Movie hairstylists Susan Germaine and Barbara Lorenz can talk about bad hair days. The two, whose combined resumes read like a highlight list of the last 20-plus years of films, have seen it all.
In their work on movies, every day is about maintaining uniformity. An actor's hair must look the same in take after take. Imagine the backlighting that highlights even one hair that is out of place. Add to that a location shoot in a city with hard water. Or filming in an arid Los Angeles studio and then shooting on location in rainy Portland. And there are those 18-hour days of filming.
Then there are hidden risks--an actress goes back to her hotel and washes her own hair with her own shampoo, making her hair impossible to work on the next day. "If a production company had to wait for hair or makeup, they would fire us," Lorenz says.
For years, the hairdressers searched for hair-care products to meet all their needs--products that would work on all kinds of hair, with all types of water and in any weather. After a while they decided to come up with their own products. Their line, Lorenz-Germaine Professional Products, is now on sale at a limited number of salons and beauty supply stores.
The product line had a few starts and sputters. In 1990, the stylists went into business with Conair to launch Lorenz-Germaine Hollywood Backstage. That line, now defunct in the U.S., is still sold in parts of Europe and Asia.
But five years with Conair, which owns Cuisinart and Waring Products, were enough. The best part, they agree, was that they got all the appliances they wanted, but they got lost in the huge conglomerate. Still, they learned a lot about business. "We were two naive women," says Lorenz.
Most recently, the duo went into business with Saber International, headed by two former Sebastian executives, Maureen Clements and Ennio Cantori, who have serious goals for the line. Their target market will be 20- to 50-year-old women. The marketing strategy: to promote these two stylists' Hollywood connection.
What's kept these two together through a rather bumpy ride is a deep, long-standing friendship that both agree made them as close as sisters. The bond was cemented on long shoots together away from their families, demanding work conditions and a mutual love of hairstyling. In all the years, through all the contracts with various promoters and manufacturers, they have never signed a contract with each other for the products, relying instead on a handshake.
In the midst of these two powerful careers, each woman juggled her own family life--marriage and raising children.
Lorenz is the lead hairstylist on the latest remake of "The Flintstones" ("Viva Rock Vegas") and the recently released "Inspector Gadget." She began her career with the 1976 movie "Marathon Man" and since has worked on such great hair movies as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Beaches." Lorenz sports a diamond tennis bracelet Bette Midler gave her for persuading the singer to release a soundtrack album to the film "Beaches." Midler, who won a Grammy for that effort, thanked Lorenz in her award acceptance speech.
Germaine just finished the Madonna-Rupert Everett movie "The Next Best Thing"--she worked on four of the five leads: Everett, Lynn Redgrave, Benjamin Britt and child actor Malcolm Stumpf. Germaine gave Barbra Streisand her first wedge haircut in the 1970s and, years later, softened her up in "The Mirror Has Two Faces." She has worked with Faye Dunaway on "Chinatown" and "Network."
Much of their line--two shampoos and conditioners and five styling agents--was designed to fix some problem on one of the movies they worked on. The clarifying shampoo was originated for a famous TV actress who had gummed up her hair with her favorite shampoo.
The 2-Shot Spray Mousse was developed to solve a tough hair problem for Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman on the set of "Batman Returns" (1992). Pfeiffer's character evolved from a mousy recluse to the exotic and powerful Catwoman. To show this, she was to enter the Penguin's lair, pull off her latex cap and shake out a mane of wildly tossed curls. Except that Pfeiffer's hair is straight. The set was damp and set at freezing to accommodate live penguins. And anyone who's ever pulled off a cap in the middle of winter knows how bad "hat hair" can look. Lorenz, Pfeiffer's hairstylist, was under the gun.
Naturally, her first phone call was to Germaine, who remembers, "Two hundred people in the crew were looking at [Lorenz] and [the director] was saying, 'This won't do.'
"We called our chemist that night." The mousse they developed solved the problem and became part of their line.