He built a career and a brand from the ground up and hasn’t slowed down since. Here, hair stylist Kevin Murphy shares his favourite products and the times that changed it all.
My breakthrough career moment was …
I always find this tricky to answer, because I would love to think that there was one moment where I went ‘This is it …’, but my career has been a culmination of lots of incredible moments – but also a lot of hard work, hard slog!
It is a tough industry to break into and break through. I guess it started when I was invited to do a test shoot with a huge model at the time, Katrina Richie. She asked me to do a test shoot for her, with photographer Andy Taverez, and then I just kept getting invited back to shoot again and again. My book was building, so I headed straight to London and New York, was signed with an incredible agent, and so it begun.
The top 5 most useful products backstage / on set are …
Kevin Murphy Staying.Alive; because it is such a light weight, leave-in treatment, that helps strengthen hair and helps me work with models’ dry damaged ends. It replenishes all the lost moisture, but doesn’t add weight – so keeps it easy to style.
Kevin Murphy Anti.Gravity.spray; this can be layered on to build up texture and bulk to hair, so I can achieve any style I like. It’s a great way to protect hair from heat styling, but also gives a great thatchy texture when you build it up, so hair becomes an easy fabric for me to manipulate how I need.
Kevin Murphy Session.spray; this gives great natural shine, hold and control. You can layer it in and brush it through, so hair holds in shape, but doesn’t look stiff or crunchy. It’s also great at protecting hair from the humidity, so you don’t get fluffy flyaways when you don’t want them.
Kevin Murphy Doo.Over; this is a great dry powder spray for incredible texture – it’s a mix of dry shampoo and hair spray.
Kevin Murphy Super.Goo; this is perfect for shine and making hair supple and moveable. It is a bit of a secret weapon when it comes to structured, wet looks, because hair is still touchable and fresh looking – not gelled and hard.
The product(s) most worth the investment are …
A good wash and rinse – it all starts with your shampoo and conditioner. Hydrate.Me wash and rinse are the best all-purpose hydrating care system for your hair and scalp.
A good treatment to use once a week or every third or fourth wash is Angel.Masque, which replenishes all that is lost from dehydrated hair.
A good dry shampoo to use to freshen up your hair on day two (or three) is Fresh.Hair and the best investment is always a brush with quality bristles that will stimulate your scalp and gently detangle ends without ripping or pulling. My Smoothing brush with natural boar bristles is perfect for this.
My biggest beauty trick / tip is …
Create the right texture first. Just like skin, you need to prep it well, so your makeup looks good – hair is the same. It’s all in the prep. You get that right, you can create anything that looks great and lasts all day and night.
Break it down and start from the start; for example, don’t put your hair in a pony and then try and create texture. Create the texture and placement you would like first and then tie the pony!
My favourite career memory / highlight is …
Oh, there are few! I would have to say going on tour with Kylie Minogue back in the 80s / 90s. It was such an exciting time for both of us as anything was possible.
Another highlight would definitely be the launch of my product range; I am still so excited and humbled by its success. To now be in 48 countries around the world and still growing is an incredible feeling.
My advice to people getting started in the industry is …
Persistence is key. Keep going, even when you feel broken and worn out – you need to get up, dress up and show up, every day. Surround yourself with good people you trust and always work on your weaknesses to make your whole package as great as it can be. Also, never ever believe you know it all. You don’t. No one does!