Vivienne Mackinder’s Hair Education Philosophy

Vivienne Mackinder is more than just a leader in the hair industry. She is a lifelong learner and hair educator. Read on to find out more about her amazing story and philosophies on all thing’s hair!

Vivienne Mackinder’s Hair Philosophy

Vivienne Mackinder has had a remarkable career. And she is not done! Read about how she has been inspired by her incredible mentors, and how that inspiration has shaped who she is and her belief about hair education.

Vivienne announced as Guest Artistic Director for JOICO in 2017 – posted by Estetica Magazine UK

Meet Vivienne Mackinder

Meet London-born Vivienne Mackinder. To call her a highly respected leader in the global hair industry would be an understatement. Founder of, she was once Artistic Director for Vidal Sassoon and International Creative Director for Trevor Sorbie. Her hair creations have been featured in numerous bigtime publications and featured in live fashion events and on television. She is a seven-time winner of the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA), and even won their “Lifetime Achievement” honor in 2009. She has also earned the “Leo Passage Educator of The Year” award from Intercoiffure for her hairstyling educator work.

Mackinder’s Hair Education Philosophy

While Mackinder has a lot to say on the subject of hair education, her ideology can be broken into two broad categories: her philosophy about education itself and then her learning philosophy on hair education.

Mackinder is a major proponent of people becoming lifelong learners. She feels that you should never shut yourself off from learning new things since the world is always changing and growing. If you start to believe that you have “arrived,” then you will ultimately fail. She quoted her mentor, Trevor Sorbie, from an interview he was doing for I’m Not Just A Hairdresser. He told her, “Viv, when you feel you know it all, it’s the time to quit.” And she couldn’t agree more. She feels that being dedicated to lifelong learning is the key to success and has seen many people shy away from even trying to be successful out of a fear of failure.

Vivienne working with stylists during her editorial workshop hosted at her private studio in the Hamptons, NY.

One of her favorites acronyms is this: FAIL – First Attempt In Learning. If you do not embrace the opportunity to learn, even with the risk of making a mistake, then you ultimately close yourself off to new opportunities. This is especially true in the hair and fashion industry because it is rooted in the ever-changing trends.

In addition to being a lifelong learner, she believes that everyone needs to be brave. She thinks that courage underlies a person’s fear, but if they can work through it, they can stretch and learn and then be able to reinvent themselves. The ability to reinvent oneself could not be more relevant to the hair industry since you have to be fresh and current with each new season and year. Customers often come into the salon with the hope of leaving with a new and fresh look. If you cannot provide that to your client, you run the risk of them leaving your salon. The number one reason clients leave a stylist is because they’re looking for something new. By embracing your fear and having the courage to grow and stay on trend, you can better meet your client’s needs. Ultimately, that is the road to success within this industry.

In addition to being a lifelong learner and embracing failure, Mackinder believes that when it comes to hair design, you have to, “learn the rules before you break the rules.”

Having a great understanding of fundamental and classic hair design provides you with a strong foundation. You can then start to experiment with new and trendy hair concepts. She thinks that having a “great beginning” is key to long term success and that you need to learn it correctly the first time. By doing this and mirroring the behavior of the masters in the industry, you can weather the challenges in any profession.

If you learn and mimic a master in the hair industry, something good and positive is bound to rub off on you. But you also need to keep an open mind. Take their lessons and learn from them, but also follow your own intuition. For example, she talks about how some masters in the hair industry can be “snobs.” They might be critical of using foils and only color hair freehand or forgo using a razor in favor of trimming with scissors. By following an expert too closely, you might lose sight of your unique vision. You might forgo your style in favor of someone else’s trendy style and not even realize it for many years.

Vivienne Mackinder’s new dresswork collection – The Ponytail Story

While Vivienne encourages learning what you can from hair industry leaders, do not get so wrapped up in the “new and trendy” that you lose sight of your foundation. Fashion can be so forward and trendy that it is easy to get wrapped up in that propelling force that you lose the foundation that makes you, you.

What Mackinder Would Like to Impart onto You

While Mackinder has a lot of wisdom to impart when it comes to overall philosophies about hair design and learning, she also has practical advice to impart for anyone practicing in the field:

  • Classics Withstand the Passage of Time: Classics are called classic for a reason. Keep practicing the classic cuts and styles since they offer a great foundation for you to build upon.
  • Use Your Mirror: The mirror is one of your most powerful tools. It allows you to view the cut and style in the “big picture.” So, don’t have tunnel vision and hone in on only what’s in front of you. 
  • Understand Your Customer’s Style: Have a great sense of style. Knowing and understanding style can help you size up your customer and lead to a better consultation with them. Understanding your customer’s lifestyle and needs will help you tailor the perfect cut to their needs and “who they are.” Bottomline, understanding different styles helps you make and keep your clientele.
  • Set Goals for Yourself: It is not only important to set career goals for yourself, but educational goals as well. By setting goals, you give yourself the power to reach something specific and achievable.
  • Set Aside Creative Time: While setting goals is important, penciling in time to allow yourself to be creative is just as important. Mackinder suggests keeping mannequin heads somewhere in your space to allow for time to explore and experiment with new styles. Pencil in time for free creativity every week!

Put That Philosophy into Practice

You love Mackinder’s hair education philosophies. Now it’s time to put them into action! Watch the experts at

Vivienne offers workshops, collections, tutorials, and more to help every hair designer develop their authentic self into a thriving, real-world practice.

Read Next: How to Build Hairstylist Clientele by Mastering Consultations

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