Joe Charlton - A Stylist's Approach

Joe Charlton, 25, is a new stylist to Nashville and to Local Honey East; bringing with him four years of work experience from Cincinnati, OH. He has a distinct signature throughout a variety of hair textures and styles that will be explored in this interview.

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What was your hair like growing up? It was buzzed! I got annoyed with it when it would get even half an inch long.

What originally drew you to the hair industry? Seeing my peers growing up with generally cool hair. My friend Cydnie used to cut her own layers with a razor and it was BOMB on her. She also used to cut my curly haired friend, Kasey, with a razor and it was just so perfect on her.

Do you incorporate a lot of razor work in your haircuts behind the chair? Yeah, I actually do. I never really would of thought as that as an influence but probably, it was.

What is your favorite service to perform? Haircuts.

Do you color hair as well? I do! I really like to do both because I think that the whole look needs to be there, but I am not someone who likes color in the way of giant transformations. I would rather transform someone with a haircut and make the color take a back seat. It’s more about shape and making sure there is nothing distracting in the color.

Would you consider yourself to notice more line in design in the world around you? Yeah, for sure. I think that plays into my spatial orientation for everything.

What is it about haircutting that you prefer? I prefer that it’s immediate and you don’t have to wait for results. I’ve also really liked the idea that it is creation by destruction. Michelangelo said “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” I feel it’s the same with haircutting, the angel is in the hair, and it just needs set free.

So there’s the topic of as being a stylist, we have to be able to distinguish ourselves creatively. How would you describe your signature approach to hair? My signature approach to hair is an attempt to make sure that everything is as versatile as it can be, while keeping the desires of whoever will be wearing the style in mind. I like thinking they could do so many things with the style that they wouldn’t be tired of it. I think versatility is really important in a modern haircut because people need to be able to switch looks on a dime.

How did you come about your approach? I guess trial and error. I think that a lot of haircuts that I see people not loving are something that when styled any different way, it’s lacking. If someone doesn’t style their hair to be perfect, it should still be able to look amazing.

It sounds almost like your referencing effortless design. I do think there is an idea of effortless design in my work but I find “effortless” to be a very misleading marketing term. Like, fully iron pressed curls that are brushed out and perfectly put into place is not effortless to me. I have a tendency to prefer more layered haircuts, because you can work more texture into the shape with less styling work. A lot of stuff falls flat for me when there’s not enough texture in the shape.

What inspired this approach of versatility? I think that my own experience with how I like my hair to be, especially as someone with a lot of hair, I’ve noticed the more texture created into my hair allows me to style so many ways. I also think that my first mentor, Jessie Hoffman, is a big influence to me as for having an eye for precise texture.

Would you say that most of your references are from blogs, instagram, or other sources? I think a lot of my references come from other stylists because that’s who’s making trends, and that’s who is deciding ultimately. So many of my peers in the hair industry are amazing.

Are there any certain products that you love for hair styling? I find that I’m drawn to more oils and gels for prepping the hair. I like the control and slip they offer. I also have an affinity for finishing products like a paste for thicker hair, a powder for finer hair and a texturizing spray for medium hair.

What brought you to Local Honey? A friend of mine took me there to visit on my first trip to Nashville. I knew that the staff at Local Honey did a lot of interesting work with photo styling and I wanted to be a part of it.

Where do you see yourself in the future in the industry? Who knows! I started hair school within a weeks notice!

Do you have any goals that you would like to achieve? I think education in some capacity. I think that a lot of people who spend time behind the chair and are passionate about different ways of doing things in their own head and work environment have something to offer. I think that I’m still developing a perspective that I hope to arrive at something I feel other people can benefit from.

You can see more of Joe’s work on his Instagram: @hairbyjoec

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity by Andy Judd (@Andy_DoesYourHair).

Andy Judd

Name: Andy Judd

Hometown: Hamilton, OH

Favorite Thing About Nashville: I love how close we are to some really beautiful trails and lakes! The food is also a plus.

Current Occupation: Stylist

Dream Occupation: Traveling Educator / Beauty + Lifestyle Content Creator

If You Could Live Inside Any Film, What Would It Be?

I would live inside of “Blue Lagoon”. The island is incredibly beautiful, their hair always looks amazing, they get a nice tan, somehow they have a beautifully built home and they never seem to worry about dying of starvation even though they technically live on a deserted island. They tend to do pretty well for themselves.

If You Could Move To Another Country, Which Would It Be?

That’s a tough one! I definitely feel like it’d have to be Scandinavian. Generally, the architecture, the views, and the way of life really draw me in. Which country I would choose between them would be tough. I’d need to spend some time in each to really decide… I have been trying to learn Swedish if that gives any hint at where I’d start.

Hair Product You Can’t Live Without?

I have to start with how I cleanse! I’m really in love with Davines Curl Cleansing Cream. It’s this really nice, lightweight cleansing conditioner. I don’t believe in shampoo, as it doesn’t do much except strip the hair of essential oils. I’ve been shampoo free for almost a year now! People think their hair will be a grease ball if they stop shampooing, which might be true but only temporarily. Shampoo dries out the scalp so much that it’s forcing more oil to be produced. When you stop shampooing your scalp will balance back out! I like to rinse with a cleansing conditioner 1-2 times a week and the occasional rinse-and-condition day with just conditioner or a hair mask. For that, my recent favorite has been the Davines Minu Hair Mask. Having a good cleansing routine is ESSENTIAL for healthy hair! Definitely takes priority over a multitude of styling products for me.

Tell Us A Little About Your Hair History!

Oh lord. I look back at what my hair used to be, and although there’s a part of me that still loves it, I also horribly cringe to it. I was in high school when the scene kids took over myspace and really set a new beauty standard/goal. So, that being said, I had as close to scene kid hair as one could have in a small town in the Midwest. Before the scene days, as a young child my mom used to cut my hair into a 90s bowlcut. I have to give her props though; it was a pretty precise cut! I think it’s actually where my love for bangs comes from. In college, I started getting my hair cut at this duo barbershop/salon called Barbetorium and it was the most unique spot I had ever seen! The stylists were traveling educators under their own brand and it became my introduction to seeing that a career in the hair industry could be much more than I thought possible. Now, I prefer to keep my hair pretty short up top, and keep the sides and back a bit longer. It’s pretty mullet-like actually.

What does YOU ARE OK. mean to you?

YOU ARE OK to me means a couple of things. It means the practice of having acceptance for moments, having enjoyment for stillness and allowing yourself permission to give thought and mental preparation for change and evolution. Ultimately, it reminds me that I have to face fear and recognize that fear has no power over me.