Ask a Colourist: Tommie Gleed

May 14, 2020

Hi Tommie! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Can you tell us what inspired you to specialise in colour?  

It started at school with some work experience. I was in a salon and remember walking into the colour department and just being absolutely fascinated with it. I had all these questions, ‘why do you mix that?’, ‘what does this do?’, and even though the technician supervising me wasn’t very enthusiastic, I knew it was for me. I’ve worked in hair since I was 15 and been at Nicky Clarke for about 4 years now, I’ve always specialised in colour.


What do you love about working for Nicky Clarke?  

It’s a really, really, good team. We all share this positive attitude and work together really well. I think that positivity is important, especially if I’m doing the colour and someone else is doing the cut – we need to be on the same page. I also get a real buzz from making someone feel amazing about themselves. Helping them to discover what’s realistic, and what will suit them rather than just recreating something from a picture. I love taking that initial inspiration and personalizing it so it looks great on the client. 



Do you have a favourite type of colour or style that you love working on?

I enjoy working on all types of colour, but I definitely like those kind of natural, sun-kissed, almost-undone looks. Those are really popular, especially with balayage being so big. It feels so effortless and it’s easy for the client to style at home. You don’t have to bleach or process the hair too much to get a really beautiful look. Balayage has been around for a while and I don’t think it’s going anywhere.


How can people ensure their colour stays vibrant for longer?

This is a question I get asked a lot in the salon. I think you need to be aware of the ingredients that are in the products your using. For example, if you’re going blonde you should look at good-quality blonde shampoos and conditioners that care for your hair. The same with reds and brunettes – it’s about choosing great products that are designed for your hair type. They have special ingredients to lock in the colour and repair the hair. The healthier the hair, the better your colour will look. Also, one of the reasons your hair looks so great at the salon is the quality of the products, so it’s important to invest in good products to get good results.



Should people be washing hair every day? Will that cause colour to fade more quickly?

It depends on the temperature of the water and also on how hot your styling tools are. I would definitely not recommend washing every day as then you’re exposing your hair to lots of heat. But it’s really about finding a routine that works for you. Some people have oilier skin and hair, some have thick, dryer hair. Leaving it too long can be as unhealthy as washing it too much – as bacteria and oil can build up on the scalp. It’s about finding a balance. In practice, washing hair about every three days is what works for most people. A healthy scalp is the key factor in having great hair.


What are your tips for managing or embracing grey hair?  

I think that cool silvery grey look has always been a thing and I think it always will be. But I’ve also noticed people are moving away from really harsh colours to mask grey. They are choosing highlights or semi permanents to blend grey into their natural colour and that can look really nice because it’s just a bit softer.


What are your thoughts on at-home colour? Should you ever do it?  

Being a colour professional and knowing the chemistry and science behind box dyes, I’d be very cautious about recommending it. Box dye caters for everyone, it’s designed for a wide audience so it’s very strong, whereas in the salon, we can cater to the individual. That’s great in some ways for providing coverage but in other ways it’s not because you get this really heavy build up over time and it causes problems, including breakage. In the salon, we have different levels which means we can adapt to your hair type and only use the strength that you need – it’s much kinder for hair. We also often use three or four different colours to get exactly the right blend for you.



How can people look after their hair during lockdown?

We are always so busy that it’s easy to run out of time to look after hair. I think they should be thinking about moisture, repair, and just using the extra time to indulge in treatments and look after it as much as possible. We used the Planet Friendly Beauty AZURE products in the salon – I love them, the Recue and Repair range will nouish and strengthen hair and you can buy them online here. In terms of root coverage, I would suggest using certain root powders or L’Oréal root spray to provide a temporary fix. People can hopefully pick these up from the supermarket during their weekly shop. A box dye gone wrong will be much more expensive to fix than a few extra inches of roots when this is all over!


How do you make sure your clients have a great experience?  

It starts with being 100% truthful, using their inspiration points but being realistic about what would suit them and how you will create that look – even if that’s going to be over a few visits. I also want to make sure that I create a finish that they can recreate at home, so that great feeling lasts in the time between salon visits.


What are you looking forward to most about returning to the salon after lockdown?  

I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and making my clients feel beautiful again!


Thank you so much for speaking to us today Tommie. We hope you’re back in the salon and creating amazing colours again very soon! You can see more of Tommie’s gorgeous work on Insta @nickyclarkeuk.