Scots hairdressing 'legend and pioneer' Rita Rusk dies age 75

Rusk was the first woman and first Scot to win British Hairdresser of the Year in 1987.

Tributes paid to Scots hairdressing ‘legend’ Rita Rusk following death at age 75 Creative Commons CC by NC

Tributes have been paid following the death of Scots hairdressing “pioneer” Rita Rusk at age 75.

The stylist, who has worked for celebrities including the Duchess of Kent and actress Greta Scacchi, has been remembered for her innovative work by the industry’s top professionals.

Dubbed Scotland’s first lady of hairdressing, Rita was the first female, and the only Scot, to be crowned British Hairdresser of the Year alongside ex-husband Irvine Rusk.

The pair opened their first salon in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire in the 1970s before expanding to Glasgow.

The couple, who had one son, James, travelled the world to present shows and seminars in Europe, the US and Japan throughout the 70s.

Rita continued to expand the brand following the couple’s split in the 1980s.

The Rita Rusk International salon released a statement confirming her death on Thursday morning.

A spoksperson for the Fellowship of British Hairdressing said: “It is with sadness we hear of the passing of Scottish hairdressing legend Rita Rusk.

“A former British Hairdresser of the Year, Rita was a true innovator in the British hairdressing industry. We send our love and thoughts to her family at this time.”

Award-winning Glasgow haidresser Taylor Ferguson offered his condolences to Rita’s family.

Hairdresser Alan Edwards, who owns Alan Edwards Salon in Glasgow’s Merchant City, said: “We are so sorry to hear the passing of one of the greatest female hairdressers in our industry.

“Rita Rusk was a hairdressing pioneer in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.

“Rita was the first female, and the only Scot, to be crowned British Hairdresser of the Year alongside Irvine Rusk. Together they challenged the status quo in hair. Innovating, designing, creating and inventing were only a few of the gifts Rita gave to our industry.

“I (Alan) had the great pleasure of working with the Rusks for ten years and will be forever grateful for the opportunity and skills I learnt from them. So many great hairdressers have come out of the fantastic Rusk stable and have passed on so much creativity and knowledge to many other hairdressers.

“Our industry was very blessed to have had such an incredible hairdresser leave her mark.

“Rita lived a life and left a legacy.”

Fellow hairdresser Taylor Ferguson said: “We’re sad to hear of the news of hairdresser Rita Rusk’s death. Anne and I were like Rita and her ex husband Irvine as we all hailed from Lanarkshire, headed to Glasgow to launch salons and then develop our careers.

“Our paths crossed many, many times over the decades – at exhibitions, hair displays and competitions. We were friendly and respectful rivals in a tough market. Rita was always 100% focused and a highly motivated stylist.

“The last time we met Rita was at a PR gathering in Glasgow and we all chatted about the hairdressing world and shared our views. Our sympathy goes to her son James and his family.”

More on