Going To See A Man About A Dog..
Hailing from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, Lee Stafford's passion for hair was sparked at home, where he used to cut and style the hair of his friends and family, in the comfort of his mum's living room. Naturally intuitive, he displayed a precocious flair for pinpointing which cut and style would best enhance their features and compliment their unique personalities. From there, he went on to work in London's trendy Kings Road, then overseas in the US, before returning home to Leigh-on-Sea to further hone his craft and expertise.
1998 was a pivotal moment in his career, when he won the title of Men's British Hairdresser of the Year, paving the way for him to open his second salon, in London's Soho. This was the catalyst for the public electing him to join the This Morning breakfast TV program as part of their elite team of stylists, bringing his artistic flair to the attention of the masses. In 2001 he launched his eponymous women's hair care brand, and in 2002 he was honoured with what is possibly his greatest achievement to date, the title of Most Influential Hairdresser of the Year.
The accolades don't stop there (you might want to take a deep breath for this), The Fellowship of Hairdressers named him The Best British Hairdresser of 2004. He won Best Salon Design in the 2005 British Hairdressing Business Awards. 2006 was a double-whammy, he was named as Celebrity Hairdresser of the Year by the National Hairdressing Federation and Hairdresser of the Year in the Hair Magazine Awards. And he's done all this while juggling high-end editorials for leading publications such as; Harpers and Queen, The Sunday Times Style, Elle, Tatler and Vogue.
When he wasn't stacking up the trophy cabinet, he was busy with TV projects, such as BBC 3's Celebrity Scissor Hands and The Weakest Link Celebrity Special.
He has a host of celebrity clients to boot, but ever the gentleman, he won't kiss and tell (kudos to him), saying:
"I dislike name dropping. I'm committed to creating a good look for any client, whether A-List, B-List or shopping-list. I care about what I do, not who I do".
When I was invited to meet him this morning for the exclusive Press launch of his hot new product line, "Lee Stafford ArganOil from Morocco", at London's trendy Sanderson Hotel, he was as down to earth as his quote suggests. The select group of guests were a cross section of bloggers and leading editors, and he treated us all with warmth, humility and respect. Whether it was calmly answering a barrage of probing questions that would have had the Dragons Den entrepeneurs squirming in their seats, or staying behind at then end of the breakfast to answer further questions and pose for photographs, he did it all with warmth and good grace.
As a child, my grandmother always told me "manners maketh man", so he's definitely a winner in my book. His humble attitude reminds me of the famous poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, specifically the line; "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch". I honestly couldn't describe him more succinctly than that, he is the very embodiment of those words.
Rich in antioxidant and conditioning Vitamin E and nourishing essential fatty acids, Argan Oil (native to Morocco) is derived from the kernel of the Argan Tree, extracted via a cold-pressing technique. Lee's unique formula fuses this precious oil with Dimethicone, a fabulous conditioner for hair and the scalp, that also gives the product a super-silky texture. Lee's top tip is to rub a couple of drops of the oil between your hands, applying to wet or dry hair. For best results he suggests massaging it in after shampooing but before applying conditioner, as this is when the hair shaft is open, allowing the product to really penetrate and do its job. This product is ideally suited to colour-treated and processed hair. It's also a must for older women, as the hair loses its condition with age and needs extra TLC.
Lee gave us an exclusive preview of his new liquid-to-powder Dry Shampoo spray for brunettes, available in two shades, explaining that regular dry shampoo, given its white colour, takes longer to blend seamlessly into brunette hair. Always seeking the best in haircare solutions for his clients, he wanted to bring colour-specific Dry Shampoos to the market, as they blend into hair instantly, where as a traditional dry shampoo needs to be carefully blended (not particularly practical if you're in a rush). The Mid Brown shade is pictured above. Dry shampoos are great for reviving greasy locks, and for adding essential volume to finer hair, while the directional matte finish (Lee's top tip for future hair trends), is going to be the "next big thing".
Pictured above, the Dark shade.
My placemat, with Lee's motto, "Have fun, look wicked, smell beautiful" underneath (well, I did try my best).
The stunning roses, peonies and scented candles were all colour coordinated to match the packaging of Lee's new product line, definitely helping on the "smell beautiful" front.
Not your cookie cutter Press event, that's for sure.
Make mine a (fruit) kebab please mate.
Me with the charming Mr Stafford at the end of the breakfast.
They say every dog has its day. I couldn't think of a chap more deserving of their success than Mr Stafford.
Nourishing Miracle Oil - £11.99
Dry Shampoo Mid Brown - £5.49
Dry Shampoo Dark - £5.49