Designing hairstyles for half century
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.