Philip Pelusi 45 Years in the Industry

Philip Pelusi recently marked his 45 year in the Hair Care Industry. Pelusi has earned the respect of his peers with innovations and product artistry. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Philip on the occasion of this remarkable anniversary.

What was the industry like when you began your career?

I was 20 years old and fresh out of school. The stylists then were mostly doing razor cuts. We basically styled and shellacked our guests and stuck them under a hair dryer creating a look that would last until the next visit.

Out of that culture you emerged as part of the new wave of hair cutters. How soon was it that you created your Volumetric Haircutting system?

I'd say about a year or so into cutting hair I began to realize what now might seem obvious-every person's head of hair has a different texture. We began using scissors instead of razors and the hand held hairdryer changed how we could approach cutting and styling. A stylish look could be created and maintained between visits without damaging the natural texture. I created Volumetric as an intuitive approach to hair texture management.

Was the Volumetric haircutting system well received by your guests?

I was a little anxious. Keep in mind that I also opened my first salon about a year after I graduated school so I not only had the pressure to surpass the expectations of my guests but I had to develop a way to educate my staff. Fortunately, I was able to accomplish both objectives. I knew for sure that I was on to something when I was selected as one of the top hairdressers in the world by Italian Magazine. When I was invited to tour Japan to teach Volumetric haircutting I knew my technique was effective on all types of hair.

You created the P2 by Philip Pelusi line of professional products which is used in upscale salons across the country. Was the line influenced by your experience with the Volumetric technique?

You know with all the confidence that I had with my cutting, I was still seeing guests coming to my salon and their hair looked lifeless and damaged. That was a bit of a puzzle. I then realized I had to create products that were performance based and addressed the needs of each hair texture.

How did you go about doing that?

The story goes that I went home got out the blender and began whipping up various hair concoctions. For some time I had been acting as a consultant to product developers. I had an interest in ingredients that were only used in high end skin care products. Hyaluronic Acid, calcium and zinc protein were some of the first ingredients that piqued my curiosity. I then began to work with chemists who, like myself, enjoyed working outside of the box when it came to conceptualizing and creating the products that have become associated with the P2 by Philip Pelusi line.

How were you able to attract the attention of the major manufacturers?

At the same time I was developing as a hairdresser and salon owner, I got involved in photography especially fashion photography. I was recognized as one of the first hair stylists to photograph my work and have it published worldwide. From there associations formed at trade shows and conferences. I became one of the 'go to guys'.

Did your photography influence you as a stylist?

Most definitely! Being able to view my styles as works of art, observing my work under different lighting conditions and poses created a strong sense of myself as an artist. I believe that this sense is what has made me so attractive to fashion designers and creating the situation where now I am in such demand as a stylist/creator for Fashion Week.

At the same time you are also expanding your salons to the point where today you have 12 salons under the Philip Pelusi name.

As I acquired the knowledge and experience as well as a team that I could train and trust to carry out my vision I began expanding. It wasn't an ego thing. There was a true demand for the kind of work we were doing and as the shopping mall concept grew we grew with it.

What are the challenges for you today?

I'm never satisfied. My artistic side is always looking for the next mountain to climb. One challenge has been to meet the demands of salons across the country for excellent products, education and systems for success. I spend a big chunk of time in business development helping salons realize the success that I was able to achieve.

My other obsession now is my Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi line of organic hair and skin care. Going into the world of organics was truly going through the looking glass. All of this creates a sense of satisfaction-for the moment.