How education works in the world of hairdressing with Bernie Koelbl (WIP) 1

How education works in the world of hairdressing.

I had a call with Bernhard Koelbl (Bernie) from Henkel, who has pretty much covered every discipline going in the hairdressing sector, but his core focus and passion has always been education.

Here’s a timeline of Bernie’s career to-date:

  • He started as a hairdresser in a salon, where he was inspired by educational seminars and live shows
  • Ambitious to extend his knowledge and push the boundaries, he wanted to delve into what was behind the craft
  • Coincidentally, he met a trainer in the hair industry who he was able to travel with and experience the role first-hand
  • It was then he applied for a role at Schwarzkopf as a field-based trainer in Austria
  • Curious about the product, he moved into product development as an expert for HIT (hairdresser insights and training) where he worked closely with R&D on the ingredients and how they’re formulated
  • He started to miss working with hairdressers and being close to the market, so moved to London to work for Unilever, who had recently acquired TIGI (created by Toni & Guy) - the brand he was responsible for in terms of education
  • He decided he wanted to move back to Germany, despite his love of brit pop culture, so he moved to Berlin and continued the TIGI education role from there
  • Then, an International Marketing opportunity came up at Schwarzkopf, so he applied to be part of the brand team for the third biggest brand, OSIS.
  • Nowadays he is back in his educational role, where he seems most comfortable being close to hairdressers. He is responsible for education and innovation, looking after Schwarzkopf professionals’ brands, Authentic Beauty Concept, and other disruptive lifestyle brands outside of the ‘traditional’ Schwarzkopf brands.


Do you consider yourself an innovative, forward-thinking person?

I hope so. That’s what keeps me going. This industry is close to fashion and is always looking to the latest trends. Even in terms of hair technology, Henkel has scientists researching formulas up to 10 years ahead, and continuously tries to marry their research up with trends to create new products. I love being around this and am always keen to push the boundaries.


Given his passion and experience, I wanted to find out what works best in terms of education for hairdressers right now!


What kind of education works and where do you see it going in the future, especially after the pandemic?

Bernie told me that education in the professional hair industry is clearly becoming more digital, but hairdressers are social and creative and like to collaborate.

He says the face-to-face learning will never be erased, but we need to ensure attractive entry points to fundamental digital education if the industry is to move to the next level.

Despite the hair industry being forward-thinking in terms of trends and innovative hair techniques, they’re not so forward-thinking when it comes to digital media.

Mobile phone taking picture of people


That being said, the pandemic accelerated the shift towards digital and it showed how willing hairdressers are to immerse themselves into this technology.

During lockdown we educated 30,000 hairdressers across Europe using a Webinar format.

Bernie said they had never seen numbers like this before. It shows there is huge interest in digital learning.

Noteworthy success stories

Hairdressers United Digital Charity Festival

Schwarzkopf also held their first Hairdressers United Digital Charity Festival on Instagram during lockdown, which got them a Guinness World Record title for ‘the longest online hair education seminar streamed over the internet’.

They had creative artists streaming a variety of Look and Learn seminars from 19 countries in 9 languages. Their internal goal was to hit 24-hours, but they ended up going for 27 hours and 34 minutes!

Digital Global Masters Event

Another digital success story is the first ever "Digital Global Masters Event". To overcome travelling restrictions in COVID times, Schwarzkopf Professional's world renowned trend collection "Essential Looks" was released online. The participants were not only introduced to the beautiful trending looks, but they also received hands-on demonstrations by the Global Ambassador Team.


Digital channels and educational platforms

I asked Bernie about the digital channels and platforms used by hairdressers and brands during lockdown. Bernie pulled out two for me, and talked about the next step for Schwarzkopf, being a ‘Seminar in a Box’ approach.

  • Webinars: using platforms like the Schwarzkopf Professional ASK eAcademy and virtual classrooms on Microsoft Teams, engaging videos and PowerPoint presentations are employed to focus on the theory of hair colouring, as well as the ingredients of products. Latest innovations and salon-friendly service techniques are also communicated in this format.
  • Social media: where influencers and relevant, digital savvy hairdressers do up close and personal live look and learn sessions.

Next step

  • Seminar in a Box: a look and learn webinar format with a personal touch. Clients receive a box with the product, tools and educational literature inside it, as well as a login code to a webinar, which demonstrates the look on a model.


He told me that the social media live demonstrations work best to engage people at that moment in time, and the webinars are best suited to theoretical learning.

But he is keen to find something to combine traditional face-to-face learning with fundamental digital education. The Seminar in a Box goes some way to doing this, but he thinks there is more opportunity for innovation out there.

How important is it to visualise the inner workings of the hair?

Part of the educational journey includes visualising the inner workings of the hair. I asked Bernie what he thinks is the best way to visualise how colour, or other hair products affect the hair.


Visualisation of the inner-workings of hair is so important for hairdressers, stylists and consumers alike.


He told me that hairdressers and stylists are creative people who tend to be visual learners, which means video and illustrations work best. And with consumers having access to more information, it's important to answer any questions they might have.

Hair products are where science meets beauty. There is a lot of active chemistry in hair products and a lot of things happen “beyond the eye”, inside the hair shaft - Bernie estimates about 75%.


It is the brand’s responsibility to create a beautiful story to communicate the science within the product. The story should be holistic and easy for the end-user to understand.


We supported Bernie with this kind of content in the past, so he is familiar with our ability to create complex, picture-perfect inner hair structures and show the technology coming to life, as we did in this new product launch for Fibre Clinix.

How does Prospekt Agency support you?

When I asked Bernie about how we support him, he reeled off quite a big list and admitted he couldn’t remember all the times we helped him out.

It’s definitely not all 3D, but Bernie shares his appreciation of the benefits of 3D for.


He says OSIS was his first project with us. He was extremely happy with the brand consistency he got across all his communication touchpoints, because of having the packshots rendered in 3D.

We were also able to support him with the Relaunch of Session Label, and his favourite project: Powder Cloud.

Product Pre-Visualisation

Powder Cloud was a brand-new product category, so Bernie needed to get country partners onboard ahead of the official launch.

We used the technical specs available to us, as well as a lot of back and forth with R&D, to create the packaging and the powder cloud particles to precision size in 3D. We were able to create a pre-launch campaign for Bernie to show off this innovative new product in the best light.

He explained to me that for game changing technology where there is no comparison, product visualisation is hugely important to assist the General Managers in their decision-making role.

If they struggle to understand the technology or product, they’re less likely to recognise the demand potential and impact it could have in their market.



We worked with Bernie on several video tutorials and post-production projects, creating step-by-step tutorials, combining real footage with 3D animation and graphics.

What do you like about Prospekt Agency and what keeps you coming back?


I always come to Prospekt when I need attention to detail and an agency who will go beyond the ordinary. They are super reliable and always go the extra mile.

Bernie says not many agencies challenge him on his approach, but he appreciates how we always try to push the boundaries and discover new ways of doing things together.

We don’t like standing still, and we’re glad to hear that’s been noticed. Thanks for talking to us Bernie!



1 comment

Fabulous article! Bernie is a consummate professional who knows what he wants but isn’t afraid to seek out help in areas where he needs other skills sets. Alongside that he’s just an all round good guy, and great fun to be around.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *