From offering free haircuts to passersby on the street, to styling the likes of Kendal Jenner and Huda Kattan, this month I caught up with the lovely Dom Seeley who was nothing but humble and modest throughout. Starting as a rogue teenager who fell into hairdressing, over the years Dom has earnt his credibility and now travels the globe styling celebrities and exclusive clients. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Dom on the highs and lows of his success, his holy grail hair tips and products he swears by…
When did you first discover your passion for hair and know that was the path you wanted to go down? Could you talk me through the beginning of your journey?
It’s a really crazy story actually. I kind of hated school and I was at the point in my education where we could choose a vocational subject and what you want to focus on for the next two years. When hairdressing came up I never really wanted to be a hair stylist but I thought I’d give it a go, you got a day off school and less academic teaching time. There was also a girl I was kind of into at the time who was doing the course, which I thought was a win–win and I could get to know her more. By September, she’d backed out of the course and it was too late for me to change my mind. For the first couple of months I didn’t take it too seriously. It wasn’t until I realised I was quite good at the practical that I got inspired. The more practical the job became, the more I enjoyed it and I ended up being one few in the country to fully qualify at 16, which was mad. I was taken on as a Junior Stylist at a salon which was great at first, but I think I was always seen as a junior and I wanted to be taken more seriously.
With the help of my parents at 17, I was lucky enough to be able to open my own salon and build a good business out of it. I knew I could challenge myself and build up a clientele without social media, which wasn’t even about when I was 17. There was no advertising, no promotion, nothing! I pulled people from the streets and said I’d do their first cut for free to show them what I could do and that’s how I built up the salon and my reputation. 6 years down the line I was so busy that I either had to expand or go my own way. I ended up at a seminar at Salon International where Guy Tang was presenting a hair demo, he noticed me in the crowd (I think it was the long hair) and asked to colour my hair. When Guy Tang asks to colour your hair you can’t really say no? Since then it was all kind of crazy and Guy really put me on the map. He brought me out to LA, introduced me to the team on workshops and YouTube and that really got me noticed with brands and industry!
For me, I don't want to be famous or to become a celebrity, I just want to be known for my work and to have that credibility.
Do you remember the first time you cut and styled someone’s hair? How you felt at the time and how do you think you’ve developed as a stylist since then?
I remember it well! My first haircut was at college, we started in July and they had us cutting hair by October. We weren’t allowed to practice on dolls heads, it had to be a live model. Honestly, it took me around 4 hours to cut this poor person’s hair, I just could not grasp it. Luckily, she was happy with it in the end, but at the time I had no confidence and was winging it. Now I look at where I’ve come, as a stylist, to where I am now. It’s crazy. It’s always nice when I get to see my old original clients who are so supportive and say that I’m still down to earth and humble. I might work with high profile celebrity clients, but I still come home to Yorkshire where it all began.
You’ve worked with multiple celebrities and talented ‘glam squads’ from Kendall Jenner to Jen Atkin but who has been the most fun client to work with so far?
A lot of people always misread celebrities but at the end of the day we’re all human. I’ve worked with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Jessica Alba and Huda Kattan and honestly, they are all so nice. Jessica was so humble and down to earth. She took me up to her room and there was one point where I was thinking ‘oh my god I’m in a lift with Jessica Alba’. She was my first high profile celebrity, but couldn’t have been more lovely. Huda is amazing too; she’s flown me around the world for events and has such a great team of people yet chooses to work with me so I’m really grateful for that.
I know you’ve just got back from Paris Fashion Week which sounds amazing, how was it?
Paris is a hard one, I work for Mane Addicts which is Jen Atkin’s company – that in itself is still surreal for me – They asked me to be on their PFW team and this has been my 4th season. I think it’s only hard because I put a lot of pressure on myself and build up my anxiety. I convince myself that I’m not as good and as capable as everyone else on the team and they tell me all the time that I’m crazy. I never really see fashion week as being easy but I think that’s a good thing because in terms of styling it’s the perfect opportunity to challenge myself, be experimental and get creative. This season we played around with wigs and change looks every single day which was fun. Overall, I do love it!
I can imagine you have a hectic schedule, what would a typical working week look for you and what’s on the horizon for the rest of the year?
Being freelance I never like to say no to jobs, I always want to better myself and sometimes that can be my downfall as it can get too much. I haven’t had a day off in a month and I leave for Dubai tomorrow until late November. As a freelancer it’s hard to allow myself time off but sometimes I have to say no to jobs as it’s not what I want to gravitate towards. I’ve suffered with relationships because of work over the years with friends and family so for me moving forward it’s about finding the balance. Next year I’m hoping to work as much as possible but at the same time reward myself with a month or so off. For me I don’t want to be famous or to become a celebrity, I just want to be known for my work and to have that credibility.
There’s nothing better than glossy, shiny, expensive-looking hair.
Being recognised by and now friends with Jen Atkin, how did the two of you first meet /cross paths?
I started working with Beauty Works who noticed me from my work with Guy Tang. At this point Jen had done a collab with Beauty Works & invited her for a master class with 3,000 people. Out of the whole crowd she pointed me out and complimented my hair, I usually hate attention on me so obviously went bright red. We got talking afterwards and said we would meet but our schedules never crossed paths. Further down the line I saw Jen was launching Ouai – I was laid on a beach in Dubai with my family, went up to the hotel room and submitted a video audition to work with her on the brand. By the time I got back to the beach I had an email about scheduling a meeting in London and the day after I worked for Jen! I look up to her and have so much respect for her as a stylist and a person, I owe her a lot.
What is your typical go to glam hair look for clients with a big event to attend?
It can be bespoke to each person but I think what I’m known for would be the signature old Hollywood. I often do it pretty quick for a day event as more of a wearable version or it can be glammed up for the evening. I really love the versatility of that kind of hair style because it suits anybody at any event. There’s nothing better than glossy shiny expensive looking hair. I’d say my signature and favourite is definitely the old Hollywood glam wave.
Have you ever thought about creating your own line of products?
I get asked this question quite a lot and I think to myself ‘what would I create’. There’s too many innovative products out at the moment and I’m not sure how they can be beaten. I’d prefer to collab with a brand and put my name to a brand who I believe in rather than my own line.
Aside from a good shampoo & conditioner, if you could only use 3 hair products for the rest of your life, which would be your go-to’s?
Dry Shampoo 100% I cannot live without it, I’ve tried nearly everything out there but for me at the minute what’s working is the IGK Hair Direct Flight and Jet Lag. They’re great for me as a guy with long hair to get a bit of grunginess and texture so it gives me that say 2 or day 3 hair. My second product would be the Color WOW Dream Coat, it transforms people’s hair like you would not believe. The third would be Virtue Labs Volumising Primer which is honestly insane. For tools I couldn’t live without my Dyson Supersonic, it’s changed my life and I won’t even bother trying other products because they’re just not as good. And finally the GHD Soft Curl and Classic Tong . I couldn’t do my job without those two products!
Do you have any holy grail hair advice you recommend to your clients?
Haircare always starts with shampoo and conditioner. A lot of people think that they can use anything and their hair will style how they want it to, it doesn’t. Ever since using Color Wow Dream Clean Shampoo & Conditioner it’s changed my hair game forever. My best advice would be to use a really good shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t have unnecessary chemicals and what it will only do is clean because you can add moisture and texture afterwards.
What do you think is going to be a key hair trend for 2020?
I think the half up half down isn’t going anywhere fast. If it’s done correctly it can look so good. I think it Arianna Grande ponytail has been and gone and now it’s more of the flicked-out pony with a 1960’s/70’s vibe.
Be true to yourself, be authentic & be humble.
What do you feel most grateful for at the moment?
I’m grateful for my family. It dawned on me yesterday that I appreciate family way more being away all the time than when I was always at home. I’ve always been a family guy and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
In the age of social media and intense competition in the market what advice would you give to someone looking to start out as a hair stylist?
Always stay in your lane. Be true to yourself, be authentic & be humble. Acknowledge your team or your products or your inspiration, it’s about building everyone up not just yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight so being true and being honest has a lot to say for itself.
If you could travel back 5 years what advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d say to pat myself on the back a bit more. I was always a little shy and lacking confidence so looking back at what I’ve achieved I’d say to believe in myself and trust my gut.