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Image / Beauty

Meet the Irish celebrity hairstylist splitting his time between Hollywood and Limerick


by Holly O'Neill
19th Mar 2019
Irish hairstylist

Limerick city-born Gareth Bromell has created looks for Gucci, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, and Dries Van Noten and has a client list that includes Taylor Swift, Bella Hadid and Michelle Williams. HOLLY O’NEILL finds out what hair essentials are in his kit, and why he set up his new Limerick beauty bar, Henshin.

Products I always have in my kit are L’Oréal Professionnel Elnett Hairspray, €9.99; TIGI Bed Head Superstar Thickening Spray, €14.95; and Evo Hair Macgyver Multi-Use Mousse, €25, which you can use to create a wet texture, blow-dry with volume and build on the hair. I’m the global brand ambassador for Evo Hair and stock and use it in Henshin; it’s all cruelty- and paraben-free.

My one desert island hair essential would be hair sunscreen. I use Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection SPF 50+ Spray, €25.99, if I’m shooting on a beach. I spray it in the hair with sea salt spray and it creates that beachy texture.

The best hair advice I received was when I worked for Daniel Hersheson in London. I came from a hairdressing background that was all about technique, but when I started working for Daniel, I was there for a week and he was doing a course at the L’Oréal Academy, and the first thing he said to me was, “Put down your scissors! It’s not about technique anymore! Visualise what it’s going to look like at the end and you’ll be able to create it then – don’t be so technical about it.”

The worst beauty mistake I ever made was dying my hair red. Men should never do that.

My signature scent is Dior Bois d’Argent, €193, and I mix it with either Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, €188, or Aesop Marrakech Intense, €68. Bois d’Argent is light and refreshing, but musky, and the others are woody, strong, tobacco-y smells.

My weird hair hack is that I use a bottle of glycerin to create wet looks and textures. If you add water to it, it stays moist in the hair, so the hair never really dries. You can get it in any pharmacy.

I’d really like to try a sensory deprivation tank.

I am currently obsessed with Sex Education on Netflix, the Debbie Thomas Skin Clinic in London, and Evo Hair’s Macgyver Multi-Use Mousse, €25.

The last beauty item I bought was Medik8 C-Tetra vitamin C serum, €40, from Debbie Thomas in London.

My business partner, Mandy O’Loughlin Frawley, and I have been friends for years. Mandy studied fashion and I worked in London and on fashion shows. Mandy became a make-up artist. Having had a fulfilled career globally, I wanted to come back home and create a beauty brand of my own. We saw a gap in Ireland for an express beauty experience. Nobody else has that concept where you can pick from a curated menu of ten hair looks and ten make-up looks and then it’s personalised for the individual. We wanted to open the first Henshin in Limerick, because we are both from Limerick. I love where I’m from, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my childhood experience here, so for us to open in Limerick was important.

A must-have I pack for Fashion Week is my Mason Pearson hairbrush (from €60 at Hickey’s Pharmacy). It brings all the hair together, creates volume, eliminates static… it does so many different things. It’s the brush you need for tying a ponytail. When you brush the hair, it stimulates blood circulation in the scalp.

My first big career moment was when I cut Taylor Swift’s shag haircut. That got so much global press. It was a little tweak I added to her, and it really worked well. It looked really fresh on her and a bit more modern than the bob she had at the time. A shag haircut is such a fun style to do if you have the right hair.

A moment that really sticks out from my career was when I worked on a show with Alexander McQueen in Milan. The theme of the show was V for Vendetta. The show was inspired by the movie and was set deep in the subways in Milan, where the trains weren’t running anymore, but above us, you could hear the trains coming into the platform and leaving – really loud and echoing, it was so eerie. It was such an amazing experience, and Alexander McQueen was there, and the hair we created for the show was spectacular – guys with really short bangs and guys with long, blunt bangs that went over their eyes.

If I could style one person’s hair it would be Stevie Nicks in the 1970s. I still wouldn’t say no to doing her hair now, though!

The most amazing hair I’ve ever worked with was Brooke Shields’.

The hair trends I’m excited about this season are shorter haircuts and blunt bobs like the one I created for Caitriona Balfe for the Golden Globes.

The proudest moment of my career was when I was asked to give a lecture at a mental health awareness event for young people for the Irish charity Foróige. I spoke about my childhood and my sufferings with depression and bullying, and how I used those situations to push me forward to motivate me to follow through and be true to myself and my dreams and make things happen and not be a victim of my past. I got to tell that story with kids from disadvantaged areas and kids that had been bullied and who suffer from depression.

My celebrity hair icons are Lauren Hutton and Stevie Nicks.

The advice I’d give to a hairstylist starting out is to keep your head down, eyes open and listen and practise, listen and practise, listen and practise…

Henshin, Unit 10 B, Castletroy Town Centre, Castletroy, Co Limerick, 061 330769; henshinbeauty.com.

This article originally appeared in the March issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now.

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