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Last updated: November 06, 2019

Remembering Industry Icon & Educator Martin Parsons

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Instagram via @martinparsonsedu

Celebrating The Life Of Martin Parsons

It is with sadness that we report industry legend Martin Parsons passed away peacefully on October 21, 2019. He will be missed, but his influence lives on through the many hairstylists he inspired throughout his career, including BTC’s Mary Rector who said this about his legacy:


“The industry has lost a true gentleman. A genius who disarmed his audience with humor. Brilliant with his hands, he taught hairdressers to ‘paint by numbers’ to create updo masterpieces they would have otherwise never been confident enough to create. He helped hairdressers live a better life by making them the updo specialists in their local communities! He will he missed! One of the greatest of all time!”


BTC’s Mary Rector Interviewing Martin In 2008


When the news broke early Monday morning, the condolences poured in on social media. Though nothing was more touching than what his brother, Kent Parsons, had to say about his brother’s life, and the immense love and passion he had for the hairdressing community.

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* An ICON of our industry has passed, may he rest in peace.. Repost @martinparsonsedu — It is with great sadness that I must announce the passing of my brother, Martin Parsons. He passed peacefully in Toronto on October 21, 2019 with his family and friends by his side. From the age of 11 Martin knew that he wanted to be was a hairdresser. Our aunt took him to his first hair show in Detroit to see the Zegarelli Brothers with Beaute Craft and from that moment on he realized he wanted to be on stage. As soon as he could he enrolled with Bruno’s Schools in London Ontario and his journey began. Always looking the part in his impeccable tailored suits as he walked out on stage, his audiences always knew they were in for a great experience. His hands had the grace and elegance of a champion figure skater, magically creating stunning styles in just minutes. And then there were his gowns! His creativity knew no bounds. With professionalism and focus he would deliver his consistent message, “We are in the greatest industry and get to create beauty everyday of our lives. Who else can touch so many people in our communities? Stand up and be proud to be a hairdresser!”. In classes, Martin was proudest when sharing his Cutting & Design Techniques and Updo Concepts with so many and was thrilled when the “a ha” moments from those that attended. His patience and encouragement to young & old, inspired multiple generations of stylists to be better at their craft, everyday. Whether a picture, a chat, answer to a question or just a hug, he was always real and genuine to everyone he met. Martin crossed paths with many people that had an impact on his life and career and two stand out. Evelyn Hathaway from Bruno’s saw and nurtured his talents and gave him his first tastes of the stage and Paula Kent Meehan, founder of Redken who gave him true friendship and the opportunities of a lifetime. To all the others, thank you for believing in Martin. It meant the world to him and he never forgot who you are.His hope is that we all take a few minutes each day to share ideas and help our fellow stylists to make our industry a little better every day. That would make Martin smile.

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“We are deeply saddened to learn that Martin Parsons, updo artist, hairdresser and educator extraordinaire, passed away,” said Lee Rizzuto, Owner of Conair/Babyliss and former Chairman of the Professional Beauty Association. “Martin’s boundless creativity, impeccable style and good nature left an indelible impression on me and everyone who had the good fortune to work with him.”


Other tributes include:


 “Rest In Peace Legend. Your influence and work touched many creative souls.” –@naeemahlafond


“King of Updos. My Inspiration. True Artist. We will deeply miss you and your humor…I’m heartbroken.” ️ –@mustafaavci


“So so sad to see a legend leave us. He is a true inspiration and a such a classy person, I will truly miss seeing his face at hair shows. We would always just smile at each other…May God have him in Heaven. RIP King of Updos.” –@anna_cantu


“He was so talented, relatable and hilarious. I loved watching him teach. He will be missed and remembered always.” –@hairbymisskellyo


“Such a talented man, the designs he could create with his hands and mind together were always breathtaking. Praying for the family.️” –@sherryratay


“I’ll never forget my first Premiere Orlando Show being so nervous to share a classroom with him… He was so lovely sweet and kind to me and my team backstage and filled up the room for us before we went on. Rip to an icon.️” –@cassiskovic


“My condolences to his family and those who loved him. I am one of them. I am sad to hear the news of him passing because losing such a talented and kind artist that can’t be replaced is very hard in our industry. I learned a lot from this amazing man, he made styling hair so simple but very creative at the same time, his techniques were just unbelievable and unimaginable but yet simple and led to very unique styles and updos that you never thought existed. May God rest your soul in heaven, you are going to be missed for years to come.” –@jackmartincolorist


“I’m so saddened by this news. The industry needed his grace. He was so amazing to watch. And so kind anytime I got a chance to say hello. He will truly be missed.” –@rubydevine


“Oh my! I owe all my styling skills to Martin! He is and always will remain an icon in every way. His smile could light up a football field! A gentleman and a true inspiration.” –@elissawolfe


Martin will be greatly missed and our hearts go out to his family at this time.

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