Hairbrained Q&A with Jay Mahmood


An active Hairbrained member, Jay Mahmood, Goldwell Global Creative Ambassador for Cutting, spends his time travelling internationally, in an effort to educate his fellow craft hairdressers; we assure you, his passion is contagious! HB caught up with him during his recent visit to Federico Advanced, in Sacramento, CA. Here’s what we discovered:

Q. As an artist, you have a unique aesthetic. What philosophy do you follow when cutting hair, and what are you looking for in a finished result?

A. First, I look to achieve a technically precise haircut. From here, I of course look at suitability, taking into account texture, facial features and personal style. I would say that suitability is at the forefront of all of my looks.

Also, in my time as a hairdresser, I’ve noticed something that’s very telling: clients rarely wear their hair the way that you’ve styled it, straight out of the chair. Because of this, I always aim for versatility. I want a person to feel confident wearing the look that I’ve given them, and this includes being able to style it in a variety of ways. So always, I aim to achieve a look that’s flexible.

I believe very strongly that it's not just about how we make people look, but just as importantly, it's about how we make the feel about themselves. Confidence is beautiful, so I always want to make the wearer feel that sense of poise.   

Q. Your top-notch work has earned you a position as the Global Creative Director of Haircutting for Goldwell. Can you tell us a little bit about this partnership, and what role you play?   

A. I'm very honored to be in this position, to have filled this role. Traditionally, Goldwell is seen as a color company, but we prefer to consider ourselves a full service brand. My responsibilities include creation and development of haircutting collections, plus implementing and providing education for Goldwell, worldwide. Part of my job has been to create curriculum for the Master Stylist program, which is the new global cutting system by Goldwell; it’s deigned to work in tandem with the Master Colorist program.

Q. Professionally, you’ve chosen to forgo behind the chair work. Instead, you aim to educate the next generation of stylists. What motivated this decision?

A. After I qualified (to become a hairdresser), I worked behind the chair for a time. Frankly, I have tremendous respect for people who work behind the chair everyday. But my life's mission is to give back to the industry as much as possible, in particular to the younger generation. The reason I feel so strongly about this, is because they are the future, and I feel like it’s my duty to leave the industry in a better position than I found it. I always remember being told that I would never ‘be good enough’ and that I would never ‘make it.’ Now that I have a platform, I use it to assure other young people that they can make it if they study hard and stay dedicated, and that they can achieve whatever they want in life, if they are willing to work hard.

Q. You’re an active member of the Hairbrained community. In your opinion, how is HB raising the bar within the craft hairdressing community?

A. I feel that the HB team is doing something fantastic for our industry, and I'm very proud to be a member! It's great that craft hairdressers from various parts of the globe can all connect; sharing with my Hairbrained community (and being exposed to what other artists are sharing) helps to keep me inspired and feeling fresh. I also find it really special that I get to make real-life connections with the fantastic members of HB. As I travel and educate, this continues to happen, and it’s always such a joy.  

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to up-and-coming stylists, what would it be?

A. If you want to be a part of the best industry in the world, you have to be prepared to study hard, and be dedicated; you will undoubtedly have ups and downs, particularly as you’re starting out, but don’t give up! We all have days when we imagine that we’ll never ‘make it’ or be good enough. But I would encourage you to be fair to yourself – think progress, not perfection. And remember, it's a journey, and it will all be worth it, in the end. After all, we do the best job in the world; it has to take some time! I wouldn't change it for anything, becoming a hairdresser was the best decision I’ve ever made. Everyday, I find new reasons to be grateful to be a part of such an incredible industry.

About: Hairbrained is a community of hairdressers that share a deep passion and desire to celebrate the craft of hairdressing, online socially.The community was founded by two hairdressers, Randy Taylor, a photographer / hairdresser; and Gerard Scarpaci, a world-class educator/platform artist. Both have love for our industry; its people, and the craft of hairdressing. For more information visit