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Technical Director -
Global Artistic Team
Ian Michael Black didn’t want to be a hairdresser when he was growing up. In fact, he didn’t even grow up in a home where he was exposed to fashion magazines or strong musical influences, which he says allowed him the freedom to explore fashion, music, art and culture with a totally open mind, without any point of reference regarding what was considered to be color or beautiful. “I was very free spirited and developed my own taste and style without any ‘shoulds’ attached,” says Ian. “I allowed myself to move toward the things that I found interesting and inspiring – and still do. Hairdressing drew me in. I was fascinated in how changing aspects of your appearance can shape perceptions of you.”
Ian trained for two years in Cambridge before moving to London to work in his first hairdressing job at a salon on King’s Road. A few years later, he joined Toni & Guy and was persuaded to try teaching, which he was surprised to find he very much liked. He went on to become Head Academy Trainer for Toni & Guy in London and a member of the Toni & Guy International Art Team. Ian has been with Aveda since 1999 when he was named Technical Artistic Director of Aveda’s Advanced Academy in London. In 2010, Ian moved to New York, where he is Color Director on Aveda’s North American Artistic Team.
Ian travels the globe to educate Aveda colorists, collaborates on Aveda trend collections and visual campaigns, and sees clients at Aveda’s New York Lifestyle Salon in SoHo. He didn’t love color over cutting while he was in beauty school, but hated blow drying hair. He realized he wouldn’t have to dry hair as a colorist, and claims he was never really great at cutting because his heart wasn’t in it. He loves the challenge of working with people who struggle with their hair; it presents the opportunity to give them the best service of their life and enable them to feel empowered and truly happy with their hair for the first time. “It’s not just their hair that’s transformed, but their emotional state and perception of themselves,” says Ian. “When a guest comes in frustrated and leaves happy, it lifts me up every time.”
Ian is well known and respected within the industry for his innovative coloring techniques, not to mention his wry sense of humor and collection of tattoos. As an artist, he feels right at home within Aveda’s holistic culture, citing natural ingredients and environmentalism as what make it more than just a product and education company. “I particularly love that Aveda is the first beauty company manufacturing with 100% wind power. A field of wind turbines is so beautiful.”
Ian’s platform work has included Aveda Congress, Salon International and Haircolor USA where he received, along with the Aveda Team, the award for ‘Most Inspirational Education’ in 2002. In 2007, Harpers Bazaar voted Ian one of the six best colorists in the UK.