Industry News

ACADEMY TOUR: The Style Lab By Living Proof

Maggie Mulhern | November 27, 2017 | 12:36 PM
Michael Shaun Corby, Living Proof Global Creative Director, surrounded by Style Lab grads.
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A model gets the finishing touch at the Living Proof Style Lab.
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FORMAT: Interactive and hands-on education.

NEED TO BRING: Cutting and styling tools (Living Proof provides liquids!)

RATIO: 1 educator to 6 licensed hairdressers

COST: $800 for 2-day course (hands-on with mannequins and live models)

LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts (just minutes from Boston) in the heart of M.I.T.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: Living Proof’s SMART methodology – a training program offering 11 different cutting techniques.

SKILL LEVEL: Beginner to Advanced

FOR MORE INFO: [email protected]

Living Proof has been around for just 6 years and has racked up impressive recognition. Allure, Redbook, Family Circle, “O”, InStyle, New Beauty and People StyleWatch, among others, have given the 40 plus products in the line more than 100 awards in categories like “Beauty Breakthrough”, “Best Beauty Buys”, “Best of Beauty” and “Reader’s Choice Awards.” The creators, a collective of hairdressers, professors and tech savvy experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), spend years blending and testing before releasing any product to the public.

But although the brand was founded by an elite team of inventors, researchers and biotech scientists, the education to support the line is a bit more down to earth - the perfect blend of beauty, art, technique and yes, science.

The Style Lab is the home where beauty and science meet,” reads the brochure for Living Proof’s Academy, the beautiful facility based in the Living Proof headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Just minutes outside Boston in the heart of M.I.T., the large training room is filled with natural light, high ceilings, great acoustics and all the products and tools you will need to up your skills in cut, style and technique. 

The Style Lab offers a 2-day course ($800 tuition) that was completely sold out for 2017 by March. With a ratio of 1 educator to 6 students, the classes are intimate, intense and effective. Artists train on mannequin heads and then have the opportunity to test their new skills on live models, an important part of the education

“We don’t teach a haircut,” says Colleen Camp, Director of Global Education, “We teach 11 different cutting techniques. It’s not to undo what you’ve learned, but to enhance and build on what you’ve been taught. Our goal is to help people learn how-to use our products. We get hands in the hair because people remember by doing. It’s about turning a $40 haircut into a $400 haircut overnight.”

MODERN stopped by when Michael Shaun Corby, Living Proof Global Creative Director, was training the educators on his newly developed S.M.A.R.T Methodology, a program designed to elevate and enhance core skills. “S.M.A.R.T. came to me in a dream.,” says Corby. “I have very vivid, almost scary dreams, but SMART is not a nightmare and makes sense on so many levels:  S is for science, M for myth-busting, A for artistry, R for routines and T for transformation. The whole concept works.”

Corby points out that several people have asked him about the SMART “collection. But it’s not a collection but a methodology,” he says. “It’s a toolbox of techniques designed to create looks for styles. The program combines scientific methods with artistry. We teach a foundation for cutting that becomes part of your toolkit.” The techniques are designed to be mixed and matched. “The great finishes we teach are powered by SMART,” adds Corby. With names like “Axis Cutting”, “Aircrafting”, “Edging” and “Dry Finger Waves”, it’s easy to see why this program is such a success.

The Style Lab and tours of the attached test salon, lab and offices are an important part of each agenda. “Meeting the scientists and marketing teams just adds to the inspiration,” adds Camp. While much of the success of the Living Proof line is due to the science that goes in to the brand, Corby emphasizes the education shared at the Style Lab is not focused on the technology. “It’s about art and style. This, along with the sessions on Product Knowledge, Product Performance, and classes on volume, texture, sleek design and SMART Cutting, make this a comprehensive experience.”

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