Warpaint Interview: Luke Benson

April 25th, 2023

April 25th, 2023

Having been hairdressing for over 18 years, Luke Benson has amassed a lot of recognition and respect within the hairdressing industry globally. Various award wins and accolades, including London Hairdresser of The Year, have given him a reputation as one of the leading industry talents. His imagery is beauty focused, with an edge that keeps it current and fashion forward, with strengths across both the hairdressing and male grooming industry.

Now a full-time Session Stylist, he focuses on working with brands, countless celebrities, editorials, red carpet and education.  His work has been seen in publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, L’Officiel, Wonderland, GQ and Men’s Health, and he has worked for brands including Dior, Paul Smith, Harrods, Jaeger LeCoultre, Browns, Mr Porter and Hugo Boss.

We caught up with Luke to chat about hair, education and upcoming trends.


What’s your background and what brought you into hair?

I always wanted to do something in fashion but not clothes. I used to have silly haircuts at school and one day tried to bleach my hair myself and it went wrong! I went to a salon to get it fixed and just loved the vibe…that was 18 years ago and I haven’t looked back!

What’s the first product you remember using and how has this influenced your later choices?

I can’t remember an actual product but I know the salon was a L’Oreal salon so had Kerastase and Redken and it opened my eyes to the benefit of professional products. And the amazing smells!


You trained as in hair salons – what made you decide to take the risky plunge into session styling?  What advice would you give to others contemplating this career path?

I always wanted ultimately to work for myself and I’m so happy in a shoot/creative environment so I felt that this route suited me. I would say you just need to work hard, say yes to everything and practice! Get as many skills as you can so you’re always ready for any shoot concept that’s needed. A lot of it comes down to attitude as well, no-one wants a difficult person on set. Be as helpful as possible at all times and stay in touch with your contacts.

My days are so random, so a normal day could be a celeb shoot, a brand shoot, an event, it could be in London or Manchester or Paris. Sometimes it’s a three-day week or a seven-day week and that’s what I love about it. Every day is different and I get to work with so many people, it’s great being able to build relationships and continue working with them over time. I think for everyone who goes freelance from a busy salon column there’s that fear of, what if there’s not enough work?! But there always is, you just have to be comfortable with knowing that it’s never going to be a normal 9-5.

Luke getting Roman Kemp ready backstage at The Jingle Bell Ball

You recently worked at the Jingle Bell Ball – how much fun was that?  Were you starstruck by anyone?

The Jingle Bell Ball is my favourite working weekend of the year because I get to see my best mate do his thing in front of a sold out O2 arena for two days. We are pulled pillar to post all weekend, doing links for Sky, Global Player, Artist interviews and press runs but it’s always so fun. We get a good time slot in the morning for haircut and grooming and then I’m on hand all day and evening for touch ups so he’s camera ready for the show. I’m immensely proud to be a part of the event but I also love seeing so many hair and make-up friends on site all doing their thing and showing off their skills in getting the talent ready, it’s really fun seeing the same teams every year.

I don’t really get starstruck as I’m lucky to have worked with a lot of famous faces, and I think it’s important to treat everyone the same and do the best job you can.


What do you find the main differences when working with female and male artistes?

There’s not really. They all need to look the best they can and you’re there to help them make them feel comfortable for the performance or shoot. You may need to spend longer on a female client’s hair but I do grooming and make up on males too so I end up spending a similar amount of time really

Which celebrity looks are really current and inspirational/aspirational at the moment?

I like Paul Mescal’s modern mullet and Austin Butler’s modern rockabilly vibe. Female wise I love Jenna Ortega and her shattered haircut or Taylor LaShae and her French bob.


You were in Paris for the SS23 Louis Vuitton show – what are the emerging hair trends we should be getting ready for?

Shattered layered hair at varying lengths will be seen everywhere. Grown out bob lengths leaving to the 90s or collar bone tresses with a hint of 70s will be the vibe for spring/summer.

Louise for Peacocks, hair by Luke Benson

You run virtual and in person masterclasses both in the UK and around the world – how did you get into this?  How important is it to you to share your knowledge with up and coming hair stylists?

Education is the only way the industry will continue to grow and get better. I’ve been mentored by my icons in the past so I feel like me giving back is important too! I think once I won London Hairdresser of the Year the booking requests came in so I just followed them up and let it grow as a sideline.


Do you have a ‘holy grail’ client you’d like to work or collaborate with?

David Beckham. Cliche I know, but he is one of the reasons I went into the industry.


What’s next for you?

In addition to my session work I’d like a brand ambassador role with the right partner to work on the creative side – shoots, content – I love working on a concept to communicate a brand’s personality and ethos through imagery that’s true to my style of hairdressing, which is essentially beautiful and wearable hair. I’d also like to do more education for brands alongside my own education – I love devising and teaching courses that empower the delegates with usable skills, whether that’s cuts and styling, barbering or creating imagery

Backstage, The Jingle Bell Ball


Follow Luke on instagram.


Subscribe to the Warpaint newsletter here.

Purchase our print magazine here.





Posted In

, , , , , ,


, , , , , , , , ,

By Sarah Dann

Comments are closed.