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Guest Blog: Coloring Hair With Two Schools of Thought

As our world gets smaller and ideas seem to get bigger, people often end up trying to figure out what is right — what is the right thought process or idea? Because there are so many ideas out there, we seem to end up picking one way over the other. We see this in politics — when someone picks one side for themselves, their ideas often align even stronger down the line as time goes on, and they soon come to believe that one way is more right than the other.  

Many of you may know that I recently rejoined the Cutler team as Director of Education, working with the teams at the two Manhattan locations and the one in Brooklyn. Now, as I have been working with the team, Rodney Cutler has invited me to spend some of my time when I’m in NYC with the Licari Cutler team, including getting to hang out with Louis Licari.

My personal history with Louis started in 1988 when I worked for Clairol and Logics as a technical specialist in NYC and Louis was the colorist in New York, a Clairol spokesperson, and arguably the most important colorist at that time. New York was the place to be. Louis, at the time, was pioneering hair color with his signature blondes, brunettes and redheads, and his signature highlighting tool, the plastic knife. Louis’ highlights have been worn by women around the world and his technique of applying the lightener with a plastic knife and processing just to the peak of perfection, without the need for glaze, was revolutionary.

What Louis revolutionized at a time when highlights were still being processed under a hot dryer on hair that had typically been pulled through a cap and had powdered lightener with 40 volume on it, was control. Instead of over processing the lightener and then relying on the bad toners that were available at the time to put color back, Louis used foil, precision and control to create beautiful highlights without the need for a glaze. Because of the amazing beauty Louis creates with his signature approach, he has been the king of New York hair color for a long time, and still changes lives everyday at his salon and on the Today Show regularly.

If there is a legacy of some of the ideas I have about hair color, it can be most obviously found in the ARROJO and Cutler teams where I was the Color Director in the late 90s and early 2000s. I am a glazing, and even sometimes mini-lifting, colorist. My pedigree stems from Beth Minardi, from both Logics and also Redken, where she pioneered hair color technology, showing what demi-permanents that were acidic could do, combining both technique and technology. What was important about the tribe I came from was we weren't relying on technology as a crutch to hide bad technique. Instead, we were using technology to take techniques to new places.  

So, now I have two schools of thought in one place: Licari Cutler. As I sat there in our first training, I thought, “How can I make these two thought processes a Korean taco?” If you have never had a Korean taco, how about chocolate and peanut butter? Two great things that are even better together! I realized I’m thinking about this all wrong — both of these ideas are different schools of thought/different tribes, and combining them doesn’t make either one better. Then, the question arises, which is the right way, or, why do they do that that way? That’s when it hit me. We kept talking about what they do or how they were doing it, what we were missing was the “why!” Why were they not glazing, or why were they glazing? Once we got to the why, it seemed to make more sense.

So now my goal is to make a kosher color team. Even though I am not kosher, as I got older I found out that there was a really good reason thousands of years ago to keep dairy and meat off the same plate, and animals that don’t chew their cud or live at the bottom of the ocean weren’t always heathy choices to eat either. Yes, things have changed and I do eat all those things. But, if I’m ever in a country where I’m worried about the food I order being kosher, it’s not that I’m trying to be right, but because I know why kosher food is kosher — this is probably the best choice now. Creating a color team that already has the legacy that the Louis Licari and Cutler team bring will be a fun way to create a whole new, even more powerful and fearless team. One that knows why we are doing it that way, with a deep understanding of the thought process and steps behind the technique or approach, and isn’t worried about if it’s the “right” way. When you think about it, in art and fashion, is there a “right” way or look?  




Image courtesy of Glow Communications