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Garrincha-  A Colourist Pushing Boundaries

Hairstylist and colourist, Garrincha, of salon SIM SON loves to radically change hair colour. Both for himself and for others. “I think it important to help people do things with their hair that aren’t mainstream.”, he explains in an interview with Klaartje Til. Please learn more about the man who likes to encourage people to step over the line, because, if you want a radical change of hair colour, something inside you opens up.

Garrincha, why are you so fascinated by colouring hair?
I have been colouring my hair since I was 11 years old. I am 28 now, so over the years I have noticed how my hair reacts. I gained a lot of knowledge about colouring my hair and decided to specialise in it. I have very sensitive hair so as a colourist, I think I can handle all hair types.

Why did you start colouring your hair at such a young age?
I saw a cartoon in which one of the characters had pieces of red hair. I also saw Britney Spear’s video clip, Toxic, in which she has red, black and blond hair. That was what I wanted. I took my mother’s blue and red mascaras and I used them to colour my hair. She wasn’t happy that I was using her mascara. But she said, “If you really want this let’s do it the traditional way.” That same week I went to the hairdresser and my hair was coloured red (laughs).

What hair colours did you have?
There isn’t a colour I didn’t have. Red was my first colour. I’ve also had yellow, which is one of my favourite colours actually, purple, blue, green, orange, and black. I have had every colour of the rainbow.

Did you want to be a professional hairstylist when you were young?
When I was young I didn’t want to be a hairdresser. I wanted to make cartoons. But I didn’t find something I was good at, however, I was good at being a hairdresser. I decided to school myself at barber college. Also, on YouTube I discovered a colourist who creates colourful hairstyles. I thought, “Wow, I want to do, what he does.” That inspired my passion for colouring hair.

Your fascination doesn’t lie with the profession of being a hairstylist, but with creating colourful hairstyles?
Love for the profession grew gradually, especially for the creative side of it. It took a while for me to warm to the profession. At first, I was not good at all. Then I worked at a salon where I learned a lot from the colour specialist that worked there. He was a very good teacher. From that moment on, I experimented a lot.

What type of people have their hair coloured by you?
All types of people. Young, old, artistic and commercial. People who want creative colouring. People who only want highlights or have regrowth tinted. But I also have older customers, ladies who go for bright red or pink hair. These are people who go against society’s expectations.

So we can’t specify hair colouring persons as a specific species?
No, not really. It is the need for change. For some people, it symbolises rebellion, especially for young  people between 10 and 18 years old. Others want it to express themselves.

When someone returns to you after you have given the first radical colour treatment, do you notice a change in this person?
People who go for more creative styles, often want more. I have a customer who wanted blue hair at the time. I coloured her hair step-by-step. First I only did blue highlights. And now, five years later, I still do her hair. She had purplish blue hair and then orange.

In the stories that people tell you, do you notice that their wish to want more with their hair, also applies to something else?
People who go for a radical change become more confident. First they worry about the opinions of others. But through the years I noticed from personal stories that they become more confident. They don’t care what others think because they want to express themselves. I think it is very important, that people can be themselves and express themselves in the way they want to.

Do you feel an obligation to give people the opportunity, to respond to this urge?
Sometimes I cut children who would love to have blue or pink hair. Their parents don’t allow it because they fear what others may think. I think that’s terrible. A child shouldn’t have to worry about the opinion of others. I always try to help a bit. Not all parents appreciate that. But I think I ought to be able to do so, being a hairdresser.

What are your plans and ambitions as a hairdresser?
I want to develop a colour method and pass it on to other hairdressers, to share my love and passion for colouring hair. I want to help hairstylists to create more, to push boundaries and make them feel more confident. You can make many changes to hair with chemicals, such as hair paints and perms. In Japan and South Korea, perms are huge and popular. It would be great to do this here in the Netherlands, and teach these Asian perm techniques. In general they don’t perm in the Netherlands. It is associated with being damaging for hair and sheepskin. But I have noticed an innovative way of working in Asia. It could be an evolution or a revolution when it comes to the West.

Photography: Merel Oenema
Insta: Garrincha

Simcha, The Countess Of Curls

Klaartje Til would often sit in a hair salon, offering a little prayer, hoping that her curls would not be ‘cut off’. She avoided hairdressers as much as possible. She went once a year, only because it was necessary. That changed after she had her best haircut ever, a few years ago in Dijon, France. After this experience, Klaartje did some research and discovered a new phenomenon: curl specialists. During her research she met Simcha, from the Amsterdam salon, Simcha & Friends. In an interview with Klaartje, Simcha explains her love for curls.

By Klaartje Til

Simcha, why aren’t hairdressers and curls a compatible match?
If you are a hairdresser but not a curlyhead yourself, then you don’t know what a drama it can be having your curls cut. It is important for the customer that you also have curls. Or you should have a lot of affinity with curls and be specialised in it. You need to know a variety of curl types, to determine how short you can cut them. The average curlyhead is always cut poorly. Cut too short, is a better description. A curl has the shape of a spiral like a corkscrew and it jumps up immediately. A hairdresser needs to determine, based on the type of curl, the extent to which it wants to pop up in the air.

But have there always been people with curly hair in the Netherlands?
O yes, many curlyheads, but in the past, curly hair, especially Afro-hair, was considered sloppy, not chic. Curly hair was often a no-go. Migration brought different types of curls to Europe, but there have always been curls in The Netherlands. However, they were straightened or treated with chemicals to avoid curling.

What was your experience with hairdressers, as a child?
My curls were always cut too short. I told the hairdresser that I wanted to keep my hair long, “just a trim please”. After the third cut I said, please stop, because by then my fringe had jumped up my forehead. I got very frustrated with my curls, also because I lived in a community where most children got their hair straightened, brushed or braided. My hair was also straightened by hairdressers. I thought, “Why?” I looked terrible.

Then you thought, “I have had it. I want to become the world’s best hairdresser?”
Well, I don’t know if I am, but I wanted to do something that others couldn’t do or didn’t want to do. Even though I was a little child, I cut and dried my friends’ hair. I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I had to become a professional hairdresser and travel as soon as possible. This is because I knew that I wasn’t going to learn anything in The Netherlands.

You started traveling around the world. What did you learn abroad?
I went to Israel, to a kibbutz and started to trim their hair. I was 17 years old, and just did it. I decided to go to one of Israel’s best hair salons where people from all over the world, worked. They all had curly hair. They thought it cool that I was from Amsterdam and they wanted me to show them what I could do. Within a month, I was cutting hair in that salon and worked there for a while. Later, I travelled to other countries like Senegal and Morocco, to find out more about curls.

You use a new technique of cutting curls. What makes this technique so special?
A curl is a spiral. After washing, it dries up into a different shape. It will never fall back into the same shape. Imagine, one hundred thousand wet spirals that dry differently each time. That is why I cut beautiful symmetrical lines. In our salon we also cut very straight hair. Cutting straight hair is also a matter of cutting precise, perfect, sharp lines. I am a perfectionist.

The salon has been booming for more than 35 years. Is it because of the special technique used to cut curls?
Hospitality is very important, that is making sure that people are relaxed. For example, that customer there whose hair I just cut, told me that her hair was always cut badly. She was nervous and asked if she could show me pictures of hairstyles she would like to have. I explained that each person has a different hair structure, and that I would try to translate the pictures she showed me into a cut that works for her hair. I reassured her that we would do something beautiful with her hair. No stress! She just flipped because she was so happy with her new haircut. Happy that finally someone understood. That is what I see all day, people who almost gave up. My mantra is, “Don’t worry, it will be fine, no stress. I promise I won’t cut it too short.” Then they relax and smile. When they come up after their hair has dried, they smile or cry from happiness. To me that is the biggest compliment. (At Simcha & Friends, people with curly hair are cut and dried with their heads bent over.)

It is so much more than just cutting hair, is it?
We have a room for people who need peace and quiet, because they are ill or because something bad happened in their lives. They need extra care. If people are sad, they can sit in this room and deal with the sadness. A client who regularly visits our salon is very ill, she has cancer. I organise the wig and I cut it in the style she prefers. I always help regular clients who are ill, myself, and for free. To me that is the real work, giving these women a sense of self-esteem. Cutting strong, healthy hair and making clients happy with a haircut, is easy in comparison. It is important to reassure people who are fighting for their lives and losing their hair. They need to know that they can put their head in our hands and it will be alright.

That is not always easy I imagine?
I try to keep things light. I am Simcha, my name means joy. Making wigs together with customers often creates a lot fun and laughter. Today I had a customer who initially only wanted a haircut. She was so happy with it that she decided to stay and also dye her hair. All hairdressers were busy. She waited for hours until somebody became available to dye her hair, because she really wanted us to help her. Whether it is someone who comes in for a wig or someone who has been cut badly for years, it is wonderful to help these people. Their surprise and emotion are beautiful.

Photography: Merel Oenema.

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