The Interview: Olivia Crighton

From falling into hairdressing as a teen to running a cult hair destination in East London's Netil House, we talk to Olivia Crighton, founder of Glasshouse Salon. Renowned for their pastel hued hair colours created using organic haircare, a visit to Glasshouse salon is more than a colour and cut, it's an experience and education into the good and bad for your hair.

How did you get into hairdressing?

I’m a bit of a hairdressing cliché in that I was struggling with conventional education, and left school as soon as the choice arose. From there I went straight into hairdressing college, and if I’m honest it felt like one of my only choices at the time, but now I am so grateful to do something so creative and work with amazing people every day. I had no idea what path it would take me down, and couldn’t have imagined the opportunities that have come up for me over the years. It’s been a constant progression, and takes continual training and redeveloping to stay current and relevant. I don’t think I could have sustained doing it for so long if I hadn’t found ways for it to be so diverse.

Have you always wanted to work with organic products or has it been a progression throughout your career?

It’s definitely been a progression. When I was young I didn’t think about my health or my future in the same way I regard it now. The truth is I didn’t even know the approach existed until around 8-9years ago when I made some connections between health and certain lifestyle choices. I made a decision to start looking after myself, and wanted this to encompass all areas of my life. In terms of my career, I didn’t want to compromise creativity or results, and the discovery of Organic Colour Systems really opened my eyes to how unnecessary chemicals are to my work. It has been such a great learning curve to realise how important these changes are not only for myself, but also for my future clients and staff.

Do you have an all time favourite cut/style?

After nearly 14 years of hairdressing I have seen many trends come and go, and my approach in terms of style and techniques has progressed along side this. There’s often a very obvious movement going on and I tend to work with it, but also try not to be too overly trend lead. Most of all what I love at the moment is how people are going much more with what they suit these days. They are not completely trend influenced anymore, if someone suits a warm blonde with some depth they can have it and if someone wants to be super ashy next to their rosy complexion they can make it work for them too. I like styles that look effortless, a great cut and colour goes a long way to being able to achieve wash and wear styles. If I really had to choose however, I would say a nice clean bob and/or any style with a fringe.

Which are your go to hair products?

I’ve been colouring my hair very blonde these last few years so good reconstructors are a must have. I use Organic Colour Systems Powerbuild shampoo, treatment and conditioner. I’m not big on heavy styling products — our styling range is free from the usual plastics and non water-soluble silicones that can build up in the hair. I like my hair to feel like I can run my hands through it: I use a little drop of Aquaboost leave in conditioner and a spritz of thermal 220 heat protector before I blow-dry. One of our most popular products and services are the No Limits semi permanent colours, we can create beautiful pastel shades with them that go over blondes and even create hand blended custom colour pots for clients to use at home between visits.

Where do you take inspiration from when creating new styles/cut/colour combinations?

I’m constantly researching and finding new inspiration all around me, I use Pinterest a lot for mood boarding and references. The Glasshouse Journal has been a great platform for me to collaborate with like-minded individuals and celebrate our hair muse’s. Sometimes it’s not specifically hair that inspires me however, it could be a mood or a colour that inspires a whole new stylistic approach. But most of all my clients inspire me; they are so stylish and comfortable with themselves. When they come to me with a challenge, we work out the best way of achieving it together, which is usually where new ideas are born and techniques are developed. I also find it very beneficial to get together with my Glasshouse team, running regular training and creative workshops for session styling, colour and cutting, developing themes and techniques like working with natural textures, or creating new pastel tones.

What’s your favourite thing about working in London?

The diversity. I feel like you can really be yourself here. Individuality is really celebrated, and no one would care if you walked down the street in your pyjamas. The people and cultures are a real inspiration to me.

What is the most challenging thing about working for yourself?

Finding balance. I don’t have a single week without mini challenges to overcome, it can be the best and the worst thing about it. I’ve learnt so much about problem solving and rethinking the ways you can make things work. The clients, the staff and the business always come first, which is challenging when you also need to look after your self. I find it difficult, but have also learnt (the hard way) how important my own time and space is, when you want to be a good boss and stylist; you have to take a break from time to time. In starting my own business, taking responsibility of my own success can also feel daunting, but it’s also really rewarding to see ideas developed and come to life, and being surrounded by inspiring people who share my aesthetic and ethos.

We hope you've enjoyed hearing Olivia's story, if you are planning a trip to Glasshouse our top tip is to ask for a strand test (they usually do this as part of an appointment) it really reveals just what your hair needs or may not need. Read more journal features here: THE-ACEY Journal

Keep in touch with Glasshouse below:
Glasshouse Instagram: @glasshousejournal
Glasshouse Website: here
Glasshouse, Netil House, London, E8 3RL
020 3095 9783

Click here to read about Why Wearing Organic is important too

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