A SUPER stylist has recalled a career at the cutting edge as his salon celebrated 40 years in business.
Christopher Boyton went straight into an office job after he leaving school unsure about what he wanted to do for a living.
But he soon swapped suits for scissors, inspired by a hairdresser friend who travelled on the same bus to work every day.
He went on to become one of the first followers of Vidal Sassoon’s pioneering cutting techniques and opened his first salon in Wirral in 1972 – the first in the area to specialise in cutting and blowing.
Mr Boyton, 68, now heads a staff of 24 at two salons in Charing Cross, Birkenhead, and Telegraph Road, Heswall.
Wife Kelly and daughter Cindy, 40, are both hairdressers and son Conran is the latest family member to go into hairdressing.
Mr Boyton, from Oxton, said: “When I was training it was to do hair like Mrs Thatcher and the Queen and then Vidal Sassoon came along. It was a revolution – like punk coming into music. Before Sassoon it was cutting with razors then you would set the hair on rollers and brush it out. His way was to cut a shape into the hair with scissors so it just fell into that style.”
West Derby-born Mr Boyton started his career at famous Liverpool salon Prides and went on to work at another of the city’s big hairdressing names.
But his employment ended abruptly one Christmas when he was fired after voicing his opinions on working conditions.
His first wife had a hairdressing business in Church Road, Tranmere, and the then 29-year-old decided to follow her across the Mersey.
He opened the first Christopher Boyton salon in a former sweet shop on Borough Road, Birkenhead.
He recalled: “When I got the sack I had a pregnant wife and two mortgages but I’m not a worrier.
“At that point I considered myself as a city hairdresser, not as a suburban hairdresser. But I didn’t want to work in any of the hairdressers in Liverpool.
“The first person to make an appointment came in while I was up a ladder working on fitting it out.
“It was a very different type of salon. In those days nobody else did cutting and blowing and it was all dry cutting.”
“At the beginning we didn’t have any competition – even people in Liverpool city centre couldn’t do what I was doing.”
Mr Boyton opened his first Heswall salon in Pensby Road three years later. He also opened a salon with Hoylake, which closed when the Charing Cross business opened in 1984.
The Borough Road salon shut when Mr Boyton realised customers were increasingly making appointments in Charing Cross.
Mr Boyton, who is father to Cindy, 40, Sally, 36 and twin sons Conran and Isaac, 17, from his second marriage, is still available for appointments three days a week.
His current business partner Ron Samuell was his first trainee.
He said: “I’m still working in the salon and some of my customers have been with me for 40 years.
“I’m hoping my son will carry the business on but I’ll never fully retire. I’m just happy to be in this position.”