Entering Sofia Fagerlunds home is like entering an interior design dream.
The Nordic serenity and Scandinavian minimalism surrounds you, while some unexpected
art pieces stand out.But just enough.
You can tell that this is a home with effortless and grace, carefully thought out.
The same values can be applied to Sofia.
She makes everyone she meets feel comfortable with her warmth and talks with a worldly intelligence, sometimes surprising you with her wit and raw humour.
Before we sit down in the cloud-coloured sofa, Sofia asks if I want black or green tea.
Sofia Fagerlund is born and raised in Finland but have lived in Sweden most of her adult life.
She is married to Henrik and they have 2 kids, Harry and Liv.
Home, is Saltsjöbaden in Stockholm.
Sofia pours us green tea in Iittala cups and serve blueberries in a small Alvar Aalto bowl.
“I´ve been thinking a lot about my heritage lately ” Sofia says, sipping her tea, after I pointed out that I love that she presented herself with family first and not through her work title.
“I have learnt a lot about myself and my core values this past year. It probably has to do a lot with aging. Before I think my identity was in my work role , whereas now I have a more appreciative attitude towards life itself, and put my family first”.
Sofia works for the Beauty Giant, L´oreal, where she is the Nordic Education Manager for three haircare brands; Redken, Purology and Shu Uemura.
Sofia and her team aim to educate selected hairdressers and salons on a global high standard, and Sofias role is to unite the Nordic countries, keep everyone up to speed on colour and cut techniques, products and trends.
“We believe that education is the backbone to any success and with the right education and support you can really grow as a business, salon or artist. To maintain our craftmanship as hairdressers, and artists, It is essential to stay current and updated”.
You started out as a hairdresser. How did you get to where you are today you think?
“There has always been a very high ambition.
I knew very early in life that I wanted to become a hairdresser. I started out sweeping floors and making my way up towards shampooing, in the salon my mum went for her perms. But I knew I wanted something more than that. I wanted to explore more outside of our little village. I don´t know where that came from, but that´s been clear from the very beginning”
After finishing her hairdresser education in Finland, Sofia moved to Sweden and started working for an international hairsalon-chain, and deepend her colouring skills and became a specialized Colour Technichian.
“That was probably the most rewarding learning experience for me businesswise. As much as it was educational on so many levels, a certain identity, and credability followed with that experience.”
After a couple of years Sofia moved abroad, to Australia, and worked for the same chain, but saw how different work could be there. Sofia noticed that everything was not only about cut, colour and creativity.
The drive and business had a purpose there. And it could be measured.
“That was a thrilling experience. I realised there was space to create the same role here in Sweden that I had experienced in Australia.”
Well back in Sweden again, she met with Loreal and Redken.
“This was a unique time after I had my first child. I remember I was doubting if I could combine the hairdressing job and my new role as a mother. I loved the business, but I also realised, if I could be able to inspire and motivate likeminded people in their own creativity, that could be equally fulfilling. 10 years later, I still think it´s the most rewarding job!”
Sofia on stage at a Redken event.
A quick visit to Sofias office, The Loreal Academy in Central Stockholm
You must have many memorable moments from those years. Anything you want to share with us?
“Looking back there were so many good moments! We were a tight group of colleagues back then. We had a good collective self-confidence. I remember one surreal time when I coloured Britney Spears hair, while she was in Europe on tour. And also when the whole band, Backstreet Boys came into the salon, at the height of their career, to get their hair coloured. Their enormous crowd of fans were waiting outside trying to buy the bands cut-off hair.(I tried to re-tell my kids about this experience but they have no idea who these people are today..)
Or that time when, one of my regular clients, Emma Wiklund, came in and showed me a cover of a magazine, with her on it, and just wanted to let me know how much she loved her haircolour and how well it transferred in print.
Small appreciative notions that were vital in my career. But I must add, the meeting with everyday clients are equally important!”
You are the Nordic Education Manager and you inspire your team and all hairdressers and make sure they are up to date on all current tricks and trends. Where do you get your own inspiration from?
“Books, magazines , friends and social media. I try to keep updated and have an overview on all areas. Whats happening in music? In the Art scene? I read the national newspaper and try to keep updated in the global news.
Keeping my curiosity is important, since my work and my interests merge.”
You inspire hairdressers with global tricks and current trends. For the person who only returns to the salon for a trim every now and then. What do you think is the most important there?
“The service as a whole. The personal contact is essential today for a great service experience. We spend way too many ours on the internet. The clients lasting impression and feeling after leaving the salon.
We should be able to give the client a news update, keep her in the loop of things, while she still feels happy about her trim.”
Are there any hairstyles or techniques you wish never returned again?
“One should never , say never , but those supershort bangs that were so trendy in London in the late 90s. A bucket haircut with extremely short bangs. So short that we had to shave our front hairlines every morning, to maintain. (Yes – I had it too) Perhaps, That haircut , together with an undercolour with black underneath and white ontop, might be somewhere on that list , that I will be happy about not seeing again. But am sure will resurface within a year or two..
Do you have any advice for people who like to keep themselves updated with hairtrends?
“That is a tough question.
I think the most important thing is to find your personal style and be happy about it.
I was very inspired by stylist Christopher Insulander. He held a seminar on Trends, at an event I was organising recently, and he asked us to find our true selves. To be true to yourself and look not only at your style, but to REALLY look at yourself, from the inside out, thats when you find your true style!
I am personally very inspired by strong women who have found their style, who stick to it and dares to stand up for it.”
You work in the beauty business on a high level. What is your own relation to beauty?
“I get very influenced of course, but I cut out very little time for my own beauty.
You know how they say- The cobblers children, walk in broken shoes ..
I think my overall attitude towards beauty is very relaxed. If I have a good cut and colour I am satisfied. I have really thin hair, so it is important for me to have a technically skilled hairdresser.
Once a colleague expressed that cutting my hair, is like cutting a spiders web!”
-What? Did she say that? How rude!
“Well it is true in a way. Any little cut shows on thin hair. If you have thicker hair you can get away with more.
I can sometimes miss the general idea of spending more time on a hairstyle. Like in the 1960s.
Nowadays we want to be so extremely unaware of our beauty and the more tousled and natural hair, the better.”
An ordinary day in your life. What does it look like. Do you have a beauty routine?
My day generally starts with exercise at 05.45. At least 4 out of 5 days.
I feel great with physical activity. I think many of us do.
I only wash my hair every third day. I extend it with dryshampoo if needed.
I use a protein rich shampoo, Redken Extreme strength builder.
A sealer and a primer. It contains a lot of biotin.
Sometimes I change it up with Glow Dry shampoo, which gives a lot of shine.
I always use a leave in product and love not having to blowdry my hair!
“Well, and then I also have to try all the products in my job.
So in my shower I have a lot of white bottles with a small label on, that I test at home.
Right now I am testing a new product that will be launched in a year, stay tuned..”
“I use Biotherm body lotion for my body and add moisturizer for my face.
I´ve always loved Dermalogica, but now I am using Decléor.
I had a facial recently and my skintherapist pointed out that my skin seemed very stressed.
“Really?” I said. “That makes two of us…”
Sofia and I start to laugh.
“Anyway. Decleor has helped me a lot since then.”
“I want makeup to look very natural. I use a light base. YSL BB CREAM or Estee Lauder daywear tinted moisturizer.
NARS Orgasm for blush. I Fill in my brows and get them into shape with an old toothbrush.
A trick I picked up from someone backstage.
Sometimes I use mascara. I prefer the classic black from Lancome.
My makeup takes very little time. After makeup I have a quick breakfast and then I head off for work.”
Nothing for the lips?
“I use lipgloss. I keep it in my car. Thats where I apply it.
If I go out I can sometimes wear a red lipstick which I apply with my fingers. Or on Fridays.
I usually get motivated by #Lipstickfriday!
I can add a brown eyeshadow or a dark liner if I feel extra festive.”
Do you have any personal beauty advice you want to share with other women?
“Drink warm water with lemon! I drink it first thing, every morning. It wakes you up, it aids digestion, and your skin feels really good. I think it helps for everything, really!
Well, I still have that anger wrinkle between my eyebrows, so Lemon Water might not help everything ..”
Anything else you want to add?
“YES! Spend more time with fun friends. Laughing makes you feel, and look great! And Sauna. We have a sauna at home and I use it minimum twice a week. Once a week with my husband and on Sundays with the kids. It´s the best preparation for a new week.”
6 Quick Questions with Sofia
BEST BUDGET BEAUTY
Water + Lemon
BEST LUXE BEAUTY
SPA! I love the SPA at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. A massage there is lovely.
TOP 3 HAIRPRODUCTS
A leave in product
A heat protection product
A texturizing styling cream
TOP 3 MAKEUP PRODUCTS
Blush, lipstick and bodylotion
PRODUCT YOU CAN`T LIVE WITHOUT?
My eyelash curler
WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR HANDBAG?
Lipstick and lipgloss. I wish I could answer tampons. They are never there when I need them.
Want to know more? Follow Sofia Fagerlund on Instagram here @fagerlundsofia