How do I look?: Making the cut

Hairdresser Charles Worthington knew he was a fashion victim when, as a teenager, his heart skipped a beat over a pair of loons. Today he advocates healthy living, uses moisturisers and has even been known to have the odd manicure

I don't remember being conscious of my looks when I was very young. Clothes and haircuts were just a part of everyday life, but at 11 or 12 those things became exciting, and I began to spend time looking in the mirror. There's a bit more competition at that age - people are buying the latest trainers, the latest fashion statement - and you become aware of self-image. If you're going out with your mates you want to look the business. When big, clumpy shoes came out - thick wedges with massive great soles - I saved up and took the train to Leeds and bought a pair I'd had my eye on. They cost a fortune, but I absolutely loved those wedges. My mum would say, "Oh, my God, you're not going to wear those!", but she never stopped me. I remember, too, being absolutely desperate for a pair of loons. I'd probably seen bands in them and thought, "I've got to have a pair of those!" My first pair were pale lilac, which was the cool colour of the moment, and they were made of this soft fabric, almost like brushed cotton. I was so proud of them, they were fantastic.

In my teens my hair was very difficult. It got curlier and curlier, until it was more frizzy than curly. I didn't realise there were gels and waxes you could use to control it, but I would save up and invest in a good haircut. I'd go to Sweeney Todd in York, which was the trendy place, and arrive at least 40 minutes early so I could sit and observe, because I was fascinated by that environment. At one time I had my hair down to below my shoulders, but layered through; then I had it very short. It's sort of mousy, and I used to experiment with colours. I'd have red flashes and blond bits, you name it. Now it's salt and pepper underneath. One day I'll just let the grey come through, but for the moment I prefer the look of myself dark.

My father was a civil engineer. I used to help out in school holidays, and I started out training to be an architect. Then, because I had always been very interested in fashion, I decided that was the arena I wanted to get into. I chose hairdressing because hair makes the ultimate fashion statement. It belongs to you, it's something you can change about yourself painlessly. You can't take it on and off as you do clothes, and it says a lot about you.

In my early 20s I would always go with the flow. I wore the things that were in, though they weren't always the best things for me. I didn't look awful in them, but they weren't in my comfort zone. I would say I came into my own in my mid-20s. I'd describe my personal style as fairly streamlined. If I go for really loose, floppy, unstructured clothes, I tend to look scruffy rather than laid-back, so I opt for a slightly sharper image. I wear a lot of black. I have a few brighter things, but they tend to be shirts which I can wear under a dark jacket. Someone once said to me that you wear 20 per cent of your wardrobe 80 per cent of the time, and that's so true. And a client at the salon - a style and colour specialist - said to me, "Charles, always remember, if you put something on and you're just a bit iffy about it, take it off straight away. It will affect your day." I really do believe that. If I put something on and think, "Well, it looks OK," I'll have just an OK day. Far better to take it off and put on something you've worn a hundred times that you know you look good in.

I've got three big wardrobes. I do look after my clothes. The frustration of such a busy life is that I don't actually get to do clothes shopping as often as I'd like, but because I do take care of my clothes, I have a relatively large choice. I love Thierry Mugler, Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier for his quirkiness. Good clothes are worth the money. For instance, Prada trousers are expensive, but I wear them and wear them and wear them to death.

Because I'm often on television it's important for me to stay fit and healthy looking. I don't think I'd be very appealing if I were three stone heavier. I have a personal trainer, Josh Saltzman, three days a week, at 6.30am. And I firmly believe we are what we eat, so I try to fuel my system with very healthy food. I don't smoke, I don't drink during the week, although I do indulge in Champagne at the weekends because nutritionists have said to me, "If you have to drink anything, Champagne is the best."

I have developed a range of skin-care products - men's moisturisers and pre-shave wash - and I do use them. I don't really mind my face ageing, so long as there's a freshness and a sparkle there.

I'll occasionally have a manicure, because, again, my hands are on camera. And shoes are important to me. I almost put my major pointies on this morning. I've got these fantastic pointy boots which are not comfortable to wear, but which I think look fantastic, so I do suffer for fashion, but I thought, "No, I'll have a comfy day today."

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