Kumi Ito, Team Educator with Moroccanoil, shares insights on global hairstyling.
“I’ve always loved hairstyling ever since I was a teenager. It makes people feel beautiful and happy and I enjoy making people happy!” says Kumi Ito Creative Design Team Educator, Moroccanoil, of her lifelong passion for the craft.
Kumi began her artistic and aesthetic education at the International Beauty College in Tokyo, eventually furthering her studies at the Kimono Dressing College and Bloom Beauty Science in Japan and Hoxton Make-Up Academy in London. In Tokyo, she honed her skills as a senior hairstylist, educating junior stylists and taking on her own clients, while also actively participating in photo shoots. Growing into her career as an established hairdresser and session stylist, Kumi relocated to London in 2007 pursued projects in and out of the salon, including photo shoots, music videos and fashion shows.
Kumi’s formal training and international experience has seen her work for top publications and prestigious clients spanning music, fashion and more. She has also done hair at New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week and styled advertising campaigns for premier brands. “Creating hairstyles and working with make-up is great,” she explains of her life’s work. “It continues to pique my interest and stimulate me,” she affirms. HAIR interacted with the global educator recently about her professional experience, global hairstyling, passion for hair and much more. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
Tell us about your professional journey.
My journey began in Tokyo. I started learning essential skills for hairstyling such as hair cutting, colouring, perming, etc. I also acquired techniques in make-up and Kimono dressing to expand my horizons while improving my skills to become a senior hairstylist as well as actively participating in photo shoots. Growing into my career as an established hairstylist and a session stylist, I relocated to London and pursued projects in and out of hair salons including photo shoots, music videos, fashion shows and more. Since I moved back to Tokyo, I have joined the global education team of Moroccanoil and now enjoy sharing great experiences, knowledge and techniques with my team members. I travel around the world to share information and participate in fashion shows and hair shows at global events.
What motivated you to get into hairstyling?
I loved braiding hair when I was a teenager. I would grab my friends and do braiding and knots during the break time at school. I liked creating different hair styles and doing colourful make-up and felt really satisfied on making my friends pretty and happy. I suppose that motivated me a lot.
What was the key driving force to choose this profession?
The key force was my passion towards creation. I just loved creating something beautiful by myself. And I loved seeing people happy with my work. All these factors drove me to choose hairstyling as my profession.
How did you begin your aesthetic education?
I began my education by joining a beauty college. I was surprised that there were so many things to learn to become a hairstylist. I didn’t expect to learn about hair and skin science and beauty ethics too. But I enjoyed it all and was interested in anything related to hair. I also learnt make-up, Kimono dressing and head massage techniques to become a skillful hairstylist.
“Hair is important in expressing life itself—it makes people feel beautiful, it makes them happy. I want to keep creating this experience of beauty and happiness through hair.”
Can you enlighten us about the kind of work you have done over the years?
I’ve done a lot of work and luckily I have created inspiring and iconic looks in photoshoots, ramp shows and stage shows. Recently, I’ve been focussing a lot on educating and training hairstylists and trainers and also imparted international training over the years. It’s an amazing experience to see how trainers from different countries get together to learn.
What’s your work mantra?
My mantra is, ‘Pull out your clients’ charm point – be it his/her character, figure, hair texture – and work around it’. I feel happy when I’m able to enhance my clients’ personality with my work and make them happy and confident.
What is the best part of being a hairstylist?
The best part is that we can keep creating beautiful things and never have to stop.
Where do you derive your inspiration from?
I get inspired by anything, be it flowers, varied cultures, interesting textures, architecture, movies or more. I also get inspired by watching people.
What do you find most challenging while at work?
I always think, what is it that people need and are looking for as, each of us have different needs. To read their mind and understand their needs and approach them is the biggest challenge.
How is hairstyling in India as compared to global styling?
I’ve had many Indian clients and I remember how they would maintain their hair to make it look sleek, shiny and healthy. So for me, hairstyling in India has always been about haircare rather than creating textures. However, that approach is gradually changing now and I’m excited to see Indians enjoying hairstyling.
What are your seasonal recommendations for hair and make-up?
I recommend a slightly glossier look for hair this summer – with smooth touch and full of shine. As for make-up, glowing skin with some pop colour – purple, pink or coral pink – for the lips and eyes and mascara will be nice.
Which celebrity do you look forward to styling?
I dream about styling Freja Beha.
What has been your biggest hairdressing moment?
My biggest hairdressing moment is talking to my clients or my team about the hairstyle for the day and the entire process that goes into creating that look. I feel the responsibility to create a good look and it pressures me in a positive way.
How is it being a part of the global education team with Moroccanoil?
I’ve had so many amazing experiences with the team here. My perspective has greatly expanded by working with amazing people and I’ve learned a lot through the education given in different countries. So now I have a wide view that can respond to various hair types and needs and can be used globally. I still travel a lot with the latest information and techniques and would like to share that information to people so they can enjoy their life with beauty
Simple tips to maintain your hair
- Maintain a simple haircare regime
- Your regime should comprise shampooing, conditioning and using hairmasks during your shower.
- Choose suitable products as per your hair and scalp condition
- Take care of your scalp with a gentle massage when you wash your hair.
- Use a leave-in conditioner/treatment before drying your hair to protect it from heat.
- Consider seasonal haircare such as protecting your hair from UV and dryness.