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Last updated: December 22, 2022

5 Things That Keep Tyler Johnston Inspired

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Photo Credit: Instagram via @tylerjohnstonhair

BTC Exclusive: Tyler Johnston Talks Inspiration, Humble Beginnings and How To Navigate Being A Session Hairstylist

After a full morning of education, hairdressers at the Academy of Hair in Culver City are getting ready to break for lunch. It’s then that BTC sat down with their educator, Tyler Johnston, Schwarzkopf Professional Global Ambassador and Essential Looks Educator for an exclusive interview. 


What started as a casual conversation about the day’s curriculum, turned into an in-depth discussion about inspiration. Which plays a huge role in Tyler’s dual-life as an artist: A session hairstylist working with celebrities like Billie Eilish, David and Victoria Beckham, Amy Winehouse and others. To bringing his expert eye and Sassoon-trained skillset to the classroom, teaching stylists how to translate editorial looks for everyday clients.


Below, Tyler shared what inspired him to move from behind the chair to working with some of the most famous photographers on set, how he found a passion for hairdressing and why inspiring the next generation of hairdressers is so important. 


Tyler working with the late Amy Winehouse, known for her iconic beehive hairstyle and retro vibe. Photo Credit: @bryanadams

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A post shared by Tyler Johnston (@tylerjohnstonhair)


1. Collaborating on a Team 

Working on a huge fashion campaign or movie set is a dream goal for some stylists and Tyler has worked on some MAJOR projects with famous photographers, makeup artists and celebrities. 


One of the major differences between being behind the chair and working on set is simple: Most of the time, the hair isn’t the most important part of the day. So how does Tyler stay inspired? It’s simple, embrace being part of a creative team. 


“The makeup artists, the stylists and the photographers, we inspire each other. Being on that [collaborative] journey with them, working with them is an inspiration. I don’t see this as a job. I enjoy what I do and I pick up things that build on my inspiration,” he explains. 


Tyler’s go-to styling products on set? OSiS+ from Schwarzkopf Professional. Photo Credit: Instagram via @tylerjohnstonhair



2. Working with a Brand You Believe In 

Being a Schwarzkopf Professional Global Brand Ambassador for over 20 years, Tyler has been at the forefront of their “Essential Looks” campaigns: A seasonal trend report that brings session hairstylists—like fellow SKP Global Ambassador Lesley Jennison—together to create looks to inspire everyday hairstylists. The “Essential Looks” campaign translate fashion trends into wearable looks, giving everyday stylists key looks they should know behind the chair. 


For Tyler, his inspiration comes from working with a company he believes in. “Essential Looks is Schwarzkopf’s image driver,” Tyler explains. “It’s not just about showing up and doing some hair. I need to understand the brand, I need to speak the right language, I need to respect the brand.”


Tyler with SKP Essential Looks creators Lesley Jennison and Nick Irwin. Photo Credit: Schwarzkopf Professional


3. Remember Where You Found Inspiration in the First Place

Like any teenager, Tyler spent a lot of time trying to keep up with the latest trends. “I was always interested in getting my hair cut. Back at that time there was a movement in England called ‘The Casuals’ which was heavily inspired by sportswear and short, cropped haircuts,” he explains. “So, I remember being in the salon and thinking ‘This is cool, David Bowie music is blaring and I really felt at ease and comfortable in the [salon] environment.’” 


Around the age of 14, Tyler started taking notice of fashion magazine covers—especially the supermodels. “I remember looking at one of those supermodels and thinking ‘This is what I want to do,’ and now I’m doing it. But I didn’t just want to work in a salon, I wanted to work in the coolest salon in the area. I wanted to be the best, so I went to train at Vidal Sassoon, because that is the backbone of creative cutting and technical cutting.” 


Photo Credit: Instagram via @tylerjohnstonhair


4. Never Forget Where Your Inspiration Can Take You

“Not many people know, but I used to be an amateur boxer. From the age of 8 to 21, I represented my country in a completely different way,” Tyler explains. At twenty-one, he broke his neck and spent nearly an entire year in the hospital—and this pivotal moment changed Tyler’s mindset. 


“I think that made me realize that all the things I wanted to do, I was going to do. You realize life is short. So all of those things I did at 14, looking at the front covers of magazines, I knew that is what I wanted to do,” he adds. 


After training at Vidal Sassoon, Tyler went to work in Manchester which he refers to as a “melting pot of creativity.” “There were so many amazing bands at that time and they all hung out at this famous nightclub ‘The Hacienda’. So, I started hanging around musicians and offering to do their hair.” 


It was with these connections that started Tyler’s career, musicians would book him for music videos and album cover shoots. Spending more time on set as a session stylist and less time behind the chair in a traditional salon, Tyler became the Art Director for Vidal Sassoon. With clients like the Beckhams—yes David and Victoria—Tyler started traveling more and more, and soon the world of session hairstyling grew larger and larger. 


When the Beckham’s moved to Los Angeles Tyler started traveling more frequently, opening doors for more editorial styling opportunities.

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A post shared by Tyler Johnston (@tylerjohnstonhair)


5. Inspiration Grows From Inspiring Others

Once Tyler found himself traveling more and more, he realized that the salon wasn’t where he wanted to be, ultimately deciding to step down from his role at Vidal Sassoon. “My mindset at the time was ‘wake up in the morning and do my thing,’” Tyler explains. But then, Simon Ellis, the International Creative Director for Schwarzkopf Professional, approached him to join the Schwarzkopf Team, and Tyler accepted. 


“Even though I have my world as a session stylist, it is still really nice and important to be a part of the professional hair world. I take it as a big responsibility, and I want to give as much as I can. I would love to know that after leaving here today, a couple people at this table have been inspired. That’s an amazing thing,” he adds. 


Tyler teaching at The Academy of Hair in Culver City during an Essential Looks training class.

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