John Simpson and Christopher Dove, founders of CoCre8, provide inventive cut, color and styling education to beauty professionals at trade shows and distributor events around the country, as well as at the CoCrea8 Academy in Arlington, TX. Recently the dynamic duo, industry icons in their own right, collaborated with LaRu by SureTint Technologies and Keratin Complex to present their Reflections runway show and education classroom at ISSE in Long Beach.
Drawing inspiration from shapes and colors that were popular in past decades, the two updated them to reflect current hair trends and colors. “Each of us had different ways of looking at hair color and design when we first met,” says Dove, “but our personal style is more of a blend now. This show was our way of reflecting upon how we’ve evolved as artists.”
Unlike Simpson, who never shied away from using vivid shades of green or yellow, Dove was not a fan until Simpson showed him how to incorporate those more daring shades into his hair color palette. At ISSE, one of Dove’s models walked the runway in hair that was comprised of different shades of turquoise and green by Keratin Complex Graffitti Glam’s hair color range. Talk about an evolution.
“Green and yellow have always been my go-to’s,” says Simpson. “I remember when hairdressers would do anything to keep hair from turning green. Now hair can’t be green enough!”
What both Simpson and Dove have discovered is that unexpected color combinations allow you to turn runway into reality. “Not only can you use these shades to make a fashion statement, but you can also use them as corrective tools, say, using pistachio green, which can be very beautiful in and of itself, as a neutralizer when lifting hair to a very blonde state,” commented Simpson.
As educators and colorists, who also work behind the chair, both Simpson and Dove understand that being able to produce consistent, repeatable color results is the key to keeping clients happy, which is why they were early adopters of LaRu, SureTint’s most advanced hair color management technology.
“Formulation is everything,” says Simpson, “and with LaRu, you not only have color accuracy, but you also know exactly how much product to use based on the service and the client you are working on. As for maintenance, LaRu makes it possible to repeat your results each and every time, which means that if you created something really amazing, you can recreate it with ease. You have no idea how excited and happy clients are when I explain that to them. LaRu also lets you capture those little nuances so the next time you see the client, her color won’t turn out a little lighter or a little brighter, but just right.”
Their collaboration with Keratin Complex has been a positive experience for all parties as well. “We enjoy working with Keratin Complex and they with us because they know we’ll give them gorgeous, pure fashion shades that truly showcase their hair color ranges, as well as other products, and how well they perform at a show. Having LaRu capture all the formulas and looks, is icing on the cake!” says Simpson.
Both Simpson and Dove can’t say enough about GraffitiGlam, the company’s direct dye segment. The two point out that when it comes to direct dyes, they’ve seen it all, from mermaid hair to unicorn hair, but they like to use these colors in unexpected ways, say, to add dimension and interest to very wearable, fashionable hair color.
“You could see direct dyes as being very garish,” says Simpson, “but our goal is to make them sophisticated by using techniques like micro-foiling or hair painting.”
“I use direct dyes the way a nail tech would apply a topcoat after a manicure. Let’s say you’ve done some variety of reds and blondes using tints and lighteners. The overlay could blend those shades together or create contrast,” Dove says. “The good thing is that you can change that blend from visit to visit, which is why it’s important to have LaRu record your client’s hair profile, formula and precise amount. Hairdressers like to think that they’ll remember what they did, but having a record of every formula is more reliable and eliminates mistakes.”
“For us, the idea is to showcase different haircuts and use color to blend the entire look together,” Dove says, “so we’ll place pieces of color inside the accent where we want to accentuate the haircut.” Case in point: A model walked the runway in a soft, peachy shade of hair color with strategically placed pieces of smoky gray-violet that added dimension to her baby fine hair.
“There has been so much done on what I call the new platinums—shades of gray and silver—but those shades have been more opaque than reflective,” says Simpson, who created a multi-tonal arctic platinum with deeper shades of gray-silver and a high accent of silver-white. “A one-dimensional blonde can be exciting, but if there’s no other shade sitting beside it, the eye has nothing to focus on. To me, it’s more interesting to use the same shades in different saturation levels.”
Simpson also mentions a model with an accentuated pixie cut. “Different levels of violet-pink were placed inside the cut to give it movement,” says Simpson. “Otherwise, it would have just looked flat.”
Simpson circles back around to point out something else he likes about LaRu, which allows him to create a visual portfolio he can share with clients. “You get before and after photos and a complete formula history, so when your client asks if you can remember a look you created two years ago, you can look it up and have a conversation about it. Now you can decide if you want to completely recreate that look or tweak it slightly to give it a more modern edge. As educators and platform artists, LaRu also allows us to more precisely provide education based on every step of what was actually done and used on our models. This is invaluable!”
Talk about a revolution.