At 16, Ben Skervin—Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Fashion and Celebrity Hairstylist—knew his calling: hair. He moved from his hometown in the east of England to the busy, bustling city of London where he landed a gig of as an apprentice at Vidal Sassoon Salon. Fast forward a few years later, and Skervin has worked everyone from famed photographer Patrick Demarchelier to supergroup the Spice Girls to Skyfall actress Naomie Harris. Read on for Skervin’s tricks for salon-worthy hair at home and a step-by-step recap of his Oscar-night look for Harris!
EBONY: What was it like working as an apprentice in London salon?
Ben Skervin: Being an apprentice was the most amazing experience! I learned so much. Not just about hairdressing, but dealing with people and how to read your clients to give them what they want and need. It was also the hardest thing I have ever done. They were such perfectionists. Everything had to be just so. Not even one hair could be out of place! But that gave me the standing to be one of the best out there. I have not forgotten my Sassoon days, and never will.
EBONY: To you, how did the Vidal Sassoon brand reshape the face of hairstyling and hair care?
BS: Well, Vidal was the first person to give women a hairstyle they could leave the salon with and then be able to repeat it at home. No more stiff styles. It was about the wash and wear look. All about a great haircut with minimum fuss.
EBONY: In your opinion, what is the most iconic hair moment in history?
BS: For me, the Sassoon bob was the most iconic hair moment ever. It was the cut that changed the way women looked at the way they did their hair. Another hair icon for me is Brigitte Bardot. With this look, it was all about texture. It looked just as great pinned up as it did down.
EBONY: Award season is here. What types of styles do you predict we will see on the red carpet?
BS: I'm seeing a lot of classic Forties and Fifties waves, very smooth and sleek styles with lots of shine. We’ll also see very loose up-dos, which come off as quite romantic. I love the softness of this type of look and anyone can get away with it. [Editor’s Note: Click through the gallery to read Ben’s step-by-step look for Naomie Harris.]
EBONY: How can readers recreate red carpet looks at home for big events they have coming up?
BS: For these red carpet looks, you will need a 1-inch round curling iron. This size is great for your Fifties wave. Depending on the size of your section, you can make the wave deeper and more defined, or looser and softer. This soft wave is also the best texture for the soft romantic look, as you can let some curls fall out to give that “carefree, just-pinned-this-look-up” style.
EBONY: This new line includes a specific Color Collection. What are tips and tricks you have for women who color their hair color at home?
BS: When coloring hair at home, never go too light or too much darker than your own color. Keep to a 2/3 tone lighter or darker rule and you should be fine. You can also switch it up a bit by maybe adding a little red to brown hair for more depth.
EBONY: What hair trend is big in London but hasn't quite made its way to the US?
BS: Thanks to social media and the Internet, I feel that every trend is seen as it happens! The UK and the US are pretty much on the same page now.
Janell Hickman is the Associate Beauty & Grooming Editor for EBONY magazine. Follow her on Twitter @jmargaretbeauty.