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A cut above: José for Hair begins a new chapter

After an extraordinary 55 years running his salon on Kingsway, José Izquierdo can justifiably lay claim to having trained half the hairdressers in Altrincham.  

José Izquierdo with his daughter Lisa, the new owner of José for Hair

He’s the man Ken Dodd would call whenever his famously wild hair needed taming.

He’s also the man who, after an extraordinary 55 years running his salon on Kingsway, can justifiably lay claim to having trained half the hairdressers in Altrincham.  

But after hanging up his clippers for the last time in October 2022, José Izquierdo has watched with pride as his life’s work at José for Hair has been gradually transitioned to a new team.

What has made the handover so seamless, however, is that the new team is headed up by his eldest daughter, Lisa, who herself has worked at the salon for all of 27 years.

Lisa in action at José for Hair

“I love hairdressing so I miss doing it but you have to realise there's a time for everything,” José, who turned 80 in March, told us.

Arriving in England from Valencia as a 19-year-old in 1962, José tried working first in an office and then a restaurant before drawing inspiration from his sister Isobel and turning his hand to hairdressing.

With his restaurant shifts not starting until 4pm, he signed up to a hairdressing course and learned his new craft from 9am to 2pm each day.

His first job came at the Frank Stevenson salon on King Street in Manchester, then the biggest in the city with 45 hairdressers.

When the opportunity came to set up his own salon at 21A Kingsway - a site where there has now been a salon for over a century - he jumped at the chance.

Styling 15 haircuts a day with the skill of a true artist, he developed José for Hair into one of the best-known salons in Altrincham.

As the Stamford Quarter shopping precinct and multi-storey car park was built, and George Street developed into something closer to the high street it is today, José for Hair remained a familiar constant.

And as his reputation grew, so did the business, with José opening further salons in Chester and Warrington.

His favourite customer was legendary comedian Ken Dodd, who would travel to Altrincham to have his unruly barnet, perhaps his most distinguishing feature, styled into place by José right up until his death in 2018.

“I first met him in 1962 and I did his hair for years,” says José. “The last time I went to Knotty Ash, it was just before he died. He was a lovely man.”

The new team at José for Hair (from left): Lisa Izquierdo, Lyndsay Adkins, Lynsey Latham and Billy Brench

Last year, after more than half a century, José decided it was time to take a well-earned rest and sold the business to Lisa.

A former teenage model who was discovered by the Elite model agency before going on to become one of Vivienne Westwood’s favourites, Lisa eventually left the industry completely and sought sanctuary at her father’s salon.

She does not look back on her modelling career fondly.

“It's a horrible industry, the only good thing is you get to travel, but if you have any semblance of a soul, it's not for the faint-hearted,” she says. 

“I came back from that and almost needed to rebuild as a human, and hairdressing seemed to be the perfect option because it's so social, whereas modelling was so lonely. It's also creative and I've always been a creative person.”

Her creativity is also borne out by her passion for art, which has now seen her work exhibited around the world, including New York and Madrid. Her studio, where she can spend months creating a single multi-layered painting, is located on the floor above the salon.

Lisa in her art studio above the salon

An equal passion of hers is the art of hairdressing - and as the owner of José for Hair, assembling the talented hairdressers who now form her team.

“We've got a fantastic team here now,” she says. 

“Lyndsay Adkins is an extremely talented, internationally established hair stylist for over 40 years, and absolutely one of the best in the country. 

“Billy Brench is an internationally acclaimed senior colour technician, having worked in Hong Kong, London and South Manchester. 

“And Lynsey Latham is an incredibly talented colour technician and stylist with over 25 years in the business. She has always worked in the Altrincham area, specialising in advanced colour techniques.” 

Lisa herself is a true all-rounder, established for over 25 years as a colour technician and stylist. She worked for Matrix for seven years as an in-house technical consultant and as well as training under her dad’s guidance, has also worked for Toni and Guy, Andrew Collinge and Wella Academy. She specialises in Keratin therapy and hair extensions. 

"The whole team is so highly skilled and as we’ve all known each other for so long, the salon truly has such a lovely, happy, family atmosphere.” 

A new chapter for José for Hair begins, but the same ingredients that made it such a favourite for Altrincham people are very much still in place.

José for Hair, 21A Kingsway, Altrincham WA14 1PN. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm. Call 07715 346 116 to book. Follow @joseforhair on Instagram.