As they work their way up, young up-and-coming beauty professionals are blazing trails and making waves. We scoured the country to find out who is doing what and how it all began. Here is our chat with up-and-coming beauty professional, Connor Lange.
Salon Magazine: How did you get your start in hair? Why did you decide to be a part of this industry?
Connor Lange: Throughout high school, I was always messing around with my own hair as well as my friend’s hair in my basement bedroom. One incredibly hot summer day, my mom came home complaining about overheating, so I told her to sit down and I went to town. I was well equipped with only a pair of thinning scissors from the drugstore and I attacked it into an inverted bob – which wasn’t the worst to be honest! Her hairstylist at the time, who became my first mentor, offered for me to do my highschool co-op at the salon, and the rest is history! I quickly realized that I was able to do a job that allowed me to constantly express my creativity while being social and making people see a side to them that they maybe didn’t think was possible. Plus, the fact that there are so many different pockets of the industry; whether it’s working behind the chair, doing hair for tv & film or being an educator for a brand – it allows for you to always be working with hair, but in different ways.
SM: What drives and motivates you as a hairstylist?
CL: I am constantly driven by always wanting to know the next technique and trend. I haven’t been and likely will never be satisfied with the amount of information I know because the industry is constantly evolving and changing. My clients are always asking what’s current or what’s going to be the next trend, so they are certainly a part of the motivation to always stay on top of it; while also foreshadowing where it’s going next.
SM: What is your expertise? What do you specialize in or excel at?
CL: My heart instantly fell in love with colouring and styling hair, whereas cutting was a bit more of a struggle for me at the start. I now personally love to do everything. If I have a day of strictly cutting I miss colouring and vice versa. I love the challenge of colour corrections and blonding hair, but I also have a soft spot for the more avant-garde colouring as well. Working in a big city I get the bonus of a very diverse clientele. In the salon, we see a huge mix of people; everything from subtle balayage to electric lime green with a contrasting accent colour. It keeps you on your toes and always using many different techniques.
SM: What is the one lesson you’ve learned throughout your education and career that you still keep in mind today?
CL: I think the biggest thing I have learned and remind myself on a daily basis is that you speed up by slowing down. Take a deep breath and work properly. If you do it correctly the first time, you save yourself lots of time doing corrections later. Clients respect and appreciate you taking the time to do it thoroughly from the start.
SM: Who is your mentor or who do you look up to when it comes to hair? Anyone in particular on social media?
CL: Living in the age of social media, I follow so many inspiring hairstylists. Everyone from celebrity stylists to stylists from around the world who’s page I happened to stumble upon. I mostly look up to the many talented friends I am lucky to have in the industry who continue to motivate and inspire me to do bigger and better things. If I were to give you a list of people I look up to on social media, the list would be a mile long. If you click through my Instagram following list you will be able to find many amazing hairstylists and puppies.
SM: Who is your hair hero? Is there someone you want to work with?
CL: That’s a tough one – I can’t pinpoint just one hair hero. I would love to follow around @jenatkinhair for a day. Her life seems like a crazy hair whirlwind and I’m curious as to how she makes it all work. I would also just like to follow many celebrity hairstylists around because they use so many little tricks to pull off these quick transformations and that’s the kind of stuff that keeps me wanting to know more.
SM: As a young artist, what has been the biggest challenge have you faced and how have you overcome that?
CL: Being a young hairstylist is tricky because people can associate your age with your abilities – you just have to be incredibly confident in the way you speak and present yourself and then follow up with a really good service. When I started doing hair, I wasn’t even able to get halfway through a haircut without stepping away sweating or having a panic attack. After trying many ways of controlling it, I found a lot of it had to do with me not understanding what I was doing. So taking many classes to grasp everything well helped me overcome a lot of it. I can’t stress enough how important continuing education is in this industry.
SM: Who gave you the best advice as you embarked on your career and what was that advice?
CL: My very first mentor once told me: ‘Do one thing a day that scares you’ and it has been one of the most repeated phrases in my head since. If we aren’t scared a little bit, then we aren’t challenging ourselves and to me I always need to feel challenged in some way or I get in a rut.
SM: What is your one must-have product?
CL: You’re asking someone who is a fan of cocktailing a few products to get each look so that’s a very difficult question! I would have to say the KMS Thermashape 2 in 1 would be my must have product. I love this one because these days, we are doing so much hot tool work; whether its smoothing out the hair, adding vintage waves or a messy beach texture. This product allows you to switch up your styles multiple times without washing – each one having staying power until your next shampoo. It also doubles as a finishing spray so clients love the versatility of it.
SM: What are your goals for the next 5 to 10 years? Where do you see yourself in the beauty industry?
CL: I would love to be doing a lot of editorial work and of course I would love to have more celebrity clients and travel for work. Continuing to educate and motivate others will always be something that is a goal of mine, while at the same time furthering my own education and also being inspired by many, many people.