My Life In Hair With An A-List Stylist

Hairstylist to the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez and Dua Lipa, it’s no wonder Color WOW’s global brand ambassador and creative director Chris Appleton has more than three million followers on Instagram. Here, we asked him to share his favourite products, best advice and a few of his career highlights so far.
By Sapna Rao /

When I was a child, I was obsessed with doing my mum's hair. I always noticed the way she’d look in the mirror afterwards – truly looking and feeling her best. That was the main reason I ended up getting into hairstyling professionally – making others look and feel good felt like having a superpower. When I was 13, I started working in a salon.

Looking and feeling good is so powerful. It’s one of the biggest beauty secrets I’ve discovered over the years and passed on where I can. True beauty and confidence come from within, but it can go hand in hand with the external too. When you look good it’s one thing, but when you feel good inside, that’s when the real magic happens.

LOOKING AND FEELING GOOD IS SO POWERFUL. It’s one of the biggest beauty secrets I’ve discovered over the years and passed on where I can.

Blowdries are the first thing I learned to do. Aside from learning the obvious – working the brush and dryer together – the secret to a great blowdry is actually very simple. First, don’t start with sopping wet hair or you’ll be there for hours. Blast your hair with your dryer until it’s 90% dry. Then, pick up a blow dry brush and start perfecting the look. To make it last, ensure you have dried your hair completely, or else the style won’t hold. Fine hair goes especially flat if there’s any dampness. Dampness also causes frizz and makes any body, waves or volume drop quicker too.

You’ll always find the same few products in my kit – and unsurprisingly, many of them are from Color WOW. But I promise you this isn't just my biased opinion. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with several brands, but Color Wow’s technology is genuinely some of the best. The 'Dream Coat’ is one of my favourites for that silky, luxe finish. Next, the ‘Pop & Lock’ is ideal for creating that signature Kim K wet-look hair. I also carry the entire ‘Curly’ range with me for my textured and curly haired girls. Finally, you’ll never see me without my Mason & Pearson brush – it’s a must-have.

Invest in the prep. Cleaning the hair, making sure there’s no residue left behind, and CONDITIONING really well IS A GREAT PLACE TO START.

My advice to hair novices is invest in the prep. Cleaning the hair, making sure there’s no residue left behind, and conditioning really well is a great place to start. Also, get to know and play with your own hair. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning what works best for you – your hair texture, colour and thickness – is really important.

Don’t be afraid of using products. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people will try to style freshly washed soft silky hair and be disappointed that it doesn't hold or take shape. Your hair needs product to be moulded, shaped and to gain texture, so use a texturiser or pommade or mousse – they’ll really make a difference.

I do follow a couple of personal hair rules. I’ll never cut it too short or go too far with bleach, for example, and it’s also important to keep my blonde bright. I can usually enhance its shine and vibrancy with a specific shampoo. I always pair this with the Colour WOW ‘Dream Filter’ to ensure I’m not stripping the hair, too.

Textured and curly hair have long been ignored in the hair industry. That’s why I’m excited about Colour Wow’s curly range.  It's entirely dedicated to products for this type of hair – and it’s such a step in the right direction.

I’ve made some incredible memories during my career. From J-Lo’s SuperBowl halftime show to several of Kim’s Met Gala looks and travelling the world too – there is a lot to be proud of. But in all honesty, it’s the people that really count, whether it’s a big star like J-Lo or one of my regulars like Mrs Jones from down the road. Earlier on in my career when I was still at a salon, I had the chance to work with cancer patients who had just started losing their hair. Helping them feel a little better and giving them more confidence was always a special feeling. Ensuring people feel their best – that’s why I do what I do.

There are several people in my industry I look up to. They include Vidal Sassoon, Sam McKnight and Malcolm Edwards. Different people inspire me to try new things and explore new avenues – whether it’s editorial work, salon jobs or fashion shows.

My main SOURCE OF INSPIRATION is REAL LIFE - AND REAL GIRLS. I look at how they’re doing their hair on the tube, or on the street or even in music videos and fashion archives.

A key piece of advice I’d give aspiring hairstylists would be to watch. Even if you’re just handing pins to a stylist or assisting at a show, be a sponge. Take in all the experiences and absorb what the hairstylist is doing. It can be as small as remembering the way they communicate with other staff or models. Really try to learn from the best in the business.

Rather than follow trends, I like to create them. I constantly look outside of my industry for inspiration. My main source is real life – and real girls. I look at how they’re doing their hair on the tube, or on the street or even in music videos and fashion archives. In this business, it’s so important to stay inspired.

Visit UK.ColorWowHair.com & follow @ChrisAppleton1 on Instagram.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily