We aren’t experimental enough, says the man who has had a timeless romance with hair, Jawed Habib

Jawed Habib, like an artist in the throes of an intense relationship, is consumed by his muse. “I have a timeless romance with hair,” he says. It certainly is a long drawn affair — one that runs deep in his blood. “I am a third generation hairdresser,” he says. “My grandfather and my father were hairdressers too,” adding that Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten were among his grandfather’s clients.

Following in their footsteps, Jawed went on to complete a course in London’s Morris Master Class before throwing himself wholeheartedly into the art of hair care and styling.

“I have made it a scientific business. Just like you want a branded outfit, you want a branded hair-cut and Habib is a brand,” he says, “It is a system driven company and I give direction to it. I don’t do this alone though.

I have a 45-member-team of passionate, thorough professionals who know the need of this country. We want to become hair designers not hairdressers. And to become a designer, people should be well trained.”

Running close to 400 institutions (salons and academies) in 21 states and five countries across the world, Brand Habib has certainly come into its own. “Indian hairdressing has moved away from just a haircut and it has now become a package — not just a good haircut, but also a good chemical and good hair products,” he says. “We have revolutionized the industry.”

Habib believes that lifestyle matters far more than products when it comes to hair-care. “You need to drink plenty of water and milk, eat nutritious food and be happy. When you smile, your hair smiles too,” he quips, stating that keeping ones hair clean by shampooing everyday was an essential part of hair-care. “Pollution, moisture and body oil can really damage your hair.” he says.

According to him, styling is an individual choice dependent on your age, where you stay and what you do, “When you are in school, you have to keep your hair tied up and aren’t allowed to be fashionable.

When you come to college you are far more experimental. When you start working, you have to have a more serious look. In your thirties and forties, it changes again. Hair styles aren’t face based, they are age based. Whatever the shape of your face, a good hairdresser will make you look good.” Habib enjoys experimenting with short cuts and vibrant colours. “Colour adds to your personality,” he says. “And a hair style is like a skirt — a long skirt is boring, a short skirt is charming,” he says with a naughty smile.

Yet he rues that Indians, especially those in the South aren’t experimental enough when it comes to their hair. “They are very conservative,” he says. “For them hair care is only oil, having long hair, using herbal substances. The attitude is changing though, which is good;1.2 billion heads is certainly a huge number.”