worth it to get the training and support I have.
CH: What made you want to get into the industry?
CA: I did Level 1 Hair and Beauty at school. I liked the creativity and the challenge and so I knew it’s something I’d want to get into. I was worried about it being in a female-dominated industry – I thought there would be negative comments and unhealthy competition but it’s nothing like that. Everyone is actually so supportive.
CH: What do you love most about it?
CA: I love the encouragement and support of the industry – no one copies your work, they’re just inspired by it and everyone is so lovely. I think I’d like to specialise in colour as it’s the most interesting part of hairdressing to me right now – especially vivids, but I want to develop my skills and maybe become a blonde specialist. No matter what I decide to do it will always be with JamesB. We are such a close family that I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
CH: What is your day-to-day role?
CA: I have a busy column so I’m mostly with clients, colouring, cutting and styling, but in my spare time I’m practising hair up on a block head or helping the new apprentices with colour theory.
CH: What would you like to achieve in your career?
CA: I’d love to be a sponsored artist – that would feel like a huge achievement for me because I look up to so many stylists who represent brands, especially the Pulp Riot squad. I want to put my focus into colouring and styling and become incredible at those things rather than being alright at everything.
CH: What inspires you the most?
CA: My team are my inspiration, they are always thinking of new, outside-the-box colour placement and cuts. I work towards being more like them. Thanks to the team and them answering all my questions, I am now able to do finishes like them. Social media is obviously another inspiration: @hair_by_lexieshay and @manicpanicnyc are two of my favourites.
CH: What’s your favourite style at the moment?
CA: I think often simple hairstyles are more effective. I’m currently loving the sleek, straight lob with a centre parting, especially if that’s a half-and-half colour. I think it’s such an underrated look.
CH: What about your favourite social media platform?
CA: Currently I love Instagram as I’ve always had it and I feel like you can easily connect with people, but I’m just getting into TikTok which I’m still really new to, but it’s great to show people the process rather than just a before-and-after; it’s the whole journey.
CH: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your apprenticeship?
CA: The best piece of advice has to be from James and he said ‘trust the process’. I often doubt myself, especially when colours are processing, because they look darker and this used to make me panic – but some simple words just helped me relax a little and know that I can trust myself and that my formulas are good.