White Sands founder Fernando Salas has a simple philosophy toward product development.
"I am unwilling to come up with anything that's currently out there in the marketplace," says Salas, a veteran stylist. "There's something new and exciting about every (White Sands) product.
Whether it's a unique curly hair mousse or a revolutionary hair repair product, this pioneering spirit is at the core of all 24 White Sands' products.
This innovation can be seen in the company's latest product, Orchid Oil . It restores moisture, shine, elasticity and softness to hair that has become damaged from chemical treatments and thermal stress.
White Sands’ interest in orchids for hair was inspired by studies that have shown the orchid’s mysterious capacity for longevity, beauty, and its versatility to adjust to different environments with vibrant color. Orchid oil is very lightweight, and unlike most other oils it does not affect the hair's ability to perform when styling.
White Sands is a company with humble beginnings and big aspirations. The family-owned corporation was founded 10 years ago by the Salas Family with only $1,500.
Salas had worked as a stylist for the past four decades. He began cutting hair while attending high school in Southern California. Later he worked for some of the beauty industry's largest companies, including Clairol and Helene Curtis. After taking some time off, he found it difficult to find work at the same level.
But he wanted an outlet for ideas, so he enlisted the help of a chemist who had done research and development for some of the industry's largest companies. The chemist was willing to work at no charge.
In 1999, Salas participated in a trade show using a spray he developed. His work was met with applause as well as huge demand for the hair spray, which didn't even have a name yet. At one point, he was offered $200 for a bottle of the spray. Based on this enthusiastic response, "I was forced to start the company," he jokes.
Run by the family of five—Fernando, Patricia, Aarron, Noel and his wife Kelly—they began by filling products from gallons into bottles one at a time in Salas' garage.
Although the company has come a long way since those days, Salas still develops his product one at a time, each based on a specific need or trend.
When it comes to texture, Salas takes the philosophy that the stylist is like a painter. Before they can create their image, they need to prepare the canvas.
"The hair is our canvas.," he says.
ER Fusion is an intensive reconstructive hair treatment which restores hair back to its youthful condition for up to 30 days. The product creates a clear micro shield to seal in color and softness, while weightless quaternaries balance and self-adjust color in the hair. A complex set of amino cystines repair damage while lemon grass extracts enhance color with a high gloss.
Salas calls Porosity The Fix"make-up for hair." Porosity acts as foundation and concealer to temporarily fill in the blemishes found in each strand, creating the impression of flawless hair.
The Cure 24/7 is a leave in reconstructive treatment with visible results within minutes after application. The treatment that can be done day or night, wet or dry, repairing damaged hair fibers and making tresses stronger, smoother and shinier.
"It deals with the complexion of the hair itself," Salas says. "It's like putting brand new plaster on the wall. It's like you have new hair."
After the canvas has been prepared, White Sands has products that help you achieve the texture you want. Curls are of special interest to Salas because that is his hair type.
White Sands Curl Up in Silk Mousse is designed to create the ropey curls that are hot right now, without crunch.
"The molecules are engineered to help curls clump together," he says.
Many people with curly hair tend to use heavier products to weigh their hair down. Salas believes in cocktailing products to get the look you want.
"I look at product application as a way to address different needs, whether it be calming down the hair or boosting volume," Salas says.
Salas is a believer that with the right products and a little bit of effort, waves, curls and kinks can look beautiful. But he believes it's more than just about making it look pretty.
"It's identity expression," he says. "The goal is more about how to get your to look like you want to be seen."