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| May 15, 2021

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Interview: Garren Talks Sustainability and R+Co BLEU

Interview: Garren Talks Sustainability and R+Co BLEU
Sam Robinson

Garren’s five-decade storied career and an ability to translate high fashion fantasy for the real world inspired the timeless beauty of R+Co BLEU. The resulting high-performance essentials give clients the ability to confidently create fashion-forward signature styles with everyday ease. 

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You’ve been known to transform celebrity, What’s your thought process to the end result, what are the considerations, in your words?

You take it on as though you were working on a regular client. Celebrities are clients and I’ve always treated them the same as clients in the salon. If you are doing a makeover for a shoot, it is a collaboration between the celebrity, photographer, art director and me. We would work it out as though it was like someone came into the salon for a makeover and that is always how I think about it in the process of how I deliver the information. If the transformation is for a celebrity or actress that wants to change their image, the questions become what is the big change for, what is coming up for them? Some makeovers aren’t always a total change, it could be a small change too, like a fringe or color change but it is still a makeover.

When I am transforming an actress sometimes if they are in the middle of shooting a movie and can’t make a permanent change to their look, then we go to the wig world to get a different vibe going for the photoshoot. We always start out with a consultation and an introduction. I ask them to bring photographs and pictures for what they adore so I can talk with them about what is possible and not possible for them and their hair texture. I also need to consider their lifestyle and how they will wear their hair day to day to get versatility out of it. People are all the same, so I don’t separate celebrity from my normal clients. Like when I did Madonna for the opening of her film a couple years ago, she was wearing her hair down and long but when she put her gown on, it didn’t work with the dress, so I put it up and it looked like she had cut her hair off and it caused a big stir with the press – did Madonna cut her hair? So sometimes transformations can be temporary for a specific red-carpet look, event or photoshoot.

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BLEU is a luxury product with a definitive colour scheme, tell us about that.

When we chose the name Bleu and the reason why we chose it, it seems to be throughout the world of fragrance and the color blue is calming. We felt that the sea of black or pastels in the cosmetics world is done and we wanted to make blue the new black. For the name and the color scheme, I was really thinking about traveling around the world and destinations like Capri, Positano and the Caribbean, the fragrances destinations like San Tropez and wanted it to be a calming experience. Places with beautiful water and hitting a new mark on making everything vegan and sustainable, the color blue opened the door to many avenues to what the products and packaging were going to be like. I remember in the 70s going to the Yves Saint Laurent Paris show and sitting in the front row, and the color and textures of the clothes were incredible. Moroccan blue taffeta gowns, and vibrant greens, and amazing purple that was almost jewel tone but softer, this orangy red that just popped. Those were a great source of inspiration for the color schemes of the product families. The color scheme brought me back to that wonderful memory of that YSL show that combined textures like velvet and taffeta mixed together and that became the inspiration for the matte textured caps with the shiny slick tube or bottle which represents the luxury and shine of healthy hair and creates a nice juxtaposition against the matte cap, which is also functional if you are trying to open it with wet hands. We have the Essential family in blue that works for all hair types, the volume family in purple, the color family in red and the repair family in green. The product line goes across the board for all types of women and men’s hair types and textures so different color schemes create a color code to help consumers understand which family of products is right for them. And people can mix and match across the families based on what is right for them.

What makes R+Co BLEU different?

Everything! Working with some of the most brilliant chemists to create the highest performing formulations with innovative ingredients and technology, creating the families to make it easier for consumers to know which products are right for them. Innovative and beautiful packaging that is luxurious and setting a new standard for sustainability in our industry. And the fact that the products work so well with treatment benefits built in to improve the health of the hair while being sulfate-free, vegan, with UV protection as well as color and keratin treatment safe. It’s like you are buying the best skincare products in the world but for your hair. R+Co Bleu is the best of the best.

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If you had to give us 3 products to be sure to put in our cart, what would they be?

It is hard for me to just say three products to put in your cart, because first of all you need to start with the foundation – the shampoo, conditioner and possibly a masque if your hair type needs that – so that would be three right there and we haven’t even gotten to styling yet. After you get the shampoo, conditioner and masque, you need a styling product like the Essential Hair Tonic or the Optical Illusion Smoothing Oil, Featherlight Hairspray or Lifestyler Volume & Texture Spray – it all depends on your hair type. For a consumer, I would recommend a complete regimen that starts with the foundation and add in the adornment, which are your finishers depending on your hair type and the look you are creating.

The line is vegan, and full sustainable, what factors were in the process for the end result to be like this?

It was challenging and we really needed to push the boundaries of what was possible to go beyond anything else that was out there. As with the fact that we worked with the best chemist to get the products to have the highest level of performance and work the way I expect them to, while being vegan and using cleaner ingredients, we knew it was important to push the envelope on what sustainability means and how to still have luxurious, beautiful packaging. We worked with our packaging engineer to make sure that everything used PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) materials and is still 100% recyclable, so we are not creating new materials but using what was previously created, giving it a new life and allowing it to be made into something else after. What a wonderful world this would be if other companies were doing this as well and everything is sustainable and could be used again in a creative way.

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Are there any tips you’d share for sustainable working practices?

I love all-natural things that go back to the earth. I always try to work with sustainable tools and brushes when I can, and I wish we could completely make tools that were re-usable, but we aren’t there yet. For me, I try to be mindful about how I can incorporate sustainable practices into everything I do day to day. I don’t want to use plastic and I use glass containers wherever possible or bringing my own shopping bags as an example. I am very aware of how I can have less throw away and making sure something goes back to the earth. It is about being thoughtful about your impact to the planet and reducing your personal footprint.

How did you decide upon ‘One Tree Planted’ as your partner of choice?

It totally makes sense with all the rain forests issues, the forest fires we’ve been experiencing around the world, the big companies taking down trees. It made common sense that we needed to focus on reforestation efforts and One Tree Planted is a great organization and they do important work around the world. Trees are the lungs of the earth and it is so important that we keep them going. We get so much from trees and they are critical to our ecosystem and protecting our planet.

For more information about R+Co BLEU, visit Rebel Beauty Brands here.