This celebrity stylist has a trio of successful Manhattan salons, an award-winning hair care collection and enviable clientele. Here, he shares his thoughts on the business of color.
MODERN SALON: What do you think is the biggest mistake colorists make with their color clients?
Paul Labreque: I think the biggest mistake a colorist can make is to overuse ash-based color. Ash is suitable for ridding unwanted red tones; however, when used too heavily, hair will always look dingy and dead and can even make the skin look gray. I personally prefer buttery, sunkissed hues that have life and youth.
MS: How do you encourage your stylists to retail color-care items?
PL: To successfully retail color products we have designed a four-step Paul Labrecque Product system called Color Shampoo, Condition, Style and Finish—four steps to prolong color from oxidation. We thoroughly educate our stylists on the key ingredients in the products so they are knowledgeable when promoting them to color customers. Most importantly, each stylist makes a commission on each product they sell. This way we all make money—it’s a win win!
MS: What’s your favorite color service to do on a client?
PL: Highlighting/lowlighting. I feel adding different hues to hair color makes the hair and skin radiant. The process also adds so much movement to a cut. There isn’t a person who I’ve colored that I couldn’t help to feel sexier by just adding a few hues of color.
MS: What was your most memorable experience as a stylist?
PL: Having the opportunity to work with Barbra Streisand in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces. She has always been my favorite singer; I remember being so star-struck I wasn’t even able to talk! My assistant just kept telling me to smile. It was quite a hoot when I saw my name in the credits at the premiere, although they spelled it wrong!
MS: What are you most proud of in your career?
PL: My salons and my employees. Coming in each day and working with wonderful people who work so hard is so very rewarding. Each year my generous, compassionate staff offers an evening during the holidays dedicated to the battered women of Sanctuary for Families. We staff a day care center and have food and gift bags for the women. Almost all of these women have been told by loved ones that they are worthless and ugly; it is our pleasure to show them just how beautiful they are. And even though it is the holiday season and we are all so tired, not one of my employees misses that evening. My salon is full of such good people and it makes me proud to come to work every day.