The Yak interviews Matthew Healey, master stylist to the glitterati of Bali at Glo Day Spa & Salon.
Matthew, where did you have your first hair cut?
In Australia, when I was 10. I always had long blonde hair. My dad took me to the barbers at Gowings, a department store chain in NSW. I still love classic barber shops.
Tell us about your first job within the hair industry. What was it like knowing this is what you wanted to do? Any special memories?
Smart Alex Hairdressing. Elizabeth Street, Sydney. I was a simple kid from the west who was introduced to a world of glamour, fame, fun and a whole lot of ‘camp’. It was 1988 and Sydney was coming of age. The first day I met some very famous and infamous people, with the day ending with champagne and funny smelling cigarettes (sorry mum!) and then they paid me! I knew I had arrived and found my passion.
You lived in Sydney. Name your top three bars, your top two restaurants?
North Bondi R.S.L – hands down the best view and perfect on a sunny Sunday afternoon for a cold beverage. Plus Bucket List Bondi & Opera bar.
I’m a no fuss foodie who loves flavour not flair, so Unas in Darlinghurst is an old faithful and the Oyster Bar in David Jones food hall are always pit stops when in Sydney. Yet I have to mention Continental Deli too.
As a stylist, what has been one of your greatest challenges on set? What has been one of your greatest triumphs or successes?
Every day in hairdressing has challenges, yet the greatest has to be unrealistic expectations. My greatest triumph was coming to realise girls measure the length of their hair at the front not the back. This only took 10 years.
How/why did you get started in the hair and salon industry? What kind of training have you had?
I have been involved in the industry for over 30-years, there is so much information I could add here, yet in a nutshell, I fell into a role that led me all over the world from high end fashion work to volunteering in homeless shelters. People are people and we all deserve to look our best no matter our situation. I have spent many late nights developing my skills with hairdressers in their first week and internationally acclaimed stylists who are industry leaders. The biggest buzz comes from just learning and I hope I get to keep doing this on a daily basis. I love what I do. Come see me at Glo!
So how do you balance working between the different Glo outlets on the island?
I mostly work out of Glo Canggu – the flagship property – however, I spend one day a week at Glo Sanur and we are looking at doing a day each month over at Glo Nusa Lembongan. Plus I will do some shifts on demand at Glo Seminyak.
Name your mentor and any memories you have of them.
Alex Newing was my mentor for 8 years. He was brought to Australia from Harrods in London to open the Hilton Hotel Sydney in the early ’80s after honing his skills with Vidal Sassoon.
Most common request from clients?
Please make me look different but don’t change the length or color. YAWN!
Your favorite hair creations?
I love hair that suits your face and vibe, as opposed to style, yet currently I’m loving ‘lived in beach hair’ and ‘short, sharp, modern punk, vibrant colours and this year’s big trend, grown out bangs.
Who was the most diva client you ever had to put up with?
Barry Manilow. Oh my god he showed me a photo of Liam Gallagher when Oasis were at their peak, asking me to make his hair look like that. Luckily I had learnt good enough client communication skills to politely inform him that perhaps his current mullet was much more flattering. There have been much bigger divas yet a good hairdresser doesn’t kiss and tell.
Any celeb crush you would love the chance to do their hair?
“Joan Jett? Celebs bore me – I look to late night bars to find inspiration. The cool kids hang there.
Hair trends that will last forever?
Styles that compliment your face shape will never go out of trend.
Styling tips for living with hair on our tropical island home, Bali?
Saturate your hair with apple cider vinegar once a week to PH balance your hair before your cleansing routine. Look to nature – there are so many things in your garden that you can use to enhance your hair. Come see me at Glo Canggu – I love hair and will be able to give you some of my secret hair recipes and tips.
Common mistakes stylists make that frustrate you?
They don’t hear the conversation behind the conversation and they don’t ask good questions about lifestyle. For my guests at Glo, I make sure I ask many questions and thoroughly understand each guest’s different hair before helping to guide and suggest if a look or cut will work for them.
If someone is interested in pursuing a career as a hairstylist, what is your advice to them?
Develop your communication skills as much as your artistic skills. Set trends – don’t follow them. Dare to try and don’t be scared to make mistakes. Learn from the ground up, the glamour will come, yet mostly it’s dirty, hard, physical work.
Thank you for your time Matthew.