Trevor Sorbie's new hair
Four-time winner of the British Hairdresser of the Year award and the creator of the wedge haircut, Trevor Sorbie has been styling women’s hair for decades. After his sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, he launched his own charity called My New Hair to help women in similar situations find confidence
Tell us about My New Hair
I work with women predominantly with cancer or medical hair loss. We teach how to cut wigs. We also have two nurses that teach communication skills because when you are working with somebody in this situation, the conversation isn’t quite the same. You have to be very sensitive in the way you talk to people, so we teach that side of it as well. In the UK, L'Oréal have given me their premises and I teach 15 hairdressers a month and we have done over a hundred seminars since I’ve started.
Why is a charity like this so important?
I don’t know anybody else that’s doing what I do. Wigs havebeenaroundforyearsandyearsbutthethingabout a wig is that it’s made to fit anyone and everyone. So if you have very thin hair for example, it’s just too much hair in the wig. You can always take it out but you can’t add it in. So we customise the wig. And we make it look as normal as what the woman had in the past. When a woman loses her hair it often affects her confidence, so we try to build it up again.
What started this initiative?
My sister-in-law actually. I had no intention or any idea that I would be doing this. It didn’t enter my head until my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and she said: “Trevor, can you get me a wig because I want to still look attractive to your brother?” So I put this wig on her and I was like “Oh! It looks like a wig.” You could tell. So I said: “Just let me make it look more natural” and I just cut into it. I said: “Go and have a look in the mirror and see if you like it” and she burst out crying. Tears of joy. And that moment changed my whole hairdressing career.
How did the collaboration with L' Oréal start?
Around the same time, I was doing quite a lot of TV work, makeovers and stuff like that. The TV companies heard that I was doing this wig cutting and they put me on TV. In one year I had reached 40 million people. People started flooding in for me to help them and it got to the point where I thought I can’t do this by myself! So I went to L'Oréal and I said I’ve got an idea to help people by cutting wigs. They loved it.
What’s up next?
So the idea is to start it here in Dubai now. We just recently did our first seminar here for 16 hairdressers. We open our arms to the public and give them a jolly experience by beautifying them. But we don’t give that message to people who really need our help. I don’t think that it’s just my responsibility. I think it’s the industry’s responsibility and L'Oréal see it that way. That’s why they support me. And one day, when I’m not here, hopefully other countries will have adopted that mentality.