Celebrity stylist gives elderly free haircuts in charitable three-way deal

Celebrity hair maestro leads team of young inmates to offer free cuts for elderly people

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 4:02am

It was no ordinary haircut day for the senior citizens of Chai Wan.

Celebrity stylist Kim Robinson, hairdresser to royalty and celebrities, was volunteering his services at the Society for the Aged Elderly Community Centre yesterday, giving free haircuts he would normally have charged thousands of dollars for.

Chan May-lei, 65, the first to receive the star treatment, saw her lifeless, greying elbow-length hair transformed into a vibrant bob cut that made her look 30 years younger.

Robinson's customers are willing to fork out US$1,000 (HK$7,700) for a trim from the Australian-born hair maestro.

Yesterday, his salon staff - young inmates from Cape Collinson Correctional Institution - also chipped in, with Robinson standing by and giving tips as they snipped away.

The stylist, who does not have a university degree and has been in the business since he was 14, thinks his background of growing up as a farm boy before becoming a hairdresser helps him relate to the inmates.

"I'm so successful here, I want to give back," said the 56-year-old. "We can kill two birds with one stone: help elderly people [and] help kids who have gone off the tracks a bit.

"It's really important to give the senior citizens a new haircut before the Lunar New Year."

Robinson said the youngsters' hands-on training was a great way for them to become better members of society.

Eighteen-year-old inmate Kit-chai, not his real name, said: "The techniques can vary … When I trim the back of an old man's hair, I usually trim it horizontally. But Kim taught me to cut diagonally, and it's better because it's more lively and fresh."

Kit-chai, who was sent to the institution for 14 months after he got involved in triad activity, has previously given haircuts to about 40 senior citizens. While the Correctional Services Department has offered free haircuts to senior citizens for a decade, Commissioner of Correctional Services Sin Yat-kin said the inmates cutting the elderly people's hair with Robinson's help was a perfect partnership.

"Through the youngsters' voluntary work, they can better understand the needs of aged people," he said. "We create this platform and atmosphere for the community to know and the elderly to appreciate that there is care in the community," said Society for the Aged vice-chairman Ng Nam. "The elderly can share their experiences and also help guide the young inmates."