With 18 years of experience in the industry, Sicilian-born stylist Stefano Amato certainly knows a thing or two about hairdressing — you might even say he was born to do it! He’s been a resident stylist at our very own Islington salon for six months now, bringing a dash of Italian flair to each guest who sits in his chair. We wanted to get to know Stefano a little better, so we sat down with him to find out some more!
Why don’t you start off by telling us a little more about how you got into hairdressing?
“Well, originally I’m from Sicily, and I was raised by a family of hairdressers. My mum had a family-run salon, so I grew up hanging around stylists, sweeping up hair and helping out from as young as I can remember. I was fascinated by watching my mother work, so naturally, I followed in her footsteps. Although I also trained in Barbery too, as I didn’t want to be limited just to women’s hair — this was really important to me. Five years ago I moved to London to pursue my career more professionally, and I spent a lot of time training in salons with different stylists, just learning as much as I could.”
What was it about The Chapel that inspired you to work here?
“When I found out about The Chapel, I was really miserable working in a salon that I really disliked. I was looking for a change, and The Chapel seemed like any hairdresser’s dream job. Charging by time, the relaxing atmosphere, being able to give one guest your full attention instead of managing two at one time — it was exactly what I needed. Once I began working here, I quickly realised that it was as relaxing for stylists as it was for guests!”
“My favourite part being a Chapel stylist is absolutely all of the training that we do. At other salons, I would have to fight to go on training courses, but here we are really encouraged to continue to develop our skills, no matter how much experience we have. This is something I really value because, not only can we grow as stylists, but it allows us to offer our guests the best possible service. Right now, I’m really enjoying our colour training — mainly focusing on freehand techniques — as well as our technical cut training with Chapel stylist Sally!”
What’s the number one hair care tip you tell guests?
“I speak to so many guests, and they talk me through their beauty routine — looking after their skin, their nails, their teeth — but they don’t spend nearly enough time on their hair. I really think that haircare is just as important as skin care. I recommend that every guest, no matter their hair type, do a hydrating hair mask each week. I’ve worked with Kerastase for over 20 years, so my go-to recommendation is the Magistral Masque for silky smooth hair with lasting shine. They do a whole range of shampoo and conditioners too, which are great for balancing roots and ends.”
As a stylist, where do you get most of your inspiration from?
“I’m not that into social media. It can be really unrealistic to find genuine inspiration online, because most of those images are heavily filtered to bring out the intense richness of a colour. Call me traditional, but I tend to mostly focus on magazines or TV. This season, I’ve been watching the trends carefully, and it’s all about brunettes, bobs and fringes. Blunt, short, choppy cuts with richer, mocha tones. I think, from what I see, balayage is coming to an end now, and there is a trend towards more flat, smoother colours.”
What is your favourite part about hairdressing?
“For me, it’s all about a good blow-dry. While I do love the technical side of cutting and colour, I think the transformation you get just by styling the hair in a different way is really fascinating. I can see someone on the street, and where other stylists will imagine some crazy colours or dramatic cut, I would just love to do a blow-dry on them! My favourites are when I get to create long, bouncy styles with lots of volume — think beachy waves and smoothly glossy blowouts that last for days."
"One thing that I think I’m really good at doing as a stylist is being really creative, but also really realistic, with my recommendations. If anyone is going to be honest about your hair and what you will be able to achieve — it should be your hairdresser! It’s a skill that not everyone has, being able to look at someone and know exactly what will suit them, and knowing how to translate this into a style they will love.”