Ask a Stylist: Tamim Alkanou
Tamim trained in some of the best salons across Syria and Lebanon, and, since moving to London, has worked in some of the capital’s most prestigious salons. After training with Vidal Sassoon, in both styling and colouring, he worked in salons around Mayfair before becoming part of the Nicky Clarke family. Now, he loves to take on full-hair transformations and says the square bob is one classic style that will never go out of fashion.
Hi Tamim! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. Can you start by telling us what inspired you to become a stylist?
To be honest, it started when I was 13. I would do my mum and sister’s hair and by the time I was 15, I was qualified to do a full blow-dry. I was the talk of the town – with everyone asking my mum and my sister who had done their hair! I had a deal with my Dad, if I did well at school, he sent me every summer to hair college, and I was fully qualified by the time I was 19 years old. I then went off to university to study business, but when I came home, I knew it was time for me to move on.
I was inspired by Vidal Sassoon – he’s my icon – and I came over to London to study at the Vidal Sassoon academy. I studied both styling and colouring, because, for me, when you do a colour, you have to know what shape suits that colour and how to use colour to frame and highlight a particular style.
What do you love about being a stylist?
I love making people feel good. As soon as they stand up out of the chair and they are so happy – that’s a really good feeling. I’m very down-to-earth and I feel like there is always more to learn, but when my clients are saying to me, ‘I love it, what a transformation!’ it feels great. I really like working on colour change and hair transformation, it’s very rewarding.
What can women do to keep their hair in great condition between salon visits?
One of the things I tell my clients most often is around applying conditioner. Ok, so you’ve finished your shampoo, what now? You apply conditioner and then wash it off 10 seconds later. It doesn’t have time to do anything at all. I recommend that they sleep overnight with conditioner combed through the ends for great results.
Also, I am a big believer in argan oil. Argan oil is really important in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. Many women do a treatment every single week – once a week minimum – to keep their hair looking amazing. But you should always mix pure argan oil with another oil to stop it sitting too heavily on your scalp. Nicky Clarke do a great Weightless Treatment with Argan Oil
Finally, whatever you do to your hair, if you’re not healthy on the inside it will show on the outside. A healthy diet is essential for keeping hair looking good. Zinc is one of the key nutrients for strong hair, so it’s important to have plenty of it in your diet.
What are your top tips for styling hair at home?
There are a few things I would say. First, if you want volume in your hair, always dry it upside down to create body. But if you want your hair to sit flat, heat from the top of the shaft down, making sure you don’t put the heat too near the hair. I really like the Nicky Clarke Hair Raising range for creating good lift without adding heaviness. I’d also recommend adding a little bit of the Nicky Clarke Weightless Treatment with Argan Oil before you blow-dry. Use it with heat protection spray and the heat will encourage the oil to be absorbed into the cuticle for better shine. Any treatment is going to be more effective when you add heat.
What about curling? What’s the best way to create curly hair that lasts?
A lot of it is about creating volume. You have to lift the roots and create volume but keep the ends of the hair natural. This way the hair is going to hold the curl better and curls will last longer. I prefer using curling tongs as they heat the hair from one side, and they are not as heavy on the hair as straightening irons. Tongs are great for curly styles, but irons are useful for creating a wavy, beachy look. I see some clients smooth their hair with straightening irons before curling over the top and that’s not going to last. You need to keep the hair texture natural before you curl – whether your hair is naturally wavy or straight.
What’s your favourite hair trend right now?
My favourite trend has always been the classic square bob. It will never go out of fashion. I love that distinctive square cut which has passed through hairdressing generations and will go on for many more. It looks great in dark shades or in light blonde, but it can look messy in mid-tones. It’s a strong haircut and needs a strong colour.
What questions are you asked most by your clients?
When I colour, the question I get asked most is, ‘How can I keep my hair shiny and looking good between visits?’ Using good products and regular overnight treatments helps a lot. Plus, it’s nice to come back to me after a few weeks to have your tone refreshed. This doesn’t mean having your colour redone, but a toner can refresh the colour and add gloss – plus it only takes about 15 minutes!
Thank you so much for talking to us Tamim. We can’t wait to try out some of your tips!