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Trevor Sorbie on changing the world with hair

The celebrity hairstylist shares tips on summer hair, newly-wed Meghan Markle’s dreamy bridal look and his charity that helps people with medical hair loss

  • Trevor Sorbie (Celeb hair stylist)Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News
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  • Trevor Sorbie (Celeb hair stylist)Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News
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Working his magical hands on The Beatles boys, Paul McCartney and late Georgy Harrison to being an all-time favourite hairdresser of divas Grace Jones and Helen Mirren — British celebrity hairdresser, Trevor Sorbie, is on a mission to spread positivity in the lives of several individuals across the globe.

In collaboration with Sisters Beauty Lounge and L’Oreal Middle East, Sorbie has taken a step forward and introduced his charitable organisation, mynewhair, in the UAE.

Set up in 2006 by the 69-year old, mynewhair provides advice and assistance to individuals who suffer from medical hair loss. With over 100 seminars, he has shared his expertise with salons and guided professionals with wig-styling services.

Undeniably, a one-of-a-kind organisation, Sorbie considers himself pioneering a new concept with mynewhair.

Proudly stating that his clients believe in his art and work because of his 40-year-span of experience, the hairdresser believes it’s not that difficult a task to converse with the special individuals.

“When people suffering from cancer come to me for the first time, they are often very nervous. But when they leave me, you see them more alive and confident. The one thing that I’ve learnt, more than anything else — is not what I want, it’s what they want. I give them options and they choose. One should never go by what others say.”

Sharing a personal experience of styling a wig for his young daughter after she broke him the news of suffering from cancer, Sorbie believes he’s more than just a hairdresser. “What I do is something the medical profession or doctors can’t do. I make them look normal. And that is what I call psychological medicine.”

An ardent and passionate pursuer of his craft, he says that ‘success is not necessarily the money in the bank, but the satisfaction of your work in your heart’.

He admires singer and diva, Madonna, and calls her a ‘lady of change’.

“I love people that reinvent themselves. Madonna has donned some beautiful hairdos in the past and I’d love to do her hair some day.”

Experimenting on celebrities was no big deal for him. Recalling an experience with Helen Mirren, he called his work on her hair a ‘near disaster’.

“She wanted a specific haircut for her role in Prime Suspect, the television series. But when she came to me two years ago and asked for a haircut, I tried out the old hairstyle [which didn’t work]. Luckily, I played safe and comforted her saying she needed a new, modern cut,” he recalls. “I’ve gone beyond my wildest dreams”.

Renowned celebrity hairstylist, Vidal Sassoon, was a ontemporary he looked up to. Sorbie reminisces about his times with the legend. The two hairdressers’ were closely associated with Sassoon often visiting Sorbie’s salon and greeting clients and stylists. “For him to go around everybody and do what he did in the most lovely and gentle manner made me think that if I could be half the man as him, I’d be happy,” says Sorbie. “He has and will always be the man I look up to and aspire to be like.”

Sorbie is often asked the old chestnut — should your hairstyle be influenced by the shape of your face?

Sorbie is of the opinion that if you have the confidence and personality to carry off a hairstyle, then you’ve got it right. For instance, a lady with a round face can work a short haircut if she has the poise to carry it off. The hairstylist conducts his client consultations like a doctor zeroing on a diagnosis by asking the patient a series of questions. “Even though I’m not a doctor, the similarities in how you detect what that person wants is important — some people come to me and expect miracles. I don’t do miracles. I do hair.”

The inventor of the two most iconic hairstyles of all times, the wedge and scrunch (styles he experimented on models during Sassoon’s show in Paris in the 70s), Sorbie says the bob cut is clear winner as an all-time favourite. “It (the bob-cut) comes around every year, but in a new way. It can be short, medium or long. It’s the easiest to maintain — it’s long enough to tie back and looks good on most people, irrespective of their hair-length.”

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle definitely made heads turn, with the couple breaking several barriers, including Markle’s subtle wedding look. However, Sorbie is less than impressed with her wedding look and says he had expected something more.

The new Duchess of Sussex donned a custom-made Givenchy gown designed by British-born designer Clare Waight Keller and opted for her hair in a bun, which was mostly covered in an elaborate embroidered veil. “I’m going to be honest here, I wasn’t that impressed with her dress. I thought it was very simple and plain, I was expecting something more. She’s a beautiful girl. The up-do is not really her hairstyle, it’s her long hair she should’ve done something about,” said Sorbie.

Sorbie observes from experience that women are of two types — the ones who want a hairstyle, and those who want long hair. Highlighting a changing trend in the society, Sorbie says women between the ages of 40-50 prefer hairstyles as compared to younger girls who just prefer their tresses to be natural and long.

Recalling Kings Road in Chelsey, United Kingdom, where girls and young women only don long natural locks, he adds, “I don’t like hair to look like it’s just walked over salon, I like hair that looks natural because I think any woman who maintains it naturally, is more beautiful.”

An artist, mentor and an optimist, what drives Sorbie now is bringing normality in the lives of people suffering medical hair loss. “I’ve never got out of bed to make money, I’ve gotten out of bed every day to be the best that I can. It’s my passion that drives me,” he says.

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Sorbie’s guide to summer hair:

Moisturise your hair: Moisturise your hair with serum or cream. Moisturised hair keeps it safe from getting damaged or dry in the scorching heat.

Cover it up: If you spend most of your time out in the open, ensure you keep your head covered with a scarf or hat.

Brush it: Maintaining your hair with regular brushing and combing is equally important. One must always comb through their hair after a shampoo-wash to avoid knots and breakage.

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