Yorkshire hairdresser Robert Eaton pledges to support salon apprentices as he is crowned British Hairdresser of the Year 2021 at the British Hairdressing Awards

The Leeds and Barnsley hairdresser scoops the prestigious salon ‘Oscar’ for a second time in a glittering awards ceremony hosted by Rylan Clarke-Neal in London. Stephanie Smith reports.

By Stephanie Smith
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 1:37 pm
Robert Eaton at the Russell Eaton salon in Leeds.  Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Robert Eaton at the Russell Eaton salon in Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Robert Eaton has won British Hairdresser of the Year 2021, bringing the award back to Yorkshire for the second time in three years.

Robert - creative director of Russell Eaton, which has salons in Leeds and Barnsley and was founded by his father in 1978 - won the award for the first time in November 2019 and became a leading industry ambassador and spokesperson, helping to support and guide fellow hairdressers through a difficult year when salons were closed for much of the time due to the pandemic. He has also previously won Afro Hairdresser of the Year, works to help those who have lost hair due to cancer treatment, creates hair styles for catwalks and stage shows, and is pioneering new techniques including grey blending.

He was named as British Hairdresser of the Year at a ceremony at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The Hairdresser’s Journal British Hairdressing Awards are the Oscars of the British salon world, and have previously sky-rocketed the careers and brands of top industry names including John Frieda, Charles Worthington and Nicky Clarke. Yorkshire’s Mark Hill, from Hull, won in 2000 and 2003 and Barnsley-born Andrew Barton won in 2006, but no other Yorkshire hairdresser had managed to scoop the top award for 13 years until Robert’s first win two years ago.

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A style from Robert's award-winning portfolio.

On collecting his award, Robert said: "It is the most incredible honour to lift this trophy for the second time, and after what the industry has gone through, and we as a salon group have endured ourselves, it feels all the sweeter that we have got to the other side, our clients have stayed and supported us.

"At the beginning of my career, as an apprentice in my dad’s salon, I couldn’t have dreamed of winning this twice. I’d like to dedicate this trophy to every hard working stylist, technician and salon owner on the high street who have all worked so hard through what a been a difficult few years for the industry. I plan to do everything I can this year as British Hairdresser of the Year to use my title and really support youngsters into this incredible career, working in the salon and beyond. ”

Now in their 37th year, the BHAs celebrate the best of British hairdressing, recognising and rewarding the creative talents of individuals and teams who make the industry vibrant. More than 287,000 people work within the UK’s hairdressing, barbering and beauty industries, with salons remaining vital to the health of the British high street, contributing, pre-pandemic, more than £7bn to the UK economy each year.

The biggest award of the event – British Hairdresser of the Year – is by nomination from industry peers and influencers. More than 100 judges made up of past British Hairdressing Award winners, Hall of Fame members who have won the same individual award three times, and national and hairdressing specialist press and industry influencers make up the panel and judge the anonymous collections.

British Hairdresser of the Year 2021 Robert Eaton.

Robert receivied the coveted title in front of a 1,400-strong audience of hairdressing peers, influencers and press. Host for the evening was Rylan Clarke-Neal, and singer Tony Hadley entertained with his 1980s' hits.

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The British Hairdressing Awards, sponsored by Schwarzkopf, have several categories to recognise the talents of hairdressers across the UK. Beverley-based Rick Roberts won the Afro Hairdresser of the Year and Jonathan Turner of Turner & Young in Stockton-on-Tees won the North Eastern category (which covers Yorkshire). The nominees were: Rebecca Dickenson of Rebecca Dickenson Hair; Sophie Gibson – Hooker & Young; Michelle Rooney – Hooker & Young; Emma Simmons – Salon54; Jonathan Turner – Hooker & Young; Matthew-Anthony Whiting – M&A Hairdressing. Lynsey Harrison of Renaissance Hair & Beauty in Leeds won North Western Hairdresser of the Year 2021.

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British Hairdresser of the Year 2021 Robert Eaton and the winners.