Why Everyone Is Suddenly So Obsessed With This Hair Brand

In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the launch of silent hair dryers and damage-free bleaching. We’ve learned that shampoo comes after conditioner, and pre-shampoo treatments come before both. And yet, despite all this innovation, the bland, pink and purple packaging in the haircare aisle still looks as outdated as teased bangs.

So, when R+Co landed on shelves in May 2014, it felt like the biggest thing to hit hairstyling since dry shampoo. Yes, the professional formulas inside are advanced, but it’s what’s on the outside that really caught people’s attention. The bright, saturated photographs and quirky product names filled our news feeds faster than you can say texturizing spray — and the brand cemented its cult status before people had even smelled the stuff.

But none of that would have happened without the brand’s creative director and model-turned-stylist Amanda Wall. R+Co co-founder and hairstylist Howard McLaren, who met Wall on a Bumble and Bumble photoshoot years ago, tapped her to advise the art direction of his new line. After years of collaborating with McLaren, she was comfortable enough to say that the existing packaging sucked. Big time.

“They already had the packaging designed and it was all fluorescent orange,” says Wall, cringing. “It was a major design firm they had hired. I said, ‘This is horrible; the brand cannot be this.'" She started reaching out to design friends for assistance when inspiration suddenly struck. “This idea came to me to put photographs on the packaging. It was right at the beginning of Instagram and I liked the idea of people really connecting with photographs,” she said.

But Wall does much more than nod her head yes or no to photo mockups. The former model designs everything from start to finish, and occasionally even jumps behind and in front of the camera — resulting in the prettiest damn product packaging you've ever seen. Check out the slides ahead to see her creative process, and get ready to gain some serious inspiration.

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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall.
"I always think of the names first," says Wall. "I want them all to have very individual names and personalities so people can connect with the product based on its function rather than a fluffy name. So many things in hairdressing are fancy, right? Like luxe, riche, whatever-the-fuck. Nobody knows what that means and nobody cares — it's just hair."
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
"A lot of the photographs [on the products] are normal everyday things and people can be like, 'I know what that means, I know what that feels like, I've been there, I've touched that,'" says Wall. "It becomes an emotional experience and I think that’s why people are drawn to the packaging."
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
"My favorite product is Death Valley [from the previous slide] because Howard and I took a trip to Death Valley and shot it," says Wall. "It was 100 degrees at midnight and we woke up at 5 am to go to Zabriskie Point, which is from an Antonioni film we’re obsessed with."
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
"Vicous is actually my hands on the packaging," says Wall. "It's very personal to me on a lot of levels because it's my hands, it's my perspective."
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
"Anything that’s clothing is my clothing. Motorcycle is my leather jacket," says Wall.
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
The same goes for Pinstripe.
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
And if Wall's chiffon top looks familiar, that's because it's the exact blouse used to illustrate the brand's fluffy mousse.
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Photo Courtesy: Amanda Wall
As for where Wall gathers inspiration, she says it's a never-ending process. "I'm constantly on Instagram screenshotting things. I'm constantly looking at images; I reference films or songs. You can't be like, I'm gonna be creative today. It has to come to you."
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