Celebrity stylist Gregory Purcell has launched his own line, Attitude. The line consists of five professional hair styling products that Gregory has designed specifically to avoid stripping hair of its natural moisture. MODERN spoke with Purcell about his experience as an artist and his new line.
What made you want to pursue a career in the beauty industry?
I have always been artistic since I was a child. When I got older, I went to art school for painting and sculpting. After I finished art school, I was freelancing doing paintings and sculptures and to earn extra money I got a job doing visual displays at Saks, Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus. When I was doing visual display, I was working on mannequins and had to do their wigs. I took a big interest in that. It was like sculpting; it was three dimensional. I always loved fashion, and I took a liking to hair, so I decided to go to school and create hair as a sculpture.
Where did you receive your beauty education?
I attended Capri school in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Right after school, I worked at Vidal Sassoon in NYC and after my intense training there, I went to Minardi Minardi Hair Salon. My journey began at John Frieda Hair Salon, and I started to do a lot of editorial work and was assisting John to develop his hair product line.
How did you break into the world of doing hair for celebrities and TV shows/film?
While I was working at John Frieda, I was going into the direction of editorial work and fashion shows, which led me to work overseas (Paris, London and Milan) to develop my editorial book for future agencies. I started building a rapport with celebrities while I was getting my editorial book together. I got an agent for hair so I could do editorial fashion shoots, music videos and commercials. I then joined the Hair and Makeup Union, and from there I started working on TV and movies. My celebrity clientele grew very quickly.
What advice do you have for artists wanting to break into this sector of the industry?
Anyone who wants to get into this industry must be extremely driven, passionate and focused. It is a demanding field, so when there are ups and downs, keep moving forward and believe in yourself and your work.
Can you tell us more about your time on set with A Place Beyond the Pines and now with Gotham? What’s it like being a hair stylist on set, and how have you challenged your skills/grown because of this experience?
When I was on the set of A Place Beyond the Pines, we had such great energy between the actors and the hairdressers. The actors were fantastic and so humble...Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendez and Ray Liotta. The director gave us the freedom to do their hair as we see the script. Gotham is a show of hair and fashion. It is a hairdresser's dream to be creative on this show. The period is from 1930s to present. I can do a lot of new techniques from very finished work to avant garde hair in order to fit the characters, such as Mr Freeze, when we have to make his hair look frozen.
What made you want to start your own line?
I wanted to start my own hair line product because of all of the knowledge and experience I have had. I love texture, body and shine when i work with hair, and I couldn't find the right product for all the different textures of hair that I work with.
What makes your products unique or innovative?
All of my products intertwine with each other. For example, if I needed big hair, I would spray the Zen Mist, which adds lift and texture to the roots. Then apply I'd the Gel Mousse from the crown and pull through to the ends of the hair. The Gel Mousse is a two-in-one product that creates volume and hold without the stickiness of most mousses. I would then blow dry the hair to the look that I want. The next product I'd use would be the Taffy to create a modern look so it looks textured and fun. The last product would be the Marula finishing gloss for shine. The products are made to give a quick modern style that works for all textures of hair.
What are your goals moving forward both as an artist and now as the creator of your own line?
I am currently the Art Director at Kieran McKenna Salon in NYC. We are working on new creative hair styles for the up-and-coming season. At this point of my career, I want to be more innovated and have a gallery of exotic hair sculptures and to educate young and ambitious hair dressers. I would love my products to be in most hair salons so everyone can experience the freedom my products give to create their own style.