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Last updated: November 29, 2017

COLORBRAIN™: Leland is Back

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Leland explains the new Fashion Color Care™ systems from Celeb Luxury. It’s Viral.


The name Leland Hirsch is to haircolor what Christian Louboutin is to stilettos, Coco Chanel is to fashion and Steve Jobs is to personal computers. All of them have perpetually and steadfastly refused to follow, refused to settle, refused to give up. Each has approached their area of expertise with relentless curiosity, innovation and passion. Most important, Leland and his footwear, fashion and computing cohorts have never stopped asking: “What should be that is not?” 


The most recent answer to that question as far as haircolorists are concerned, just might change everything when it comes to color longevity, color design, color technology and color client satisfaction.  In fact, it just may change completely how color is approached in the salon, and in the client’s shower. As Leland likes to say, “Change it up.” His latest vision—Viral and Gem Lites Fashion Color Care Systems from Celeb Luxury—are changing up color in a big way.


Leland in the lab.


From There To Here
Anyone who understands the progression of modern haircolor knows that Leland has been instrumental in its evolution. Early in his career, he served as a haircolor developmental consultant for large manufacturers, working as the liaison between marketing and chemistry departments, with the vision of creating new innovative products for them.


In 1972, Leland and his partner, Michael Mazzei, opened THE COLOR SALON at Nubest & Co. in New York—one of the first departmentalized salons in the U.S., adjacent to the Nubest salon, where haircolor claimed the limelight. Working with clients and top models, Leland began to rethink the relationship between haircolor and its wearer. He reasoned that color should reflect the client’s personality, and in some cases, it could go even further and define the person’s personality. He closely examined the results of the cap highlighting technique of the time and realized that painting color on with a brush would produce a much more pleasing and natural effect. For ten years, beginning when he was serving as an educator for Redken, he had been cutting his brushes into angles to enhance the color placement—all well before anyone had ever uttered the word “balayage.” He was routinely working with foil and freehand highlights, using only his hands.


Leland became the go-to haircolor source for top fashion magazines.


Soon, top fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar began turning to Leland for input for their haircolor editorial. In the role of editorial color expert, he committed to publicizing and elevating the role of the professional colorist. “When I did a consumer write up with Vogue or Glamour, I wouldn’t give the formulas,” Leland remembers. “If they insisted, I wouldn’t do the article or the shoot. I pushed salon haircolor to the consumer in these articles. I convinced Vogue they shouldn’t be telling people to do home color.” 


Haircolor USA was Leland’s solution to in-depth haircolor education.


In 1986, Leland realized that dedicated colorists had nowhere to turn for serious, advanced, “sales-free” haircolor education. His answer was Haircolor USA, an annual gathering for color education, networking and professional development. Haircolor USA, with Leland as Creative Director, welcomed more than 30,000 salon owners and colorists to Florida over the course of its 15 year run. 


Naturally, anyone who applied color day in and day out would begin to apply the “What should be that is not?” question to products. When Leland began to examine what was missing in the realm of color products, his search took him not to the dispensary but to the bowl. The result, after collaborating with chemists, was ARTEC, an award-winning, patented range of color depositing shampoos. With ARTEC, Leland created a new category in haircolor, one that enhanced colorists’ artistry by allowing them to combine shades to create personalized color mixtures, and enhanced the color client’s satisfaction when she was able to shampoo with a product that kept her hue fresh and true.


While on an artistic sabbatical, Leland collected artwork
and met celebrities he now calls friends.



Artisitic Sabbatical
In the recent past, however, Leland has been a frequently-mentioned name in the game of “Whatever happened to…?”  He explains, “I sold ARTEC, and I decided to take an artistic sabatical from the color business. I studied artists like Picasso and Warhol and Damien Hirst, and photographers like Avedon and Penn, who I worked with, and began collecting their work. I met a lot of celebrities who collect art, like Sylvester Stallone, Jamie Foxx and P.Diddy. I went to sports events and got to know athletes like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. I studied all of these people, how they think. They all have passion, they all have vision. I met Christian Louboutin, and now I own 75 pairs of his high top sneakers. He does with shoes what Jobs did with computers. Women have the shoe disease because of him. This guy took a simple shoe and encrusted it with Strass crystals. He made a move. That’s vision.”


Leland became friends with P. Diddy during his artistic sabbatical.


This year, it was time for Leland to make a move. “While on sabbatical I watched everything in the industry,” Leland recalls. I saw bright colors and noticed how quickly they wash out.” Always invested in the progressive, Leland was determined to offer a solution that takes color deposit shampoos to the next level. He created an entirely new category in haircolor. The result is a new, patent-pending technology called Colorposit™. “It’s not a color shampoo,” Leland explains. “We call them Colorwash®.  They use less color, and the colors are richer and more vibrant, with less dye. It puts the color in the hair, not on the skin or in the grout in the shower. It gives you intensity and finished color like never before.” What’s more, the Colorwash® truly cleanses, with robust sudsing action. And they can be mixed with their companion conditioners, Bonditioner® and Blonditioner™ with Bondurance™ technology, which provides moisturization from the inside out and durable, continuous conditioning for up to five shampoos.


Celeb Luxury Colorwash Viral and Gem Lites.


Colorwash® can be mixed and layered, to produce a variety of shades and intensities. “If the hair is pastel, you get a pastel blended look,” Leland explains. “Another wash, you get more. Multiple applications build color intensity. Stop when you like. What it means to hairdressers is that instead of being stuck with a single demi-permanent application, which often mutes the color, you can layer the color. It’s like art. Painters layer paint in their paintings. They say about great paintings: ‘It never is what it started to be.’”


Leland also gave serious consideration to the actual Colorwash® shade options. The result is two distinct collections. Gem Lites, inspired by his observations of jewelers’ methods of faceting gems, are inspired by jewels like diamonds, tourmaline, ruby and amber. Viral is the Extreme and Pastel collection, and supports the fashion colors that routinely go “viral” on social media. 


Viral and Gemlites offer choices for maintaining every haircolor.


Leland and his team have been overwhelmed by the response to both collections.  “They’re in Cosmoprof and Armstrong McCall,” he says, “and within 10 days of the launch, they hit records for new product sales. Go on the Celeb Luxury Instagram and Facebook pages, you’ll see. Hairdressers are crazy about them!”


And no surprise—Leland is intent on doing more. “I’m out to stimulate everybody to use their Colorbrain™,” he declares. “Cosmetologists and consumers. I want to kill drugstore haircolor. The biggest growth in haircolor is coming out of the salon. And I intend to contribute to that!”