Friday, April 8, 2016

Hair Stories with Reto Camichel : Sebastian International Artist

When a person like me who experiments with her hair regularly, gets to meet one of the best international names in the business, you know it is going to be a starstruck moment. Especially when you get to meet the charming Reto Camichel, an International Artist with one of the most loved hair brands in the world, Sebastian! That is exactly what happened and it was a fun and interesting evening where he gave me some interesting insights on himself, his association with Sebastian and advice for my readers and aspiring hair artists.. Keep reading to know his amazing journey which makes for a really interesting read.

So how did you think of becoming a Hair Stylist?
You know it's really interesting because I don't know if I really ever thought about it, it just kind of happened. It's one of those you know, where it kinda found me. I didn't grow up doing hair. I went to school and I did my thing. I grew up in Switzerland and what they do there is all through school on off days, they encourage you to go do job shadowing(internship). I must say my mother, an untrained hair dresser, used to cut the hair of some of the gents in the village. So I would come back from school and there would be a man in the kitchen and my mother would be cutting his hair. So I think maybe that is where it started. In one of my job shadows I decided maybe I should go for hair dressing because I always loved drawing and really did well at art at school and it was one of my favourite subjects, and according to me hair dressing is just another expression of an art form. I love people, that helps. You have to love people. So it just happened! I went for this job shadowing to my mother's hair dresser and I spent about a week in his salon sweeping hair mostly and washing the windows. Ha ha ha! But I just don't know ya, now when I look back, this aspect of making women feel great and the fact that you do that 5-6-7 times a day, you know when you take the gown off and show the client their back, she looks at her hair and touches it, she feels it, that is such an amazing feeling, and I think I was really intrigued by that transformation, the artistry you know that you cut hair and it changes everything! So I would say I was inspired by my mother unconsciously and the salon environment which is quite magical.

How did you choose to be with Sebastian?
This again is interesting. When I did my training, we didn't have Sebastian in our salons and infact we didn't have Sebastian for a really long time. But every time that we went for an event, like a congress or a show, the Sebastian booth always had these whacky people. You know there was something different in the hairstyles they did and something out of the box. It always felt like they were different, like they were these other people. So as soon as I could decide that I could keep Sebastian in my salon, I did and the relationship was formed there. It started with the product and then it kind of engineered backwards to the philosophy, to the artistry and then of course I became one of those other people.

So how long have you been with Sebastian?
Originally about 7 or 8 years ago I started with Sebastian products at my salon. Then about a year later, in the country that I live in which is South Africa, Sebastian were looking to have an ambassador that they would send overseas to check out the new collections, who then would come back and teach in that country for which they chose me for about 3 years. Finally 4 years ago, I put myself out there and auditioned for the International Artistic Team which was a huge challenge, was hectic, we had to go through an assessment week in Vienna, spend a week with the marketing directors, sales people and global directors. We were given challenges because Sebastian told us that "Out of 300 applicants we've taken the top 25 and brought you to Vienna, so we know you can do hair, we've seen that, but now we want to see how do you teach, how do you communicate, you know the other parts of the business" and I made it!!!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Well I would say professionally, the 2 Global Art Directors Michael Polsinelli and Shay Dempsey blow me away every time I meet them. Where do they get this stuff from, the way they think, the way they inspire me to look, the way they inspire me to edit my work, I have learnt so much. They professionally I would say are my gurus. Personally and I think professionally and personally is one, I can't really separate it, but I do photography, I do sculpting, I paint, I get inspired by all sorts of things. But art, being artistic or observing art, it gets me every time.

So what's the purpose of your visit to India this time?
Well a week in Goa! Ha ha ha. Oh my God I am in love! But I was invited by Sebastian India to come and do a training for one of their key salon accounts - JCB. What was really nice was that we could fuse out of 2 or 3 collections what we really wanted to choose and of course I am working with Stan Newton, Creative Director India and I am just having the best time. I mean the standard of hairdressers that I have had the joy to meet so far, unbelievable standards, very high in skill! So I feel my gift that I would like to leave behind or my inspiration that I would like to leave behind, till I come again is that, there is a very interesting reservedness and almost a sense of maybe holding back a bit and I think maybe it's a culture thing, and I just would love to unleash that a little bit, because their hands I must tell you, you ladies are in good hands! But I would love for that artist to speak to you in a different way, to give you options, to give you variety, to give you a sense of self! Maybe bring the person behind that chair into the chair. That's the one thing that I really felt "Wow, I could really maybe add some value to them!"

So what do you think about Indian hair since you have seen Indian hair in your trip this time more closely?
The quality of your hair is off the charts, I mean you have like some of the world's best hair that I have ever seen. It has an attitude, it has life. It might be too wavy for some girls, it might be too thick for some girls, it maybe a bit too fine for some girls, but there is definitely something in the hair. Their is a quality to your hair, the way your hair can fall. My wish is that you should experiment with it a little more because at the end of the day, don't get me wrong when I say this, it's only hair! Maybe you are a bit too possessive about it but it is the most wonderful way to change your image and your look. I mean plastic surgery is much more expensive and it's much more detrimental whereas hair could be such a wonderful tool and it is such a wonderful tool. I love the fact that you have such beautiful long hair. You know when long hair is in good condition, it is one of the most beautiful things ever. But there is one thing that I would love to say is that, "You know what girls, be a little more experimental!"

What are the best hairstyles that you recommend for Indians keeping in mind an urban lifestyle like in the city of Mumbai because you have seen the weather is humid?
I definitely think first off all a lot of moisture control helps a lot so anti-frizz products. Definitely don't go too short with the hair but have some movement, have some texture, create some inner spaces so that there is a bit of movement, because you know a sheet of hair is a sheet of hair. It's a pony or braid or you leave it loose. Add a bit of  movement, some texture, a little bit of jazz and some attitude in it, you know maybe a fringe for a while and then grow it out again, a little bit of colour but definitely stay away from bleach. You have this unbelievable quality of hair that is resistant to lightening and so you might lighten the colour but your hair gets ruined. I know that you don't want to have just dull brown hair but their is a way to lighten your hair and you have to give yourself time to do it. But generally the client doesn't understand this or the stylist doesn't know how to convince them. So that is where my lessons come in wherein I teach the hairstylists to explain, "I am a hair stylist, I know what I am talking about,  girl I can get you there but maybe in 6 months and not by Friday." You can lighten hair beautifully but give it time, treat it in between. Don't bleach it in one day or add too many highlights.

Which is that one Sebastian product that you suggest everyone should have, any hair type, any hair condition, whether coloured or not coloured?
Potion 9 would be that one product. There is Potion 9 for medium to thick textures and Potion 9 Lite for finer textures. It is a wearable treatment, is our hero product and has been phenomenal for the last 20 years if not more and will be for the next 100. Why I say that is because it gives your hair its virginal quality back like before you did anything to your hair and you were a little girl running around. It gives you all those minerals, all those oils back that we lose to pollution and to styling, to heat and you know colour, whatever. So I would say use Potion 9 as a foundation - put it in, massage it through your hair, blow dry/ don't blow dry, flat iron/ don't flat iron, do what you want. If you use a lot of heat, use Trilliant, because you know heat is one of the worst enemies to have and I am not just talking about flat iron or the blow dryer or the curling iron, I am talking about even sunshine - Trilliant is phenomenal. There are hundreds of amazing products, but those 2 I would give to literally every woman I know.

Give me that one tip that would give us a great hair day!
Everyone wants to wake up with great hair, TADA! But you know they don't actually say that your hair is your crowning glory for nothing! On an energetic level, you hair is a manifestation of your ego. When you are feeling a bit sick, or you have the flu or you haven't washed your hair for a few days, the day that you get into the shower after a few days, you feel so much more healthier. All of a sudden you feel like, Oh My God, I feel so much better! That is the proof. So I would say for a good hair day or as a good hair tip, give you hair a great treatment sometimes because healthy hair means you will have a good hair day. So from a feeling and a central point of view, give your hair a great moisturizing treatment every now and then. We look after our skin, we moisturize it, we tone it, use under eye cream all the time but our hair somehow just has to exist, so give it something like a good lunch. From a styling point of view, if you have long hair, sometimes scrape it back into a high high fashion bun, show that face, maybe slap on some more mascara and some good lipstick and go. Sometimes you have to just remove it all and have just this high fashion bun which is so in now.

Tell me one 'Don't' to maintain good hair!
Do not tong or flat iron dirty hair! Because no matter what heat protector you use, even if it is Trilliant, if you hair is not clean and you put heat onto it, the stress you put your hair through is unbelievable. Ideally you should put heat on hair after you have power dried it. Now your hair feels dry to you but there is still a little bit of moisture in it, so when you are going with heat, the moisture can escape without the damage. But now if the hair hasn't been washed for two days, or if you have washed it this morning but been out in a city like Mumbai all day up and down, in and out of cabs, in a lot of dust and then you come back home and go "Oh I have to go out of dinner, let me flat iron it' - DON'T! Rather much tie it up.

Who is that one person whose hair you would love to work on and have not yet worked on?
You know that singer Björk, she's crazy and I would love to do something amazing for one of her productions. I don't want to do JLO's hair or Madonna's hair, I mean I won't say NO, but you know I do that in my salon anyway. That kind of look is commercial, it's high fashion but commercial. But the kind of girl or person who would say create a hair piece, where actually artistically I am totally giving off myself, that would be it. It definitely would be an artistic challenge more than a personality driven challenge.

How would one recognize their talent to be a hair stylist?
First of all, you have to love people. If you are the kind of kid who doodles on the pad next to the phone while speaking with your friends,if you did really well in school in art or if you loved to draw or paint or dance, it means you have that love for art naturally. Even if you have never been exposed to art in a gallery or through classes but have the artistic streak and love to fiddle, that means you could do well in this field.

What is the advice you would give aspiring hair stylists in India?
Educate yourself, work hard, love what you do and give it all that you have!

What an amazing time I had interviewing this man who speaks so passionately from the heart and deals with the whole ideology the way he does. I truly have never come across someone who spoke with so much passion on hair styling! It truly truly was an amazing evening spent with him. :)

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This post was featured by Independent Fashion Bloggers on Links à la Mode, May 12 along with the awesome posts below as part of a round up of the top 20 fashion/beauty related posts for the week! :)

Links à la Mode, May 12
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