Late Limerick hairstylist to the stars ‘never forgot his roots’

The late Limerick celebrity hairstylist John Barrett. Photo: Instagram.

TRIBUTES have poured in from far and wide for a Limerick-born celebrity hairstylist who “never forgot his roots”.

John Barrett (66), originally from The Cross, Ardagh, County Limerick, passed away after a short illness with blood cancer.

Born in County Limerick in 1957, the internationally renowned hairstylist was the fifth child of parents John and Philomena, in a large family of 10. As a teenager in the mid-1970s, he moved to London to learn his trade.

Mr Barrett moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s where he made great waves, before returning to work in London for a number of years.

In 1996, Mr Barrett opened his salon at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. He ran the luxury penthouse salon for 20 years before leaving to open The John Barrett Salon on New York City’s 57th Street in 2019.

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The Limerick man was well known for the catchphrase which would encapsulate his work: “It’s not just about the hair, it’s about the care.”

His clientele was a star-studded testament to his talents, and included Princess Diana, Julia Roberts, Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, the Olsen Twins, Martha Stewart, Beyonce, Helena Bonham Carter, Serena Williams, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

In a statement posted to Instagram, staff at The John Barrett Salon said the late hairstylist “lit up any room he walked into with his charm, wit, and candor”.

“His superhuman talent was his ability to make anyone who sat in his chair feel like the most beautiful person in the world.”

Addressing Mr Barrett, the staff wrote: “We will always miss you, love you, and we will carry on in your honor and memory. Thank you for all you have done for us and the beauty industry.”

Limerick Fine Gael councillor Olivia O’Sullivan, who visited Mr Barrett’s Manhattan salon, described him as a “gentleman who never forgot his roots”.

Mr Barrett is survived by his brothers Pat, Mike, Eddie, Joe, Gerry, and sister Kathleen, and a wide circle of friends and admirers.

He is predeceased by parents John and Philomena, brothers Christopher and Jimmy, and sister Peggy.

A memorial service for Mr Barrett in Ireland is to be announced at a later date.