Expert Advice

Cultural Exchange

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 6:17 PM

Where familial tradition meets newly embraced Americanism is the point where cultures cross. It's also where Deborah McCann, former owner of and current stylist and colorist at McCann & Company in Dublin, Ohio, found the inspiration for "Cultural Exchange," her collection of combined influences in youthful hair and fashion among hyphenated Americans.

The blends of old world and new vision-organic and adapted ideas-fueled her own dual sways: strong technique (she's an ABCH, a Redken certified colorist and a Redken Global Haircolor educator) and a cerebral approach to design that comes from the cognitive process of a colorist who has evolved to the highest artistic level herself.

Color and design concepts by Deborah McCann, except as noted. Photography by Natalie Mancino, Studio N Photography, Cincinnati/Columbus, OH, for McCann & Company; make-up by Mary Magnusson.


The Thread that Ties

Cultural Exchange

The long braid traditionally seen on Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian women is reinterpreted with freeform design that recalls runway work. For the highlights, high-fusion red is alternated with a lightening formula, which creates gold that runs like threads through the textured braids.


Elongated Roots

Cultural Exchange

An entrepreneurial artist who made good, Ebonie is an in-demand stylist at McCann & Company. To help her pay homage to her African roots, McCann created her look with a series of sewn-on wefts and detailed braiding in front. (Ebonie's own hair is just four inches long.)


Cool Blue

Cultural Exchange

It's impossible to get a sapphire shade on Level 1 locks, so McCann creates it with a single weft that's placed along a diagonal, moving from the longest left side, up into the back. The genius of the cut lets color show through: the hair is pulled back and twisted to the right, then cut in a single section. (For a longer right side, twist hair to the left.)


Spice of Life

Cultural Exchange

Brunette shades formulated for darker-level hair create caramel and latte when an ash-green and an ash-violet are used to avoid super-warmth. Since the Latina model always curls her naturally straight hair, it's set here in skip-wave pincurls (directions alternate toward and away from the face), then tonged for curl variation by wrapping each strand inside the iron, then outside the barrel, then back and forth to the ends.


Family Tree

Cultural Exchange

In an urban ethnic style for the African-American man, tree braids break out of boring verticals to meet horizontal lines that are embedded with red wefts and lead to a faux hawk. Red highlights through the top help balance the two focal points of the design.

Design concept by Ebonie Humphreys; color by Deborah McCann


Breaking Away

Creating separation in thick, coarse hair is a huge challenge. McCann cuts diagonal sections in a short-to-long, long-to-short alternating pattern, moving from front to back. Now, it's easy to run through the hair, lift out the longer pieces, tease them to the scalp and lighten them. A red-violet tint gives young Japanese Americans like Ty, who is also a stylist at McCann & Company, the sizzling shades they crave. 

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