Lee Stinton moved from Ireland to Key West about a year ago and spends much of his free time swimming at local beaches. LEE STINTON/Contributed

The Alexa device inside the Bobby Shop hair salon and barber shop didn’t immediately recognize Lee Stinton’s song request given his clipped and lyrical Irish brogue. With a teal blue beard, colorful wardrobe and wicked sense of humor, Stinton makes a stylish splash. 

Meet Lee Stinton:

Where are you from? Belfast, Ireland, the land of leprechauns, whiskey — and Guinness. 

What brought you to Key West and when? Good, old-fashioned love. I moved here a year ago after visiting several times.

What’s an only-in-Key-West spectacle you’ve witnessed? A few days ago, I saw a lady strip down on the pier and then skinny dip, middle of the day, at Higgs Beach. 

What’s one thing you wish people would do before they come in for a haircut? In my 22 years, I’ve never really wished people would do anything special. I’m very chill.

How do you talk people out of a really bad hair idea? Honesty! It’s all about hair types and face shapes. I try to set realistic goals without compromising hair health and suitability.

Hairdressers, like bartenders, often take on the role of therapist. Ever had a client reveal something juicy – or disturbing? Of course! But a good stylist never tells.

What are some of the most common causes of a bad hair day? Lack of conditioner. Hydrated hair will look good. But a bad haircut or one that goes against your natural hair type, will give you problems.

What’s your go-to tip for preventing them? Or disguising them (when we don’t have time to reshower & start over)? Don’t be afraid to play with upstyling or plaiting if your hair is long. A silk pillow is great for both skin and hair.  If all else fails, come see me for a blowout.

Given the pandemic shutdown and tight budgets, how badly overdue have some of your clients been? I haven’t seen some people since March. I know coloring your own hair seems like a great way to save money, but I’ve also done quite a few colour corrections, which ultimately cost more.

Any juicy bits about celebrity clients? I’ve had a wonderful career for which I’m very thankful. I know many juicy celeb secrets, but can’t tell you who secretly wears wigs and are very difficult.

You were a huge deal in Ireland. Brag a bit. Thank you. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve won British Hairdresser of the Year awards, Shaz Awards for the make-up and hair industry, the L’Oréal colour trophy and was named Ireland’s Most Stylish Man. I’ve also worked at London Fashion Week and Paris.

What are most people doing wrong in their daily hair routine? Not using the right conditioner for their hair type. Conditioners with protein are for severely damaged hair and will cause a build-up of keratin, which can make it coarse. 

Drink of choice? Used to be whiskey, now it’s a green juice. My, how times have changed.

Most essential hair products? Dry shampoo, conditioner. The Kevin Murphy line of hair care is probably one of the best I have ever used. 

What’s the strangest thing anyone has ever said while in your chair? Back in Ireland, I had a lady come in with handwritten instructions, a measuring tape for length and a picture of an Afghan hound dog as a reference. At least she was prepared.

Pet peeve behavior that people do while leaning back over the shampoo sink or in the chair? Moving their head without warning. Hair-cutting is all about body position and symmetry. It’s so important to sit straight and with your shoulders back.

What outdoor spot in Key West do you visit most often? I love to swim off Higgs Beach once a day. The sea is good for the soul. It cleanses your aura.

Do you have a specialty or favorite thing to do in hairstyling? I am first and foremost a bespoke, or custom, hair cutter. I’m also a colour specialist. On the fashion side, I love to set my creative side loose and create a fantasy. 

What do you consider the most classic hairstyle? The bob is without a doubt the most timeless hairstyle, and it can be adjusted to suit most face types. 

What’s something that surprised you about Key West, its people, local customs or natural environment when you became a local versus a visitor? The complete sense of community is remarkable. Everyone helps each other.

Join Our Blast – Keys News Right to Your INBOX