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Q and A: Celebrity Hairdresser Michael Canalé, Creator of “The Rachel”

Some hair looks are truly iconic and “The Rachel”, Jennifer Aniston’s look on the early days of Friends, defined celebrity hair in the 90s. Co-created by celebrity hairdresser Michael Canalé, along with Chris McMillan, the style and colour expert continues to work with Jennifer on her on-screen looks, as well as Heidi Klum, Kate Hudson, Shakira, Penelope Cruz and more.

We spoke to the award-winning, internationally acclaimed hairdresser and product innovator to gain insights from his 30 years of industry experience, discussing his storied career, current hair trends and, of course, “The Rachel”.

What have been your highlight experiences working in celebrity hair?

I truly enjoy making people happy. Creating the trends like the glamorous highlights of Morgan Fairchild and Farrah Fawcett. The trend became enhancing the person, not just the hair. The right colour is an accessory, use it to your advantage. People can always tell my work, enhancing a person’s natural complexion and eye colour, this trend never goes out of style. I draw inspiration from the people who walk through my door and sit in my chair. They’re all different – some very famous, and most not – but I honestly see the beauty in all of them. I have appreciated the opportunity to share my work over the years with multiple generations of the most powerful woman, true icons.

As co-creator of “The Rachel” what was the feeling of creating such an iconic look?

As co-creator and colourist of “The Rachel”, Jennifer came to me first; we discussed the colour. At the time, she had mid-shoulder, medium-brown hair. It was a great time to initiate a delicate blending of colour from medium brown to a sun blended light brown with blonder tips, very natural. Following, she went to Chris and received the haircut (“The Rachel”). When she came back to me, we decided to add the signature highlights, to bring out the movement of the haircut.  This was the beginning of “The Rachel” trend. The golden hair captivated the eye; the signature highlights and sandy tones brought out Jennifer’s eyes. My New Signature Gloss MIDNIGHT BLUE is what we used. It’s my favourite.

What does its longevity and continued relevance mean to you?

When I look back at the beginning of friends, I see “The Rachel”, but I also see the haircut becoming the colour.  This was the perfect person to launch this new technique, a beautiful face with beautiful features and highlights that enhance and bring out her eye colour. This captivated the audience!

Do you have advice for hairdressers who want to create bold or iconic looks of their own, editorially or in salon?

My recommendation for salons and colourists is to control the colour and enhance the client. You can always add more highlights, so that you don’t lose the client to the hair colour. Trends come and go, consistency and integrity of the health of the hair will always carry you further.  No haircut looks good with bad hair colour.

What are the major hair trends you are seeing at the moment?

I see colour enhancing being the number one trend.  Working with the natural hair colour with delicate highlights, keeping them connected through growth, just in case clients don’t make it back to the hairdresser anytime too soon!  My New state-of-the-art Canalé Signature Glosses, they work with any skin undertone, cool or warm.  For cool undertones, MIDNIGHT BLUE corrects gold tones in hair and reduces the warm in brunettes. COOL BLUE creates balance and maintains the proper cool tone hair colour. SUNKISSED GOLD revitalises over bleached hair and enhances warm, golden undertones. All created to enhance and extend hair colour and shine while protecting from the elements and sun. Try them, they are amazing!

What are your major tips to salons and hairdressers facing the challenges of 2020?

This is the perfect time to take your time. 2020 is about spacing your clients focusing on one at a time. That doesn’t mean be slow, be efficient time conscious and use a lot of TLC.

What are the main lessons you’ve learned in your career?

The main thing I’ve learned is to listen to the client. That doesn’t mean you have to do what they want. Work with them to decide on the best technique to get as close to what they’re trying to achieve. You can always add more!

What else have you currently been working on?

I specifically created a product line that is proven to maintain and restore the integrity of treated hair from the inside out and the outside in! Canalé CLEANSE Shampoo for all types of hair is a mild shampoo that fully cleans the hair without fading colour. Used with either SOFTEN or SOFTEN PLUS to condition, rebuild, and strengthen the hair shaft, together they battle oxidation, to maintain colour vibrancy. To keep hair healthy, my New Canalé REPAIR Hair Oil, strengthens and repairs hair.  It can be added to either of my conditioners for the ultimate conditioning treatment and can also be used as a styling aid, for finishing and smoothing hair.  Healthy, shiny hair that is what everyone wants!

Follow @colorbycanale.

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