We met Justin Thomas almost 4 years ago when he was just a few years out of school. What impressed us most was his ability to connect to students and educate them with a passion that was infectious. Just a few years later he has been backstage at NYFW, on the main-stage at some of the largest shows in the nation and is a traveling machine.

 

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How long have you been out of school and which school did you attend?

I logged my very last hour in late 2008 at the Paul Mitchell School at MTI campus in Foothill Farms, California.

Tell us a bit about what you do with Hattori Hanzo.

Currently, I am the lead stylist for Hattori Hanzo Shears. I say lead as I travel more and conduct more classes than the rest of our team, not because I am better or have had more experience (if you visit the EDU page on our website, you will see some of the best stylists in the US – most of which are highly decorated with celebrity clients and amazing educational backgrounds).

We don’t necessarily have titles like most companies do for their educators, it’s just education, everyone brings something to the table and it’s awesome.

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Advice for students/ young stylists who want to follow in your foot steps.

Passion wins, every time. There are a lot of buzzwords and “ism’s” in our industry that often misguide students into thinking they don’t have to work hard for a reward as a stylist. If you follow your passion and feed that passion with real education, you will never have to “fake it til’ you make it…”

 

Top 3 Stylists you would love to work with:

1. Ian Gavet

2. Martin Parsons

3. Teddy Bear Ted Gibson

 

What inspired you to get into the education side of the industry?

I will avoid the pageant answer and say I want to change the way people view our industry inside and out. I want to have other’s see what I see in hair. I cannot do those things from the comforts of my salon.

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Favorite Shears, ever…

I am Hanzo for life. So I will elaborate a bit here – Hattori Hanzo Shears HH8 are my go to, my work horse. I feel like Hanzo had me in mind when they first manufactured them, so to me – that’s a good shear.

 

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What has been the most amazing opportunity you have had in this industry so far?

Honestly I feel like every opportunity has been greater than the last. I was asked to cut hair on main stage at Premiere Orlando with Steven Lightfoot’s elite team for Coppola Beauty – what an honor. I felt so humbled to be on that team for sure.

Being asked to work with some of my favorite designers at New York Fashion Week was another heavy hitter for me. I also lead my first Master Class at IBS New York and Las Vegas last week! I seriously couldn’t believe it happened, Hanzo did such an amazing job at promoting and believing in me.

Have you ever had an “OMG, what the hell am I doing here?!” moment? Share.

Are you kidding?! Every major event I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of. This pertains to the last question! I mean, I am so new still to this industry and I have so much to learn, yet I keep astounding myself that I can keep my composure and hit it out of the park.

 

Words to live by…

My dad is one of my hugest mentors. Growing up he always said “they can’t eat you” – in regards to the things or people that scared me. I use his words as a guidance to understand that no matter how scary things are in life, those things most likely aren’t going to eat me. I will be ok.

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On a perfect day I spend it…..

Honestly- Going to Six Flags and being a kid with my girlfriend Jahmoona. She shares my passion and love for all things childish and my abhorrence to growing old and tired. Oh yeah and air hockey.

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What is your next BIG goal?

In hair? To improve my skill and understanding of “dressing hair.” I don’t just mean “up-do’s.” I’m talking real era focused hair.

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Biggest Fuck Up behind the chair or on stage?

So after all this time during the interview, it was OK to cuss and NOW I find out about it?! Shit man.

Behind the chair: I didn’t understand color pigmentation very well at the time and misunderstood what pure blue was going to do to my level 5 (in a color line that already had heavy dye loads) client. So I dumped all sorts of blue permanent pigment in my formula to counteract the “warmth…” She turned black. She stopped responding to my calls and emails. I knew right then and there that 1600 hours of schooling just wasn’t enough!

On stage: I mistakenly reached for a standard blade shear instead of a texture shear when trying to copy something I had seen from Michael O’Rourke. I thought I was a badass and didn’t look when I cut off what was essentially a ponytail at my models apex from about 2 inches from her scalp. Needless to say I will pay attention more, especially on stage!! Poor girl.

 

I knew I was a Hair Nerd when….

I got wayyy too excited about receiving a box of vintage hair books and magazines from the 1960’s – 1990’s from a friend.