When Kevin Murphy was creating his line of hair-care products, he was told he needed to include a straightening product in the mix.
"I thought, 'Why would you want that?'" says the Australian celebrity hair stylist, whose styles have graced such magazines as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Murphy's attitude has always been that you should work with the texture you have. It is this philosophy that has earned him his nickname "Texture Master."
"I'm obsessed with texture, in any shape or form," Murphy says. "Straight hair is a bit boring, a bit flat. I consider flat irons to be taboo."
Murphy says his own curls sparked the development of his line, which all started with Easy.Rider. He created the styling cream to work with his own long curls - now cut short.
"I used to use body moisturizer on my hair because I needed the moisture and elasticity," he says.
He started mixing hairspray and body lotion together to create a setting lotion for his salon, and soon clients were requesting it. They used to mix it in 2-liter jars in the back of the salon, but as demand grew, they had to hire a "proper manufacturer."
This evolved into Easy.Rider - the first product in the line - which contains hydrolyzed moisture as well as green tea, vitamins and lavender. Easy.Rider provides flexible hold and frizz control to activate curls and keep them hydrated.
Murphy says his desire to create a line of hair-care products always stemmed for his desire to help women feel good about their hair.
"I have a lot of passion for this," he says. "I don't like to see women struggle with their hair, and I wanted to help them."
In terms of texture trends, Murphy says "fizz" is in. Fizz, he says, is a controlled version of frizz.
"The hair has to look healthy," Murphy says. "It can't be dry."
The line, which launched last year in the United States, includes shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products, which have all been designed for specific hair types. All of the products are sulfate and paraben free and contain high levels of natural ingredients, with high-grade essential oils and amino acids.
The square plastic packaging also is unique. Murphy says the bottles use 40 percent less plastic, yet hold more product than rounded bottles. They also take up 40 percent less space.
He also has developed a variety of tools that help create and control texture. These include Hair.Curlers and Wave.Clips, which provide ways to "control what you've got."
Murphy says he was unsatisfied with the performance of mainstream hair-care products, especially those for wavy and curly hair. Too often, he says they were too heavy and greasy.
Murphy, who oversees all product development, says all of the products in the line evolved out of looks he wanted to create on a photo shoot or while teaching a class.
"I wanted the hair to look a certain way, so I would mix products together," he says. "But I wanted it all in one product."
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Murphy made his mark in the Australian hair-care industry in the early 1990s, and his Chapel Street salon became an institution. Although he hasn't been in a salon since the mid-1990s, Murphy is an in-demand stylist for editorial and advertising shoots, and has coiffed numerous celebrities.
Murphy believes his own head of curls has helped him better work with others who have textured hair. In fact, he goes so far as to say that stylists with curly hair are better at working with curls because of their intimate understanding of the hair type, such as what can make it frizz and how much it shrinks and how to apply products.
"When you have curly hair, you know curly hair," Murphy says. "I suggest you look for a stylist who has hair like you."
Murphy shared some of his top curl tips with NaturallyCurly during a recent visit to Austin.
- To get even product distribution, throw your head over and start by applying the styling product on the back, putting it mainly on the ends and work your way up to the roots.
- When it's drying, rap a turban around your head. That helps control volume and encourage curl formation.
- For thicker, coarser curls, apply product when the hair is soaking hair. For finer, wavier curls, the hair can be half dry to encourage more volume.