Editor's Picks: Genius Products and Ideas That Are Impacting Your Business

The word genius  has Latin roots—originally, it was used to describe an “attendant spirit present from one’s birth.” Over the centuries the word became associated with exceptional creative or intellectual powers, while today we might use it as an adjective—“That was a genius marketing ploy.” While identifying genius is a subjective exercise at best, our editors decided to give it a go and create a list of genius (or ingenious as the case may be) products and ideas that are impacting how you do business, while identifying five creative geniuses at work today whose art challenges the status quo and transcends notions of time and place.

Oribe
The 1990s were good to Oribe, who made headlines by creating hairstyles for Karl Lagerfeld that garnered as much attention as the clothing, and collaborating with Versace to create powerful imagery that is now iconic. In 1992, the Metropolitan Museum of Art asked him to design hairpieces from raffia and papier-maché for the reopening of the Costume Institute galleries. After Diana Ross taught him how to properly secure one, he brought back the wig, made wild colors en vogue, and started the trend back to roller sets. By 1997, he was working with Jennifer Lopez as her star ascended, and in 2002 took a risk by sending her to the Oscars in what he called “over-the-top, sexy, 60’s fashion scary hair.” Brad Johns, who was Oribe’s Color Director from 1990 to 1995, calls him a maverick, an apt description since Oribe has always been someone who refuses to play by the rules.
Eugene Souleiman, Global Creative Director of Care & Styling, Wella
Interview magazine called him “one of the most inventive stylists in the world of hair” and described his backcombed bobs and disheveled buns as “works of art.” Like other creative geniuses on our list, Souleiman has worked with a range of fashion designers, as well as some of the best photographers in the world. More than a decade ago he collaborated with Dinos and Jake Chapman, creating the hairstyles for an elaborate life-size chess set shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London. What sets him apart? An endless stream of ideas and constant experimentation.
CND Vinylux
CND Vinylux is a breakthrough polish that delivers week-long wear without chipping and without a base coat. Natural light activates the patent-pending ProLight Technology (no lamps required). And while ordinary polishes break down over time, Vinylux actually becomes more durable. What’s more, the two-step system dries to a flawless finish in just two minutes flat.
Cordless Flat Irons
Cordless flat irons easily fall into the “Why didn’t I think of that?” category. Just as cordless phones made our lives easier, allowing for greater mobility, cordless flat irons spell freedom for stylists who had previously been tethered to a wall outlet. The Paul Mitchell Cordless Flat Iron, Amika Movos Wireless Styler and CHI Escape Professional Cordless Styling Iron let stylists work on location, on-set at photo shoots or simply walk to another styling station—all without dragging a cord along with them.
The Reinvention of Dry Shampoo
The concept of dry shampoo has been around for a while, but the latest iteration behaves more like a styling product, adding texture and grip rather than ridding the scalp and hair of oil. Oribe was a pioneer in this category. His Dry Texturizing Spray gives both dirty and clean hair gorgeous texture and hold without any powdery residue.
Bond Builders
After years of research, the country’s leading chemists have been able to create formulations that link hair bonds together, drastically reducing breakage during the coloring process. Olaplex was first to market, but it’s not the only game in town anymore. New hair-strengthening treatments like ColorpHlex, Brazilian Bond Builder and VitalShot from Keratin Complex enable colorists to drastically alter the color of a client’s hair without compromising the hair’s integrity.
Joyride
Any hairdresser worth his salt knows that hair is easier to style when it’s slightly dirty, which is the whole idea behind Joyride Texturizing Powder Balm. The game-changing product from TIGI Bed Head took three years to perfect with input from more than a hundred hairdressers. The first powder primer for hair, Joyride offers endless styling opportunities. Use it on damp hair to create a non-slip base for cocktailing with other styling products or on dry hair to add definition.
Bb. Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil
This first-of-its-kind frizz-fighting hybrid provides the hold of a gel with the hydration of an oil, both of which are essential for glossy, elongated curls. It is the hero of Bumble and bumble’s newest collection called Bb. Curl, which was created to address and enhance every type of curl on the texture spectrum.
Eyelash Extensions
False eyelashes that came in strips became enormously popular in the 1960s—thank Twiggy, the British supermodel known to wear three pairs at once. Still, the glue was messy, and the results were only temporary, but now there’s something infinitely better on the market: eyelash extensions that last roughly 60 to 90 days. Lash services start at around $200, and advanced training is required. Still, they’re in demand, so much so that we’ve observed a proliferation of eyelash extension studios around the country. Lash services can be a lucrative source of income for salons and spas as well. The good news: The trend shows no signs of peaking just yet.
Antoinette Beenders, Vice President of Creative and Global Creative Director, Aveda
She is one of the few women to break the glass ceiling in a field that’s literally dominated by men, and she makes it all look so easy. Humble and self-effacing, she outdoes herself with every collection she creates, whether the setting is a Minnesota farm (Heart Lands) or she’s bringing Renaissance paintings to life (Sublime Spirit). Named British Hairdresser of the Year in 2004, she is so nonplussed by celebrity that early in her career when she was summoned to George Harrison’s home to cut his hair, she had no idea that he had been a Beatle.
DevaFuser
When DevaCurl launched its ingeniously designed DevaFuser, curly haired women collectively rejoiced. The diffuser’s ergonomic fingers reach into curls and gently dry hair from the inside out. By creating a new diffuser shape, airflow finally reached the mid-section of hair, adding volume and lift without frizz.
Color Pigment Reducer
Every colorist has had at least one client complain that her hair color turned out a lot darker than she anticipated, but there wasn’t much you could do about it except suggest that she shampoo with something harsh like Pert Plus until the color faded. CPR Color Pigment Reducer from Malibu C made our list of genius products because the activated crystals remove up to three levels of pigment in just 15 minutes and will make you look like a miracle worker.
Color Pigment Reducer
Every colorist has had at least one client complain that her hair color turned out a lot darker than she anticipated, but there wasn’t much you could do about it except suggest that she shampoo with something harsh like Pert Plus until the color faded. CPR Color Pigment Reducer from Malibu C made our list of genius products because the activated crystals remove up to three levels of pigment in just 15 minutes and will make you look like a miracle worker.
Brow Bars
Statement brows—think model and actress Cara Delevingne—have fueled an interest in bold, beautiful brows that require professional shaping and products as diverse as tinted brow gels, brow powders, pencils, stencils, volumizing fibers and serums that claim to pump up the volume when brows have been over-tweezed. In short, brows have become big business. With brow bars popping up everywhere—Benefit has “brow bars” at Ulta and Macy’s, and you’ll find Shapes Brow Bars at a mall near you—it might be time to get in on the action. New York City’s Boom Boom Brow Bar, one of the first to capitalize on the trend, offers a complete line of brow products and advice on how to set up a brow bar in an underutilized area of your salon where you can offer everything from brow shaping to tinting to brow extensions (yes, they’re becoming a trend, too).
Brow Bars
Statement brows—think model and actress Cara Delevingne—have fueled an interest in bold, beautiful brows that require professional shaping and products as diverse as tinted brow gels, brow powders, pencils, stencils, volumizing fibers and serums that claim to pump up the volume when brows have been over-tweezed. In short, brows have become big business. With brow bars popping up everywhere—Benefit has “brow bars” at Ulta and Macy’s, and you’ll find Shapes Brow Bars at a mall near you—it might be time to get in on the action. New York City’s Boom Boom Brow Bar, one of the first to capitalize on the trend, offers a complete line of brow products and advice on how to set up a brow bar in an underutilized area of your salon where you can offer everything from brow shaping to tinting to brow extensions (yes, they’re becoming a trend, too).
Pro Fiber Revive Conditioner
L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber is a revolutionary, long-lasting hair care system for all levels of damage—dryness, split ends, fading color, dull-looking hair. Just as there are three different levels of hair damage, there are also three different lines of products: Rectify, Restore and Reconstruct. Thanks to Aptyl 100, a breakthrough in technology with 15 years of research behind it and 15 patents pending, the complex can be reactivated for up to four washes and recharged at home for up to six weeks.
Pro Fiber Revive Conditioner
L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber is a revolutionary, long-lasting hair care system for all levels of damage—dryness, split ends, fading color, dull-looking hair. Just as there are three different levels of hair damage, there are also three different lines of products: Rectify, Restore and Reconstruct. Thanks to Aptyl 100, a breakthrough in technology with 15 years of research behind it and 15 patents pending, the complex can be reactivated for up to four washes and recharged at home for up to six weeks.
Bad
Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste is 100 percent badass. Did we just say that? Okay, we said that. Here’s the thing: Badlands is one part dry shampoo, one part styling paste, and it feels like nothing else you’ve ever tried. Go on, dip your finger into the jar. It’s kind of dry, cool to the touch, right? May
landsbe it’s the volcanic ash from Hawaii that naturally cleans and balances the scalp.
Badlands
Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste is 100 percent badass. Did we just say that? Okay, we said that. Here’s the thing: Badlands is one part dry shampoo, one part styling paste, and it feels like nothing else you’ve ever tried. Go on, dip your finger into the jar. It’s kind of dry, cool to the touch, right? Maybe it’s the volcanic ash from Hawaii that naturally cleans and balances the scalp.
The Wet Brush
It’s been called the best detangling brush ever. It comes in an array of bright colors and glides through wet hair with nary a snag. The magic is in the specially formulated bristles that are flexible on one stroke and firm on the next. The adaptive flexibility eliminates all tugging, tearing, pulling and ripping.
Oil Boom
It’s fair to say that Moroccanoil started an oil boom when it introduced its line of argan oil-infused products in 2006. Beauty brands, such as Agadir, Healthy Sexy Hair and Redken followed suit, creating innovative shampoos, conditioners and styling products formulated with the healing oil. Meanwhile, Matrix has introduced Oil Wonders, a complete oil-care range that uses exotic ingredients, including Egyptian hibiscus oil and Indian amla oil, while Mythic Oil from L’Oréal Professionnel is infused with a blend of lightly scented essential oils. With the beautifying results only getting better, we hardly see an end to the oil boom.
Howard McLaren
Howard McLaren cut his teeth at Bumble and bumble where he worked on educational films and product design. While at Bumble, he and his brother Raymond used to shoot these little amateur films that had nothing to do with hairdressing and were absolutely brilliant. One, which sadly has gone missing, was called Second-Hand Smoke Serial Killers—the plot consisted of a man smoking cigarettes one after another in rapid succession and blowing the smoke in someone else’s face. There is little doubt that it would be a YouTube sensation today. As one of the founders of R+Co, McLaren shoots photography for the packaging, handpicking designers and writers, which is as it should be.
Anthony Mascolo, TIGI International Creative Director
The award-winning hairdresser—he was named British Hairdresser of the Year three times—lists film, art, fashion, music and the street as his influences and claims that some of his best ideas come from the raw inspiration of young people. By 1980 he began photographing his own work, convinced that other photographers weren’t seeing what he was seeing. Both a gifted hair cutter and an incredible image maker, Mascolo has always pushed the envelope. At TIGI World Release in Las Vegas last July, he shaved a model’s head onstage after executing a perfect undercut. “She’s beautiful enough to pull it off,” he said to the awestruck crowd. He was right.
Anthony Mascolo, TIGI International Creative Director
The award-winning hairdresser—he was named British Hairdresser of the Year three times—lists film, art, fashion, music and the street as his influences and claims that some of his best ideas come from the raw inspiration of young people. By 1980 he began photographing his own work, convinced that other photographers weren’t seeing what he was seeing. Both a gifted hair cutter and an incredible image maker, Mascolo has always pushed the envelope. At TIGI World Release in Las Vegas last July, he shaved a model’s head onstage after executing a perfect undercut. “She’s beautiful enough to pull it off,” he said to the awestruck crowd. He was right.

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