HJ Article: Life of a Stylist – Styling on Tour with Aaron Carlo
The Hairdressing industry is so varied that it can be hard to know what path to follow. For the Life of a Stylist Series we have exclusively tracked down hair professionals from a variety of industry positions from tour stylists to A-list Afro barbers so that you can gain insight into the breadth of the industry. This week we spoke to Aaron Carlo, a stylist with over 13 years experience in the industry.
Aaron has worked both in front of and behind the camera and served as Art Director of Headmasters for 2 years before pursuing a freelance career. As a freelance hair stylist he worked in TV and landed the role of Lead Hair Stylist for The X Factor in 2015. But arguably Aaron’s biggest credit have been creating the stunning hair looks for the UK’s biggest girl band, Little Mix…
What was your route into hair?
To be honest, I just needed a job when I left school. It wasn’t my lifelong ambition, but as soon as I started doing hair I really loved it and I started seeing all the opportunities it could bring me.
How did you come to working with Little Mix?
A friend of mine was working with them and she needed a second pair of hands on the DNA video so I popped along and I guess we just clicked. Then they started asking me to do bits here and there and then I took them on just before the second album. Now I’ve been with them for around five years we’ve become a little family unit. Inevitable really with all the time that we spend together – we were always going to become super close.
What is it like styling for a tour?
I’m not the best person to ask because I am not built for Tour life AT ALL! I hate the tiny bunks, and the rubbish showers, sleepless nights, dingy dressing rooms, but then at the same time we have a real laugh on the tour bus and if we have free days we go off and have little adventures as a group so that’s cute. Technically, it can be a nightmare because the dance routines these girls do are INTENSE – there are so many hair flips in every song so I am always side-of-stage, on edge watching the hair get in some right states. But the girls are all about putting on a show and it’s my job to help make that happen.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far and how have you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenges we face are in our own heads. It’s hard when you’re in a creative industry not to second guess your own work and with so many people looking at my work, I definitely had moments of doubt about my place in the industry. I’d compare myself to others, but I’ve got to the point where it’s more exhausting to pay attention to others opinions than it is to just ignore it and keep doing my own thing.
What are your top tips for future talent that want to get into celebrity hairstyling?
Don’t just aim to get into celebrity hairstyling. Working with celebrities is not something I ever planned on and it shouldn’t be about that as that’s just a small part of a session stylist’s work. It’s more about creating beautiful hair, working hard, learning from the best people and putting your own stamp on the industry. If you want to just follow celebrities around, go on big brother.
Do you have a signature look you like to create?
Not intentionally, but I’ve been told I’m known for that effortless aspirational hair. I use extensions a lot on celebrity clients and editorials and am so anal about the blend – I use Hair Rehab London because the hair is so thick and multi-tonal it just blends so well and lasts forever. I’m friends with the CEO Lauren Pope which helps because I’m always calling her last minute and begging for hair for some shoot or another.
What’s your styling philosophy?
F**k it, it’s just hair. This works in two ways;
1. It stops me from overthinking things and getting stressed. At the end of the day, I’m literally playing with hair so let’s all calm down.
2. I like my hair to look a bit messed up, a bit lived in and to have some personality rather than being too groomed and perfect.
Favourite account to follow on Instagram?
@juniperfoxx – I’m obsessed with foxes. And this is just the cutest thing ever!
Where do you see your career going next?
I tend to just go with what happens. I’ve been designing hair accessories and having meetings about stockists for that which I’m excited about. A product line would be on the cards too. I’m really happy doing what I’m doing at the moment that I can’t think too far ahead.