Celebrity hairstylist driven away by St Albans’ high rates and rents

Hairdresser to the stars, Daniel Johnson outside his barber shop in Watford

Hairdresser to the stars, Daniel Johnson outside his barber shop in Watford - Credit: Archant

A CELEBRITY hairstylist who trims the locks of A-listers such as Cheryl Cole has been dissuaded from opening a salon in his hometown of St Albans because of high rates and rent.

Daniel Johnson, affectionately known as “hair guru” to some of Britain’s wealthiest celebrities, has an impressive client list which includes stars from the football pitch and small screen.

The 31-year-old has worked behind the scenes at The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, GMTV and, apparently, Wayne Rooney scores a goal whenever he cuts his hair.

But when the freelance hairstylist wanted to return to his St Albans roots after years of roving, he quickly became “frustrated” with the blockade of high costs.

And unfortunately St Albans’ loss has become Watford’s gain as Daniel has recently opened the doors of his salon there, instead of his hometown.

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A wall inside his Queens Road premises shows his brush with fame as photo after photo depicts him with a veritable who’s who in British society.

Daniel admits it’s a far cry from his schoolboy days when he got expelled from several schools such as Beaumont and Francis Bacon and he became a father at the age of 14. He said: “I was a naughty kid. I went to four or five schools in St Albans.

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“Everyone doubted me because I dropped out. When everyone was running around playing football, I was changing dirty nappies.”

After leaving secondary school with no qualifications, he put his budding hairdressing skills to work at Dee’s Cuts near St Albans’ railway bridge, but realised he needed to move into bigger premises as there were complaints from the station about long queues.

Daniel used his entire savings – the princely sum of £86 – to set up a salon in a former shoe shop in Watford at the age of 18.

He said: “By the end of that month, I had made £6,000. By the age of 24 I had set up three shops.”

His reputation as a hairdresser continued to grow, and Daniel was soon styling the hair of champion footballers, such as Ashley Cole and other “Alpha males” as he calls them.

Daniel said: “I sold up and started working freelance with The X Factor, OK and Hello magazines – I went from nothing to being in demand.

“I’m extremely blessed with my hands. In the media, I’m described as having magical hands.

“I’ve cut Wayne Rooney’s hair loads of times, and every time I cut his hair, he scores.

“In regards to football, it’s gone crazy. I flew to Poland last year where I trimmed all the England squad and all the staff.”

Although he aims to expand into New York – he flies there shortly to style singer Chris Brown’s hair – he admitted he would still like to set up a salon in his hometown.

Daniel explained: “I was looking at shops in St Albans recently but nothing seemed to be in the right spot for me, and prices are extortionate.

“But I would like to set up a salon there. I’m from St Albans, and I never forget my roots.”

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