Top hair stylist to the stars Carla Rose McQuillan reveals to The Beauty Inbox the secrets to her success.
On her earliest beauty memory
Destroying my mother’s best red lipstick when I was five years old!
On becoming a hair stylist
In 2003, I was testing the water with a temporary summer job in hairdressing but three months in and I was hooked. My whole family was opposed to my career choice but I was determined to prove to everyone that it was a good choice. I worked every extra day I could, entered every competition and challenged myself at every possible opportunity. I like to think it paid of in the end.
On a typical day
It’s hectic! As a freelance hair stylist, every day is different. Sometimes I’ve to be up as early as 4.30am. It’s either a photoshoot, wedding, educating for Kevin Murphy or my regular cut and colour clients in the studio. When I’m not physically doing hair, there is a lot of organising to do, packing kit bags, writing lists, researching, emails, stock-taking. I’m a workaholic so rarely sit down. I then generally fall into bed at 12am.
On her top hair styling products
Kevin Murphy – I’m obsessed. It’s peta-approved, high-performance products that do what I need them to do. I can’t live without Resort Spray by Kevin Murphy. It’s my ultimate go-to hair product for an undone, textured look.
On her style icons
I love Olivia Palermo’s style, so effortless.
On her most memorable campaign
The Lancôme S/S campaign – I just loved how they brought models of all different ages into the shoot . It was fabulous. Also I’ll never forgot working backstage at New York Fashion Week.
On her signature hairstyle
Definitely the effortless boho vibe. I don’t overdo anything or make anything too perfect. Like boho waves – the key to achieving this is doing your desired style with thongs and then brushing out a lot and applying lots of Resort Spray.
On her daily skincare must-haves
Shiseido Creamy Cleansing Emulsion; the new Shiseido Ultimate Eye Serum as I know I have to start looking after my eyes; and definitely sun factor like the Shiseido Urban Environment Factor 50 cream, which you can use like a moisturiser but has the benefits of sunscreen.
On her top three desert island make-up products
Mascara such as IsaDora Grand Volume Lash Styler; a blush lip liner; and an eyebrow pencil.
On her favourite places to shop
I love Zara for staple pieces. Vintage in Amsterdam. Accessories in NYC. And everything in London.
On upcoming projects
In January 2016, we are launching the Kevin Murphy colour specialist degree in Ireland. It’s so amazing to be apart of the process.
On her worst hair faux pas
Oh dear. One time I had the colours of the rainbow in my hair all at once – it was beyond terrible .
On her proudest achievement
Honestly it’s finding a career that is a passion of mine and not feeling like I’ve ever “worked” a day in my life. And my career highlight to date was winning Irish Hairdresser Of The Year and The Colour Trophy in the same year. I had worked for so hard trying to gain these two titles. It was a such a surreal moment when I finally achieved my goals.
On the best advice you’ve ever been given
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
On advice to up-and-coming hair stylists
Practice, practice, practice! Become the master of your craft and the rest will follow.
*Photographs courtesy of Morgan The Agency
- as told to TBI