Education & Events

Meet Leland Joel Olson, October Educator of the Month


Creativity is born from education and trust between the stylist and client. Leland Joel Olson, KEVIN.MURPHY GOLD.KEY Educator and Stylist at Quinn Vise Hair Design, shares his favorite color formulas and how to establish a rapport with educators and customers.
Where’d you get your start?

I got into hair from being around it all day. I’m originally from Canada and got my start in the salon as a receptionist. My background at the Aveda Institute in Victoria, British Colombia, really inspired me. Coming out of hair school, I knew education was going to be the route I wanted to go down and I knew I needed a lot of experience under my belt. If an opportunity knocked on my door, I always took it. You don’t know where each opportunity is going to land. I went from Calgary to Victoria to Toronto doing editorial styling and editorial work with the top colorists in Toronto.

What is your hair-world pet peeve?

Unrealistic expectations. I love the fact that there’s so much education online and a stylist has access to a lot education through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It’s amazing how our industry has evolved, but the downside is our clients are also watching these videos. They’re seeing 15 minute videos when, in reality, the process takes six to 10 hours. It’s a long process—and a very costly process too.

We need to set realistic expectations and have real conversations with our clients. Let’s take aspects of the photo you've brought into me today that you love the most, and personalize it!

Hot Tip: Turn clients’ pictures upside down

Hot Tip: If a client brings in a photo, chances are they’re looking at the face and the hair. Naturally, clients think if their hair looks like that, they‘re going to look like that. Whatever photo they give you, turn it upside down. Because the face doesn’t look right, the focus will be on the hair. By turning it upside down, it’s taking the focus off everything they’re focused on. It works every single time. If you can set up realistic expectations and establish some honesty and trust, your clients are going to love you.

If you could live anywhere in the world and still do hair where would it be?

I would love to live anywhere in Europe doing hair. Europe is so much more fashion-forward and ahead of the times than North America. They do crazy stuff and have crazy ideas. If I had to live anywhere, I’d love to live in Greece because of the weather and London because of fashion.

Favorite or go-to color formula?

I’m a big believer that you can have any hair color you want any time of the year. However, it's all about finding the right shade that works best with your skin tone. Say you want to be blonder in the fall time, you can deepen blondes but you don’t have to entirely change your color!

Beautiful Honey Blonde

KEVIN.MURPHY COLOR.ME 11.3 (ULTRA.PLATINUM.GOLD) + 8.4 (LIGHT.BLONDE.COPPER) + YELLOW.BOOSTER. The grams and formulation for each will depend on the porosity of the hair you are dealing with and your own creativity.

Bronze Chocolate Brunette

The KEVIN.MURPHY COLOR.ME Chocolate series is perfect. It’s not too warm and not too cool. Mixing the Chocolate series with our new Orange Booster gives a bronze-y chocolate. That’s a really popular color. So for example; 6.7 (DARK.BLONDE.CHOCOLATE) + ORANGE.BOOSTER (up to 20%, will deliver a gorgeous, beautiful bronze brunette).

Rose Gold Hair Color

I get asked how to do rose gold a lot! Rose gold hair color is really going to depend on what you want to see. Choosing the correct shade that will support your tone or desired result, will play a huge factor into your clients’ color longevity. Every stylist’s eye is trained differently. Commonly, in rose gold, I see more on the pinky side or copper side. The key to making a rose gold is having that consultation with your client to find what tones in rose gold they love the most. If they want a true rose gold (which has a little bit of red), adding a shade with red like our 6.6 (DARK.BLONDE.RED) or RED.BOOSTER into your formula will make it more of a beautiful pink rose gold. Whereas for a more bronze rose gold, using one of our copper shades like 8.4 (LIGHT.BLONDE.COPPER) or 7.43 (MEDIUM.BLONDE.COPPER.GOLD), will give you a warmer rose gold effect.


Having pictures is always the best way of showing what your thought is and what you see—it helps get the perfect color. I love the clients who are super nit-picky and know exactly what they want. That way, there’s no guessing for me.

A lot of stylists are afraid to say no. If there’s something a client wants that won’t flatter their skin tone, don’t be afraid to give your professional opinion. After all, they are in our chair for a reason. Focusing on what you CAN do rather than what you CAN’T do, will always establish trust with your client. By giving other options, it’s like “Hey, they’ve taken the time to really offer me alternatives that they think will suit me best.” It’s all about gaining trust between the stylist and client. They’ll be more open to creativity later on if you are always giving them the option to try new things from the start.

Congrats, Leland, on being Premier Beauty’s October Educator of the Month! We wish you the best of luck in your career!