Note from the KeraGirls: This is the second part of our KC Pro post containing career insights and advice from Deb Gavin, International Artistic Director for Color Therapy™. Click here for Part 1.


Q&A with Deb Gavin: Her color career

What made you want to specialize in color?

Always being interested in art, I love the movement that color can give to a haircut, how it can change the personality. Color gives the most impact to any service you can do. Even long-to-short transformations can be dramatically affected by color placements.

Where do you find inspiration for your hair color looks and collections?

For me, it’s always about keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry, looking at trends or individual work and realizing I need to push myself further. My goal is to make it signature, or I like to say “hand-crafted,” to suit an overall trend.

Don’t wait for doors to open, push through them. …
You can create your own success.

Q&A with Deb Gavin: Her advice

Describe some of the best and worst decisions you made during the course of your career.

The best: Opening a salon and following a path of education, vowing to always give 100% of my knowledge.

The worst: Even bad decisions led me to where I am, so there’s really nothing I regret doing.

If you got a do-over, would you do anything differently?

No. Again, everything led me to this place and I’m in a good place. Doing anything over might change the trajectory.

Deb Gaving photoshootDeb works on a model during a photoshoot for her Nightmare Collection.

Have you had mentors? If so, who?

Bruce Klein, an education director I worked with for a period of time. He pushed me and he believed in me; that really changed how I was. What he saw in me helped me to live to my fullest and not be afraid.

What was the best advice you ever received?

I always go back to this one teacher in hairdressing school who said: Whenever you feel stale, it means growth; and when you get past that feeling, you come out on the other side more creative.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

Behind the chair, don’t sacrifice health of the hair for creativity. Learn the technical skills that put less stress on hair and lead to more time-efficient ways to achieve these looks.

Seek information. No one’s handing it out, and not everyone has access to formal training. So, whether it’s Googling a concept, going on websites, or whatever, never stop seeking knowledge.

Don’t wait for doors to open, push through them. See where opportunity leads you. You can create your own success.

Deb Gavin UNITEDeb presents her work during the 2015 UNITE Global Sessions in London.

What advice would you give stylists who are looking to improve their own hair color artistry?

Find the right culture to surround yourself with—people that elevate you. Stay positive!

Work to develop your own signature behind the chair. Never see anyone else as competition; figure out what sets you apart.

Also, find ways to boost your own creativity—journal, create scrapbooks, use Pinterest, whatever.

Are there any trends you predict for the future of the salon and/or beauty industry?

A lot of the freeform techniques will stay in trend. So for the stylist, that will mean getting out of the “touchup foil” mode, and evolving your work into a more customized or signature look for the client.

Younger consumers will continue to be adventurous (in hairstyles and color), but at the same time they don’t want the maintenance traditionally needed for salon services. They don’t mind their hair growing or fading out and what that looks like. So that will actually free up creativity for stylists!

Anything else you’d like to add?

The industry is so different today than what it was. There’s a big gap between stylists growing up in social media and the new icon world, versus the older ones who grew up in a different era that was more education- and technique-driven. I look at things like that as an opportunity: I’m excited about finding the space between the gaps—bringing the technical side to creativity, and the other way around.