Busting hairdressing misconceptions with ‘The Big Blow Out’ and ‘Not ‘Just’ a Hairdresser’

by | Oct 3, 2022

The Big Blow Out, a new hairdressing game show is airing on E4. Eleven hairstylists will be showcasing their talent to legendary judges Sam McKnight and Lisa Farrall. Here, the judges share their excitement for the new series

Hairdressing is getting its time in the television limelight with the launch of a Bake-Off style eight-part series that’s set to push the boundaries of styling. Eleven passionate professionals will compete in two creative challenges a week that will test their talent, time management and technical skills. Not only is each challenge timed, but the contestants will also be working on real clients too.

Sam McKnight and Lisa Farrall are tasked with separating the cream from the crop over the course of the series. On the launch, McKnight says: ‘It’s great to be part of something new and that hasn’t been done before. Something that’s going to show the hairdressing industry in an incredible light, showcasing all of the hard work, dedication and skills that are too often overlooked and taken for granted.’

Throughout the competition, the stylists will be working to meet exacting styling demands in the first challenge and unleashing their individual taste and creativity to produce heart-stopping, gravity-defying and spectacular creations in the ‘Masterpiece’ challenge.

‘The show is going to show hairdressers for what they are, which is rockstars of the creative world,’ explains Lisa Farrall, saying: ‘The viewers have an all-access pass into the blood, sweat and tears that go into great hairdressing.’

The programme comes at a challenging time for recruitment in the hair industry. Last year, a report carried out by the National Hair and Beauty Federation highlighted the falling number of apprentices entering the industry. In 2019/20 around 7,000 people started on-the-job training which is a drop of 30% compared to the previous year. This is a significant reduction in comparison to the 15,450 apprentices starting in 2016.

‘It’s really important that we represent mentoring in the hairdressing world,’ continues Farrall, the founder of WIG London, an education service which provides training courses to those entering industry and re-freshers for salon experts. ‘Although we are there as judges and we are there to critique, it’s all about helping the competitors grow, which is an important message to the industry,’ she says.

McKnight also has high hopes for the show, explaining: ‘It shows what an exciting and diverse career in hair can be. There are so many avenues you can go down as hairdressing is an incredible skill that you will always have. And I have to say it’s a lot of fun.’

The Big Blow Out isn’t the only television-first happening this evening…

Creative HEAD and The Industry’s new Not ‘Just’ a Hairdresser campaign will launch during the first episode of The Big Blow Out. The advertising campaign stars 12 hair professionals working in a range of different environments, showcasing the skill, diversity, entrepreneurialism and innovation in hairdressing now.

Catherine Handcock, the Managing Director of The Hairdressing Industry CIC and the driving force behind the campaign says: ‘Salons have been experiencing recruitment difficulties post-covid but the issue is a lot deeper – it’s about how the industry is perceived.’

The Big Blow out

Creative Head’s Making the Cut report found that 28% of consumers say it’s only a valid profession if other options don’t work out, and 75% say they weren’t told about hairdressing as a career option at school.

‘Hairdressing is never talked about as a career option, it is often seen as something you do when all other options fail,’ explains Handcock, going on to say: ‘Anyone who works in the industry knows what a fantastic career choice it is with the opportunities within hair expanding massively over the last 10 to 15 years.’

Watch The Big Blow Out on Monday 3rd October at 10pm on E4.

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