Iles Formula Hair Talk with Colorist Douglas Theodore Cornwall
Have you ever wondered who is the team behind Beyonce’s color? Well, let us introduce you to this weeks Iles Formula Hair Talk with Colorist Douglas Theodore Cornwall a colorist trained by Victoria Hunter from Whittemore House in NYC.
The two flew to Paris for her Bastille day concert and tackled the star’s natural hair and considerable closet of wigs, extensions and hair pieces for her various looks using Whittemore House Hair Paint. If you don't yet know about this product, then it's about time you did. The special lightener was so smashing that French Vogue couldn't stop speaking about it! Check out these gorgeous locks caressed by Iles Formula! and what's more Queen B loves Iles Formula!
Take a read what colorist Douglas has to say on hair and the business of hair today. To reach out to Douglas and see more of his work, check out his instagram @discolourist.
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
As a colorist, I find the biggest challenge is expectation created from social media. Filters, editing, lighting. Instagram is all illusion. Add wigs into the mix and we really are in trouble. For example a celebrity will wear wigs and make it seem as if their color is changing constantly in drastic manners, black to blonde and back again several times in a month. Clients see this and think they too can achieve and maintain this look easily.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
We get to make people feel beautiful, that’s a very powerful thing. I like to think I give my clients a certain strength, new special powers to help them conquer and achieve all.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
I couldn’t stand traditional schools and so beauty school was a compromise with my parents in lieu of college. My first day and I was hooked but even still I kept changing schools (and states!) to find a curriculum that inspired me in the way I was wanting and after two other stints I found my place at a privately owned Aveda academy comprised of master colorists and stylists from around the world. It lit an insatiable hunger in me to climb as high as I could in the hair world.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
Probably photography if digital cameras weren’t invented. I lost my love for the craft when the darkroom was switched for a computer. The chemicals and rituals of developing film was my favorite part, not unlike mixing formulas for hair color.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
My eye. I was fortunate to always be encouraged by a family who adored artistic pursuits and was able to explore many different creative disciplines from a young age.
As I grew up I was surrounded by mentors with fantastic taste and exposed to high end fashion experiences from a young age. I was doing a fashion editor’s hair and he asked me if I would ever assist him. That simple question led me away from hair for several years and diving headlong into a life of creating fashion stories for Italian Vogue. The surreal experience left a permanent requirement for a certain level of glamour to all life approaches.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
Whittemore House Hair Paint and Iles Formula. I use both of these things every time I color hair and it is a privilege to use these in conjunction with one another because it creates the most vibrant and healthy hair.
Below 15 wigs, several falls, half wigs and 30 packs of extensions colored for Dolce Gabbana shows assisting Victoria Hunter of Whittemoore House.
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
Victoria Hunter introduced me to the line right as I was making major decisions to edit my usage of products with less than stellar ingredients. I love the white tea scent and delicate nature of the products. We’ve been using the whole line both on clients and wig work and our lives are made easier by the high performance of these products.
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever made?
Victoria and I just finished it, an army of massive wigs all coloured by hand for the Dolce & Gabanna Alta Moda couture show. Each wig took around 12+ hours to color due to how many wigs, half wigs and extension packs it took to create each giant wig. Super long extensions had to be sourced around the world and we are still matching the various random hair packets to make them all look uniform.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…. privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
There is nothing worse than not knowing how to correct a problem in front of you. Every mishap is a learning experience, and those cringe inducing moments certainly leave scars you won’t soon forget.
From my beauty school days of getting a brush locked into thick hair, to recent times of having an unexpected chemical reaction due to the mixture of a heavy buildup of chlorine in the hair and fresh peroxide causing wacky results. Every service and result, good or bad, you learn something new and it emboldens you as an artist to grow and be better.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
Vivienne Westwood. I would love to make her that iconic orange again or find a new modern version of it for her. She is the most consistently inspiring woman in the fashion industry- from the mother of punk to her green peace activism of today making the youth aware of new issues. It’s basically the punk of “now”- to rebel against the status quo of the pollution convenience and tainted industrialized world.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
Always vintage references, basically anything that was shot without a digital camera- which is a blessing and a curse.
The way film was processed back then shows unique and beautiful tones. Of course those hair colors and technicolor (the past’s version of a filter) that aren’t around today so it pushes you to strive to create things that aren’t just in one bottle of color.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Stay curious. Forever. The second you think you know everything is the moment you lose an artist’s heart. An artist is an eternal student, with new questions as soon as the old are answered. Keep that curiosity and you will never stop blooming.
IF: Thank you for sharing with us Douglas, we are a big fan of your work !
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