Ben Hards is a hair stylist and owner of award winning salon The Square. Photograph by Colin Hards
A manâ€™s hair is where his identity begins. If Elvis had shaved his head, he wouldnâ€™t have been Elvis.
Like most kids growing up, I was a bit lost. My Dad was a retoucher, so I spent a lot of time at his studio. Watching the detail that went into creating a perfect image really inspired me. I guess thatâ€™s where my journey in hair began.
I trained in the West End in London and was excited by the street style. Having the gritty and the refined all in the same space was fascinating for me. I moved into session styling very early, took all of these influences with me in my work and I was instantly hooked.Â My Dad would be proud, because nowÂ I am helping to create all those perfect images.
I think men are looking at themselves more, and making a conscious decision to take more care of their appearance. And thereâ€™s a lot more choice in terms of products and services too.Â A Â£5 basic â€˜short back and sidesâ€™ haircut at the local barber shop isnâ€™t necessarily enough for a lot of men anymore.
In both fashion and hair, itâ€™s about bringing your appearance in line with who you are. In the salon, more guys are embracing their own natural hair. Iâ€™m starting to see more length through the top, but the short fade is still a strong look.
Ben Hards has worked on fashion shows for brands like Temperley London, Sibling and Kristian Aadnevik and on editorials for various magazines, including this very issue. He runs his own salon The SQUARE – SALON & SPA, who were recently shortlisted for â€˜Individual Salon of the Yearâ€™.Â