A POPULAR hair stylist who has worked on wigs for famous drag queens has been crowned colour technician of the year for the third time.

Steven Austin, 35, scooped the top award at the British Hair and Beauty Awards 2020.

He was named best colour technician of the year for the North West and nationally for the third year running, and also took home a silver lifetime achievement award, and the title of North West creative artist of the year.

Mr Austin, who lives in Kearsley with his partner, has seen his work with wigs grow in popularity over the last year, and is pleased that his work has been recognised by the accolades.

He said: “The awards are very validating, especially for the work I do - some people in the industry don’t take the colours I work with seriously.

“I started doing where when I was about 13, I got a Saturday job in a salon in Knutsford, where I’m from, and my mentor just loved colour and taught me everything - he had me putting colours in all afternoon.”

Mr Austin started working with wigs around a year and a half ago.

He decided to start colouring and styling human hair wigs after realising how difficult it was to buy coloured hair, as most wigs were synthetic and cannot be dyed. 

All of his wigs are cut, dyed, washed, and blow dried to transform them into the final product.

He said: “There was a niche in the market, a lot of people were wearing synthetic wigs and you can't order a specific colour so I started to just colour and style wigs.

“Then I'd take pictures of them and tag a few well known drag queens and one of them got in touch and ordered one - they talked and another one ordered, and then they talked and it was just crazy.

"It's really surreal, the week before last was the first time I saw one of my wigs on TV, and I saw one of wigs for the first time on stage after dropping off an order for Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo when they were nearby for a show.”

Mr Austin has also styled wigs for Tatianna, Cheryl Hole, and Jujubee, and is expecting to see some of his work on TV again soon.

Although he works with some very famous clients, he still finds himself a little starstruck sometimes.

He added: “Normally I’m able to keep my cool, but when I met Brooke Lynn and Vanjie face to face I lost it a bit.

“They had a show and some wigs ordered so they put some tickets aside and said we could come to drop the wigs off.

“When we went backstage before the show they were in boy mode, then I had to take one of Booke’s wigs home to fix it after she’d burnt the fringe, and then when we came back before the show they were fully dressed as women and I just remember thinking this is the most surreal things and I was slightly confused.

“That night was the first time I’d ever seen on of my wigs on stage and that was a bit surreal.

“I met Nina West then too and I completely lost my cool, I recognised her voice and the moment I turned around I just launched straight in for a hug.

“My partner was there with me and he just turned to me and told me how smooth it was.”

Although his wig styling career has taken off, Mr Austin is still hairdressing from an extension on his home, which has been converted into a salon.

Business has been booming since lockdown, with Mr Austin working from July 4, when salons reopened, straight through until early August.

All of his work can be seen bu visiting @stevenaustinhairartist on instagram.