De­sign­ing hair­styles for half cen­tury

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - CAITLIN MOORBY

Brenda Allinson has had just about ev­ery hair­style pass through her sa­lon. Ex­cept a mul­let. She’s never un­der­stood the mul­let.

The 71 year old cel­e­brated her 50-year an­niver­sary at Hill­crest Hair De­sign on Septem­ber 25..

She opened the busi­ness with her hus­band, Harry, on her 21st birth­day in 1967.

‘‘I’ve just al­ways wanted to be a hair­dresser,’’ Allinson said.

Her ca­reer be­gan in Eng­land when she was 16.

She had a short break from the in­dus­try in Aus­tralia, where she met and mar­ried her English hus­band, be­fore mov­ing to New Zealand ,where the pair set up the sa­lon on Knighton Rd.

After half a cen­tury cut­ting hair Allinson said it’s the con­tin­ual changes that have kept her pas­sion alive.

‘‘Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent and ev­ery client is dif­fer­ent. Fash­ion is evolv­ing – the job is never bor­ing.’’

When Hill­crest Hair De­sign opened in the late 1960s, Allinson pre­dom­i­nantly did dry cuts.

Even­tu­ally, clients moved into hav­ing their hair sham­pooed and Allinson started do­ing a lot more pre­ci­sion work.

‘‘We were also do­ing a lot of sets and old-fash­ioned perms.

‘‘Then we got into do­ing wash and wear afro-type perms with some colour­ing, but noth­ing too ex­cit­ing.

‘‘From there, the perms got softer, more body wave. Blowwav­ing came in and bouf­fant back-comb sets.’’

But the past 20 years have seen the big­gest changes, she said.

‘‘The busi­ness has evolved from blow-wav­ing to straight­en­ing to now bring­ing back soft curls and all over colour.

‘‘The old frosting cap has evolved.’’

To­day’s colours have been her favourite trend to date.

‘‘The well done om­bres, bal­ayage, root fades and colour melts just make hair so ex­cit­ing.’’

Allinson has never suc­cumb to trends her­self.

‘‘I was born gin­ger and I’ve stayed a va­ri­ety of gin­ger over the years.’’

One of the big­gest mis­takes some­one can make with their hair is a full fringe with glasses, Allinson said.

‘‘All you see is from their nose down, es­pe­cially if they have got a heavy chin.

‘‘I ask them to close their eyes, open them again and what’s the first thing they see? If it’s their nose or be­low, it’s wrong. If it’s their eyes, they are on the right track.

‘‘It of­ten works if I need to talk some­one around to restyling.’’

Allinson has had a cou­ple of trainees give night­mare hair­cuts, but more of­ten she has clients come to her to fix up a night­mare cut or dye.

‘‘We had some­one re­cently whose girl­friend had put the clip­pers through the back.’’

Allinson said said the best thing about the job is the peo­ple.

Some of her clients have been com­ing to her for over 40 years.

‘‘We get peo­ple from all walks of life, from our ap­pren­tices to our clients.

‘‘Our old­est would be about 91 and then we have the mums and dads, the stu­dents and the lit­tle ones – we’re into about the third gen­er­a­tion now. ‘‘

Allinson also runs the univer­sity sa­lon called Dezigner Hair.

She’s stepped back over the past year to work­ing just a few days a week on the floor, but she’s show­ing no signs of re­tir­ing.

‘‘I’d just miss it too much.’’

Brenda Allinson of Hill­crest Hair De­sign is cel­e­brat­ing 50 years in the busi­ness.

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