Haircuts4Homeless: British Beauty Council hairdressers give haircuts to the homeless

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Haircuts4Homeless has given over 3000 haircuts to homeless people across the UK, giving them a safe and comfortable experience we all take for granted

    Last week, registered charity Haircuts4Homeless and the British Beauty Council created a VIP hair salon for the homeless people of London. Set up in Mark Woolley’s Electric Space, the pop-up invited homeless people to have a first-class haircut free of charge, giving them a much-needed boost of self-esteem.

    Joined by industry-renowned hair stylists Leigh Keates, Louis Byrne, Richard Ashforth and Nicola Harrowell, the charity gave homeless people the full treatment. From head massages to cuts and styling, every client that visited the Electric Space was made to feel special.

    The event gave people who often don’t have the opportunity to have their hair cut an experience that most of us take for granted. Founder of the charity, veteran hairdresser Stewart Roberts, says: “I’ve labelled this as a homeless VIP event. It’s wonderful that Mark Woolley let us host the event in the Electric Space because it is such a wonderful environment.”

    Nicola Harrowell cutting hair

    Nicola Harrowell volunteering at Haircuts4Homeless

    Haircuts4Homeless was founded in 2014 with the sole aim of giving ‘more than just a haircut’. Roberts and his 400 strong community of skilled volunteer hairdressers tour 67 sites across the UK and have given over 3000 haircuts. Each of these haircuts is more than just a trim of the client’s split ends, every volunteer works to ensure that their client feels safe and that they have someone to talk to.

    Roberts shares: “I respect any of these clients as much as any of the clients that walked through the door of my salon. Any good salon owner would treat all of their clients like VIPs so we don’t treat our homeless guests any differently.”

    Leigh Keates, a skilled hairdresser who has been working with the charity for a number of years, says: “I volunteer for Haircuts4Homeless because it is such an incredible and important charity. Haircuts are something that a lot of us take for granted, it makes people feel acknowledged, human and cared for.”

    Before dedicating his time to ensuring that everyone has access to a great haircut, Stewart Roberts was a salon owner for 30 years. In this time he learnt about how sitting in a hairdresser’s chair can work wonders for not only your hair but your mental health too. We all know that hairdressers are some of the best communicators, so a haircut gives homeless people the attention that they deserve.

    Leigh Keates cutting haircuts at Haircuts4Homeless

    Leigh Keates volunteering at Haircuts4Homeless

    On top of the chatting over the whirr of a hairdryer, Roberts also puts the power of a haircut down to touch. “Physical touch is where the connection between hairdressers and their clients comes from. That’s why hair and beauty were missed so much during the pandemic because people have missed the comfort of getting their hair done.”

    As with the rest of the beauty industry, Haircuts4Homeless’ work ground to a halt. A lot of its cutting locations and projects disappeared and funding decreased. However, the entire team are driven to spend the rest of this year rebuilding and re-supporting their clients.

    The charity has plans to release a book showcasing the work of Haircuts4Homeless photographer Jack Eames, who has been capturing the magic of a haircut for the last three years. A sneak peek of the images and stories from the book proves that it deserves to take pride of place on the reception desk of every salon in the UK. The book will be funded by a Kickstarter scheme that will start later this year and all profits will go to the charity.

    After recently losing the National Lottery as a sponsor, Haircuts4Homeless needs funding more than ever. The charity provides such an important boost in the confidence and wellbeing of people who are often overlooked. Without funding, this work will not be able to continue. You can donate to Haircuts4Homeless here.

    Reading now

    Popular beauty stories