Rick Roberts

The three-time Afro Hairdresser of the Year reveals his love for all things hair and his plans for the future. 

Rick Roberts

Being in the BHA Hall of Fame is… mind-blowing. To be the first person to win the Afro Hairdresser Award three times in a row is incredible. I felt a lot of pressure third time around, but I knew I could do it. 

My success is the result of… hard graft, believing in yourself and having a goal. And then, once you reach that goal, setting yourself another goal. 

I got into hairdressing to… impress a girl. I began my career at 19 as a trainee electrician but became interested in hair through a friend. I soon realised I was quite good at it – it was the first time I’d achieved 100% in an exam. It showed me that when you love something, you put your all into it and it pays off. 

I love being on stage… sharing my knowledge and educating people. Whether there’s 1000 people or 10 in the audience, I’ll have the same kind of energy – it doesn’t bother me, I just enjoy educating. 

Hair to me is like material… Just as a fashion designer works with different materials, hairdressers should be able to work with all hair types and textures. Afro hair shouldn’t be a speciality – it’s just a curl type on a scale of curls. 

Inclusivity starts with education… There’s so much education available – from YouTube to college courses – that there’s no excuse not to educate yourself and to improve in areas you feel you are lacking in. You never know who will walk through your door and you should be prepared, not scared. 

I’ve started taking a Saturday off… once a month to spend time with the kids. The pandemic made me assess things and I realised I wanted to have that ‘Friday feeling’ that I’ve never really had, having had to work every Saturday. 

The future for me is… pushing my brand commercially and creating my own products that work with curl and texture. I want to create a real movement in the curl world, and I want to build up the knowledge in the young people coming through and continue to educate them. 

The trend I predict for 2022… is highlights – they’re making a comeback! While the natural hair trend movement will continue to grow, I’m doing more and more bespoke highlights for clients lately, so I believe they’re becoming popular again.