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Five minutes with: Lance Blanchette

By Milly Nolan

Joico International Artist and co-owner of The Lounge Hair Salon, Lance Blanchette chats to MiNDFOOD.

In Australia to create and style the hair direction for the Nicola Finetti Spring/Summer 2009/10 show at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, MiNDFOOD caught up with Lance Blanchette, hair guru, Joico International Artist and co-owner of The Lounge Hair Salon.

You used to be in banking – a very different career from hairdressing.

You know what? I’ve always said I don’t really find it that much different because I’m still dealing with people. I’m still taking people’s dreams and ideas from their mind and instead of putting it in their pocket book, I’m putting it on their head.

How long have you been hairdressing?

I think it’s about 13 years now.

What do you specialise in?

I hook into a little bit of everything. I colour and cut, do motivational speaking, and things like fashion week or other shows. I really have a good cross-pollination of doing it all but I haven’t found out what I like the best yet. I’m still kind of just taking it as it comes.

Do you have much say in the development of the Joico products?

Yeah, sometimes. There are a couple of great people that are working in LA right now that request a lot of feedback [about the Joico products]. We have a new line called Age Defy which actually came out of a game.

We were down in LA for training and one of the games we played was “if you could develop any hair care product, what would it be.” And so we all came up with these ideas about what we thought would be good and one of the groups said “hey what about something that is anti-ageing” and that led to the product line.

It’s funny you say that as I’ve noticed a lot of shampoos and conditioners to do with the age of your hair are starting to saturate the market. Up until now I’ve never thought about how your hair ages.

Well we all spend an awful lot of money on stuff that screams “keep me young” and I guess an anti-ageing hair line was the next thing on the list.

What’s great about the Age Defy range is that it addresses peoples concerns like “my hairs not as shiny as it used to be”, or “my hair is fuzzy and sticks out all over the place and has no control”. The most exciting product in the line, is a serum which actually reverses the greying process and actually starts to re-colour your hair. And this isn’t me just talking crazily, this stuff works.

Do you start to use it when you see grey hairs coming through?

For sure. If you’re going grey then your hair is a prime candidate. We’re also working on something that will put hair back on your head if you are balding.

How would you describe your hairdressing style?

I’m sort of multi-faceted. I used to do a lot of photography when I was a kid and I like black and white photography. I like the contrast, the hard lines, and the masculinity of it. And I’m kind of that character as well. I really like the discipline of “this is the way it’s going to be” with hairdressing. But I also like the freedom of being able to break the rules and let my creativity flow.

Do you prefer to do creative styles?

I hate doing editorial work. All the grey hair on my head is from me doing photo shoots. I really have a hard time being on the other side of the camera – I prefer to be in front of it. For me a photograph has to capture a verb and an essence of what’s going on not just a moment in time. It’s got to have a story that takes you past the picture. And with hair photography you can’t capture that whole story behind the look, you only get a frozen moment.

What international trends are reigning supreme at the moment?

The most recent one that I know inspired many people to jump off their bandwagon was when Posh Spice went for the asymmetrical bob. The last time a following like that ever happened was with Jennifer Aniston when Friends first started. I think it’s really important to understand what trends are happening out there, but to look at the person that’s right in front of you and adapt that trend to that person. It’s a bit like watching a runway show when you see something you like and you think “wow that’s crazy. I could never wear that, but how could I make somebody wear it in a more normal way?”

Surely there are some hairstyles that only suit a certain face shape or hair type?

You get clients that come into the salon brain washed and say “oh I could never wear a fringe or I could never go blonde.” That’s not true. Anybody can wear anything. It’s just a matter of finding the right type of fringe or the right type of blonde that works for you.

Do you think all face shapes suit a fringe, is it just a matter of what style you go for?

Yes, but when you’re working with some extreme face shapes you have to be very careful with what you’re doing, so obviously there are some exceptions. Lets put it this way – not everyone can wear something that is fashionable.

And what about bobs, are they still fashionable?

Oh they’ll never go. They’re a classic shape as is the one length trim. The bob is a shape that will never go anywhere.

How important is the hairdresser in the deciding process?

Ninety per cent of having a good haircut is the consultation. If you don’t like the hairdresser, get the hell out of there. Or, if they don’t like you, get out of there. Angles, shapes and lengths change the proportion of a persons face so much. When you are carving into someone’s hair, it is all about finding the right proportions and fine-tuning the haircut to suit that person.

What look are you loving at the moment?

You know what, I don’t want to answer that because I don’t love anything and I don’t hate anything. I just don’t like to get stuck in a rut. I always say to my clients, “I hope you don’t like it too much because we’re going to change it next time.”

Do this mean you don’t have any pet hates when it comes to hair?

I hate it when hairdressers don’t finish things well and the neckline is untidy. I hate it when the client isn’t happy with the hairstyle but they don’t tell the hairstylist. If you went to a restaurant and spent a $100 on a meal, you’d be sure to tell the waiter if it was terrible. It should be the same with hair.

Do you have a favourite celebrity hairdo?

One person who I love and who really rocks my world is Rihanna. She’s a beautiful woman and she wears anything well. Every time I see her, it’s like “wow”. She really is very bold. The thing that I really like about her is that she just wears her hair the way she wants. She doesn’t follow trends.

What is you favorite Joico product?

The Humidity Blocker from the Joico Design Collection range. It’s a really funky looking line, its sexy, its sassy, it feels good and it works. The thing that is really cool about the Humidity Blocker is how it cuts down my blow dry time when I’m working with clients and their hair doesn’t expand to huge proportions.


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