‘I’m taking on big city salons’ - Ludham hairdresser makes L’Oreal grand final

PUBLISHED: 11:49 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:49 21 May 2020

The entry submitted by Mr Francis for the L'Oreal Colour Trophy Men's Image Award. Photo: Oliver Francis

The entry submitted by Mr Francis for the L'Oreal Colour Trophy Men's Image Award. Photo: Oliver Francis


A Ludham hairdresser is one of just 16 across the country to make it to the grand final of a prestigious styling competition.

Oliver Charles Hair Studio in Ludham. Photo: Oliver FrancisOliver Charles Hair Studio in Ludham. Photo: Oliver Francis

Oliver Francis, the 30-year-old owner of Oliver Charles Hair Studio in Ludham, was due to face-off against dozens of other stylists for L’Oreal’s Colour Trophy in the men’s image category this July.

But with the Covid-19 pandemic still at large, Mr Francis will have to wait longer than expected to fulfil his dream of winning the accolade.

He said: “I’m gutted it has been postponed, but honestly I’m just thrilled to have made it this far.

“I’m just me, in my little salon in Ludham - and I’m going up against the big city and London salons.

Oliver (right) and his husband. Photo: Oliver FrancisOliver (right) and his husband. Photo: Oliver Francis

“The winner gets to go to New York for a professional shoot, and gets to recreate their look to be featured in magazines and L’Oreal advertising. But to me, that’s less important than getting to the final in the first place.”

The brief for the competition was tough: to “create a well-executed, inspirational modern colour, complemented by a beautiful style, finish and total look”.

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The idea is to play a role in “creating trends” - not just mimicking them.

On top of this, the regional and grand finals are also held on stage in front of a panel of judges, as well as a watchful audience and ticking clock.

“I’ve got to the regional stage before, and it is nerve-wracking, styling someone’s hair with 30 other stations set up on either side of you and a timer ticking away above you,” Mr Francis said.

“But I absolutely love the adrenaline.”

While many salons hire professional models for the occasion, Mr Francis’ model for this year’s entry was his husband.

At the end of the competition, models must then walk the catwalk as they show off their new hairdo.

He said: “I just love making people feel good about themselves - and that’s what I’m really missing in lockdown.

“But the one piece of advice I have for people is this: leave your hair to the professionals!

“I understand blondes have got it particularly rough at the moment, but when this is all over you’ll be so relieved you resisted that DIY job.”

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