Style, Fashion, and Beauty

Rick Wellman John Sahag Workshop Interview with New York Girl Style


It’s 9AM in New York and the hustle and bustle has already started. Before I began my interview with Hue Specialist, Rick Wellman, he told me he was grabbing a cab to head off to work. Wellman is definitely a multi-tasker, being able to talk with me while still have a million other things to do.

The Ohio native fascinated by impressionism art, painting, sketching and had thoughts of attending art school. However, at the age of 13-years-old, he witnessed his step-mom come home from a salon with a really bad hair dye and she literally cry for days. So he helped her pick a flattering shade and touched up her roots for the very first time and nursed it back to a healthy state making her feel beautiful again.

By connecting his love for impressionism art and passion for hair coloring, Wellman blends the two seamlessly. “His artistic vision has made him a master of customized color, beautiful vibrant tones and most importantly, natural looking hair color.”


Q: Who are your mentors?

A: I have a collection of mentors, the late Paul Mitchell, whom I had the pleasure of assisting him at hair shows and was the creator of hair sculpting. Also Vidal Sassoon, he’s a classic and never goes out of style. And of course John Sahag, who was the humble creator of the dry cut technique and master of sexy shapes.

Q: If you didn’t do hair color what would you be doing?

A: I would be an artist, a happy and chilled beach bum, one that sketches interesting people all day.

Q: If you could give a celebrity a makeover who would it be?

A: I can think of a few, Donald Trump, I can’t endorse a ‘BLOARANGE’ combover. But I guess it’s his trademark. Somebody else? Women? I’m a huge Madonna fan and would love to soften up her color. Goldie Hawn has been stuck with the same look that worked 30 years ago on Laugh In. (I’m aging myself here) I can envision a more sophisticated, attractive and age appropriate look on her to actually inspire a comeback.

SEE ALSO: Spring 2016 Trend Alert: Nude Blonde Hues

Q: Who have been your most exciting and unique clients?

A: Super Model Petra Nemcova, we love to change up her look. She’s like my personal color chameleon muse who I have known for years. She’s such a strong, smart, beautiful survivor inside and out. Petra generously founded the Happy Hearts Fund after the 2004 Tsunami tragedy which she lost her fiancé. Another client, Paulina Rubio, she’s the Latin pop star version of Madonna. I would do transformation hair color at her water front house poolside in Miami and before we start, she’d meditate with her energy stones. (They help relax my creative juices too).  I love working with musicians, they’re crazy fun, dramatic artists and have a self-creative direction of what they feel and want to express with color. Lastly, Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, she’s so sweet and down to earth. She would come in to the salon with her little dog, no makeup and dressed down or I meet her in her hotel in her pajamas for a color session. Total opposite of her done-up intimidating character Joan.

Q: What’s your favorite hair and beauty era?

A: Oh that’s another fun question; I’d say the 90s. When we finally steered away from damaging perms to more healthy hair and color focus with expanded shade options while glazing was introduced too. This was my calling.

Q: What’s the best beauty advice you can give?

A: Don’t fight it, embrace what you have. The high maintenance of strong trendy colors are usually the most short lived. Half the time celebs are probably playing with wigs and extensions galore. Clients in the salon chair sometimes don’t realize that Hollywood is all about creating an illusion.

SEE ALSO: Get New York Fashion Week Ready With SAHAG Workshop Healthy Hair


Q: What’s the best hair advice you can give your clients?

A: It’s not the box or the bottle that does the work, it is the hands and the mind using the color that is key. Some people can get so hung up on brands, I have used and worked with many brands including professional and retail such as Wella, Loreal, Schwarzkopf, Clairol and Garnier. Trust me, I have been in limited situations in foreign countries such as South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Europe  on photo shoots and global hair color campaigns where I may only have access to drug store box color and dealing with language barriers. I have to make it work beautifully.

Q: What inspired you to create Biolights?

A: Oh! I can go on forever about Biolights! I saw too many women with overcooked hair, striped highlights and wanted to create a look without harsh results. I got a facial one-day and the lady was using cotton pads on my face. I asked her for some, the light bulb went on and my idea came to life. After about 20 protocols of testing different weaves of cotton pads that were durable and compatible to keep product in place, I was able to create a gentler highlighting experience.

Q: Would you say that Biolights caught on trend?

A: Yes, but it’s actually a technique. Salons and clients who are health conscious, organically driven and aware. Many who live in big cities like Seattle, LA and NYC recognize and appreciate Biolights.

Make sure to check out Rick Wellman on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re in the New York area you can visit Rick at John Sahag Workshop at 425 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor in New York and don’t forget to tweet us your thoughts @NYGirlStyle.